Mass delete

Remove documents and objects efficiently with Mass delete. This feature lets you delete a group of documents or objects from Relativity in one go. You can even choose to remove their associated images and native files from the file servers for a more comprehensive cleanup.

Access Mass delete from the Mass operations toolbar. If you have the necessary permissions, you can even execute a force delete, which permanently removes documents and certain objects, including unlinked associative entities and child objects. This option requires the Delete Object Dependencies permission within the Admin Operations section of the security settings.

Note: Mass delete is a permanent action, so ensure you double-check your selections before proceeding, as this operation cannot be undone. Additionally, Mass operations are not supported for Data Grid-enabled fields.

This page contains the following content:

Performing a mass delete on documents

Users need the following permissions to successfully mass delete documents:

Object Security Other Settings  
Document Mass Operations Admin Operations
  • View (Eye icon)
  • Edit (Pencil icon)
  • Delete (Trash can icon)
  • Add Image
  • Delete Image
  • Delete
  • Edit
  • Image
  • Delete Object Dependencies
Deleting documents that were published through Processing has two key effects:
  • Marking deleting: The deleted documents get flagged as “Yes” in the “Processing Deletion” field on the Discovered Files page. This helps track which documents no longer exist after being published.
  • Recalculating deduplication and publishing new primaries: Relativity automatically analyzes the remaining data to identify duplicates and adjust its understanding of the primary documents. If applicable, new primary documents may be published to replace the deleted ones. This ensures an exact data representation and avoids issues with missing information. For more details on this behavior and its implications, refer to the documentation section on Post-publish delete.

To perform a mass delete on documents, perform the following steps:

  • From the mass operations bar on the document list, choose whether to delete Checked items or All items in the current returned set.
  • Select Delete. The Delete Details pop-up displays.
  • Select the settings for the Mass delete action.
  • Mass delete settings


Deleting Documents:

  • >Full deletion: By default, this removes everything - documents, duplicates, and associated files. You can choose to preserve the document record by keeping it in place and only deleting images or native files.
  • Force delete: When performing a full deletion, this permanently removes the selected data. For image and native file deletions, you can disable force delete as immediate or permanent removal might be necessary.
  • Create audit snapshot: Enable this option to create an extra audit record for every deleted document, helping you track changes and keep a detailed history.

Performing a mass delete on other objects

To perform a mass delete operation on other objects, execute the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the tab for the object that you want to delete.
  2. Select Checked items or All items in the current returned set.
  3. Select Delete. The Delete Details form prompts you to confirm the deletion.
  • Note: Depending on your access level, you may see a warning on the Delete Details Form when deleting certain objects. This means that removing these objects will also automatically delete their associated objects (like child items) and unlink related objects (like associative links).
  • This is only applicable when deleting specific types of Dynamic objects, such as:
    Analytics Categorization Sets: Categories and associated data will be deleted.
    Search Terms Reports: Reports and associated data will be deleted.
    OCR Sets: OCR data and associated documents will be deleted.
    Image Sets: Images and associated documents will be deleted.

Mass delete - other objects confirmation window

  1. Click Delete to delete the object and its children, as well as unlink associative objects. This message displays when you have the security permission Delete Object Dependencies listed in the Admin Operations section of the Security page.
  1. (Optional) To view a report showing affected objects, click View Dependencies. When the current object doesn't have any children or associative objects, the View Dependencies toggle is turned off.

To improve mass delete performance when deleting large numbers of documents, turn snapshot auditing off. See Enabling or disabling snapshot auditing on delete.

Enabling or disabling snapshot auditing on delete

  • Enabling the "snapshot audit" creates a full copy of the current value of every field for every deleted document. This means you retain a full historical record of their contents even after deletion, enabling you to track document changes over time. However, be aware that it can considerably expand the audit table size and potentially add some delay to mass deletions.
  • Even with "snapshot audit" turned off, the system meticulously tracks every field change for every document, creating a detailed record. So, even when you delete a document, its audit trail remains preserved, capturing all alterations made before its deletion. This effectively meets the need to document coding decisions on deleted documents, as they were finalized and registered before the document's removal.
  • While enabling "snapshot audit" offers valuable historical documentation, it comes at a cost: a noticeably larger audit table and potentially sluggish mass deletions. This occurs because the system meticulously captures every deleted document, replicating its entirety. This can be resource-intensive and delay your deletion tasks.
  • For a quicker and more efficient mass delete experience, consider these two optimizations:
    • Disable the "snapshot audit" setting. This eliminates the need to create and store complete copies of every deleted document, significantly reducing the size of the audit table and the overall resource demands of the deletion process.
    • Remove any "PreDeleteHandlers" attached to the document object. These custom pre-deletion scripts can add unnecessary steps and delays to the process. By removing them, you allow documents to be deleted directly, streamlining the workflow and improving performance. For information on PreDeleteHandlers, see Pre Mass Delete event handlers.
Feature Description Impact on Mass delete performance
Snapshot audit Creates a full copy of every deleted document

Significantly increases the size of the audit table and slows down the Mass deletion process

PreDeleteHandlers Custom code that runs before deleting a document Can slow down the Mass deletion process