What’s the Difference Between Microfilm and Microfiche?

what is microfilm

Microform storage is a method used to save space by shrinking down documents and storing them on photographic film. There are two kinds of microform—microfilm and microfiche. Microfilm is a roll of images, much like a movie reel, while microfiche is a flat sheet of microfilm.

Because the documents are usually reduced to about 1/25 their normal size, microform storage can easily store thousands of documents without taking up much space. In addition, microfilm images are very stable and have a shelf-life of about 500 years if stored correctly.

What Is Microfilm?

Microfilm is a kind of microform storage that uses a roll of photographic film to store images of your documents. A typical roll of microfilm comes in sizes of either 16mm or 35mm depending on the kinds of documents you have to store.

Larger documents like engineering drawings, for example, would be better suited to the 35mm film. Letter-sized pages, on the other hand, would use the 16mm film.

Rolls of microfilm can store 2,400 letter-sized pages or 600 drawings on a single roll, making it very space efficient.

What Is Microfiche?

Microfiche is a flat sheet of microfilm, rather than a role. A standard microfiche is 4″ x 5″ and can store about 98 letter-sized pages. Although it has a much smaller storage capacity, microfiche sheets may be easier to organize because of their shape and form factor.

Need to Scan Microfilm or Microfiche?

Because microform storage was common in the past, many businesses may still have many records in this format. Fortunately, bringing microform documents into the 21st Century is easier than ever.

Record Nations can help you find the best microform scanning service near you to convert film rolls or sheets into modern electronics formats. To get started, fill out our form, give us a call at (866) 385-3706, or contact us directly using our live chat for a free, no-obligation quote from providers in your area.