Difference Between Computer File and Manual File

Primary Difference

Manual files are hand-written whether it’s on paper or computer regarding anything whereas computer files are made through typing. When it comes to storage, manual files are always stored in hard copy in the form of files or papers in different places while on the other hand computer files are stored in soft copy. Moreover, as we know that manual files are stored in the form of different tangible files so if we want to transport them physically from one place to another they are difficult to transfer and in case of more number of files they are even more difficult to transfer as we have to carry them everywhere. But in the case of computer files they can be easily transferred through e-mail and through many other forms electronically whether they are less number of files or more so the feasibility factor is more here. Additionally it would take time to transfer files manually than through computer. Due to the tangible nature of the manual files there maintenance is also hard as we have to take care of them regarding many external environmental factors but it is not that difficult in the case of computer files. As humans we tend to make many errors during writing a file and sometimes we are unable to identify them which later may affect our work but in case of a computer file we don’t face such problems as it is well designed machine which corrects them itself and tells us by highlighting the incorrect words. So, the chances of making a mistake while working on a computer are comparatively less than a manual file. Another benefit seen while making a computer file is that we can gather lots of information for writing in a quick way but while writing manual file we have to go through different sources such as books, journals, research papers and other sorts of database which requires a lot of time and can delay our work. Usually we have secret manual files which are not to be seen by unauthorized people but due to their tangibility factor they can be accessed by them and can be destroyed by fire etc. but not in computer files as they can be secured through passwords and other ways. Plus manual files can’t be destroyed that easily.

Comparison Chart

Computer FileManual File
Computer files are transferred electronically.Manual files can be transported through physical means
Computer files are difficult to destroy and can last for a long time.Manual files can warn off and can be depleted easily by hand.
Difficult to access at all timesEasy to access whenever required
Large amount of information can be stored and transferredIt is difficult to store hefty amount of information manually.

Definition of Manual File

These files are hand-written and are always present in an intangible form. Moreover they can be stored in different areas like shelves, cupboards and in a file room etc. if a person wants to transfer them then he has to carry them along his way which is quite difficult. Also they are always present in hardcopy. The maintenance of the manual files is also an issue and they can be destroyed easily as well. Similarly chances of making errors is quite a lot in manual files as we are human beings and we tend to make many mistakes. Even when we do mistakes erasing them is not done that neatly, so the overall look of the formal document is affected. Moreover gathering of information is quite difficult and time consuming. Additionally, when it comes to the accessibility factor they can be accessed quite easily by the people who are allowed to see them and also by the people who are not which is a threat. So they are not that safe.

Definition of Computer File

Computer files are the type of files which are made on computer and are stored in the form of the soft copy. These types of files have a lot of protection as they are secured by different passwords and codes. Moreover while making these files one can get automatic error-correction facilities. And while writing something weather it’s a research paper or anything which requires information from multiple sources then work is done quite easily here as the information can be gathered by varies websites in less time. Destroying computer files is not that easy. Such type of files can be transferred in no time through emails etc. and large amount of information can be transferred as well as sent. Furthermore, computers have multiple file systems like MS windows computer, MS-DOS, and NTFS file system etc.

Key Differences

  • Manual files can be transported through physical means; computer files are transferred electronically.
  • Computer files are difficult to destroy; manual files are easy to destroy.
  • Manual files are easily accessible; computer files are not.
  • Large amount of information can be stored and transferred in a computer file; it is difficult to store hefty amount of information manually.
  • Manual files are not convenient to carry; computers files are convenient to carry.


There are many instances when someone asks you to send a document, there are always two ways of doing that, sending something through the computer or sending a printed copy, this and the differences mentioned above should be enough to give a clear idea of what the two terms mean and how they are different from each other.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss

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