How many files can I store?

What is this article about?

A question we frequently receive is how much data/information can a person, or department, really store on in X amount of space. Read on to find out about how common file/document types equates into space, and how many of those files can be stored in commons storage solutions available to the University of Alaska community.

As shown in the examples below, we have the raw ability to store a somewhat mind boggling amount of information. With the amount of data available, taking time to consider how you categorize and store the information becomes somewhat critical in order keep track of what you have.

A Microsoft Word document example

A one page word document with 12 point Times New Roman text, single spaced, 1 inch margins, saved in .docx format that has as many characters as would fit (between 4,002 - 7,177 depending on which character is used) is between 11,588 - 11,741 bytes (lets just round up to 12 KB).

A Terabyte (TB) is equal to 1,000,000,000 bytes. Yes we're using standard SI units, not binary prefixes where a Tebibyte would be equal to 1,073,741,824 bytes.

If you divide the two, a word document that is 1 TB in size would be the equivalent of 83,333,333.33 pages. That is over 83.3 million pages of text. The online service with the current lowest default capacity offered, OneDrive for Business, offers 5 TB of space. This is the equivalent of 416,666,666.67 pages of text.

Microsoft Word 2016 currently has a limitation of 32 megabytes (MB) (32,000 KB) of text, not including graphics. So using the same 12 KB single page reference document, a 32 MB word document would equate to a 2,666.67 pages of text. This means we could store 156,250 word documents of similar size in 5 TB of space. 25 TB of space allows the storage of 781,250 documents, or 2,083,335,937.5 pages of text. Yes, you read that right over 2 billion pages of text.

A music example

Assuming that an average song takes about 5 MB of space, five terabytes could fit approximately 1 million songs. The mean pop song duration is about 3 minutes 48 seconds (Source: NME: The Billboard 100: Number Ones Are Getting Shorter... Retrieved: Aug. 2018), which means we could store over 63,333.3 hours of music in 5 TB. 25 TB allows us to store 316,666.67 hours of music, which is the equivalent of 36.12 years of music listening 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365.25 days a year.

A movie example

Assuming the average movie is 1 hour 56 minutes long, 1080p resolution, and stored as a h.264 MPEG4 video file, it would take approximately 5.085 GB of space. You would be able to store about 983 movies in 5 TB, or 1,901.02 hours. 25 TB allows us to store 4,916 movies, or 9,505.08 hours.

A picture example

The size of a digital image varies widely depending upon many factors (e.g. device type, image content, file type, ISO, lens choice, compression settings, etc.). Using a studio scene comparison tool you can examine the file size differences between devices, file type, and ISO settings. On an iPhone X a JPEG file would be 3.5 MB, whereas the same image as a RAW file on an Nikon D7500 would be 25.8 MB. For the purposes of this example we'll assume the average digital image size is 6.35 MB.

You can fit 787,401 photos in 5 TB of space, or over 3.9 million in 25 TB.


Is there any additional information I should know about?

For additional assistance contact the IT Services Technical Support Center via phone at (907) 786-4646, toll-free at (877) 633-3888, email us at, or visit the Services section to open a support ticket.


Article ID: 95
Mon 4/20/20 8:27 AM
Mon 4/20/20 8:51 AM

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