In which context is zur Verfügung stellen used in German? I often get it confused with vorhanden. I need some expert advice here.

I hear it often in software development context. For example:

Die Datei wird zur Verfügung gestellt.

Does this mean “The file is available” or “The file is made available”?

  • I am hesitant about reopening. Though, I see the issue now. "Available" can be translated as both "verfügbar" and "vorhanden". The latter is like being "existent". Still, you wouldn't really want to compare it directly with "zur Verfügung stellen". Once you understood the difference between "vorhanden" and "verfügbar", you can derive the meaning of the phrase in question.
    – Em1
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 14:14
  • 1
    And in respect to your translations, I'm afraid neither one is correct. It's either future tense ("will be made available") or progressive tense ("is being made available"). More context is necessary.
    – Em1
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 14:17

4 Answers 4


etwas ist vorhanden

means something is available (link).

jemandem etwas zur Verfügung stellen

means to make sth. availabe to someone or provide something (link)

Thus, vorhanden sein is a state, and zur Verfügung stellen is an action (kudos @Jan Doggen).

Zur Verfügung stellen is rarely used in colloquial speech, but it is often used in business context, for example:

Ich stelle Ihnen die Informationen/die Akte zur Verfügung.

And now, your example:

Die Datei wird zur Verfügung gestellt.

Your example is grammatically not correct, however, Germans tend to use present tense to decribe future actions (e.g Ich esse morgen Pizza).

Grammatically correct would be:

Die Datei wird zur Verfügung gestellt werden.

and that means that "The file will be made available (to you)" (Thus, in this moment, you don't have access yet)

  • 1
    You could say that vorhanden is a state, and zur Verfügung stellen an action.
    – Jan Doggen
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 15:14
  • Thank you. @Iris. your explaination points to the confusion I was facing. Hopefully, will be able to use it in the right context. Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 10:26
  • In the explanations given, I miss one aspect, which "zur Verfügung stellen" distinguishes from simple "liefern": it is (for-non virtual goods at least) made with reservations of ownership or with a limited time frame. So "einen Raum/einen Zutrittsausweis zur Verfügung stellen" means, that the recipient may use it now, but has to return it afterwards.
    – guidot
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 22:02

"Zur Verfügung stellen" means a promise that another person will allow you access to things or resources you require. It

  • has no connation when the real access will happen. It could mean at once (the person gives you the thing), it could mean you will get it part for part (as it is for the person convienient) or it could be or promise for the near or even far future. It could also mean you already accessed it and need it again. So it could be "vorhanden", but likely it is not and must be prepared for you.

  • implies that only the other person has the actual ability to provide you with the things or resources. You cannot yourself "etwas zur Verfügung stellen" for yourself, then you would say "Ich bereite etwas vor / besorge mir etwas".


"Vorhanden" means that something is there. For example, if you want to say that there's enough milk: "Es ist genügend Milch vorhanden."

"Zur Verfügung stellen" means that you'll give something to someone. For example "Ich stelle ihnen die Prüfung des letzten Jahres zur Verfügung." (I give you the exam of the past year).

Hope I could help, not really easy to explain in english.

  • I hear it often in Software development context. e.g. Die Datei wird zur verfügung gestellt. my question in this context is that if it means " the file is available" or "the file is made available"? Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 10:29
jemandemᴰᴬᵀ etwasᴬᴷᴷ zur Verfügung stellen

means literally: to put something at someone's disposal. It's a somewhat formal expression meaning that something is provided or given out for use or for one's information.

Die Datei wird zur Verfügung gestellt. (passive-voice sentence)

Literally: The file is being (or will be) put at one's disposal.

Meaning: The file is being (or will be) provided / given out.

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