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Record copying

For copies of our records that are not available online, you can use our record copying service. We can either copy our records onto paper or deliver them to you digitally.

For large orders, please use our reprographics service instead.

How to place an order

  • Complete a request for an estimate of the cost of your order using the online estimate request form. As part of this process, you will need to choose a password so you can access details of your estimate online
  • We will email you a link to your estimate when it has been completed (please allow up to ten working days for this)
  • When you have viewed your estimate, you can  place an order for copies for all or part of the estimate
  • We will usually dispatch your copies within 14 working days of receiving your order, but this may vary according to the size and complexity of the order

See our Record copying FAQs for more information.

Providing estimates

You must provide a catalogue reference for each record for us to be able to give you an estimate. Search Discovery, our catalogue, to find the references of each record.

See What we can't provide to find out why we cannot provide estimates in some circumstances.

Please read our terms and conditions for ordering copies of records.

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Cost of copying records

Record copying charges start from £1.30 per page for paper copies and £3.50 per page for digital copies, for records up to A3 in size, plus postage and packing where applicable. Further details about our prices are available. To find out how much your order will cost, please complete the online estimate request form, providing a catalogue reference for each record.

Number of pages required

You can choose to have the whole record copied or, in some cases, specify the part of the record you want copied.

All pages in a record:

For a small number of series, where the documents are all of a standard size, we will provide an estimate based upon the average number of pages per document for that series. In other cases, the original record will be checked to determine the actual number of pages.

Please be aware that, when asking us to copy a whole record, it may consist of hundreds of pages. This could result in a very high estimate for copying.

Parts of records:

For copies of parts of records, you will need to specify your full requirements precisely. We will usually be able to provide an estimate if the information in the record is arranged sequentially and your requirements are based on that sequence. Examples of sequentially-arranged documents include those where the contents are arranged alphabetically by name or place, by date, by page or folio number, or by report or case number.

Size and type of record

The type of copy process we need to use will also impact on the cost. This will depend on the size and type of the record and its condition.

We are unable to copy records that are very fragile.

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How records are delivered to you

Digitally scanned images are delivered as:

  • black and white, or colour paper copies - prints will be approximately size for size at 300 dpi resolution
  • CD or DVD - colour images will be at 300 dpi resolution in JPEG format. All images up to A0 size will be single images
  • online colour images - images can be downloaded from our website for up to 21 days from your email notification. This method is only available at 300 dpi resolution in JPEG format

For copies delivered on microfilm, please contact our reprographics service.

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What we can't provide

The record copying estimate service is not a free research service. This means that we cannot provide estimates for copies of pages containing information which may be located randomly throughout a document. Neither is it possible to provide copies of pages from a document on the basis that they exclude specific information. 

If further research is required to identify material to be copied, you can use our separate paid search service, hire an independent researcher or carry out the research yourself. Find out more about your research options.

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Why we can't provide an estimate

If we are unable to provide a quotation for your record copying request, we will contact you explaining why. Usually this will be for one of the following reasons:

  • Further research is needed to identify the material requested - find out about your research options
  • We were unable to locate the material requested within the specified record
  • Insufficient information was provided in the request to allow us to identify the material requested
  • The number of pages requested would be too large for our non-commercial copying unit to process - use our reprographics service
  • The record area would be of a size greater than A0 - records to be copied must be no larger than A0 size, and we can only provide copies of records up to A0 size.
  • The record requested would be too fragile to copy

Additional catalogue descriptions

In some cases, items which are listed in Discovery are not physically separate documents. Instead they form part of a larger document and will have to be located within that document in order to provide an estimate. We will make every effort to locate such items but, occasionally, this will not be possible.

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Queries about existing orders

If you have a query about an existing order, or want advice about our copy services, please contact us using our Record copying contact form.

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Records available online

Many of our most popular records are available online. Searching for these records is free, but there may be a charge to download records.

Go to our catalogues and online records page to find out about these collections.

Go to our online collections in Discovery, our catalogue to search and download The National Archives' collection of digitised records.

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