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Top 3 Free Document Management Software (Pros + Cons)

Top 3 Free Document Management Software (Pros, Cons, and Features)Information is the key to success in today's business world, but the problem that many businesses face is managing it. The problem that comes now, is to sort and organize the large amounts of documents that every business has to deal with.  The solution to this problem is Software Document Management.  In this article, we will be discussing what is a DMS (Document Management Software), 3 free document management software,  what they are marketed as on their product page, and their strengths and weaknesses, if it is an open source document management system, as well as feature sets so you can find the best document management software that meets the needs of your organization.

If you wish to read about how these systems can be implemented, you can read more about the top examples of the knowledge management system used in companies.

3 Best Free Document Management Software to Check Out

Document Management Software

1. OpenDocMan

"OpenDocMan is a free, web-based, open source document management system (DMS) written in PHP designed to comply with ISO 17025 and OIE standard for document management. It features web-based access, fine-grained control of access to files, and automated install and upgrades. Unlike most DMS’s that require you to change your business rules in order to manage your documents, OpenDocMan allows you to integrate your current rules. Through supporting multiple file types, to departmental review, OpenDocMan lets you concentrate on the business at hand, document management." - OpenDocMan

OpenDocMan is an amazing, free, open source document management software system.  It has many features ranging from version control, multi-user support, and an easy to use user interface.  All of these features combined make for a documentation management system that can become an invaluable resource for small businesses and teams.  OpenDocMan uses a "Centralized Document Storage", which means that all of your documents will be stored in only one area.  This makes finding a specific document much easier, as you would only have to look in one place.

OpenDocMan also has security features, which make it so that you can restrict access to confidential company files to only authorized individuals, or grant your employees tiers of security privileges.  As OpenDocMan allows for an unlimited amount of users, you may find this feature extraordinarily helpful.  When it comes to the field of document management, a search function is invaluable.  Instead of your end users trawling through files and folders to find a single file, a search function allows them to find what they are looking for quickly and effectively.  OpenDocMan has one of the best search functionalities, and allows you to search and sort by meta-data, author, department, category, file name, comments, and much more.  It also provides you with a quick browse function to break content down by those categories as well.

  • Automated File Expiration
  • Unlimited number of Users
  • Access Control and Security Management
  • Microsoft WebDAV support is very poor
  • Not as tightly integrated into the Windows Operating Environment


"OpenKM is a document management software that integrates all essential document management, collaboration and an advanced search functionality into one easy to use solution. The system also includes administration tools to define the roles of various users, access control, user quota, level of document security, detailed logs of activity and automation setup. OpenKM document management software builds a highly valuable repository of corporate information assets to facilitate knowledge creation and improve business decision making, boosting workgroups and enterprise productivity through shared practices, greater, better customer relations, faster sales cycles, improved product time-to-market, and better-informed decision making." -OpenKM

OpenKM is a free and open source document management software, which makes document management much easier. It makes it incredibly easy to upload, sort, and manage all of your documents. It provides its users with a large amount of features and functionality, the foremost of that being the search function. This function is incredibly modular and allows you to filter through your searches quickly and effectively. It also contains several ways for you to restrict access to your document system management. Certain files or documents can be restricted by user, department, or authorization. This has to be done by assigning various user roles and restricting access to documents based on those roles. This allows for a more secure business, but also increases productivity. This is because restricting documents to certain departments reduces the amount of clutter your employees have to sift through. After all, your sales and accounting departments will rarely require documents meant for the other!

  • Incredible amount of features and functionality
  • Easy to Connect
  • Allows you to tag PDF's
  • Outdated Interface
  • Wide array of features require training to use


"SeedDMS manages documents and folders very similar to a file system on your hard disk. But it offers much more when it comes to additional meta data like the author, keywords, a description, and arbitrary attributes. To SeedDMS, a document is more than a file. It has extra metadata, can have any number of versions, be related to other documents, may even have attached files, has access rights and can be run through a workflow before it is released. The most common document types like PDF, MS Word, MS Excel can be indexed for full text search." - SeedDMS

SeedDMS is another free document management software that can be an invaluable addition for you and your team. SeedDMS has a fully cloud based user interface. It also allows you to add multiple users and provides plenty of options when it comes to user management as well. It has a remarkable search function and allows you to sort your data by options ranging from the author to the keywords in the document itself. The free document management software doesn't allow for version control, rather it will store multiple versions of the same document. Another amazing feature of SeedDMS is its integration with different document types. It allows you to capture the content of documents in PDF, Word, and Excel into text so that it can log keywords. This helps the system to find the documents with those keywords when you search for them. Just like the other document management software available, SeedDMS provides Security features with user access control, and facilitates workflow automation. Overall, SeedDMS is an amazing tool for management system documentation, will features that make document management extremely easy.

  • allows you to sort results
  • Provides User Access Control for different user types
  • Web Interface
  • No Electronic Signature Feature
  • Few Collaboration Tools


1. What is a Document Management System?

Answer: Document management systems are critical pieces of software that allow small teams to handle large amounts of documents that they may not otherwise be able to organize. As even small businesses often produce a lot of data, finding the Document Management system with the correct features is key to increasing efficiency and automation. For any business, a content management software allows you to optimize several business processes.

The main benefit of having an EDMS (electronic document management system) is for its ability to store and retrieve documents. However, certain document management software has features allowing for increased automation, cloud storage, integration with pre-existing software such as Microsoft Office, and much more. Having a Document management software allows you and, if applicable your team members to be reference information and guidelines quickly.

This allows you and/or your team to be more efficient while reducing confusion and frustration. Another benefit that filing management provides is information retention. Any notes or ideas that you may have noted down will always stay inside your document base, whether they be from a day or a year ago. These notes can be organized relatively easily by the wide variety of tools that these applications offer. These free systems also often provide powerful management tools that allow for easy sharing, publishing, and signing. With the worldwide pandemic at the moment, e-signing is a large part of the business world. This however is difficult on non-editable files such as those in PDF format. Signing these can often be a hassle, but most document management systems integrate this feature either internally, or externally with collaboration tools.

This software often provides version control as well, which allows you to who made which changes and when. We briefly covered integration earlier, as that is one of the key features of a good enterprise document management software. These systems need to integrate into your pre-existing business users seamlessly. This can include having iPhone and android support, for mobile access. As a lot of business is being done on the go, having a DMS that allows you to upload, edit, sign, and fill out documents is often essential. Data management systems also work as a management solution, as content can be restricted to only authorized users. The content can be further restricted to enable view and edit access.

2. What are the benefits of using document management software?

Answer: Having and implementing document management systems gives you a lot of benefits. First and foremost, it allows for easy and consistent access to information and knowledge. Having a document management solution allows you and your team members to be reference information and guidelines quickly. In addition, these document management systems allow users to quickly make edits and sign documents. This saves time and increases productivity. All of this allows you and/or your team to be more efficient while reducing confusion and frustration.

The main benefit, however that a free document management software may offer is information retention. Any notes or ideas that you may have noted down will always stay inside your document base, whether they be from a day or a year ago. These notes can be organized relatively easily, and automatically by the wide variety of tools that these applications offer. Overall having a document management solution will decrease a user's frustration, and increase employee productivity, which you can handily track in a management file.

3. What makes a good document management system?

Answer: Here are few points below;
1. Organizational features
Every document solution should include some sort of organizational features to sort your various documents. This allows you to work and sort your data quickly and effectively. This can range from simple file management to the metadata system implemented by SeedDMS. These tools are essential to any document solution, as they help keep down clutter which would inevitably pile up otherwise, and provide essential functionality for the end users.

2. Search Bar
Having a search bar within your knowledge base can be extremely useful. It allows you to find a document quickly without having to search for it through the many different folders if you forgot the location. This search capability allows for much greater efficiency when working.

3. E signing
Signing a document in a world with many different types of documents can be a hassle, especially when concerning non-editable documents such as PDF. Having a DMS that supports E signing makes life for your users a lot easier, and allows for your company to go truly paperless. Most document management systems integrate this feature either internally, or externally.


Regardless of the choice, you make of document storage and management system, the most important thing to remember is the user experience. The product you choose should make workflow processes from document creation, to document sharing, to simply allowing users to access files as simple and easy as possible. Every free document management system should come with a search engine. This functionality is non negotiable, as it can save you and your employees important hours of productivity. We highly recommend that you do implement any document management system, as there are a multitude of benefits to doing so. If you have a budget to implement for this, we recommend that you refer to our blog about enterprise solutions.


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