Top 10 Free and Open Source Document Management Systems (2023)

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Published : November 29, 2022

Last Updated: March 10, 2023

Most organizations today deal with a large number of documents for their daily operations. However, managing, maintaining, and organizing these documents becomes exceedingly difficult for the management. Therefore, efficient management of documents is a must to reduce costs, safeguard sensitive data, boost productivity, gain insights, and make informed business decisions.

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Looking for Document Management Software? Check out SoftwareSuggest’s list of Best Document Management Software solutions.

The Covid-19 pandemic was an eye-opener for many businesses as it made them realize the importance of remote document accessibility. In fact, the number of Google searches for a ‘Free Document Management System‘ increased by 900 percent during the first few months of the pandemic.

Through this article, we will explain what is an open-source document management system, its benefits and discuss a few popular document management solutions. So let’s begin!

What is an Open Source Document Management System?

An open-source document management system is a software that can capture, manage, store, share and retrieve documents easily within an organizational ecosystem. It is a non-proprietary free document management solution that can easily be downloaded with the provision to obtain the original source code, which makes internal customizations possible.

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Having a source code allows the software to be customized per the needs of an organization or its departments. In order to do so, you need to learn the languages using which the software is developed. Software developers would be able to tweak the functionalities of the software and add more connections to other business applications using minimal coding.

On the other hand, a licensed document management system software requires monthly or one-time charges for subscriptions based on the number of users. They also do not offer any in-house customization, and you need to get in touch with the software’s manufacturer for tweaks, which would incur additional charges.

How to Identify the Right free open source document management system?

Thanks to the long list of free open-source document management software available in the market today, choosing the right software has become difficult. Most free and open-source document management system solutions can be divided into two groups:

  1. Community Software Edition

This is an entirely free version of the software that you can download, install on your internal server, and use and modify as per your needs. However, the community version of open-source software does not include any support from its manufacturers.

Support can be a crucial factor when choosing a software since deployment, learning, troubleshooting, and personalization would be essential for users. Hence, if you need guidance and modifications in the software, it is best to avoid open-source community document management system solutions.

  1. Enterprise Software Edition

An enterprise version of a free document management software would cost your firm an additional annual fee in order to receive assistance from vendors in case of any issues in production. There would also be troubleshooting assistance and support for making customization of the software. Hence, they are ideal for enterprises having low expertise and requiring frequent modifications.

Why Is Free Document Management System Important?

An open-source document management system can help reduce paperwork, help save space and printing expenses and safeguard the security of your official documentation. In addition, it would help in the easy discovery and retrieval of documents and improve the lifecycle of documents.

If a document management system is open-source and free, it allows small and medium-sized businesses to preserve their essential documents at minimal costs. In addition, digitization allows organizations to save space, lower operating costs, and boost productivity, which is necessary for modern businesses.

(Video) Open Source Document Management System - Papermerge

With files and documents lying scattered across multiple devices and locations in an organization, there is a considerable risk of a digital mess that slows down critical operations. A free document management software ensures easy, quick, and safe access to documents, saving a great deal of time.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Open Source Document Management Software?

Open-source document management software offers a range of benefits to organizations, some of which are mentioned below:

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  1. Customizations

Since open-source document management system software makes its source code available to users, you can adjust its features to match your organizational requirements. In addition to modifying its features, you can combine your document management system with other business applications used in your organization, allowing you to save time.

  1. Cost Savings

Investing in a costly document management system can become an additional burden if you own a startup or a mid-sized company. Furthermore, when introducing digitization in your firm, committing to a high-priced licensed solution that you don’t have much knowledge of could be baneful for numerous reasons. Once the document management system software is implemented, it can also reduce supply and storage costs.

  1. Preparing Employees

It is prudent to initially prepare your staff using free and open-source software rather than directly investing in a paid solution. This not only smoothens their learning curve but also allows your testing personnel to check if the document management software is apt for your business needs. In addition, this helps you gauge the magnitude of modifications required and discover what features you will likely need in the future.

  1. Better Planning

An open-source document management system software helps you implement a document management plan across the enterprise. This will allow you to decide on the best practices to be followed based on the document type, department, internal flow, storage, etc., which would help bring uniformity to your documentation and reduce security concerns.

What quality standards do a free document management system deliver?

The quality standards offered by different free, open-source document management systems can vary significantly from one another.

However, there are a few functionalities and standards that you must check, which we have mentioned below:

  1. MPoP

The factor that separates most open source document management server solutions from others in terms of data security is not only where the information is stored (for enabling recovery in the event of data loss) but also how many artificial and physical locations the data is backed up in. The ideal number is three points of presence(PoPs) for both virtual and physical locations.

Having multiple points of presence (MPoPs) ensures that in the event of a disaster or an office break-in, the integrity of organizational data can be retained and replicated to restore the company’s functions. Most document management system manufacturers do not set up multiple physical copies of company data in their on-premise solutions. Thus, if organizations want to add that, they need to do it themselves.

  1. 256-Bit Advanced Encryption

This encryption standard is

Relevant to client-sharing portals (which transmit sensitive information via email) using document management software. This standard, though administered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the year 2001, is still very relevant to today’s technologies.

  1. GUI

Selecting a document management system with an intuitive and responsive graphic user interface (GUI) makes for a quicker learning process among staff. An intuitive GUI in the best document management system software would also facilitate quick document, form, and data retrieval by reducing the search times drastically.

List of Free and Open Source Document Management System Software

Take a look at the top 14 free open source document management systems before you finalize your purchase:

1) OpenKM

An electronic document as well as a record management system, OpenKM is a well-known name amongst most organizations. Based on open technology similar to JAVA, OpenKM software works well with all browsers like Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and so on.

One of the best things about the OpenKM free document management system is that it allows you to set different rules and logic to automate the process of documentation. Furthermore, this document management free solution is compatible with all the common file types like text, office, open office, XMS, PDF, HTML, JPEG, and several others

Key Features

  • Collects information from digital sources
  • Allows you to put a watermark and a digital signature on important documents
  • Comes with a workflow engine
  • Uses cryptography to encrypt as well as decrypt your documents

USP: The OpenKM document management system comes with a powerful tracking system and it allows you to collaborate with your colleagues on various projects.


  • Drag-and-drop functionality for ease of usage
  • Integration capabilities with other ERPs, CRMs, and BPM tools
  • Fault-tolerant and scalable system for business continuity


  • The UI needs improvement to enhance productivity

2) OpenDocMan

The OpenDocMan document tracking system is one of the valuable additions to our list. Written in PHP, document management solutions can run on any web server that is PHP5 enabled. Being completely web-based, this software is compatible with MySQL5 database. It functions seamlessly on all operating systems. Moreover, the OpenDocMan features an automatic installer as well as an updater for efficient usage.

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Key Features

  • Works well with all file types
  • It provides metadata as well as categorization support
  • Offers revision history and file expiration features
  • Comes with an automated document review process

USP: The OpenDocMan document management system allows you to create custom properties for your documents. Plus, it also features powerful indexing and security features.

(Video) 9 of the Best Document Management Software Tools


  • Extremely lightweight solution
  • Possible to control hardware and network, saving on infrastructure or cloud costs
  • Availability of versioning to avoid overwriting and losing edits


  • Lacks collaboration features like electronic signatures, OCR, etc.

3) Seeddms

Another PHP based open source document management system; the Seeddms supports MySQL and sqlite3 databases. The best thing about the Seeddms is that it is an enterprise-ready document scanning software which is used for sharing as well as storing documents. Since it comes with a highly advanced user interface, it adapts comfortably according to the screen size, whether you use a smartphone or a desktop.

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Key Features

  • Supports all common file types and metadata
  • Offers preview images for attachments
  • Comes with WebDAV access
  • Efficient workflow for reviewing documents and approval

USP: Seeddms comes with a multi-level content directory which allows you to store more than 32,000 documents. It also allows you to manage users and groups.


  • Full-text search functionality due to indexing
  • Enhanced workflow management


  • No cloud-based version available
  • Lack of features like collaborative working and advanced search

4) Kimios

A lightweight document management system, Kimios is efficient software that can be used for managing and tracking your documents. One of the unique things about the Kimios software is that it offers direct integration to your Windows OS but only under the commercial license. Based on a full service-oriented architecture or SOA, this software functions on a client-server model.

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Key Features

  • Makes it easy to create, update or delete documents
  • Comes with a customizable search engine
  • Has a check-in and check-out feature
  • Offers information systems integration

USP: The software allows you to control the version to restore data. And it allows you to customize the repository using metadata.


  • Availability of full document lifecycle management
  • Higher customizability
  • Adaptable as per existing ERP, CRM, and CMS systems


  • Lacks real-time editing unlike its counterparts
  • No cloud support limits the usefulness of this system

5) Google Docs

Google Docs is probably the most popular online document management system free available in the market today. This cloud-based software allows you to keep all your important documents on its cloud interface. Plus, it can be accessed from any browser regardless of the platform as long as you have a Gmail account. It allows you to achieve control over all your documents and manage them with the utmost efficiency. Plus, you will be able to add as many users as you want while using Google Docs.

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Key Features

  • Compatible with the desktop as well as smartphones
  • Provides you with access control features
  • Allows you to store, track and manage documents easily
  • Comes with an intuitive dashboard
  • USP: Google Docs offers you multilingual support and makes it easy to convert your documents. Plus, it also keeps your documents completely secure.


  • Very easy-to-use and easy-to-learn solution
  • Higher accessibility due to the cloud-based model followed by Google Docs
  • Import-export wide range of files for enhanced compatibility


  • Limited customizability
  • Self-hosting is not available with Google Docs

6) Bitrix24

Available on the cloud as well as on-premise, Bitrix24 is undoubtedly one of the best document management free systems out there. With its data centers located in the USA and Ireland, the software allows you to store and manage your files without any hassle. Equipped to support a handful of intranet services, it allows management of different types of files including calendars, galleries, wikis, and so on. It also comes with WebDAV support for better functioning.

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Key Features

  • Works easily on both Android and iOS
  • Offers you both cloud and on-premise server storage
  • Allows you to collaborate better with your colleagues
  • Offers daily free backups

USP: With Bitrix24, you will have a flexible permission system, complete control over your documents, and you will be able to collaborate easily with others on projects.


  • Availability of advanced team related features and CRM features along with collaboration tools
  • Cloud, private cloud, or self-hosted modes available
  • Online and local document editing support


  • Mobile support needs to be improved to make the system better accessible from anywhere

7) Nuexo

An open source document management system, Nuxeo can be easily downloaded for free use. Available on multiple platforms, you will not have to worry about the platform that you are using. The software comes with great support and advanced features which make it very easy to use.

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Key Features

  • Comes with rich metadata
  • Has a native workflow
  • Supports all types of documents
  • Offers you a chance to create storyboards

USP: One of the most interesting things about the Nuexo app is that it offers you the chance to integrate it with several other productivity apps like Office 365 and Google Docs.


  • Useful as product and digital asset management solution
  • Availability of a diverse range of features like native file viewers, document authoring, audit, and digital signature adds a lot of value to businesses
  • Support for process automation to improve efficiency


  • Support for bulk upload of documents and customization options is limited

8)Krystal document management system

Krystal online document management system is another highly innovative document management software that you can opt for. The software offers advanced features like indexing, detailed audit, and multilingual support which help you to manage your documents without any trouble.

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Key Features

  • Offers proper email management.
  • It allows you to control access.
  • Provides you with the OCR feature.
  • Comes with a proper workflow management feature.

USP: The Krystal DMS offers an advanced auditing feature that helps you to keep track of all your documents.


  • Document scanning and indexing services available along with document management solutions to make the offering comprehensive
  • Advanced search, indexing, version control, OCR capabilities available
  • Private cloud, cloud, and on-premise setup modes available.


  • Unavailability of document collaboration tools
  • Lack of mobile support

9) LogicalDoc

Available in both professional and community editions, the LogicalDoc is another great free document management software that you can use. The community edition is distributed with the GNU license and it is completely free to download. The software offers you several features and makes it easy to manage your documents as well as files easily.

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Key Features

  • It offers a multilingual desktop and web interface
  • Allows you to import from ZIP archives
  • Has an internal messaging system
  • Comes with excellent security policies

USP: The software supports WebDAV and CMIS. Plus, it also offers Dropbox integration.


  • Availability of features like integrated HTML editor and digital watermarking
  • Multilingual full-text indexing capabilities
  • Conversion to multiple file-formats possible
  • Customizable branding to suit business needs


  • Sluggish performance when indexing a relatively larger set of documents
  • Browser compatibility issues

10) Mayan E-document management system

As the name suggests, the Mayan Edocument management system is a highly intuitive electronic document management system that you can use. Programmed in Python, the software works on the Django web application framework. It provides you with an electronic vault to store and manage all your documents.

(Video) Odoo Documents: Document Management System

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Key Features

  • Offers API documentation
  • Supports all kinds of files
  • Has an efficient dashboard
  • Allows you to manage groups and users easily

USP: The software provides highly advanced workflow management so that you can manage your documents easily.


  • Document versioning to keep track of various versions
  • Granular access management with advanced permission system
  • Support for mobile devices with responsive design
  • Smart links for simpler cross-referencing between documents


  • Lacks support for eSignature generation, concurrent document editing, and OCR based search.

11) PandaDoc

PandaDoc is a document management system intended for sales teams of large and medium-sized corporates. It provides functionalities to automate all documents related to the sales process.

PandaDoc can assist you to create attractive proposals, quotes, and contracts. You can also generate and digitally sign your documents with eSignatures. What’s more, there is also an embedded payment collection functionality.

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Key Features

  • Has pre-built templates and a library of content for proposal generation
  • Enables to have ESIGN and UETA compliant eSignatures
  • Provides integration with CRM software like Salesforce, Zoho, HubSpot
  • Drive integration with Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and OneDrive
  • Expedited invoicing by integrated accounting using Zapier and APIs
  • Enables clients to make a payment from the contract document itself

USP: It provides you with document analytics and notifications to keep you updated with your deal process status.


  • Range of integrations to blend well with existing infrastructure
  • Seamless and streamlined eSignature experience
  • Great support for customization and personalization of documents


  • Serves as a proposal management system rather than a full-fledged document management system
  • Web interface has slowness issue

12) PinPoint

PinPoint, from LSSP Corporation, is a cloud-based document management system accessible from anywhere. It is highly useful for corporates that generate a heavy volume of documents. This SQL-based document management system can be used in a cloud-based or self-hosted manner.

PinPoint enables you to carry out the automatic filling of your documents with its built-in Automated Robot Integration Explorer (ARIE). It also makes it easy for your organization to maintain communication workflows, audit processes, retention policies, and compliance.

Key Features

  • Auto-fills index values using zonal templates and proximity search
  • Has built-in tools for annotations, mark-ups, eSignatures, redactions, and more
  • Has robust search options with OCR Content Manager
  • Integrates well with Microsoft Suite, QuickBooks, SalesForce, and more
  • Offers REST API Suite to extend available integrations

USP: This document management system auto-files the uploaded documents into customized cabinets, drawers, and folders.


  • Use your existing infrastructure with PinPoint self-hosted system
  • Frequent useful updates to keep the system relevant
  • Store or edit documents in all major file types inside PinPoint without having to resort to your native applications


  • Limited customization available for self-hosted system

13) Igloo

Igloo offers solutions that help your organization evolve into a digital workplace. These solutions are intended for companies planning to undergo a digital transformation. This Azure cloud-based system focuses on solving problems surrounding communication, collaboration, culture & engagement, and knowledge management.

Igloo provides features like broadcasts, forums, calendars, read tracking, Wikis, and subscriptions. Igloo Insights help you get real-time and monthly insights, to identify top-level trends and popular content.

Key Features

  • Collaboration tools for teams to work on common spaces
  • Knowledge management tools to make knowledge bases searchable
  • LDAP, SSO, and Igloo Authentication
  • Bulk upload and download rich media files
  • Flexibility in business intelligence reporting with OData v4 support
  • Data encryption and parameter defense
  • Compliance with GDPR, HIPAA, and CCPA

USP: Igloo helps companies in making their digital transition smooth and seamless from the existing document management system.


  • Strong support for Microsoft ecosystem including Skype for Business, Outlook, Calendars, Teams, and Yammer make the inclusion of Igloo easy for clients
  • High security and scalability, critical for high-traffic businesses


  • Doesn’t have features like advanced search, OCR, eSignatures

14) M-Files

M-Files manages information from ‘what’ perspective instead of ‘where’, with the help of Metadata. M-files is useful for corporates looking for an unconventional document management system for a flexible working environment. This AI-based free document management system is available in cloud-based, on-premises, and hybrid models.

This document management system assists you in keeping track of document versions and accessing the content efficiently. Features like dynamic views, filtering options, and full-text searches enable you to search and locate files quickly.

Key Features

  • Has dynamic and metadata-based access rights
  • Office 365, Google G-Suite, and SalesForce interface are available for data sourcing
  • Uses artificial intelligence for information management
  • Intelligent Metadata Layer
  • Automation for tasks possible with workflows
  • Quick Start bundle for a streamlined migration process
  • System and repository neutral
  • Electronic Signature capabilities
  • Provides annotations and similar collaborations tools

USP: M-files document management system abstracts you from folder-based physical storage and focuses on properties of files like customer, contract, or order that are of business relevance.


  • Suit your business need with cloud, on-premise, or hybrid mode
  • Browse data across different platforms from a single location
  • Ensure a single copy of documents by sharing links of files instead of actual copies


  • Complex user interface

Well, that concludes our list of best open source document management system. Go through the list above and choose the one that you feel will bring the most effective to your workflow.


Free and open source document manufacturing solutions can be a game-changer for organizations, allowing them to be able to manage and track documentation easily. However, due to the sheer variety and complexity of functions that DMS solutions offer, it is wise to compare alternatives and decide on the best solution for your business.

(Video) How to Install SeedDMS Document Management System Open Source

Frequently Asked Questions

The ideal free document management system software for your organization depends on your company's needs and objectives. However, if you are talking in a general sense, here are the names of the top 5 free document management open source software available today:

  1. OpenDocMan
  2. LogicalDOC
  3. OnlyOffice
  4. FossLook
  5. M-files

You should use open-source document management software if you want to digitize your documentation process and manage documents with ease. Open-source document management system solutions not only ensure better security but also allow you to customize them as per your requirements.

A free document management solution helps save storage and transit costs for files. They also ensure easy retrieval of documents and save physical space needed for document storage.

Most open-source, free document management systems can store, track and capture information from word-processing files, PDFs, and digital copies of paper-based documents.

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Joydeep Das

Joydeep Das has extensive experience with both technical and non-technical content. He has articles published in both local and international portals and has also worked as an Overseas Admissions Editor, assisting many meritorious students to get into Ivy League Universities. However, branding and promotional topics have remained his true love for over a decade.


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