Document Management Software

8 Best Free and Open Source Document Management Software Solutions

8 Best Free and Open Source Document Management Software Solutions

In today’s digital business environment, a comprehensive document management program with processes that are consistent, secured, and simple is a crucial component to the overall success of any business. Document Management Software solutions offer a multidisciplinary approach to the governance and management of documents.

Document management is often overlooked or under-rated by many businesses for multiple reasons.

While a systemic, well-planned document management process can make organizations efficient, and save both time and resource, bad document management can lead to the inability to take decisions, irritable employees, and lack of access to essential information at the right time, and loss of business.

Poor document management is harmful.

Effects of Poor Document Management


  • Company X recently planned a meeting with one of its biggest clients to discuss a key project that can add substantial revenue to the company for the following year. All are seated and were anxious to see the related documents and facts sheets that could sway how the partnership pans out. Company X had created a brilliant document presentation to clinch the deal. But there arose a problem!
  • The folder in which the documents were stored was not opening! After several minutes of frantic running around and calling key members of the IT department, executives from both companies started panicking.
  • It may sound bizarre, but it’s a situation we witness in today’s offices regularly. Despite the availability of tools and devices, too many businesses are ill-equipped to deal with the failure to access documents, deal with misplaced files, etc. on a day-to-day basis, making key situations a very frustrating experience for everyone involved.

Even in small business set-ups where a proper digitalization has not been done, excessive amounts of time is exhausted, sorting merely through the filing cabinets. Moreover, to store their paperwork, companies need to allot their valuable office space. Companies are many a time forced to pay premium prices for document storage.

Situations like these also exist:

  • Files are misplaced, buried, and lost;
  • Communications between co-workers are lost;
  • Employee stress levels rise as their ability to find and share information becomes totally challenging.

Can it be fixed?

Yes, with an efficient Document Management Software system, you can fix this issue.

What is Document Management?

Document management (DM) is considered as a function of any business in which a proper document management system is used to perform data management tasks right from capturing, organizing, managing and routing the documents through their life cycles, typically in a set up that deals with complex unstructured records. This way, enterprises can easily complete tasks, cut costs, reduce risk, and enable competitive opportunities.

To sum up, Documents management is essential for information workers as the knowledge and decisions stored in the documents are used to accomplish their goals. In this mobile, distributed and customer-centric era, it is critical to collaborate well with peers, customers, partners, and trusted experts. Established document management software solutions focus on managing a small group to large unstructured group of documents vital to the business.

Document management system, often with free or freemium pricing options, has been catching up huge these days. The market is also experimenting with new approaches like open source and cloud services.

Why do you need a Document Management System?

When you spend hours searching for your document, you lose productivity. Paper-based documents and their management is always a bottleneck. Thanks to digitalization, where we get to see exponential growth in both personal and business content. And, managing this enormous, unstructured big data is no mean task. An efficient Document Management system is a one-stop solution for all your document management needs. It enables you to create, capture, manage, distribute, and archive different forms of content.

Key benefits:

  • Archival of thousands and millions of documents
  • Automation across offices
  • Distributed document management
  • Digitization & Life Cycle Management of all documents
  • Easy document discovery
  • 24/7 availability of documents
  • Easy sharing
  • Single storage point

Top 7 Consequences of Not Having a Document Management System

Have a look at the below image to understand the top 7 consequences of not having a document management system.


  1. Increased cost – You will spend on projects without proper documents in place that will only cause damage to your brand and business
  2. Impossible to locate information – Without proper access to information in real time, taking the right decision at the right time will be impossible
  3. Lack of proper digitalization of documents – Paper-based documents is tough to manage, maintain, and access. This will only be forcing you to waste time and energy.
  4. Time-consuming – Time is valuable, and employees wasting time in searching for documents will only create unnecessary delay in completing projects.
  5. Lesser Productivity – When employees are continuously fighting to manage documents without any proper system, it will only lessen their productivity.
  6. Ineffective decision-making – Not able to access the right information can have an adverse effect on your decision-making capability.
  7. Increased frustration – Employees get frustrated when they are not able to access the relevant documents related to any task.

Why Choose Document Management Software?

Check the below image to understand why it is critical to choose document management software;


  1. It is easy to use. Users can locate files and documents anytime without any problem
  2. Go paperless
  3. Ability to customize the system as per your requirements
  4. Sharing is easy
  5. Access the right document and maximize your project completion rate
  6. It is collaborative. Participation and access is given to as many as required
  7. You can use it on the go
  8. The system automates workflows
  9. There is nothing for you to build and maintain. The software is ready-to-use, and if you are a developer, then you can contribute to the betterment of the software while using an open source version.

Top Criteria for Evaluating Document Management Software

Document management software solutions offer several benefits. While evaluating, consider the following functional capabilities along with the software architecture and scalability. But, before that, you need to assess your organizational needs accurately.

  • Compliance Tracking
  • Audit trail
  • Document Archiving
  • Document Retention
  • Document storage
  • Electronic Signature
  • File Recovery
  • File Type Conversion
  • Indexing & Classification
  • Offline Access
  • Optical Character Recognition
  • Version Control
  • White-labelling
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Mobile Friendly
  • Security
  • Multiple language support

A small tip:

Free and Open Source Document Management Software solutions offer better management of sensitive documents, where users can securely archive, and access them in real time for a minimum or zero cost.

Statistics Related to Document Management

Here are some interesting statistics that can support the idea of having a proper document management software system.


If you are looking for a customizable solution, we would recommend considering the below-mentioned best free and open source document management software. Let’s start with comparing the features of these document management tools, and then will provide you with detailed information about each one of them.

8 Best Free and Open Source Document Management Software Solutions

Before we take you through each of the 8 best free and open source document management software solutions, have a look at the comparison table;

Comparative chart of Document Management software

#1 OpenDocMan

OpenDocMan is a free, web-based, open source document management system (DMS). This easy-to-use and set-up software allow users to add any file type to the system. The software was released under the GPL license. It is ideal for individuals, small businesses, non-profits organizations, educational institutions, government agencies, and so on.


                                                                    (Image Courtesy: OpenDocMan)

Key Features:

  • Provision to create customized document properties
  • Powerful Document Management Workflow
  • Automated document review
  • Automated file expiration process
  • Facility to approve or reject a new document
  • E-mail notification options
  • Quick-browse search by category
  • Secure URL feature to obfuscate URL parameters
  • Fine-grained user access control for each file
  • Access control for three user types: User, Admin, and Super-Admin
  • Supports Multiple Language including; Chinese, English, Dutch, Portuguese, German, Croatian, Spanish and Turkish
  • Full Audit trail reporting facility
  • Customized Workflow Approval
  • In-Browser Document Preview
  • Batch Uploads
  • Unlimited Users
  • Users can get both email and phone support from the company

#2 OpenKM

OpenKM is one of the most efficient and powerful systems that facilitates safe and efficient management of your documents. This free and open source document management software makes it easier for any size organization to store, manage and retrieve information and images of any file types at any time. OpenKM’s advanced search functionality is one of the key highlights. Improve your decision making capability and boost the productivity of your workgroups and enterprise easily with this document management software.

Collect and control your key and sensitive information, collaborate with colleagues on documents and projects at any time, locate documents easily, manage digitalization of your documents, and much more with OpenKM Document Management Software.


                                                      (Image Courtesy: OpenKM)

Key Features:

  • Facility to upload the bulk of documents
  • Easily and quickly download folders as ZIP files
  • Lock & Unlock documents with easy Passwords
  • Favourites management
  • Availability of document templates
  • Personal documents for each user
  • Recycle Bin for each user
  • Email notification
  • Messaging & Chat facilities
  • Metadata management
  • Unique document identifier
  • User Tags
  • Categorization & cataloging
  • Multiple files
  • Text to speech converter

#3 SeedDMS

SeedDMS is a simple to use and intuitive document management software solution with a wide range of sophisticated and functional features. The software is free to use, and the open source version offers betterment with every update.


                                                              (Image Courtesy: SeedDMS)

Key Features:

  • Fully web based UI
  • Facility to preserve all former document versions
  • Multiple user management
  • Group management
  • External authentication
  • Fine-grained notification upon changes
  • Workflow for document review and approval
  • Access control lists
  • Full-text search
  • Web access
  • Multi-language support

#4 Papermerge

Papermerge is an open source document management software that comes with a 21 day free trial of its services. It is primarily designed for managing scanned documents with ease. Users can automate document management workflows such as moving a document to appropriate folders and adding metadata to it. It has support for most scanned document formats such as PDF, JPG, TIFF, PNG, etc. It is a multi-user system where you can set access rights and permissions per file/folder. Papermerge is a useful tool to keep your documents organized and easily accessible. In its free trial, users can manage upto 400 documents and deploy upto 20 automation. For more features and functionalities, users can go for its Personal or Business plan.

Papermerge document management software

Source- Papermerge

Key Features:

  • Find your documents based on metadata, extracted text, tags, folders, and more
  • Full-text search
  • OCR Technology
  • Page management features such as delete pages, reorder pages, etc.
  • Digital archive for storing documents
  • Put Colored Tags on File and Folders
  • Add, edit, and delete Metadata
  • Retain the original document with the versioning feature
  • Extract and Index text from documents
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Provides automation such as document matching algorithms, case-sensitivity attributes, etc.

#5 Krystal DMS

Krystal DMS is an easy and efficient document management software solution. The solution is ideal for all size of business and even for individual purpose. Processing and managing your valuable documents and sensitive information are going to be easier with Krystal DMS free and open source database management software. The software is available even for a trail where users can actually understand and evaluate the software better. So, you can now say goodbye to those heavy filing cabinets that eat away space and also to piles of paper files. 

The software is made available in 4 different versions – Enterprise, Premium, Standard and Community Edition.


(Image Courtesy: Krystal DMS)

Key Features:

  • Simple and easy access
  • Clean folder structures
  • Instant search and retrieval of documents
  • Facility to tag with metadata
  • Scan, capture and store documents easily
  • Access defined using ACL templates
  • Access to the latest version
  • Built-in document sharing facility
  • Automated workflow
  • Text-indexing
  • Option to rate the document
  • Bulk uploads
  • Discussion board
  • Multilingual support
  • Detailed audit reports

#6 Mayan EDMS

No more losing documents to floods, fungus or to unwanted thefts. Mayan EDMS is one of the most reliable free document management software that comes with advanced search and categorization functions meant to reduce your time and energy. The software easily integrates with your existing system and offers complete operational efficiency. Being an open source document management software Solution, Mayan EDMS is time tested and allows its users to see how the software is handling documents.

The software is packed with functional features, thus making it more mature.  



                             (Image Courtesy: Mayan EDMS)

Key Features:

  • Responsive design
  • Efficient permission system
  • Document versioning
  • Retention policies to set compliance with the existing company laws and policies
  • Automatic rule-based links & easy reference
  • Document workflows
  • Facility to restore documents moved to trash
  • Permission controlled panel

#7 Kimios

Is your office working with a lot of documents?

Are you suffering to handle them manually?

Then, Kimios is your one-stop solution.

Store, track, edit and secure all your documents easily with Kimios, a free and open source document management software solution.

With smart and efficient digital workflows and document management, users can save time and resource. 


(Image Courtesy: Kimios)

Key Features:

  • Facility to access documents from any browsers
  • Create, edit, collaborate and upload from anywhere with remote access
  • Quick and easy search
  • Efficient Document Indexing
  • Easy metadata management
  • Supports all types of content
  • Integration with Microsoft Office
  • Easy connection to any storage infrastructure
  • Can be plugged to any 3rd party software
  • Custom document versions
  • Document Trash management
  • Secure

#8 Nuxeo

Digital content becomes messy if not managed properly. Nuxeo is an intelligent document management system that allows users to create and manage any type of documents easily and effortlessly.



(Image Courtesy: Nuxeo)

Key Features:

  • Advanced metadata tools
  • Elastic search – the new search technology
  • Native workflow
  • User-centric
  • Effective analytics
  • Strengthened AI Framework
  • Office365 Integration
  • Content Federation
  • Enhanced Annotation Capabilities
  • New Adobe CC Connector
  • Pluggable Accelerated Transfer for Upload Services
  • Extensible API

Efficiency escalates as you become more effective.

Document management is one of the prime necessities that can transform your efficiency. A tested technique here is to allow systems to author and manage your documents. The use of the right document management software solution can offer you an unparallel level of accessibility to your documents with a high level of security and convenience. efilecabinet tops current popular Document management Software list. efilecabinet is extremely easy to implement and integrate with your existing systems. Read further to understand this software in detail.


Document related routines are tedious to follow. Manual management results in excessive errors and miss-match. Rubex by efilecabinet is designed to manage all your documents under one platform intelligently.

efilecabinet document management software                                                                         (Image Source: efilecabinet)

Key Features:

  • Easy to navigate and collaborate
  • User-friendly dashboard
  • Structured workflow
  • Intelligent and advanced search system
  • Facility to create templates for folder structures
  • Facility to create pre-defined document names
  • Smart and secured sharing
  • Auto-rename files
  • Mobile friendly
  • Audit trail & compliance
  • Full-text Search
  • Instant file retrieval
  • Single sign-on
  • Portfolios for Your Most Used Documents
  • Up to 5 TB of Storage

This software is ideal for small and medium-sized businesses. Get started with a free demo. Their plans include; Basic, Advantage, Business, and Enterprise. It comes both as a cloud and an on-premise version.


Documents are the primary assets of any business. Storing, accessing and safeguarding them require a systematic and easy approach. Document management software should be able to put all your documents to work more efficiently. This article is primarily aimed at helping you to explore new horizons in document management excellence.

Key Takeaways:

  • Identify the best practice in document Management and infer on future technologies, opportunities and user expectations.
  • Gather insights on the impact of changing global trends in terms of better management of information and sensitive documents.
  • Learn about some of the best free and open source document management software solutions and substantiate your new age strategic vision for your organization’s document management process.

If you are looking for premium and enterprise editions of document management software, then you can consider checking eFileCabinet, DocuWare, PandaDoc, SutiDMS.

GoodFirms have also created a complete list of the best Document Management Software solutions. Here, you can get to know each of the software and understand its ratings, reviews and key features.

Sophia Jayden
Sophia Jayden

Sophia Jayden is a senior writer and content marketing specialist. She has 10+ years’ experience in content writing and marketing. Currently, she is a staff writer at GoodFirms, a pioneering B2B research, review and rating platform. For more information about her work, you can reach out and start a conversation with her at [email protected]

Responses (5)
Write Comment
User Default Image
Evie Johnson
February 17, 2020 13:58

Great work on putting together such a comprehensive list thank you for sharing such a great information.

User Default Image
March 25, 2020 14:32

Thanks for the informative blog

User Default Image
March 26, 2020 16:20

Thanks for the informative blog

User Default Image
April 2, 2020 15:25

Thanks for the informative blog

User Default Image
Salman Hussain
June 22, 2020 11:47

This is by far an outstanding effort. Much appreciated. Gives me plenty to choose from. Thanks a lot.

5 Tips for Managing Your Documents
Document Management Software
5 Tips for Managing Your Documents

A champion team is often built on a very effective document management system in any business. An intelligent document archival and retrieval system brings about an effic ... continue reading

Everything You Need to Know About File Sharing for Your Business
File Sharing Software
Everything You Need to Know About File S ...

Companies implement the best tools like file sharing software systems and adopt other digital technologies to secure all ... continue reading

Can Digital Signatures Improve Your Business Process Efficiency?
Digital Signature Software
Can Digital Signatures Improve Your Busi ...

When the businesses and everything associated with it moved to a digital pattern, the documents and other associated pap ... continue reading