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    Nowadays, due to digitization, it is increasingly difficult to manage printed documents. With organizations spanning across continents, sharing the data can become strenuous for the employees. 

    Not only that but also having an extra space for keeping those stacks of documents becomes costly and dangerous. As you can’t leave your important documents lying around.

    The files are misplaced, lost, or buried under immense amounts of hard copies. It also Increases the stress levels of employees and affects their abilities. 

    Moreover, it creates gaps in communication between co-workers or within the organization. This is a situation where an efficient source of document management becomes vital.

    What is an Open Source Document Management Software?

    DMS computer programs are useful for storing, managing, and tracking electronic data, electronic image files, and electronic documents of hard copy information captured through a document scanner.

    An efficient DMS allows businesses to control the construction, accumulation, management, and dispersal of electronic documents, dispensing significant potency and aptness to reuse information and to channel the streaming of the documents. It also makes it easier to share important knowledge instantly and effectively. 

    Best Practices for an open-source document management system

    • Outline Standard Operating Procedure: 

    Yes, that is a very important step when organizations embrace automation. The entire process should be defined and outlined step by step so that concerned teams can get familiar with the system. 

    Defining the entire process before implementing it should be the first step so that the companies can benefit from immensely advanced features of the software. 

    If you are having any trouble doing it then ask the vendors for help. They should be well equipped to help users understand clear instructions and workflows of the system. 

    • Necessary awareness training: 

    Setting up realistic goals for migrating to or integrating a new DMS can be very hectic for any organization. The vendor should make sure that the employees are trained to spread awareness of how to use it. 

    • One Step at a time: 

    The managers should keep in mind that the employees still have their regular jobs to perform. Therefore, it is necessary to start small so that it is effective and long-lasting. Hurrying the entire document automation migration process can thwart the efforts of the organization to keep things systematic. It may result in the total failure of even the most efficient system and will increase unnecessary costs.

    • Documents category: 

    Organizations must set categories for each document to save time, effort, and duplications. The aim of integrating an effective DMS would fail without any proper strategy. 

    Label each folder with descriptive names so that users can easily identify them and not create duplications. 

    • Secure your documents: 

    Make the most use of the tools provided in the DMS, for example secured access, privacy option, view only option, and etc. Administrators must limit access to the documents and only allow concerned users. Utilize the ‘view only’ option for security and compliance purposes. The ‘view only’ mode restricts any editing or changing outside of the main user domain. Organizations must work smartly and not hard. 

    The entire procedure can be exciting and stressful at the same time. You have transitioned from a cumbersome manual process to universal automation. 

    It takes time to get familiar with the system and make use of it efficiently. Keep the vendor by your side for any assistance. As at the end of the day they are the ones well versed to help you out. 

    Benefits of the open-source document management systems

    • Easy to track: It becomes easy to retrieve the right document at the right time by implementing best document management software practices. It improves relationships among clients and team members across organizations. Easy retrieval of the document saves 30%-40% time for the employees according to the research.
    • Ease of sharing: By having complete control over your documents you can easily share them however and whenever you need. It improves your performance, prompt feedback on the document helps reduce errors and gives a sense of achievement to the end-user.  
    •  Storage of Unlimited documents: Companies spend a fortune on office space to store their documents and confidential files. By using an efficient DMS you get unlimited storage space for your countless documents and that too, totally free. 
    • Documents on your fingertips: It is hard to track and find printed documents. The document management software keeps your documents at your fingertips. You can access the desired documents instantly. 
    • Automation across the organization: Digitally saving your documents improves organizational performance. The software creates the automation of redundant tasks. 
    • Secure Storage: With the help of the best system, you can rest assured that your documents are safe from any accidents such as, in the case of fire or floods. 
    • Compliance friendly: The document management systems follow compliance regulations to the dot. It reduces the chances of non-conformity and can always keep you abreast of new laws for security and data privacy purposes. 
    • Increased Collaboration: The document management systems provide quick sharing options, access of multiple accounts to the same document makes it easier for the team to collaborate and enhances their performance. 

    Consequences of poor document management software:

    • Increase in cost: When you don’t implement a proper DMS in your organization or business, the costs hike up due to manual labor and lack of accuracy. Businesses suffer a great deal without any document management software. 
    • Hassle to locate information: It becomes increasingly difficult to locate correct documents at the right time. Imagine a scenario where you need to present your case to your client. You need to share crucial documents but cannot locate them. The reasons for this error could be various such as; whether your assistant gave it a different name than you had in mind or you cannot recall the right name yourself. It reflects a bad impression on your services and organizational management skills. 
    • Lack of digital documentation: In the age of digitization, it is essential to have important business documents on the go. You cannot share hard copies with your long-distance clients. Lack of digital documentation hampers your growth and increases the chances of lost opportunities. 
    • Time-consuming: Tracking and sharing hardcopies can take a toll on the employees. It is extremely difficult to manage stacks of papers and look for the right one. It is like looking for a needle in the haystack. Employees spend their precious time looking for the appropriate papers instead of adding value to the organization.  
    • Poor decision-making: Despite having various tools and technology at their service, organizations choose to be oblivious to the advancement of the internet age. It reflects their poor decision-making capabilities. 
    • Frustrating processes: Dealing with the misplaced documents or ill-equipped employees can prove to be very frustrating for the managers.

    9 best and open source document management systems:

    1. Open DocMan:

    Open DocMan is the best open-source DMS. It is used for small as well as large businesses, organizations, agencies, and other groups. 

    This Document management system (DMS) is easy to use and implement in the organization. You can save files in any format without any hassle. 

    It is released under GPL software which is ISO 17250 certified. Businesses or individuals can customize the software according to their needs. DMS is a browser-based software so it allows you to work from anywhere and from any client. 

    The key features of the document management system are: 

    • It provides automated document reviews. 
    • DMS supports multiple languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, Dutch, and Chinese, including English. 
    • You can upload documents in batches. 
    • It supports a powerful document management workflow. 
    • The DMS actively facilitates the approval or rejection of any document. 
    • You can customize workflow approval. 
    • DocMan secures the URL features to obscure URL parameters. 
    • You can easily browse through documents through search. 
    • The documents are audited when you add them to the system. 
    1. Kimios

    If you struggle with a lot of hardcopy documents then Kimios is your one-stop solution for document management. 

    You can easily track, save and quickly and accurately prepare documents for different purposes. 

    Kimios is a smart and universal open-source document management system that gives you the freedom to operate your meetings from anywhere. It is supported by Windows, a virtual disk, and also has mobile features. The agile functionality of the system keeps you going. 

    The key features of Kimios are as follows:

    • It guarantees data loss insurance. 
    • Provides full document search
    • Full document access
    • Full system support for upcoming versions and revisions
    • Supports metadata
    • A complete view of documents
    • Share documents as a link
    • You can search text easily
    • Import various documents
    • A complete document library for an overview
    1. OpenKM

    A document management system is very necessary for increasing efficiency in the process of managing the crucial documents of any organization. 

    OpenKM is not only best in managing records but also provides a system to manage your electronic documents. It is compatible with most browsers like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox.

    The best feature of OpenKM is that it allows you to define your own set of rules to automate the documentation process. Further, this DMS supports all the file types such as Pdf, Open Office, Text, HTML, JPEG, and lots of others.

    Key Features

    • You can place digital signatures and watermarks on your important files.
    • Complete and easy control of enterprise documents.
    • Easy to gather information from any digital resource.
    • You can set document lifecycle management and information governance
    • It comes with a workflow engine.
    • You can create an intricate workflow that helps in reviewing and validating documents.
    •  Its encryption/decryption through Cryptography increase the security of your documents


    There are three variants available, Professional, Cloud, and Community Plan.

     You can go with the Community Plan as it is a free version however for the Pro and Cloud version, you have to ask for a quotation. 

    The free option works under the General Public License and lacks the detailed support which is available with the paid versions.

    1. Seeddms

    This is the PHP-based open-source document management system and supports sqlite3 and MySQL databases. It is compatible and easy to run on Linux, Windows, and macOS.

    The best thing about this DMS is that it offers scanning software as well through which you can not only store but also you can share your documents. 

    You can also easily use it on your desktops and handheld device due to its highly adaptive user interface.

    Key Features

    • It supports metadata and all commonly used file types.
    • It has a fully web-based interface
    • WEBDEV access is available
    • Images Preview option is there for all attachments
    • You can store more than 30,000 documents at a time with a multi-level directory
    • You can easily manage users and groups
    • It comes up with the proper timely notifications about the changes in any document.


    Seeddms is a free document management system and you only download it and use it.

    1. GoogleDocs

    The most popular document management system right now is GoogleDocs. It stores all your documents on the cloud and you can easily access them through any browser/platform. The only thing required is a google mail account.  

    Key Features

    • Smartphones and desktops are compatible.
    • Comes up with the Access Control features
    • Multilingual support is available
    • Managing, storing, and tracking your document is very easy


    This DMS is completely free to use.

    1. Bitrix24

    This is one of the best document management systems available. As they have their data centers situated in the USA, data storing and managing becomes hassle-free. Different types of files like Calendars, Galleries, and other important documents can be stored and WebDAV makes the functioning more efficient.

    Key Features

    • Supports both iOS and Android
    • Daily Free backups of your documents
    • A Group chat enables you to share your documents easily.
    • Save your time by automating your task of recurring nature
    • Cloud and On-Premise storage facility is available


    This system is available in both free as well as paid versions. There are user and storage limitations in the free option however these restrictions are gone when you opt for the paid version starting from $ 35 and going up to $ 179 /month.

    1. KrystalDMS

    This is one of the best innovative DMS available in the market. It comes with Multilingual support as well as advanced indexing features which makes your document management process more efficient.

    Key Features

    • Comes with the Email Management system
    • It allows automating business workflows that eventually increase efficiency with secure workflow platforms.
    • It offers enterprise-grade security and encryption to keep your data secure.
    • You can control access
    • Easy document accessibility and availability increase organizational compliance.
    • Comes with an OCR feature
    • Its advanced auditing feature helps in document tracking.


    There are four versions available out of which the community version is free but without developer support. On the other hand Standard, Enterprise, and Premium versions are paid but you need to ask for a quote.

    1. Nuexo

    Nuexo is another best option in the open-source document management system that offers a wide range of features, guarantees the security of your document, and is easy to use. It supports all file types and is compatible with almost all browsers. It also can integrate with other useful apps like Office 365 and Google Docs.

    Key Features

    • Have a rich Metadata
    • Smart custom search provides you the quickest way to retrieve your documents in a blink of an eye.
    • With desktop synchronization, you can access your document’s latest version anytime regardless of connection status.
    • A bi-directional synchronization helps the user to access the document smoothly whether it’s on-premises or on a cloud.
    • Offer a proper Workflow Management feature
    • Support all file types.


    An open-source free to use.

    1. Microsoft Dynamics AX Document Management

    Microsoft also provides a top notch 2012 document management system to keep record of all kinds of documents. Microsoft supports all formats of documents which makes it easier to edit, share, collaborate and create documents without any hassle. 

    You can also use microsoft dynamics nav document management instead of Dynamics AX

    Key features: 

    • Can be connected with any ERP
    • Supports all formats
    • Can be configured easily
    • functions on a web browser
    • Secured by Microsoft Dynamics 365


    An effective DMS is a sole solution for the documentation problems of any organization, whether big or small. You need to keep your precious documents secure from accidental fires or floods.

     Also, networking becomes easier when you are dealing in different geographical locations. You can easily collaborate with someone while sitting thousands of miles away. DMS has changed the way we share information, hold important meetings, and keep our data intact. Only a methodical DMS can take care of all of that.