This paper presents a new approach to the analysis of performance of the various key-to-address transformation methods. In this approach the keys in a file are assumed to have been selected from the key space according to a certain probabilistic selection algorithm. All files with the same number of keys selected from this key space will be suitably weighted in accordance with the algorithm, and the average performance of the transformation methods on these files will be used as the potential of these methods. Using this analysis, methods with the same overall performance can be classified and key distributions partial to certain transformations can be identified. All this can be done analytically. The approach is applied to a group of transformation methods using files whose keys are selected randomly. © 1973, ACM. All rights reserved.