How many bytes for...

This page provides tables and other information about how many bytes are required (how much computer storage) for various information objects or purposes; it also summarizes some facts that have been gathered about how much information exists in the world and, where appropriate, how much computer storage this requires.



How many bytes for anything
> How many bytes for a Web site
> How much information exists


 How Many Bytes for Anything
Much of the following table is derived from figures calculated by Roy Williams on his page called "Powers of Ten." Although his page has expired, another version derived in part from it is located at the University of California at Berkeley.


Information object How many bytes
A binary decision 1 bit
A single text character 1 byte
A typical text word 10 bytes
A typewritten page 2 kilobyte s ( KB s)
A low-resolution photograph 100 kilobytes
A short novel 1 megabyte ( MB )
The contents of a 3.5 inch floppy disk 1.44 megabytes
A high-resolution photograph 2 megabytes
The complete works of Shakespeare 5 megabytes
A minute of high-fidelity sound 10 megabytes
One meter (or close to a yard) of shelved books 100 megabytes
The contents of a CD-ROM 500 megabytes
A pickup truck filled with books 1 gigabyte GB )
The contents of a DVD 17 gigabyte s
A collection of the works of Beethoven 20 gigabytes
A library floor of academic journals 100 gigabytes
50,000 trees made into paper and printed 1 terabyte ( TB )
An academic research library 2 terabytes
The print collections of the U.S. Library of Congress 10 terabytes
The National Climactic Data Center database 400 terabytes
Three years' of EOS data (2001) 1 petabyte ( PB )
All U.S. academic research libraries 2 petabytes
All hard disk capacity developed in 1995 20 petabytes
All printed material in the world 200 petabytes
Total volume of information generated in 1999 2 exabyte s ( EB s)
All words ever spoken by human beings 5 exabytes


 How Many Bytes for a Web Site
The following table is derived from "How Much Storage Space Will You Need?," by Roy Harper, a Contributing Editor.


Information object How many bytes
The amount of text on an average print page (when converted into HTML) 1 kilobyte ( KB )
A button-size image for a Web page 1 KB to 5 KB
A larger image for a Web page 30 to 60 KB and larger
An average Web site 5 megabyte s ( MB )
The range for typical PDF files 100 to 800 KB
A video or audio downloadable file Typically range from 500 KB to 10 MB
An MP3 (music) downloadable file 2 to 5 MB
A downloadable program or driver Will usually tell you before you download it


 How Much Information Exists
Since 2000, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have continued to estimate each year how much information exists on the planet Earth. The Executive Summary of their report, "How Much Information? 2003" is available at their Web site. Here are just a few highlights:


Information object How many bytes
How much information each person on earth produces per year 1 to 2 exabyte s
How much of the above is printed information .03% of the total
How much e-mail information per year 11,265 terabyte s
How much radio information 788 terabytes
How much TV information 14,150 terabytes
How much telephone information 576,000 terabytes
How much postal information 150,000 terabytes
How much office document information 195 terabytes
This was last updated in April 2008

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