1. Business Ideas
  2. Business Plans
  3. Startup Basics
  4. Startup Funding
  5. Franchising
  6. Success Stories
  7. Entrepreneurs
  1. Sales & Marketing
  2. Finances
  3. Your Team
  4. Technology
  5. Social Media
  6. Security
  1. Get the Job
  2. Get Ahead
  3. Office Life
  4. Work-Life Balance
  5. Home Office
  1. Leadership
  2. Women in Business
  3. Managing
  4. Strategy
  5. Personal Growth
  1. HR Solutions
  2. Financial Solutions
  3. Marketing Solutions
  4. Security Solutions
  5. Retail Solutions
  6. SMB Solutions
Find a Solution Small Business Solutions

Best Document Management Software and Systems

Best Document Management Software and Systems
Credit: Nivens/Shutterstock

We know that different businesses have diverse document-management needs. We researched and reviewed dozens of document-management systems and came up with the ones we think are best for a variety of business types. Here is a roundup of our top picks and an explanation of how we chose them.

Ready to choose a document-management system? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

PinPoint has everything a small business needs in a document-management system. Most importantly, it can be used in all organizations, regardless of the type of computers they're using or if they have the infrastructure to host it. PinPoint has a self-hosted system that works with both Windows and Mac computers and a cloud-based solution that requires no server installation or maintenance. What's impressive is that both options work exactly the same and offer the same features. PinPoint is also easy to use and provides outstanding customer service. Go here for a full review of the PinPoint document management system.

Editor's Note: Looking for a document-management system for your business? If you're looking for information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

buyerzone widget

Dokmee Online is a cloud-based document-management system that comes at an extremely affordable price. Businesses can choose from among five different service plans, one of which is free. The other four, which differ in the amount of online storage and available support, range in price from $19.95 to $89.95 per month for one user. Additional users are only $10 each per month. While this document-management system might not have all of the bells and whistles of its higher-priced competitors, it does offer the features small businesses value most, such as mobile access, tight security restrictions and an easy-to-understand filing structure. Go here for a full review of the Dokmee Online document management system.

FileHold's self-hosted document management system is especially appealing to businesses using Windows computers because it looks and operates in a way you're already used to. The system was built to have the same file structure as Windows Explorer, which makes it very easy to grasp. It's simple to file documents away and even easier to search them out when needed. In addition, FileHold offers nearly every feature a business would want from a document management system, including a variety of collaboration tools, multiple remote access options and numerous security restrictions. Go here for a full review of FileHold self-hosted document management system.

LogicalDoc is one of the few high-functioning, self-hosted document-management systems that work with Mac computers. The system runs via Web browsers, which makes it compatible with not just Mac PCs, but also any type of computer. The system has an easy-to-use filing structure and a highly sophisticated search function that allows you to find documents based not only on where they're located or their titles, but also by the files' content. In addition, LogicalDoc offers mobile access and check-in and -out tools. Go here for a full review of the LogicalDoc self-hosted document management system.

eFileCabinet Online is a cloud-based solution that offers everything businesses with remote workforces need from a document-management system. Remote employees can log in to the system from any computer with Internet access and have the exact same functionality as they do when working from inside the office. The system also offers a sophisticated mobile app that gives you access to everything that's stored in the system. eFileCabinet Online uses a traditional cabinet/folder filing structure and provides several ways to search for the documents you need. The system is offered in three different service plans, which vary in the amount of storage included and in the available features. Go here for a full review of eFileCabinet Online document management system.

To determine the best document-management systems, we started with a pool that included all of the vendors on the list below. After some initial research, including looking at other best picks lists and doing initial research into each, we interviewed small business owners to discover new ones to add to our list.

We ultimately settled on 14 document-management systems to research as best picks. They were: Agiloft, Contentverse, Doccept, DocuWare, Dokmee, eFileCabinet, FileCenter Pro, FileHold, Laserfiche, LogicalDoc, M-Files, PaperPort, PinPoint and Speedy Organizer. (See full list of document-management systems and their websites below.)

Next, we researched each provider by investigating its services, watching tutorials and how-to videos, testing out the system when possible, and reading user comments. We also considered the pricing that was listed on these services' websites. After narrowing down the list to 10 final contenders, we contacted each company's customer-service department by phone, and live chat if possible, and posed as new business owners. This was done to gauge the type of support each provider offered.

In all, we analyzed each service based on the following factors:

  • Ease of use
  • On-premise or cloud-hosted
  • File cabinet structure
  • Search capabilities
  • Scanning options
  • Editing abilities
  • Collaboration tools
  • Security measures
  • Integration options
  • Workflow abilities
  • Mobile access
  • Customer service
  • Cost

Here is a full list of document-management systems and software, and a summary of what each company claims to offer. This alphabetical list also includes our best picks.

Agiloft — Agiloft is available as a cloud-based or self-hosted system. It offers features such as full text search of documents and their attached files, a graphical workflow editor, document-revision tracking with check-in and check-out control, full audit trails, and email integration. agiloft.com/document-management.htm

Alfresco One — Alfresco One allows organizations to manage any type of content, from office documents to scanned images, photographs, engineering drawings and large video files. The system allows users to choose how to access their content — via the Web, desktop or email — while the server enforces access controls and security. Alfresco One always keeps content in sync. alfresco.com

BlueDoc — BlueDoc is a Web-based system that allows for designing, storing and controlling documents in electronic form. With BlueDoc, you can define your own categories of documents and assign them additional information for classification purposes, request queries based on multiple criteria, and assign detailed specification of access rights to documents and folders. You can also define workflows to improve the circulation of documents and create and store new versions of the same document. blueproject.ro/bluedoc

Box — Box is a cloud platform that helps businesses securely store, share and manage all their company files. With this system, businesses can organize files using a customizable structure, set restrictions on which employees have access to which files, and upload files one at a time or drag and drop multiple files all at once. Box integrates with Microsoft Office and Google Apps, and supports more than 200 file types, including PowerPoint, spreadsheets, PDFs, images, videos and audio. box.com

Cabinet—Cabinet SAFE is a completely paperless document-management solution.The systemis available either as licensed software installed on your server or hosted in Cabinet's secure, private cloud. Both versions are configured with each installation, creating a tailored solution for each organization. The SAFE document-management system is more than a "virtual filing cabinet." It lets you access, and use, any document, anywhere, anytime. The software integrates directly with a wide variety of third-party programs, including accounting software, email clients and customer-relationship management suites. cabinetpaperless.com

Content Central — Ademero's Content Central is a Web-based solution that can capture documents and content from hundreds of sources, including desktop scanners, multifunction copiers, fax devices, email accounts and network folders. Content Central routes all of this information to a centralized, secured and organized file-storage area. In addition, the service provides a complete log of document access and document changes, which lets you know everyone who has viewed and edited a file. ademero.com

Contentverse — Computhink's cloud-based Contentverseis made for companies of all sizes. The system stores all contents in a digital file-cabinet and allows you to retrieve any file quickly, even if you remember just a sliver of its name or contents. Contentverse also allows you to assign permissions to users based on their specific job requirements. If needed, the company's conversion team will scan all of your company's existing paper documents into the system for you. The software is compatible with all mobile devices and integrates with Microsoft Office. contentverse.com

DEVONthink Pro Office — DevonTechnologies' DEVONthink Pro Office is Mac-exclusive, but lets you share data with both Mac and PC users. This system keeps all information in one easy-to-back-up database, and presents it to you in a variety of ways optimized for your work style. The software automatically files new documents for you based on how you filed similar documents. The advanced search function retrieves the documents that you need for your task, while smart groups present related files together. With DEVONthink, you can view all your data in one place and write in a rich-text editor. devontechnologies.com

Doccept — Doccept is a multi-user system that allows organizations to streamline business processes. The system includes version control, easy searching, notifications when tasks are completed and audit trails. The software is mobile-ready and supports all popular browsers. Doccept allows for unlimited documents, folders, workflows, document metadata properties, document types, roles, groups and users. doccept.com

DocPoint — DocPoint Professional Edition is a document- and imaging-management solution for small businesses that deal with large volumes of paper documents, computer-generated files and email correspondence. DocPoint adapts to meet multi-departmental needs, while allowing users to maintain established and preferred procedures. It can capture a large volume of information, as well as retrieve documents and records quickly. docpoint.biz

docSTAR — docSTAR's document-management system is available as a self-hosted software or cloud-based service. The software offers specific solutions for a variety of industries, including insurance, financial services, health care, real estate/property management, manufacturing, legal, nonprofit, education, banking and financial institutions, and the public sector. docstar.com

DocumentMall — Ricoh's cloud-based DocumentMall offers features like full text search, document type-indexing, auditing, check-in and -out options, and workflow capabilities. You can access documents whenever and wherever you need them using PCs, BlackBerrys, iPhones and iPads. documentmall.com

DocuShare — Xerox's DocuShare is a cloud-based or self-hosted system that is offered in a variety of versions, including DocuShare Express. Designed specifically for small businesses, DocuShare Express automatically indexes document content and properties for easy search and retrieval. docushare.xerox.com

DocuVantage — DocuVantage's cloud-based system includes document capture, imaging, archiving, optical character recognition, full-text search, annotation, redaction, collaboration and version control. DocuVantage has four different service plans, each of which includes 1 GB of storage per full user. docuvantage.com

DocuWare — DocuWare can be hosted on your own server or in the cloud. Paper or digital documents arrive in electronic baskets that mimic the inbox on your desk. You can sort, organize, staple or clip them together and add notes, comments, signatures and stamps before the documents are filed away. From the baskets, documents are stored in digital file-cabinets, forming a "document pool." DocuWare's indexing features work to automatically ensure all document types are filed away in the right place. docuware.com

*Dokmee — Dokmee was our pick as the best document management system for businesses on a budget. Dokmee has multiple editions targeted at companies of all sizes. It can run in a Windows-based Intranet network, as a Web-hosted system or as a software-as-a-service model. You can automatically create folders from index fields and store an unlimited number of files in each folder; you can also index documents and folders for easy search and retrieval. Additional features include email management, an audit log and the ability to annotate. dokmee.net Read our full review here.

DynaFile — DynaFile's scan-to-cloud software uses metadata properties to index every document added to the system. With the system, you can browse through file folders in a traditional Explorer-type view or use an index search to quickly pull up exactly what you need. Access permissions can be set for individual users or groups of users and can be applied to specific types of documents. dynafile.com

eBridge — eBridge is a simple and secure, centrally managed online document-management system. You can access all the information stored in your electronic filing cabinets via a Web browser. eBridge allows you to attach or import images from any scanner, office copier or multifunction printer. You can search using up to seven key fields, find documents from your mobile device and text search on PDF documents. The system allows for unlimited users, as well as unlimited storage and retrievals. All data includes an audit trail and is encrypted when stored. ebridge.com

eDoc Organizer — eDoc Organizer Business Edition is designed for organizations with two to 10 computers. The software uses labels, instead of folders, so you can assign multiple categories to a document. This means that each document can be found under any one of these multiple categories, and each category can be combined with others to help you locate documents quickly. The software also features a comprehensive search engine, universal scanner support, a PDF converter, and the ability to retain unlimited versions of documents and revert back to an older version at any time. edocorganizer.com/business-edition

eDocXL Pro — eDocXL Pro is available in Web and stand-alone versions with simple, functional interfaces. The software indexes documents for easy search and converts image files into editable formats. Additional features include the ability to prioritize, classify and sort documents using bar codes, patch codes, bank pages and page numbers. The software also creates PDF files. edocplus.com

*eFileCabinet — eFileCabinet was our pick as the best document management system for businesses with a remote workforce. eFileCabinet offers a suite of document-management software options. The company's desktop version represents a virtual cabinet, with drawers, folders and files. It allows you to store files created inside Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint (or any file) directly into the system. eFileCabinet Online is a cloud solution with subscription pricing. Documents are stored on the Web securely, enabling access and management of files from anywhere, anytime. The service offers scanning, drag-and-drop storage of new and existing digital documents, and templates that make it easy to manage all of your files. efilecabinet.com Read our full review here.

FileCenter — Lucion's File Center Pro features in-depth sorting features that can arrange your documents for you, and text-recognition functionality that will help you search through scanned documents later using keywords. Users can also send emails directly in the program, and upload files to it from a smartphone or tablet. lucion.com/filecenter-overview.html

*FileHold — FileHold was our pick as the best document management system for businesses using Windows computers. FileHold can support as many users as needed. The software is compatible with more than 300 different scanners and gives you access to your documents from anywhere. Features include file versioning, simple and complex searching, document linking, and metadata tagging. You can also convert scanned files into editable and searchable documents, and move files electronically into the library from local or network folders. filehold.com Read our full review here.

Folderit — Folderit is a cloud-based document management system for small businesses. Features include the ability to add metadata, set reminders, share files and folders, conduct extensive searches of your entire library of documents and import files by dragging and dropping them right into your browser. Folderit uses SSL for secure file transport and all files are stored encrypted in servers. folderit.com/

Fosslook — Fosslook is an electronic document management solution that can organize, secure and manage all of your business's documents. Key features include an integrated mail server, customizable document types and folders, document collaboration, document workflows, templates for printing documents and a log of document history and statistics. The system also allows businesses to link documents together, provide specific employees access to certain files and documents. fosslook.com

HP Autonomy — The HP document- and email-management solution helps you manage all business documents and email in a digital file, making them accessible from any PC, the Internet and mobile devices. It allows internal and external parties to collaborate on a single set of documents, thereby eliminating reliance on email to store, share and iterate versions of documents. autonomy.com                            

HyperOffice — HyperOffice's document-management solution allows you to store, organize, search, collaborate and manage access to documents from any Web-enabled PC and Mac in the world. With the software, you can store documents online in a familiar structure, set permissions on who has access to which files, and share documents with colleagues and clients. Added features include version controls, full-text searches and online data backup. hyperoffice.com/document-management-solution/

ImageSite — eQuorum's ImageSite is a single source document management system. Installation is simple and typically completed in a few days. The ImageSite Suite includes document management software tailored to your industry, providing functionality that addresses your business requirements and uniqueness. Using ImageSite – Business Management with Workflow and Lifecycle allowsorganizations to productively manage all files throughout their lifecycles, from creation to revision to archive to destruction. This system also works well with large engineering files like CAD and scanned drawings. equorum.com/products/imagesite-suite-overview/

isoTracker — Lennox Hill's isoTracker enables businesses to adopt an automated approach to document management. The software is designed to manage an unlimited number of files that are accessible from anywhere. With isoTracker, documents are uploaded, encrypted and held safely in folders. Each folder and its documents provide restrictive access at the user and file levels. You can easily search for documents using a metadata search or by opening their relevant folders. Documents can be circulated, reviewed, commented on and modified. The software also features a complete usage log for each document that provides a permanent record, essential for regulatory compliance, of who handled each document and when.  lennoxhill.co.uk

iSynergy — iSynergy's document-management software features full-text search, automated document routing and auto-indexing. The system links to your existing business software and applications, which means your documents and records are updated once, and then pushed to your other databases and systems. Included with the document-management system is a "lite" version of iSynergy's Workflow Automation software, which allows for document routing and workflows. idatix.com/document-management-software/

Laserfiche — Laserfiche Avante is designed specifically for small and medium-size businesses. With this software, you can digitize and centralize files into one secure system, improve collaboration with simultaneous document access and versioning, and create, save and share documents from Microsoft applications. Laserfiche Avante also allows for documents to be shared with applications like GIS, CRM and ERP systems. laserfiche.com/products/laserfiche-avante/

*LogicalDoc — LogicalDoc was our pick as the best document management system for businesses using Mac computers. LogicalDoc can be hosted on your own server or in the cloud, and can be installed on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X operating systems. The system contains a Web-based user interface that performs operations, including file sharing, setting security roles, and finding and auditing enterprise records. Features include full-text indexing, version controls, online editing, check-in and -out functionality, retention policies, and incremental backups. logicaldoc.com/document-management-system.html Read our full review here.

M-Files — Instead of organizing files based on where they are on your hard drive (i.e., which folder a document resides in), M-Files sorts your files based on how they are initially categorized. That means that when you perform a search for a specific receipt, the software will examine every file labeled as a receipt, regardless of whether it is in your designated receipts folder. And if you want to change a file's designation, just edit its metadata within the software, and the file will automatically be sorted into the appropriate category. The system also includes all the tools you need in a dedicated file-management program. m-files.com

MaxxVault — MaxxVault provides cloud-based and self-hosted electronic document-management systems to small, medium-size and large companies in many vertical industries. The system is scalable as needed, from a narrow feature set in a single department to a full-blown, enterprise-wide installation. The system organizes documents based on index criteria and tracks each document's access and activity. maxxvault.com

NetDocuments — NetDocuments offers a suite of tools for document creation, organization and editing. You can organize documents across cabinets, tags, folders, or workspaces. The system also lets you conduct full-text enterprise searches, including search analysis, metadata, phrase and proximity searching. netdocuments.com

OpenText — OpenText's enterprise content-management systems are available on- premise, across mobile devices and in the cloud. OpenText's Content Suite is a set of enterprise content-management technologies, including a platform that unites capture, document and records management. It also includes workflow, search and archiving, auto-classification, contract management and engineering document management. opentext.com

OptiView — Advanced Processing and Imaging's OptiView integrates with line-of-business applications and organizes documents so that they are easy to access, analyze and share. The system's central repository standardizes document classification across your business and allows for version control. apimg.com

Paperless — Paperless is a simple electronic system that helps you convert your paper files to digital documents and organize all of those digital documents and files in one library. Once you've scanned and imported your documents and files, Paperless allows you to input metadata to help you search for your files later. You can sort files into categories and subcategories, and add as many tags as you need to each file. Additional features include the ability to integrate your email program and send documents to employees and clients directly. Paperless is available for both Windows and Mac operating systems. marinersoftware.com/products/paperless

PaperPort — Nuance's PaperPort Professional 14 is different from many competitors in that it lets you complete all of your document-management work within the program itself, rather than relying on users to import files that have already been sorted. The software offers tools to help you and your employees scan and import documents, and organize them based on their content. The software can be configured so all employees have access to the document database, and security settings ensure that only the right people work with specified documents. PaperPort Professional 14's user-friendly interface is easy to navigate for employees who are new to the software. nuance.com

*PinPoint — PinPoint was our pick as the best document management system for small businesses overall. PinPoint is a cloud-based or self-hosted system that does not need any workstation installations, and can be run from any PC (Windows 7 or higher), Mac, iPad, iPhone or tablet. The system files documents automatically, allows for batch processing, and gives you the ability to search content and metadata to locate documents and files instantly. PinPoint integrates with popular products like Dropbox, Salesforce, Google Drive, OneDrive, SharePoint and QuickBooks. lsspdocs.com/pinpoint-electronic-document-management Read our full review here.

Sohodox — Sohodox is a Windows-based software for small businesses that quickly creates a centralized, searchable database of all your documents. The software manages all types of documents, including Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, PDF, TIFF, JPEG and AutoCAD files. Additional features include comprehensive search capabilities, access for multiple users, email archiving and one free year of support. sohodox.com

SmartSearch: Square 9's SmartSearch professional edition is a document-management software solution for small to medium-size businesses. With its modular design, the software offers flexibility in both pricing and configuration by allowing organizations to select only the tools needed for their specific business application. square-9.com/document-management-software

Speedy Organizer — Speedy Organizer's digital file cabinet is an easy-to-use option for small business owners who need a lightweight and capable tool for tracking and organizing documents. The software allows you to choose where your documents can be stored: on your local computer, on a server, on a network storage device or anywhere in the cloud, including Google Docs and Microsoft OneDrive. speedyorganizer.com

Statistica — The Statistica document-management system is a complete and scalable database solution for managing electronic documents. With the system, you can find and access documents, search for content, review and organize files, and edit documents. It includes trail logging and versioning. statsoft.com/Products/STATISTICA/Document-Management-System

Workstation — Optix's Workstation is available for both Windows and Mac OS X. The system allows all users to scan, index, view, search and store documents. The system includes check-in and -out tools and processes workflow items. mindwrap.com

Zoho Docs Zoho Docsis online document-management software that stores all of a business's documents in one place. This system is designed for businesses with employees who work remotely and deal with a large number of files. It allows users to store files in all formats (images, music, videos, zip and PDF) and keep these files organized in folders for easy and quick access. The system utilizes a multi-level folder structure in which you can store documents in appropriate folders or sub-folders. zoho.com/docs

Are you a document-management provider who would like to be added to this list and possibly considered for our next round of reviews? Please feel free to contact Chad Brooks at cbrooks@purch.com

Editor's Note: Looking for a document-management system for your business? If you're looking for information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

buyerzone widget
Chad  Brooks
Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.