What is a better word which can be used to refer to a large number of files as in following?

Batch file processing or Bulk file processing

Which is commonly used?

  • 2
    For one, they are antonyms. Batch processing is what is not bulk processing, and vice versa. Read up on those terms.
    – Kris
    Dec 15, 2013 at 13:31
  • @Kris What i mean is processing a set of files rather than processing a single file ie: processing a collection of files rather than processing one by one individually.In this case which word will you suggest
    – techno
    Dec 15, 2013 at 16:28
  • 3
    @techno: I think what Kris means is that if you are processing the files in smallish groups, this is batch processing. If you are processing every single file at once, this is bulk processing. They're both perfectly good terms, and they definitely overlap. Dec 15, 2013 at 16:34
  • @Peter Shor Thing is user add files,then process the files one by one(This is what the program does in background) to a user>just add the files>set some stuff>click a button
    – techno
    Dec 15, 2013 at 16:37
  • 1
    Or you could process the files en masse. Dec 15, 2013 at 17:21

2 Answers 2


I don't agree that batch and bulk are exactly antonyms. I think this is a false dichotomy, as i can distinctly see three options here:

  • Process each file as the user uploads it. (Individual / continuous processing)
  • Process a batch of files based on a trigger, e.g. the user clicking a button (batch processing)
  • Process all files one by one at the end of the day / week / year (bulk processing)

In your automated process, these options are distinct in that they have specific impacts on performance and data availability. The individual processing ensures up-to-data data, but with many users or a single user handling many files, performance might be a problem. The batch processing still ensures up-to-date data in a reasonable way, but it might avoid multi-user-caused performance problems (a user only will cause resources to be used once per batch of files) The bulk processing option ensures that you can do processing without making users wait or using system resources while the system is online (you can do it at night).

On a side note: be indeed careful with "batch file processing". It might be read as (batch file) processing, which means something different from batch (file processing).

I would suggest "we process the files individually / in batch / in bulk".


I would suggest using "bulk" to describe the process to a non-technical audience. "Bulk" is more common as an adjective (quantifier? determiner?) in common speech, so it would make more sense to most people.

You probably shouldn't use either to describe it to a technical audience, since both terms (particularly batch file) have distinct unrelated meanings in technical fields.

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