Native format is the file structure of an electronic document as defined by the application that created that electronic document. So, for example, if a spreadsheet was created using Microsoft Excel, then that document’s native format is its original Excel format (. xls).
Just as the name suggests, a native file format refers to a document’s original file type. When a file is in it native format, it’s without conversion or modification. In other words, the file is in its original condition.
Native production in eDiscovery is the production and analysis of file types in their original format from their source location. Viewing and processing native eDiscovery content requires a dedicated document viewer. It’s important to realize that native file formats don’t require their native applications. To clarify, you don’t need Microsoft Word to view a .docx file. Modern eDiscovery platforms make it possible to view files in their native formats without requiring their supporting applications.
By producing files in their native format, you can present them as undoctored evidence. It’s a way to grant an opposing legal party a direct snapshot into what a file looks like in its original state – like an email someone sends or a financial presentation.