The Best Document Management Software of 2020

Our document management software reviews are the result of over 40 hours of research on 120+ document management software companies from across the web. These reviews and our document management software guide help small businesses and startups find the best document management software for their business.

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How We Chose the Best Document Management Software

Many companies provide document management software, but they’re not all created equal. Choosing the right option for your company can be daunting because every software solution offers different features and services. We evaluated numerous solutions based on top criteria for what most businesses might need in a DMS option and came up with 20 products for you to consider.

Automation and Collaboration Tools

The point of a document management system is to make it easier to handle all the documents related to your business. Automation is important because it removes the burden of routine document-related tasks, such as tagging and categorization, from your staff. Collaboration tools are equally important because they make it easier to do what you need when processing or managing documents. These features include options such as e-signature, editing and redaction, and version control.

Demo or Free Trial

Document management software can be a large investment. And since so many of the systems offer different features, it’s important to make sure you’re investing in something that meets the needs of your business and staff. A demo lets you see some of the features in action, but a free trial gives you a chance to put those features into action yourself and test some of them with your staff. A longer free trial period lets you better understand if a DMS product is right for you.

Supports Integrations

Third-party integration is important because you likely have other tools and systems that are used to run your business, and you need to be able to get documents in and out of them or pull up document images while you’re doing work in another system. Because of that, we prioritized systems that supported integrations.

The 20 Best Document Management Software Solutions of 2020

CompanyPriceFree Trial/DemoMore
Alfresco Content ServicesCustom quoteYesVisit Alfresco Content Services
Ascensio System ONLYOFFICE$2.00/month/user (Pricing policy type depends on the chosen solution (cloud or on-premises)YesVisit ONLYOFFICE
BizPortals 365Custom quoteYesVisit BizPortals 365
DocuWareCustom quoteYesVisit DocuWare
eFileCabinet$15.00/month/user (Billed Annually)YesVisit eFileCabinet
LogicalDOCCustom quoteYesVisit LogicalDOC
M-FilesCustom quoteYesVisit M-Files
MasterControlCustom quoteNoVisit MasterControl
Mayan EDMSCustom quoteYesVisit Mayan EDMS
NuxeoCustom quoteYesVisit Nuxeo
OpenDocManCustom quoteYesVisit OpenDocMan
OpenKMCustom quoteYesVisit OpenKM
PandaDoc$9/month/userYesVisit PandaDoc
PinPoint$5,000/yearYesVisit PinPoint
SamepageStandard Plan: $7.50/user/month
Pro Plan: $9/user/month
YesVisit Samepage
Seed DMSCustom quoteYesVisit Seed DMS
ShareDocs EnterpriserCustom quoteYesVisit ShareDocs Enterpriser
Synology DriveCustom quoteNoVisit Synology Drive
TemplafyCustom quoteYesVisit Templafy
Zoho Forms$10/monthYesVisit Zoho Forms

Alfresco Content Services

Alfresco-Content-Services-Logo
Alfresco Content Services offers options for Enterprise Content Management, or ECM. That includes document management software as well as supporting solutions such as document scanning and capture and business intelligence products. The system can sit on top of other content management applications, including IBM FileNet and OpenText, to provide more robust search and document workflow management.

The DMS system incorporates multiple options for security, including access and permission layers for files, libraries and folders, so you can manage what users can see and do. Automated records management helps you implement basic compliance governance, and document versioning provides a record of what was done with various items.

Customizable workflows let you route documents according to rule sets, schedules and other parameters, and metadata models support catalog and searching so documents can be recalled as necessary. You can apply filters for fast sorting of documents, and the system works on mobile, desktop or web environments. It also supports integration with third-party apps.

PriceFree TrialFeatures
Custom quoteYes>Search features, including search suggestions
>Workflow capabilities to integrate documents into processes for efficiency
>Security options, including multiple access layers
>More features at Alfresco Content Services

Pros & Cons of Document Management Software

ProsCons
>Workflow customization options enhance document management
>Admin side is simple to use and you can quickly add a lot of users
>Compatible with many file types
>No e-signature capability
>Interface is not as friendly as some those offered by some competitors
>Somewhat difficult to customize and setup

What Customers Are Saying
Customers like the access control and organizational aspects of this DMS and note that you can customize it heavily if you have access to developers. However, reviewers wish the system had more easy drag-and-drop capabilities.

Ascensio System ONLYOFFICE

Ascensio-System-Only-Office-Logo
ONLYOFFICE is a collaborative document management system that lets teams work securely on projects together via web and remote environments. The system is available both as a cloud and on-premise solution and is compatible with Microsoft formats to help ensure collaboration works with a variety of business partners.

Depending on your need, you can opt for Cloud, Developer, Integration, and Enterprise options. The Cloud service comes with a very generous free trial period of several months to help organizations develop remote work practices that make future investment in the product worthwhile. Costs after the trial depend on how many users you need to authorize.

The cloud option includes hosting and all other versions of the product are self-hosted. When considering this product, you do have to plan ahead and understand how you’ll use it. The Integration edition integrates with SharePoint and many other content systems, and the Developer edition offers API access for many customizations.

PriceFree TrialFeatures
$2.00/month/user (Pricing policy type depends on the chosen solution (cloud or on-premises)Yes>Ability to choose from multiple versions to meet business and budget needs
>Business tool sets for document management and editing
>100% compatible with formats from Microsoft Office
>More features at ONLYOFFICE

Pros & Cons of Document Management Software

ProsCons
>Many features for the price, which is relatively inexpensive
>Easy to use and set up
>May be good for small businesses as it reads and writes Microsoft file types
>Limited or no support for third-party integration outside of the API or integration editions
>Limited or no offline access to features or documents
>Limited or no options for managing access and permissions by person or role

What Customers Are Saying
Existing users comment on how easy this system is to use and the fact that it works so well on mobile devices. Some also like the option for self-hosting. Some reviewers don’t like that there are limited automatic integration features in certain versions.

BizPortals 365

BizPortals-365-Logo
BizPortals 365 is designed to work with Microsoft 365 and allow teams to integrate existing document processes into project and content management approaches online. The system lets you use chat and video conference options for real-time collaboration and offers article and post sharing features via SharePoint.

Task and project management features include the ability to set up and manage groups with different access to information, project workspaces including portfolios, task and to-do management as well as calendar views for scheduling. Teams using BizPortals 365 can create a knowledge base to support future training or workflow and launch quizzes and polls with Microsoft Teams apps to gather information.

The DMS also offers automation, workflow and content management features. Digital forms can be created with common fields and dropdowns for efficiency, and multistage workflows can be automated to route documents or handle some other routine tasks. You can also use document approval processes to standardize editorial or content reviews to support more accurate end products.

PriceFree TrialFeatures
Custom quoteYes>Project workspace with consolidated views for easy oversight
>Task and document management specifically designed to work with certain partners, such as Microsoft 365 and SharePoint
>Ability to leverage automated workflows and templates for efficiency
>More features at BizPortals 365

Pros & Cons of Document Management Software

ProsCons
>Plenty of prebuilt collaboration tools, including notifications
>Version control is built in
>A content library with eForms helps replace some paper processes
>Doesn't support e-signature
>Limited customization and integration options
>Limited security

What Customers Are Saying
Users like the intuitive interface, ability to set up notifications and the collaboration tools in this DMS. They also comment favorably on the integration ability, particularly with Office 365. Users don’t care for the limited number of integrations or customization options.

DocuWare

DocuWare Logo
DocuWare is an on-premises and cloud document and workflow management solution that’s designed to work in a variety of major industries. You can choose from capabilities that support specialty processes such as accounting, sales, marketing or human resources as well as more general document management. It also supports processes in multiple languages.

The system’s document capture and organization features include mobile upload options, ability to connect to any scanning hardware and customizable web forms to create efficiency when entering data. You can also import files from many other programs and apply intelligent and Fulltext indexing to make archives more searchable. Barcode recognition for postal, QR and EAN is also an option.

Once documents are in the system, DocuWare offers process and task management that includes digital editing, task control, versioning and deadline management. You can also automate workflows, create workflows for quickly deleting old documents and take advantage of features such as e-signature to collaborate with others.

PriceFree TrialFeatures
Custom quoteYes>Workflow customization and automation
>Collaboration features, including e-signature
>Ability to capture documents from a wide range of sources, including scanning and imports
>More features at DocuWare

Pros & Cons of Document Management Software

ProsCons
>Ability to manage document workflow via preset business rules
>Comprehensive filter and document search functions
>Fast document import via folder and upload structures
>Limited third-party integration options
>Limited security options
>Limited options for editing or sharing files

What Customers Are Saying
Customers give DocuWare high marks for the ability to store many things at once, preview screens before opening documents and robust access control and admin tools. They do note that the system is fairly comprehensive, which comes with a learning curve, but that DocuWare offers plenty of online documentation for this purpose.

eFileCabinet

eFileCabinet Logo
This DMS sounds like it’s just a digital form of the old paper file rooms, but it comes with automation, workflow and other features to help organizations manage and access data quickly and accurately. First, when you import or capture documents, eFileCabinet can run some smart automations on them. The system can recognize what you’re adding and automatically name and organize it to reduce admin time and disparities between how people and teams manage their documents. Templates also help you customize required folder structures for this purpose.

Workflow management, secure sharing options that don’t require guest viewers to be paid users, and the ability to send file requests outside of the system to clients and partners all add collaboration capability. The Rubix system from eFileCabinet offers governance to help you protect documents, and e-signature is supported, so you can use this system with some legal and business processes such as contracting.

Email imports, dual screen previews and missing item search are a few more features available in this DMS.

PriceFree TrialFeatures
$15.00/month/user (Billed Annually)Yes>Smart Automation that names and organizes files for you for efficiency and consistency
>Templates to standardize folder structures across an enterprise
>Share with guest access features for clients or business partners
>More features at eFileCabinet

Pros & Cons of Document Management Software

ProsCons
>Cloud and mobile support make it possible to access documents from anywhere
>Controls are fairly intuitive for reduced learning curve compared to some competitors
>Strong customer service
>Some elements of the user interface, such as drop-down menus, are a bit clunky at times
>A few potential third-party app integration issues due to security
>Some version control limitations

What Customers Are Saying
Customers like the access controls offered by this DMS as well as the ability to work with documents quickly when emailing, viewing or managing them. But while eFileCabinet has good security, users note that it can sometimes get in the way of integrations, such as with Gmail.

LogicalDOC

LogicalDOC Logo
LogicalDOC offers multiple options, including Community, Business, Enterprise and Cloud services. The Community option is free but isn’t meant to support commercial endeavors and doesn’t offer a mobile web interface, document searching or a host of other typically important features for businesses.

The other three options all offer multilingual interfaces for use with global teams and desktop and mobile web options as well as mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. Version control, tags and meta descriptions let you manage documents and multiple search options help you find them when needed. You can search by document, folder or saved search parameters to support efficiency.

Integrated HTML and text editors let you collaborate on work. In the Enterprise and Cloud options, you can manage forms, read barcodes and create publishing policies. Documents can be imported from a variety of sources, including ZIP archives, email inboxes, folders and scanners. Exports to CSV are an option, though expert and important options are much more limited in the Community and Business versions.

PriceFree TrialFeatures
Custom quoteYes>Multilingual interface
>iOS and Android apps
>Tags, metadata and templating for increased control of documents
>More features at LogicalDOC

Pros & Cons of Document Management Software

ProsCons
>Systems is intuitive and fairly easy to use for people experienced with traditional computer file folder systems
>Easy search options for indexed files
>Integrates with Office to support use of tools many small businesses are already using
>Potential issues with certain browsers
>Can't file all file types directly to the database
>You can't index or tag large quantities of documents at the same time

What Customers Are Saying

Users like that the interface is intuitive because it mimics traditional folder systems and that you can edit with Microsoft Office products. They don’t care for the reliance on browsers related to cloud-based functionality and note that the system sometimes doesn’t play nicely with certain browsers.

M-Files

M-Files Logo
M-Files provides a variety of features and integrations, offering a compatible DMS that can be used in many industries. Some use cases for this document management software include construction, financial services, manufacturing, real estate and professional services. Contract management, oversight of enterprise content, human resources and project management are some examples of tasks that might be integrated into M-Files.

M-Files supports work-from-home and other remote team environments, including accessing files offline, which is not something offered by all web-based document management software solutions. Native mobile apps let you use a variety of devices to access file repositories, and you can capture signatures via smartphones or tablets for greater flexibility when working reportedly or in field environments. You can also use mobile device cameras and the apps to scan documents into the system.

Collaboration features include task tracking, sharing of documents and co-authoring. M-Files offers artificial intelligence that automatically tags content and helps to manage archiving and metadata. It also helps staff sort and sift through large databases of document information quickly to find the most relevant items.

PriceFree TrialFeatures
Custom quoteYes>Supports working remotely from anywhere
>Collaboration tools for team and project management
>Organize documents with tags and other metadata for easier searching
>More features at M-Files

Pros & Cons of Document Management Software

ProsCons
>Seamless integrations, particularly with Microsoft products
>Ability to create custom document workflows
>Robust security options
>Potentially complex licensing agreements
>Interface is not intuitive and may require staff training
>May be pricier than some other alternatives, especially for businesses that don't require all of the functionality

What Customers Are Saying
Existing and previous M-Files clients enjoy the ability to edit and format documents as well as the ease of using the system on mobile devices. They also like the ability to search documents by keywords, names and other parameters. Reviewers did note that the licensing agreements can be complex and require planning ahead to avoid wasted resources.

MasterControl

MasterControl Logo
MasterControl provides document control options for businesses that need to secure documents and follow compliance or regulatory guidelines or complex but highly consistent rulesets. The system provides options for automating routing document management tasks while also supporting collaboration, data-based decision-making and confidentiality where necessary.

The system is 21 CFR Part 11 compliant. It creates a time-stamped audit trail documenting access and changes to documents and also has compliant e-signature capabilities. You can also share documents to partners and others via secure methods, even if those people are not MasterControl users, to support collaboration.

MasterControl provides a variety of software solutions, including options for manufacturing, clinical, regulatory and supplier environments. From quality control to training and audit management, these solutions integrate with or may include document management features to support the work.

PriceFree TrialFeatures
Custom quoteNo>Document control and version/change history
>Batch records
>Support for regulatory environments
>More features at MasterControl

Pros & Cons of Document Management Software

ProsCons
>Ability to manage and work with documents in highly regulated fields
>Module approach offers plenty of functionality for tasks such as access and version control, audits and training
>Reporting is robust and can draw on a variety of inputs and outputs
>No free trial makes choosing this system more difficult
>Limited or no support for functionality in offline environments
>Limited third-party integrations

What Customers Are Saying

Users like the flexibility of the system as well as the fact that it works in regulated industries such as finance or health care. They particularly point to quality and access controls. Some users find the system a bit complex, though admit that’s expected in a regulatory-compliant option.

Mayan EDMS

Mayan-EDMS Logo
Mayan EDMS is an open-source EDMS that you can customize to meet your needs. It includes many of the major requirements for a document management system, including permissions roles for different users and the ability to track versions of documents so you know when changes were made and what might have been altered.

Other features of this DMS include tags for categorizing and typing documents, cross referencing to make it easier to search for what you need and indexes to inform searching. Mayan EDMS also has some document workflow functionality, so you can monitor when documents have been submitted, reviewed, approved, denied, published or are in other states of a process.

Mayan EDMS comes with a lot of API documentation to help in-house technical teams or contractors customize elements or integrate third-party apps or existing systems.

PriceFree TrialFeatures
Custom quoteYes>Advanced search and tagging capability
>Automated workflows to increase efficiencies
>Ability to secure documents by staff role
>More features at Mayan Mayan EDMS

Pros & Cons of Document Management Software

ProsCons
>Strong version control
>Open-source system makes it possible to integrate apps with almost any API
>Responsive design supports use on mobile devices
>System can be difficult to use at first and comes with a learning curve
>Customization relies on API and coding, so you may require developers
>Professional system may require an annual buy-in

What Customers Are Saying
Users like the security of the off-site server and redundant backup and knowing they will always have access to files. They also like the open-source nature of the DMS, which supports plenty of integration.

Nuxeo

Nuxeo Logo
Nuxeo is a DMS design to store and manage documents, but it also offers document creation and collaboration tools. It can ingest documents and has classification and indexing options to ensure archives remain searchable for future use. Version control and auditing help companies remain in command of their archives and can support some compliance initiatives, and there is security on the system to keep business, employee and consumer information safer.

Document editing is included, and you can use the system to collaborate via review and sharing functions and well as annotations options. You can invite your team to annotate a document, but you can also invite external resources such as contractors, partners or clients to annotate even if they aren’t Nuxeo users.

You can pull in content from other sources, including Salesforce, Adobe and Office 365, and dashboard tracking lets you understand how files are being managed and used. Automation is possible to make core routine processes faster, and the cloud environment means your team can access documents and collaborate from remote environments.

PriceFree TrialFeatures
Custom quoteYes>Create documents in the platform
>Manage documents and collaborate with others
>AI and other features to extract data and value from documents
>More features at Nuxeo

Pros & Cons of Document Management Software

ProsCons
>Open-source platform lets you create custom integrations
>Flexibility of features
>System is scalable to support growth of business and processes
>Potentially lengthy setup procedures
>Open-source integrations and customizations typically rely on technical resources
>Version updates can present a challenge if you have added many unique customizations to older versions

What Customers Are Saying
Users like that this is an open-source platform that supports customization and the fact that it’s not a static solution. They didn’t like that setup and version updates can be challenging and complicated.

OpenDocMan

OpenDocMan Logo
As the name might suggest, OpenDocMan is another open source system. It includes features to support document management, document workflow, search and security. It also supports use in the following languages: Chinese, Croatian, Dutch, English, German, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish.

A secure URL feature, user and departmental access controls and the ability to set file size limits helps keep the system and your document secure. You can also set up regular users, admin users and super-admin users to limit what functions people can access.

Searching documents can be done by author, category or department, and you can also append your own metadata for more powerful searches. The system supports manual and automated document reviews and can send email notifications about the process so the right users know when they need to log-in and handle something. A check-in and check-out feature lets staff work on documents without overwriting what someone else is doing, and revision histories are documented for informational, training and audit purposes.

PriceFree TrialFeatures
Custom quoteYes>Open source for customization
>User management supports role-based permissions
>Accepts any file type
>More features at OpenDocMan

Pros & Cons of Document Management Software

ProsCons
>Works on Mac, Windows and cloud-based systems and can be installed in a variety of ways
>Strong document indexing tools
>Security features including change tracking and access controls
>Limited or no third-party integration support, though it's open-source, so development may be an option
>Limited document collaboration tools
>Doesn't support e-signature

What Customers Are Saying
Customers like the change tracking and access controls that make it easy to keep documents secure and find the search options intuitive. Lack of prebuilt integrations and limited collaboration tools are cons listed by some users.

OpenKM

openkm Logo
OpenKM lets you control enterprise content in a variety of ways. First, you can collect it from a variety of digital sources. Once in the system, documents become part of collaborative workflow processes that let teams locate the information they need or work together to plan or implement projects and other efforts.

You can use the software to set governance rules for compliance and security purposes, and audit trails let you see how documents are being used throughout the system. Routine tasks can be automated to support greater efficiencies, and workflows make it easy to review, approve or validate documents. The system supports serial and parallel workflows for customized process design and reduced bottlenecks.

Some of the tasks you can automate include metadata capture, electronic signature processes and classification of documents. Modules in OpenKM include options such as electronic invoicing, barcode reading, reporting, task management and encryption of data.

PriceFree TrialFeatures
Custom quoteYes>Document and records management
>Workflows to support your team's processes
>Automation of routine tasks to create efficiencies
>More features at OpenKM

Pros & Cons of Document Management Software

ProsCons
>API allows for integration with almost any third-party solution
>Plenty of enterprise-level features
>Dependable up time
>Potentially outdated or cumbersome interface
>Somewhat limited in mobile environments
>Third-party integration via API may require some technical staff resources

What Customers Are Saying
Users like that the system is fairly cost effective but comes with plenty of enterprise-level document management features. They like that the API allows connection with other systems and that some drag-and-drop capabilities make the system easy to use. Some people feel the interface is a bit lacking.

PandaDoc

PandaDoc Logo
PandaDoc is a document management system to support sales and contract teams. It provides the ability to manage the entire deal cycle from proposal to payment. You can leverage documents and other assets within the system to create proposals efficiently and accurately and share that information with potential clientele.

The quotes are interactive to make changes and what-if scenarios easier to work with, and the system includes pre-approved templates to help you create contracts quickly when a quote is accepted. Support for e-signatures reduces the time it takes to close the deal, as you don’t have to wait for in-person meetings, mail or even a fax machine. PandaDoc also integrates with some payment collection methods to make it easy to close the deal cycle completely.

PriceFree TrialFeatures
$9/month/userYes>Proposal and quote management
>Supports e-signatures and contract management
>Templates to help with contracts
>More features at PandaDoc

Pros & Cons of Document Management Software

ProsCons
>Ability to customize for your brand
>Excellent customer service and technical support
>Templates and other options for creating efficiencies
>Limited number of users working on a document
>Potential for high cost when you start factoring in add-ons
>Some limitations when working with text fields

What Customers Are Saying
Reviewers enjoy the efficiency that PandaDocs is able to bring to their document processes and the fact that you can customize components to fit a business brand. Users note that PandaDocs limits active users to one per document at a time, which can limit collaboration at times.

PinPoint

PinPoint Logo
PinPoint lets you decide how you want to organize your digital files. You can opt for virtual cabinets, files, folders, sub-dividers or other methods — or hybrids that include multiple options. Security and access is managed based on groups/teams or individual permissions, and you can scale up to storing as many files as you need. Pricing is based on users, not how many documents you store.

Once documents are in the system, you can search them via a number of parameters via any web-browser. That means you can use the system on a tablet or smartphone to support remote access and on-the-go collaboration. The system also includes built-in features such as workflows and document versioning to enhance collaboration and efficiency.

PinPoint says it meets a variety of compliance and regulatory standards, including HIPAA, ADA, OSHA, FDA, FACTA and ISO. That means you may be able to use this software in regulated environments such as health care, finance or legal.

PriceFree TrialFeatures
$5000/yearYes>Automated workflows to help with efficiencies
>Document security to protect company assets
>Easy integration with a variety of programs, including SalesForce and QuickBooks
>More features at PinPoint

Pros & Cons of Document Management Software

ProsCons
>Interface is easy to learn and use
>Filing system and searchable PDFs make it easy to find items when you need
>Can run OCR functions in background for efficiency
>Can't toggle off features you don't need, which can make for some clutter in search fields
>Can be somewhat difficult to set up initially or create permissions

What Customers Are Saying

Customers like the simple annual pricing structure and note that PinPoint is easy to use and learn. They point to features such as e-signatures and drag-and-drop capabilities as important factors, though some people note that the large number of features can be overwhelming at first.

Samepage

Samepage Logo
Samepage is actually a task management and collaboration tool with a document management component built in. You can use it to manage projects or day-to-day workflows, but it also has features for coordinating events or meetings. Samepage works on almost any device and lets you add many document types, including images, diagrams, text, maps and spreadsheets. It also supports video.

When you’re working on a specific document, you can access chat options to have team discussions related to the asset in question. That keeps things more organized and lets team members see and respond to collaborative feedback and questions right inside the document.

Task management is also included and features options such as calendar and Kanban views, mind maps, built-in agendas and schedules, pages and sheets. Task management also includes assignment functions as well as the ability to set priorities, deadlines, sub-tasks and recurrences. Notifications and reminders can be customized to support streamlined workflows.

In addition to document-based chat, you can also take advantage of other collaborative tools. Those include meetings, direct messaging and video calling.

PriceFree TrialFeatures
Standard Plan: $7.50/user/month
Pro Plan: $9/user/month
Yes>Collaborative tools including task boards and mind maps
> Chats related to each document to keep track of discussions
>Calendars and other scheduling tools
>More features at Samepage

Pros & Cons of Document Management Software

ProsCons
>Also includes task management capability, such as calendars >Options for commenting and collaborating directly on documents >Secure sharing to support working with clients and business partners>Potentially steep learning curve to get started managing documents >A lot of project management and collaboration features that might not be necessary for businesses looking only for a document management system >Limited or no third-party app integration support

What Customers Are Saying
Customers like that Samepage offers task and document management in one system and that you can comment and collaborate directly on documents and other objects in the system. Reviewers do point to a potentially steep learning curve for those who aren’t used to managing things with a project as opposed to team perspective.

SeedDMS

seedDMS Logo
SeedDMS is a free open-source document management solution. The developer does have a donation button on the site and says that donations are appreciated, especially if someone needs a specific feature implemented in a new version of the DMS solution. However, as of August 2020, you can download the program without charge.

SeedDMS does support a lot of basic document management features, including a document and folder structure that looks very similar to what people are used to on their computer. However, the files and documents can be tagged with author, description, keywords and other attributes to help teams find what they need easily. The system also provides for a basic workflow that businesses with tech support staff may be able to customize for themselves.

The DMS supports version control by keeping all old versions of the document for review. Certain types of files, including PDF and MS Excel and Word are indexed in the system for full text search. That means that when you search a phrase, if the document contains that phrase, it will show up in the search results.

PriceFree TrialFeatures
FreeYes>Web-based UI for access anywhere
>Document versioning
>Document review and approval workflow
>More features at Seed DMS

Pros & Cons of Document Management Software

ProsCons
>Free open-source software >Developer providers some support options, particularly for donations >Includes options for document workflows>Not a lot of documentation for how to implement the system >May require the business to figure out hosting >A free resource, so technical support and updates are at the purview of the developer or your own tech team

What Customers Are Saying
Customers tend to fall in one of two camps with SeedDMS. Either they love it because it’s free or they don’t like it because they can’t get it to install or work properly, according to reviews. This seems to be due to the fact that this is free open-source software and does require some technical capability to implement.

ShareDocs Enterpriser

Share-Docs Logo
ShareDocs Enterpriser is available in a variety of versions, including Standard, Office and Pro on-premise versions and an Evault cloud-based option. Functionality varies between plans, but the program is designed to provide storage, organization and access to documents.

Depending on the plan, documents can be captured via scanner integration, dragging and dropping files, bulk imports, simple file uploads and automated upload processes. Once documents are in the system, you can share them via mail or secure links to external recipients. Encryption helps support security. Security is also promoted via password protections, user access control and web-based authentications.

Tagging and bookmarking options help organize documents, and searches can be done via text inputs or a query builder. API options make it possible to integrate this DMS with your existing ERP systems, though it might require technical development or coding.

PriceFree TrialFeatures
Custom quoteYes>Upload and storage of documents and files, including in bulk
>Email and link sharing options
>Multitier access control
>More features at ShareDocs Enterpriser

Pros & Cons of Document Management Software

ProsCons
>Plenty of documentation to help implement software >Access controls based on a variety of parameters >Supports workflow management and audit trails>Potentially limited or no support for third-party integrations, though open-source elements may allow customization >Business may need technical resources in house to customize or implement solution

What Customers Are Saying
Current users love the Document Set feature that provides in-house technical teams everything they need to customize the product. Overall, reviewers note that the system is fairly easy to use and efficient.

Synology Drive

Synology-Drive Logo
Synology Drive is a document management solution that lets you sync information across a variety of computers and devices, reducing how much you need to save to your actual PC. This can be a good option for small businesses that don’t have their own servers and want to avoid employees keeping documents on their own hard drives, which makes it difficult to collaborate or switch from device to device.

The document is saved in Synology Drive and synced so you can access it from anywhere. Version control lets you revert to pre-existing documents or designs if you decide you like them better, and very small recent changes such as a deletion of a comma don’t count as a version thanks to an intelligent versioning algorithm.

Scheduled backups help reduce the likelihood that you lose important files or folders, and the ability to revert to older designs or documents protects your business from ransomware attacks on current versions.

PriceFree TrialFeatures
Custom quoteNo>Web portal for users
>Admin configuration dashboard
>Cross-site file syncing
>More features at Synology

Pros & Cons of Document Management Software

ProsCons
>Mobile app option ensures functionality on remote devices >Universal search makes it easy to find documents as needed >Real-time collaboration tools and online sharing options let you involve business partners and clients as needed>Doesn't offer a free trial >A fairly new and potentially somewhat unknown competitor in this DMS market >Some limitations when working with file syncing

What Customers Are Saying
Overall users seem to like working with Synology Drive and appreciate the mobile app option for supporting remote access. The fact that this software doesn’t come with a free trial does put some users off.

Templafy

Templafy Logo
Templafy is a customizable document management solution that helps you create workflows, documents and custom collaboration environments. It integrates into existing systems to help support document processes that already exist, and it includes distribution and control mechanisms to keep you in charge of how your content is published and used.

An Admin Center in the software lets you manage templates down to assets such as fonts or email signatures, and you can grant each employee different levels of access to ensure everyone has what they need to work properly. A library of existing templates supports efficiencies as you create documents, and you can automate routine document creation tasks to save even more time. Validators, PowerPoint checks and other apps within the system help you keep company presentations updated and accurate.

PriceFree TrialFeatures
Custom quoteYes>Content distribution options
>Library of templates and other assets
>Productivity and accuracy tools for presentations
>More features at Templafy

Pros & Cons of Document Management Software

ProsCons
>Document template system works well with Word >System is easy-to-use and roll out, even in corporate environments >Offers some support for managing branding from a compliance and legal standpoint.>Must be used consistently across organization for maximum benefits >Load times can be slow sometimes depending on how it's being used >Pricing may be a bit high for smaller organizations

What Customers Are Saying
Users say the system is very user-friendly and easy to use and makes it easier to collaborate with employees, business partners and clients. The templates are updated regularly, which reviewers praise, and compliance is easy to manage. Reviewers do note that a few elements of the system, such as double authentication, can be clunky.

Zoho Forms

Zoho-Forms Logo
Zoho Forms is just one app offering from Zoho. You can use it alone or integrate it with other Zoho apps, such as project management, for a comprehensive system that meets your business needs.

Zoho Forms makes it easy to create forms with drag-and-drop processes. You don’t need to know how to code and can take advantage of customizable themes, more than 40 predefined fields and templates that are designed to meet the needs of specific situations. The forms can be embedded on web pages or shared via links to social media or email subscribers to gather data for research and development purposes, marketing or other departments.

You can set up notifications so you know when records are entered. Notification emails can also include attachments for quick access to information and keeping stakeholders involved in the process.

PriceFree TrialFeatures
$10/monthYes>Create forms and share them online
>Notifications and alerts to streamline data management
>Integrates with many other Zoho apps
>More features at Zoho

Pros & Cons of Document Management Software

ProsCons
>Drag-and-drop forms creator lets you build documents without coding >Provides a results dashboard for responses >Excellent customer support>Branding options can be difficult to manage >Limited to the design templates provided >Users on slower connections or computers may experience frustrations in building forms or adding fields

What Customers Are Saying
Customers appear to love the ease with which they can create and launch forms with Zoho Forms. They also praise the company’s customer support for the help it provides with technical issues, though some users feel the design templates are somewhat limited in scope.

What Is Document Management Software?

Document management software or systems are technology resources used to convert hardcopy documents to digital formats and manage those alongside other digital images. DMS solutions are typically concerned with gathering, storing, organizing and accessing digital documents, and they include a number of various features.

DMS systems are often made up of several parts, potentially including:

  • A user interface where people can search through documents and view documents
  • Document databases that house the digital documents and rely on tagging and catalogue systems to organize them
  • OCR systems, which are automated systems that “read” documents to pull information from them, such as keywords or account numbers
  • Functional elements that let people edit, redact, categorize, tag or otherwise work with digital documents
  • Import and export features that let you email, fax, or export documents into third-party systems and accept documents from a range of other systems, including scanners and digital fax systems

You can find document management software that provides a variety of different services. For example, some are merely basic storage solutions with minimal tagging or filename features so you can find information that you need. Others are comprehensive systems meant to act as digital libraries for enterprise organizations, complete with a record of who “checked out” (or “viewed”) each item.

Benefits of Document Management Software

Document management systems convert what used to be stacks and file cabinets full of paper to digital resources. Whether you’re going fairly basic or splurging on a DMS with all the bells and whistles, some benefits your business can hope to experience include:

  • Space savings. You won’t need file or archive rooms, cabinets of paper in every office or archive boxes of paper.
  • Cost savings. You won’t need to pay for the space and mechanisms to store all that paper or staff time to manage, file or find the paper when needed.
  • Efficiencies. When staff needs information, they can quickly type in search parameters and find all the required documents.
  • Increase accuracy. With the right information at their fingertips, staff are able to make better decisions when planning projects, completing work, or serving customers.
  • Better customer satisfaction. Customers don’t have to wait hours or even days while paperwork is found or called forth from off-site storage. All the paperwork needed to resolve an issue should be housed in the DMS.
  • Increased security. Paper files aren’t as secure. They can be damaged and destroyed in fire, flood or other disaster, and it’s easy for bits of information to be lost, misplaced or even stolen without anyone realizing it. It’s also harder to track who has interacted with or seen paper files. DMS solutions let you protect documents with various layers of security, including password and two-factor authentication as well as role-based access. They may also let you capture a log of every person who has interacted with the documents.

Must-Have Features for Document Management Software

What you need in a document management system may be unique to your business, but there are some common features that are typically important for everyone. Here are some things to look for when shopping for a DMS.

  • An intuitive, functional user interface. You need a way to search for, call forth and view documents in your database. Look for a system that has an easy-to-use interface that lets you search for documents by a variety of parameters and easily open documents once you find them. Extra points if you can quickly change the orientation of documents on the screen, zoom in or out or click to leave notes on the document without impacting the original.
  • Robust tagging and categorization. Whether it’s manual or automatic, it’s important that documents can be tagged with keywords and other information to make them searchable. At minimum, you may want to be able to search on a unique identifier such as account number along with date, type of document, and name. The most advanced DMS use OCR technology to scan the entire document so you can search by any word within it.
  • Document collaboration tools. You may want to be able to send documents securely outside of the system with a few clicks, accept new documents from others and work with documents in workflows. Other collaboration options include the ability to accept and manage e-signatures, add notes to documents, and even edit documents within the system.
  • Integration. Make sure the documents can be used with other important systems within your business workflow. For example, a medical firm may need to use documents to create backup for claims billing. In such a case, it would be important to be able to attach documents to electronic claims or appeals.
  • Look for systems with various layers of security and those with access or change logs so you have a record of who accessed various information should any issue arise.

The Cost of Document Management Software

Pricing for DMS ranges widely. It can be as little as $2 per month per user, for example. Or, you might pay annually for a system and pay $5,000 or more flat rate. Some companies charge according to how much storage space you need while others base rates on how many people will need to access the system. Expect to pay on average between $2 and $15 per user or more depending on the services you need.