The SFA preserve documents from the Federal Administration and the political bodies of the Federal State. The collections consist for the most part of paper files, but there are also photos, audio and film documents as well as digital data.
The SFA has also been entrusted with private archives of people and organisations with close ties to the Federal State. Most of the files and documents stem from the period following 1798. The files in the SFA are organised into 8 main departments:
- Main Department B: Central Archive of the Helvetic Republic 1798-1803
- Main Department C: Archive of the Mediation Period 1803-1813
- Main Department D: Archive of the Tagsatzung Period 1814-1848
- Main Department E: Archive of the Federal State since 1848
- Main Department J: Deposits and Donations (Private Archives and Bequests)
- Main Department K: Acts and Charters
- Main Department M: Collections
- Main Department P: Copies
The online database Swiss Archives allows you to search through almost all fonds of the Federal Archives.
The Swiss Archives database has a special page with a thematical division into nine sections of the approximately 2,000 sub-fonds on the Federal State since 1848 (Department E). This facilitates searches for relevant (sub-)fonds on a particular topic (e.g. justice or health).
Furthermore, the SFA maintains a special website with various digitized official publications of the Federal State.