A colleague and I are writing some software and we're looking for some advice on the usage of the word "archive". Currently, we're using archive as a marker to state that the entry in our database has been put to one side (i.e archived away), but that we can still access it at any point.

Currently, we're using archive as a (sort of) synonym for hidden, in that archived items will be hidden from view when a user accesses the database. This is because, more often than not, our database will include hundreds of entries, and allowing the user to arbitrarily hide/archive entries from view should help them.

As an example:

When the user archives Entry 15, it is no longer listed in the standard database view. Another view of archived entries will be provided.

The problem we're having is thinking of a correct and succinct word or phrase for the opposite of archiving an entry in our database. We've looked at "un-archive", "un-hide" and "retrieve from archive" but these don't seem to fit entirely ("un-archive" and "un-hide" seem slightly unwieldy and "retrieve from archive" feels too long). Perhaps "restore" would work, but we're leaning away from that as it has connotations of the entry having being deleted or removed completely.

Our target audience includes people who do not speak English as their primary language, so we're striving for simplicity and focus.

I was wondering if anyone has ever come across this situation before or if there are any useful suggestions for our situation?

  • 8
    Archive does not imply 'hidden' or 'normally not accessible' as sought to be used, and as such is inappropriate in your context. Naturally therefore, you find the antonyms of archive unsuitable. You must adopt a different pair of expressions for your purpose -- such as perhaps, hide-unhide, display-hide, include-exclude or something better. Should you at all, for any reason, insist on archive, the converse would be unarchive: wordwebonline.com/en/UNARCHIVE
    – Kris
    Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 11:00
  • Thanks for the input. Apparently, "archive" is the accepted term in this instance. I'll see how display-hide fits, I think. Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 11:20
  • 7
    Using archive isn't about 'hiding' or making 'not accessible'. It is about 'archiving' an item, moving it off to long-term storage. You are using it correctly, and "restore" is a good response, and has precedent; however, "unarchive", while a little clunky, is definitely clearer...
    – Jake
    Commented Jul 17, 2013 at 2:57

6 Answers 6


If archiving a piece of data changes its status with respect to the main module of your program, then restoring will put things back the way they were.

  • 2
    I have seen de-archive or dearchive used for this operation, but restore is much nicer. Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 2:35

I've been using "In use" to indicate items that are not archived.


You could communicate thusly:

"We are re-activating this record."


Perhaps 'active' (not archived or hidden) and 'inactive' (is archived or hidden).


Perhaps "active" or "activated".


You "archive" records from the standard database view.
You "extract" records from the archive (back to the active database).

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