Project Management

Top 3 Free Document Management Software

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Document management software allows you to track, store, and manage documents.

Whether you are a small business owner, a document administrator, an HR professional, or a project manager—organizing documents at the workplace is both necessary and beneficial for all sorts of employees. However, in the process of doing so, one may come across multiple issues related to document traceability, data security, and accessibility.

Document management involves a lot of work and comes with its own set of challenges. To avoid any hassle, why not consider a document management solution that makes the process an easy breeze for you?

Document management software allows users to create, organize, secure, and classify documents. It also makes it easier for you to access, edit, and share documents.

Despite the benefits, purchasing document management software can be a significant investment, especially for businesses with budget constraints. Therefore, in order to ensure optimum utilization of your budget, we recommend considering a free tool initially to get an idea of its functionalities.

This article highlights the three best free document management software solutions (listed alphabetically) based on user reviews and ratings. (Read how we selected these products.)

Check out the complete list of document management tools in Capterra’s software directory.
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3 best free document management software
1

Bitrix24: Facilitates offline editing

Bitrix24 is an online document management software that allows you to create, edit, and share documents internally as well as externally. The software enables users to segment documents into separate Bitrix drives to keep them organized. You can limit access to each drive using password-protected links. Additionally, you can set permission rights for viewing, editing, and deleting documents in the drive.

With Bitrix24, you can check a document’s version history and important details related to it, including the users who modified the file, the file size, and the time the changes were made. The system allows you to work on your documents even without an internet connection. The files get synced automatically once the connection is available again.

The document management platform allows multiple users to collaborate and edit a single file. To do so, you need to enable the document-locking option so that you can lock a particular document for editing by other users. Bitrix24 offers several internal tools that facilitate communication, including private chats and audio-video calls.

Bitrix24 offers customer chat via email and chat.

*Analysis accurate as of June 2022
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Key Features:

  • Access controls/permissions
  • Collaboration tools
  • Content management
  • Document management
  • File sharing
  • Templates
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Cost to upgrade:

$39 per month for five users, billed annually

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

<p><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Editing documents in </span></i><a href="https://www.capterra.com/p/113540/Bitrix24/"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Bitrix24</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (</span></i><a href="https://www.capterra.com/p/113540/Bitrix24/"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Source</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">)</span></i></p>
2

Google Drive: Uses artificial intelligence to locate files

Google Drive is an online storage and backup platform that enables users to store, access, and share files and documents. It provides users access to Google Docs, a suite of editing tools that allows you to create and edit online documents and spreadsheets. The electronic document editor also offers users a voice-typing feature to transcribe words into your document.

As a Google Drive user, you can either create a new document as a Google Doc or simply drag and drop an existing document into the drive. The documents stored in the drive can be shared with people inside and outside the organization via email.

Other than document creation and editing capabilities, Google Drive allows you to collaborate with others on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. You can allow up to 100 people with viewing, editing, or commenting permissions to work on Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides at the same time. The platform allows you to track real-time changes in a file and see who is working on the document. It also offers you a detailed revision history that takes you through all the changes made to the document in the past.

Google Drive offers advanced search functionality that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help you locate files and folders.

In case of assistance, you can reach out to the customer support team via email.

*Analysis accurate as of June 2022
Best functionality
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Key Features:

  • Content library
  • Collaboration tools
  • Data storage management
  • Document storage
  • File transfer
  • Full-text search
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Cost to upgrade:

$12 per user, per month

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

<p><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Creating files and folders in </span></i><a href="https://www.capterra.com/p/161425/Drive/"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Google Drive</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (</span></i><a href="https://www.capterra.com/p/161425/Drive/"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Source</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">)</span></i></p>
3

Notion: Offers database-locking for security

Notion is an online project management and note-taking software that enables users to create simple text documents as well as complex knowledge bases. The software offers several tools, such as a markdown system and an editing toolbar that help you create and edit different content types, including basic content blocks (pages, to-do lists, text, bulleted lists), in-line options (commands that add other content elements to your pages, such as mentions or emoji commands), databases, and advanced blocks (equations, templates, tables of content).

As a document management solution, Notion allows you to store files, including Word documents, PDF files, zip files, and audio files. The content you add to Notion can be duplicated, deleted, and restored. There is no limit to the number of files you can upload with Notion. However, there is a cap of 5MB on the maximum file size for free users.

Notion also features a template gallery that offers you templates, such as productivity templates, personal templates, and work templates, to organize and track your documents. The tool allows you to share your files with internal and external stakeholders. You can also add permission levels to your shared pages to limit access to the content. Notion also offers a page-lock function that allows you to lock a page or a database to prevent accidental edits or unauthorized access.

Notion offers customer support via phone, email, and chat.

*Analysis accurate as of June 2022
Most affordable
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Key Features:

  • Access controls/permissions
  • Collaboration tools
  • Content management
  • Document management
  • File sharing
  • Templates
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Cost to upgrade:

$4 per month, billed annually

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

<p><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Content calendar in </span></i><a href="https://www.capterra.com/p/186596/Notion"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Notion</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (</span></i><a href="https://www.capterra.com/p/186596/Notion"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Source</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">)</span></i></p>

How to choose the right free document management software

Selecting a free document management tool can be tricky, especially with so many options available in the market. Let us discuss some important factors that you must evaluate before finalizing your software purchase.

  • Look for file sharing and collaboration features: While the primary function of a business document management system is to store and track documents, several software solutions also allow you to share files with internal and external stakeholders. An ideal document management software also allows you to collaborate, edit, and track document changes in real time.
  • Assess the document searching capabilities: A good document management system comes with robust searching capabilities that allow you to search for a specific file within a folder or content in a document using keywords and phrases. Some systems also allow you to add metadata and tags to your files, which makes it easier to locate them.
  • Look for mobile device access: Before deciding on a free document management tool, make sure that the software has a mobile version that allows you to view, edit, and share documents even on the go.

Common questions to ask when choosing free document management software

These are some common questions that you can ask vendors before finalizing the best document management software for your business:

Does the software offer version history?

Version history is one of the key features of a document management system. This feature helps you track the changes made to the document, along with the date and time during which these changes were made and the person who made the changes. There are several tools in the market that also maintain an archive of old versions so that you can track changes over a period of time and restore the document to its old version if required.

Does the software allow users to set access rights?

Before investing in a free document management solution, make sure that it allows you to grant permission rights at the time of sharing documents and files. The best tools available in the market allow document owners to set and change access permissions with ease. You can allow users to view, edit, or comment on files. For enhanced privacy, you can even prevent specific people from viewing important documents in the system.

What are the available data security options?

Data security is of utmost importance to modern businesses. Before finalizing your purchase, ask the vendor about the data security features offered by the system. An efficient document management system offers encryption and compliance tools, along with other necessary features such as automated backup, auto-updates, and role-based user permissions.

How did we choose these products? We didn’t—you did

To find your ideal software match, you need information you can trust so you can save time, stay on budget, and focus more energy on growing your business. It’s why we vet and verify all our user reviews and recommend only the tools endorsed by people like you.

In other words, our product recommendations are never bought or sold, or based on the opinion of a single individual—they’re chosen by your peers, reflecting the views and experiences of our independent base of software reviewers.

​​At Capterra, we objectively select and rank products based on a methodology developed by our research team. Some vendors pay us when they receive web traffic, but this has no influence on our methodology.

be considered for this list, products have to:

  1. Have at least 20 unique product reviews published on Capterra within the past two years, with an average rating of 3.0 or higher (as of June 10, 2022). We selected the three products with the highest ratings to feature in this article.
  2. Offer a free, stand-alone version of the software—not a trial version where you have to purchase after a certain amount of time to get the full experience.
  3. Meet our definition of document management software: “Document management software automates the process of creating, uploading, storing, tracking, and archiving files. It helps users share documents, track comments and changes, and store documents in a centralized repository.”

The “best functionality” tool is identified based on the highest user ratings for functionality that a vendor received based on publicly available reviews (as of June 10, 2022).

The “most affordable” tool is identified based on the lowest pricing a vendor offered on their website in terms of cost to upgrade (as of June 10, 2022).

Product research for this article was contributed by Himanshi Arora.


Looking for Project Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Project Management software solutions.

About the Author

Shephalii Kapoor

Shephalii Kapoor

Shephalii Kapoor is a writer at Capterra. She helps small businesses identify the right software for their needs by analyzing user reviews for top-rated software products. Prior to Gartner, she worked as an assistant content manager at InfoEdge India Ltd. She has also worked in company law, aviation, and real estate. She is a published author and has contributed to various magazines and websites. During her free time, she enjoys reading.

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