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- What Makes the Best Free Document Management Software?
- Best Free Document Management Software Options
- 1. OpenDocMan
- 2. OpenKM
- 3. OnlyOffice
- 4. Hightail
- 5. Confluence
- Final Thoughts
If you want to save cash, but need a reliable space to store and manage documents, join us as we share some of the best free options available in the world of document management systems.
By Dan Ginn (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2022-05-30T15:06:59+00:00 Facts checked by Jasna Mishevska
If you need a digital home for all your documents but don’t want to splash the cash, we’re going to share with you the best free document management software around. Just because they’re free doesn’t mean they’re not up to par. We would happily use all the services we recommend ourselves.
- OpenDocMan is the best free document management software available.
- OpenKM is the closest rival to OpenDocMan and serves as a solid workstation.
- Confluence and Hightail appeal to creative users and those working within small teams.
Of course, any service that’s free comes with limitations. If you’re a medium-to-large-sized business looking for an all-singing, all-dancing document management software, the options below may not be enough.
However, if you’re a personal user or a small company looking to effectively manage your digital “paperwork,” the selection below will help you keep your documents in order.
For ease of use, features and versatility, OpenDocMan is the best free DMS.(Video) Best Document Management System
Yes. OpenDocMan offers a free version. However, paid plans are also available.
We believe Egnyte is the best overall document control software. Read our full Egnyte review.
Open source software is free-to-use source code that gives users the ability to modify and redistribute the code, often to improve the software.
What Makes the Best Free Document Management Software?
The best free document management software offers as many quality features as possible, without asking for your money. Despite being free, we still expect to see an industry standard level of security, a well-designed platform and basic document management features like search and organization functionality.
- OpenDocMan — Best free document management software available
- OpenKM — Best free DMS for automations
- OnlyOffice — Best free document management software for single users
- Hightail — Best free DMS for creatives
- Confluence — Best free document management software for multiple users
These products offer many key features one would want to manage documents. The open source options outdo private companies offering free plans, but even they have features that are ideal for certain users. Read our document management best practices to learn how to make the most of each feature.
The 5 Best Free Document Management Software Options
All the options below offer a full, long-lasting free plan. While many services offer free trials, they typically only last up to one month. With the selections below, you can trust you’ll have a free account for as long as the service is active.
More details about OpenDocMan:
- Pricing: Free plan available
- Provider website: opendocman.com
- Document storage
- Unlimited users
- Custom tagging
- Advanced search functions
- Dated design
OpenDocMan is one of the few open-source document management solutions available, and is a popular choice within the open-source community.
You can add custom metadata-like tags to categorize documents, making it easier to search for a particular document. It’s also possible to create temporary documents that will be deleted on the expiration date of your choice.
The user interface looks better placed on Web 1.0 due to its outdated design. However, if you prioritize functionality over form, you won’t be too concerned with how the platform looks as it works well.
File versioning is available, and users can access any and all revisions made on a specific document. You can also add decision makers who are authorized to review and accept new or edited documents.
Users can set up automated emails each time a document is created, viewed or edited. Moreover, users can set automatic file expirations. Such automations put OpenDocMan on par with paid services.
In the free market space, OpenDocMan is certainly the leading option for those working with digital documents. It comes with many of the key features we look for in a leading DMS, and despite the dated design, it functions extremely well and will give you most of what you need.
More details about OpenKM:
- Pricing: Free
- Provider website: openkm.com
- Plenty of automations
- Configurable audit trails
- Office integration
- Outdated user interface
The OpenKM document management software is fantastic for managing documents. It comes with automations that make life easier. Automations include but aren’t limited to automated file transformations (to change Word documents to PDFs), automatic file security and automated file movement based on the file description and metadata.
Other features include digital signatures, file versioning, reporting and a built-in task manager. These features make OpenKM more of a workstation with a DMS built into it, something that helps users manage all areas of their business.
Optical Character Recognition
Optical character recognition (OCR) allows you to edit and search data from paper documents, PDF documents and images. Users need to take a photo of the document and upload it to OpenKM. OCR technology scans the document and makes it possible to edit and search for it inside the DMS.
OpenKM is one of the best free document management systems available. It may take a little time to grasp, and the training tools could be better, but once you get used to it, it will function as a highly reliable document management system.
More details about OnlyOffice:
- Pricing: Free plan available for individual use
- Provider website: onlyoffice.com
- Open-source system
- Productivity & social app integrations
- Project management tools
- Free plan only available for individual users
Developed by Ascensio System SIA, OnlyOffice is a free-to-use service that can serve as a DMS and workstation. The platform is an open solution, which often leads to a better product, more flexibility and improved security. You also don’t have to worry about a private company having the ability to snoop around your documents (we see you, OneDrive and Google.)
In terms of functionality, OnlyOffice has a built-in document creator that lets you create Word documents, forms and spreadsheets, as well as audio and video files. It’s extremely basic, and personal users on the free plan don’t have access to document templates like those on a paid subscription.
OnlyOffice is only free for personal use. If you work in a team, you’ll need to look elsewhere or try one of the paid plans. The free version is a bare-bones document management system, so it may not be enough for users with a specific set of needs.
Integrate External Cloud Storage
OnlyOffice lets you integrate an external cloud storage solution like Dropbox (read our full Dropbox review) with the platform, letting you access documents and other file types without taking up any of your free 2GB storage space.
We feel OnlyOffice could offer a little more than the bare bones of a space to store and create documents. It’s a good option for anyone who doesn’t want to use mainstream services; however, with only 2GB of space, you may need to use them anyway.
More details about Hightail:
- Pricing: Free plan available; paid plans start at $12 per month, paid annually
- Provider website: hightail.com
- Innovative design
- Excellent for creatives
- Unlimited storage is affordable
- Not as feature heavy as the competition
Like OnlyOffice, Hightail is limited as to what it can do when compared to a paid service. The free Lite plan offers only 2GB of storage and 100MB file-upload sizes. However, we like its usability and some of its unique features.
With regard to DMS features, Hightail enables you to create documents, file them in unique projects and share files with others. While the platform does have more intelligent features to organize documents, most of them are only available on the paid plans, which lets the free service down.
Collaboration on Photo and Video
Although this article is predominantly targeting users looking for a space for documents, we would be remiss not to mention some of Hightail’s better features that pertain to video and images.
In addition to documents, you can upload videos and photos to your space, and the impressive part is that you can highlight specific sections of a video or image and leave real-time comments for another team member.
Those looking for a standard document management system that offers templates galore and helps you track your critical business documents should go with a different option. However, for those who want a little bit of everything, Hightail is worth your consideration.
More details about Confluence:
- Pricing: Free plan available; paid plans start at $5.50 per user per month
- Provider website: atlassian.com
- Add up to 10 users
- Comes with version control
- Google Drive integrations
- No automations
- No collaboration
Confluence is a document management software that provides a space for small teams to create and store documents that pertain to specific projects.
There’s a basic word processor where you can create original documents, or if you’re looking for something specific — like a performance chart — you can select from the many templates available inside the platform. There’s also a search bar that allows you to easily locate specific documents.
The free Confluence plan allows for up to 10 members, all of whom can contribute documents to the space you create. As a group you share the 2GB of cloud storage, so this service is only suitable for light use.
Plenty of App Integrations
Confluence has made it possible to integrate third-party apps into the service. Users can integrate Google Drive (read our full Google Drive review). This allows users to embed Google Docs and Drive files directly into content created within Confluence.
Confluence lacks many of the smart and organizational features you’d get with a premium document management system, but remember, it’s free.
With that in mind, we believe the platform has created something that has enough character to entice those on a low (or no) existing budget. With the addition of the app integrations, what we have is a more than capable document management system.
Finding the best free electronic document management system isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible. Just because you’re not handing over your cash doesn’t mean you have to settle for less in terms of the features available — and we believe the selection above proves that.
For us, OpenDocMan and OpenKM are the perfect free options. They both offer intelligent automations, and they have fantastic search and categorization functionality. If they were to update their UI designs, they’d be close to offering the perfect DMS.
The other options, although a little thin on features, will also help you keep your documents in order, while offering some cool features to give you a better user experience. Either way, whichever service you choose, we’re confident none of them will let you down.
While still at it, read our document management vs content management guide to learn how they differ.
Which free DMS do you use? What do you think is the best option out of the selection above? Is there a DMS you would like us to review? Let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading.
Does Google have a document management system? ›
Google Drive allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more within the application.Does Microsoft have a document management system? ›
Does Microsoft have a Document Management System? Yes, it does. Microsoft Office 365 provides various software solutions including SharePoint, Microsoft Dynamics and OneDrive for document management.What are the disadvantages of Google Docs? ›
The biggest drawback to Google Docs is the presentation program. It is not the strongest presentation program and, in my opinion, is not close to being equal to PowerPoint. Google Docs' presentation program does not have a variation of styles/themes, templates, charts/graphs, and slide transitions.Is Google Drive a file manager? ›
Drive Files Manager - Google Workspace Marketplace. Allows users to list metadata about their drive files and store them in a spreadsheet. They can also edit file names and descriptions and get thumbnails of image files. If playback doesn't begin shortly, try restarting your device.Which computer programs work best for organizing a filing system? ›
Some of the popular cloud-based file management solutions include Google Drive, Dropbox, Apple iCloud, and Microsoft OneDrive. Be sure to check this Apple iCloud vs Microsoft OneDrive guide to learn how the two platforms compare.Is SharePoint a document management system? ›
SharePoint is a great document management tool, but it requires a lot of work to maintain, especially for large and growing companies. You can use it effectively for a while by setting up an intuitive site structure and maintaining clear, logical content governance guidelines, but that will only take you so far.Is Dropbox a document management system? ›
Dropbox is an online software solution that manages electronic documents for both individuals and teams. It can serve as your document repository, but it can also simplify how you organize, find, and work with digital files.What are the 5 basic filing systems? ›
- Filing by Subject/Category.
- Filing in Alphabetical order.
- Filing by Numbers/Numerical order.
- Filing by Places/Geographical order.
- Filing by Dates/Chronological order.
OneDrive provides a consistent, intuitive files experience across all your devices, including web, mobile, and the desktop of your Windows PC or Mac. Behind the scenes, SharePoint in Microsoft 365 provides the content services for all files in Microsoft 365, including files you work with in Teams, Yammer, and Outlook.How do I organize my office 365 documents? ›
Create files and save them to OneDrive, so you can edit them from anywhere. Select New > Folder . Type a name for the folder and select Create. Select the files you want and drag them into the folder.
What do I need in a document management system? ›
- Document storage. Off-site, cloud-based storage is more secure, easily scalable, and saves money over an in-house server system.
- Workflows. Automate workflows to improve policy creation and updates.
- Audit trails. ...
- Version control. ...
- Document security.
- Content Management. Often referred to as web content management, this type of document management system focuses on creating, modifying, organising, and delivering content to users. ...
- Workflow Management. ...
- Record Management. ...
- Document Imaging. ...
- Enterprise Content Management.
PDF Readers are the best example of a Document Management System through which you can access the PDF file offline and store it to view and even print and publish it anytime at any place.Is Google Docs completely free? ›
Google Docs, a web-based word processor that Google offers as part of its office suite–Google Drive – is free and available for use. It competes with Microsoft Office. Other services included in the cloud-based suite include Sheets (Excel), and Slides (Powerpoint).Which is better MS Office or Google Docs? ›
One area Word has Docs beat is PDFs. You can open PDFs in Word on your desktop, edit them, and then save them as PDFs again; you can't do this in Google Docs. Our winner: Google gives you more file format compatibility. But Word may be your go-to if you require PDF editing.Why is word better than Google Docs? ›
While both Word and Docs are compatible with the most commonly used word processing formats like Word, PDF, and rich text, Word can import its files much more quickly and is much better at displaying complex file formats consistently across different programs of the Microsoft family.
Every Windows folder provides easy access to common file and folder management tasks. When you open any folder on your computer, a list of hyperlinked tasks is displayed next to the folder contents. You can select a file or folder, and then click a task to rename, copy, move, or delete it.What is the best way to convert Microsoft files to Google Drive files? ›
- Open Driveand double-click an Office file.
- Click File. Save as Google Docs/Sheets/Slides.
- Download the Google Drive Windows desktop tool. ...
- Install Google Drive for Desktop, then sign in with your preferred Google Account.
- Once installed and signed in, Google Drive will appear in File Explorer as the G: drive in Windows.
The types of files recognized by the system are either regular, directory, or special. However, the operating system uses many variations of these basic types. All file types recognized by the system fall into one of these categories. However, the operating system uses many variations of these basic types.
Which app is best for storing documents? ›
- Documents to Go. Documents to Go is one of the most popular document viewing app. ...
- Google Docs. Google Docs is now a part of Google Drive. ...
- Quick Office Pro. ...
- DropBox. ...
- Kingston Office.
To sort files, open the folder containing all the files you'd like to organize, right-click within the folder, select Sort by, and then select how you want to sort the files: by name, date, type, size, or tags. Then it's easier to organize computer files from a certain time range.What should you not use SharePoint for? ›
- 1 Cost. There are so many things that SharePoint can do beyond file storage. ...
- 2 Poor Usability. ...
- 3 Document Visibility. ...
- 4 Document Duplication Woes. ...
- 5 Data Integrity. ...
- 6 URL Issues. ...
- 7 Navigation. ...
- 8 Can't Sort or Filter.
Document management and collaboration
The central benefits of SharePoint include a streamlined flow of information and cloud storage that can be accessed by mobile devices. Informed employees make better decisions, meet deadlines, understand the shared business strategy, and contribute better to it.
For example, you can use a document library on a site in SharePoint to store all files related to a specific project or a specific client. Adding files or moving files between folders is as easy as dragging and dropping them from one location to another.Is Dropbox free to use? ›
With Dropbox Basic, it's easy to get to your files from multiple devices—computers, phones, and tablets—for free: Windows and Mac: Install our app, and everything in your account will appear in the Dropbox folder on your computer.How do I keep my digital documents safe? ›
Use a cloud collaboration and backup system. Use multifactor authentication to protect both individual docs and the cloud system where they are housed. Keep digital copies of documents on an external hard drive or physical copies of documents in a separate, secure location.Where is the best place to store documents? ›
Your best bet with storing important documents is a safe deposit box. Most banks or credit unions offer safe deposit boxes. Some banks will offer a discount if you're a current customer as well.What is the most common filing system? ›
The most commonly used filing arrangement is the alphabetical file. It is arranged in alphabetical order with a file guide for each letter of the alphabet. In a numeric file the records are classified by number rather than name.How do I create a simple home filing system? ›
How To Organize Your Files -- Simple Home Filing System - YouTube
Is OneDrive free? ›
Get more done with OneDrive free cloud storage. Store your files and photos with OneDrive free cloud storage and access them from any device, anywhere.Is Dropbox better than OneDrive? ›
If you only want some extra cloud storage for personal use, the OneDrive free plan may be enough. If not, the Dropbox personal plan offers more space, but for a price that includes a few extra features that might not interest you if all you want is cloud storage.Why would you save a file to SharePoint instead of to OneDrive? ›
If you store this in SharePoint, anyone within your group will have access to view and even edit the document if you set the permissions to allow them to do so. SharePoint is also where everything within Teams is stored. This is because Teams in it's essence, is a collaboration tool.How do I organize my office files and folders? ›
- Separate documents by type. ...
- Use chronological and alphabetical order. ...
- Organize your filing space. ...
- Color-code your filing system. ...
- Label your filing system. ...
- Dispose of unnecessary documents. ...
- Digitize files.
- With your document open, click File > Save As.
- Under Save As, select where you want to create your new folder. ...
- In the Save As dialog box that opens, click New Folder.
- Type the name of your new folder, and press Enter. ...
- Click Save.
- Spaces, Dashes, And Underscores – Oh, My! ...
- Avoid Broad And Redundant Folder Names. ...
- Build Out A Subfolder Structure And Template (Even If The Subfolders Are Empty) ...
- Clean House. ...
- Be Flexible.
Business.com claims that there are three main functions of a document management system — to capture, store and distribute documents.What is manual document management system? ›
A document management system gives you the ability to automate manual processes and workflows. Automating manual processes is simple. You just need to set the system up the right way. For instance, if you receive an invoice, it can be automatically routed to an accounts payable system.What is the difference between document management and document control? ›
So while document management generally refers to the storing and handling of documentation, document control specifically refers to the control and management of documents normally for the purpose of submitting them to a customer at the completion of a project.Which software is used for digital documentation? ›
Both paper documents and digital documents are created using a simple text editor like Notepad or any word processor like MS Word or OpenOffice Writer.
Can you create a PDF file only in document management applications? ›
Create PDF from a DMS in Create Assistant
Files imported from DMS are read-only copies, the originals are not touched. To create PDF documents using documents from a Document Management System proceed with the following steps. Start Create Assistant. Click Add, then click Open from DMS in the drop-down list.
Google Drive is a cloud-based program that allows you to create, edit, store, and share documents. Many businesses use it as a file management system; documents sit in the Cloud as well as synchronising with users' local versions of the system.What makes a good document management system? ›
The best document management system should be easy to use; it should allow for document sharing; and it should have collaboration tools, mobile functionality, and version control. The first two features allow your team to work together on critical documents without needing to be in the same office.Is Google Drive a knowledge management system? ›
Google Drive has the potential to be one of the best internal knowledge management software; it just needs an additional tool to help bridge the gap and provide the functionality it's missing.How do I manage files on Google Drive? ›
- In the Search box, type has:attachment larger:10M.
- Click Search . Note: Replace " 10 " with a higher number to delete larger files.
- Select the emails you don't need, then click Delete .
- On the left side of the page, click Menu. Trash.
- At the top, click Empty trash now.
- Security Risks.
- Requires Internet connection.
- Has a limit of file size you can upload in a day.
- File size limits.
- Downloading and uploading speed.
- Google broses content save in Google drive.
- Start with Folder Structure.
- Implement Some Color.
- Standardize Your System.
- Update Your Naming Conventions.
- Use Your Sub-Folders.
- Use List View and Stars.
- Regularly Audit your Google Drive.
- Try Google Workspaces.
2)The main difference in the SharePoint Vs. Google Drive debate is the Microsoft ecosystem. Although Google Docs does allow users to store and open from the web, SharePoint actually has the capability for simultaneous editing with Microsoft Word.Can I use SharePoint like Google Drive? ›
The primary difference between SharePoint and Google Drive is that SharePoint exists within the Microsoft application ecosystem. It is just one tool in a much larger toolbox that helps drive organizational collaboration and productivity. Users are able manage content and documents using the Microsoft 365 platform.Does Google Drive work like SharePoint? ›
Google Drive, like SharePoint, is considered a document library or document repository. It is a knowledge management system that allows users to create, store, and share documents. However, it doesn't have some of the advanced features of a knowledge base, like interactive workflows.
How much storage does Google Drive give you for free? ›
Every Google Account comes with 15 GB of storage that's shared across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos. When you upgrade to Google One, your total storage increases to 100 GB or more depending on what plan you choose.How do I manage files and folders? ›
Every Windows folder provides easy access to common file and folder management tasks. When you open any folder on your computer, a list of hyperlinked tasks is displayed next to the folder contents. You can select a file or folder, and then click a task to rename, copy, move, or delete it.How do I organize files and folders in Google Drive? ›
Manually move to a folder
- On your computer, go to drive.google.com.
- Right-click the item you want to move.
- Click Move to.
- Select or create a folder.
- Click Move.
Until you reduce the amount of storage you use, neither you nor anyone else can edit or copy your files. Syncs stop between your computer's Google Drive folder and My Drive. Important: As of June 1, 2021, if you remain inactive or go over your storage quota for 2 years or longer, all of your content may be deleted.What do you dislike about Google Drive? ›
Google Drive is one of the oldest cloud storage platform and hence in the fast-changing world, it has some limitations. The free storage space provided is too small and 15 GB space fills up too quickly. On the security front, it is not too secure and files are not protected with high security.What happens if I uninstall Google Drive? ›
Note that removing the Google Drive app prevents your files from syncing with the cloud, but it doesn't delete your existing files. You can delete or move them as needed after uninstalling, which won't affect the copies in the cloud.How do you create a good file structure? ›
- Spaces, Dashes, And Underscores – Oh, My! ...
- Avoid Broad And Redundant Folder Names. ...
- Build Out A Subfolder Structure And Template (Even If The Subfolders Are Empty) ...
- Clean House. ...
- Be Flexible.
- On your computer, go to photos.google.com.
- Point to an item you want to move to the Bin.
- At the top left, click Select .
- At the top right, click Delete. Move to bin.