An electronic record (e-file) reproduces the previous paper file in digital form. The structure of e-files is similar to that of paper files. There are cover sheets and registers, for example, and filing takes place according to a file plan. Digitizing files also helps with compliance. An electronic file maps the legal retention and deletion periods. Unlike conventional files, e-files can be processed simultaneously by several people. Another advantage is the auditability of the digital file.
Federal German authorities must keep their files electronically by 2020 at the latest. The individual federal states are following suit with their statutory regulations. For example, it will be mandatory for the judiciary in Rhineland-Palatinate to keep electronic files from 2026. Authorities and public administrations benefit from electronically managed files. They make administrative work simpler and more efficient. Software for e-files is also of interest to foundations, associations and companies. The software helps save space. Digital file management replaces the numerous filing cabinets and shelves.