If you are responsible for creating an effective document archive plan to safeguard your records, it’s important for you to choose the correct microfilm archive media. The goal of safeguarding your important records should be readability and cost effectiveness. Many times organizations settle for archiving documents larger than 11” x 17”, such as engineering or technical documents, on to 16mm microfilm. That’s a big mistake. So why should you archive documents on 35mm microfilm instead of 16mm microfilm?


1. 35mm film is less expensive per document because it can store more images on each roll.

35mm-microfilm-is-secure-document storage

2. A roll of 35mm film requires less physical storage space because you can fit more images on the film.


3. Multiple sized documents can be interfiled on 35mm film from office documents to large engineering images. The use of 35mm film will provide archive images of all sizes of documents with sufficient resolution for readability for a person or microfilm scanner.


4. Documents larger 11″x17″ need to be archived on 35mm film  in order to get the proper image resolution. Don’t try to archive large format documents on 16mm film. You won’t get the correct resolution, and that’s going to affect the readability of images by scanners and human eye.

 5. Reduction ratios should not be higher than 30X. Large documents such as engineering drawings won’t fit on 16mm film.

Can I use 16mm microfilm to archive documents?

You can use 16mm film if you are only archiving letter, legal and general office documents up to 11″x17″, but it oftentimes makes sense financially to archive on 35mm film. You can fit more images on less rolls of film, and you’ll be able to view and print images at 320dpi or higher.

Where can I get more information about choosing the correct microfilm media? 

Download our Guide to Choosing the Correct Microfilm Media.