Bates Naming, Numbering, and Stamping

This technical note discusses Bates naming, numbering, and stamping.   


Bates refers to identifying specific ESI files, the pages of near paper ESI or the pages of printed documents with specific sequential numbers for purposes of identification. These are used as part of document review, litigation productions, in depositions for exhibit identification, and sometimes during trial. Bates procedures originated with the Bates Automatic Numbering Machine or Bates stamper, and named after the late 19th century inventor Edwin G. Bates.


Bates Numbering: Assigns a number to files and documents in a case database. For natives, it is one number per file (e.g., SMITH 0000100.docx). For PDFs and TIFFs, the number is one per page, named with the beginning Bates number (e.g., SMITH 0000100.pdf).

Bates Naming: As part of a production, files are saved with their Bates names. This is true for native files, TIFFs, and PDFs.

Bates Stamping: This procedure assigns a Bates stamp to the lower right corner of a document. 

Description of Services

The Bates prefix is specified with at least one letter and up to six letters and sequential numbering with seven digits, starting 0000001, unless otherwise instructed at or prior to time of job commencement.

The Lexbe eDiscovery Platform (LEP) does not allow Bates Stamping without a prefix. However, LEP can do Bates Stamping with a prefix that includes an underscore, as part of non-Standard Bates Naming.

Documents are ordered for Bates stamping by document date using extracted metadata for Outlook email and Date Last Modified for native files that are not attachments. When Bates numbering, we nest an Outlook email's attachments immediately following the email body. Responsive and Privileged or Work-Product documents are interspersed in the sort with Responsive and non-Privileged or Work-Product documents in a date ordered sort.

TIFF image files and PDF files are Bates-stamped in the lower right hand corner of each page with the Bates number. Stamping is done with a black font without background offset. We do not reduce image size for rastorized images, or change stamp positioning, so text in the lower right of a page may be occasionally obscured. The native of a file will be available if needed for a particular document.

An optional Confidential stamp can be added if the service is selected. The Confidential tag then appears on the Bates stamp following the number.

TIFFs and PDFs are Bates-stamped as part of production. Native files are not Bates-stamped but are Bates-named only (e.g., SMITH 00001000.DOCX) as part of production.

Very small PDFs, JPGs and other supported images uploaded to a case during an eDiscovery job may be too small for a Bates number to print on converted PDFs or TIFFs. In this case, the Bates number will be applied to the Bates name, and in LEP in the case database (if applicable), but will not be readable on the document as the image is so small. These small images usually have no evidential value and can be deleted (if producing from LEP) before a production.

If the documents to be Bates-stamped originated in an LEP case, we do not replace the PDFs in the case with Bates-stamped ones. Instead, the user can see the Bates number in the Document Viewer, Doc tab.  To get Bates-stamped versions out of the production at a later date, create a Briefcase download of documents to view or print, selecting Bates stamp, and use Bates names. (Additional storage costs apply until Downloads are deleted). Note that a later briefcase will use the current Bates number in the system (Document Viewer, Doc Tab) so the Bates numbers should not be changed unless intended. This often is intended in multi-party cases as attorneys may wish to have different Bates numbers for different opposing parties. 

Standard service (usually per GB pricing) includes one Bates range for the entire production. Sub-Bates ranges or different numbering schema are billed hourly as an additional service for non-Standard Bates Naming. Should the user wish desire Privileged and Wok-Product documents to have their own range (e.g., no Bates holes in the documents produced, then this needs to be ordered separately.

Bates Applied to Small Images

Lexbe's automated file processing will take small images and apply them to blank PDFs (8.5" x 11" standard letter size paper) without the font running off the page, and the Bates number will be also applied to the Bates name.