Explore our picks of the best document workflow software options. Compare features, pricing, pros, and cons to find the best solution for your team.
If you’re stuck emailing documents back and forth for feedback — or even worse, printing them out — document workflow software can help your company digitize and automate the entire process. We’ve rounded up the eight best document workflow software options for 2023 to help you kickstart your search.
Top document workflow software comparison
Besides pricing, there are many other features that you should consider when choosing a document workflow software:
|Customizable workflows||Automations||Mobile app||Free trial||Pricing|
|Zoho Writer||No||Yes||Yes||Free forever||Free|
|PandaDoc||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||$19 per person per month|
|SharePoint||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes, with Microsoft 365||$5 per user per month|
|Fluix||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||$30 per user per month|
|DocuWare||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes, after a sales demo||Contact for pricing|
|Revver||Yes||Yes||No||No||Contact for pricing|
|DocuPhase||Yes||Yes||No||No||Contact for pricing|
|M-Files||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Contact for pricing|
Zoho Writer: Best for affordable pricing plans
Zoho offers a suite of office productivity software called WorkDrive that includes a word processor, Zoho Writer. The plans are extremely affordable: Zoho Writer itself is free while the WorkDrive plans start at only $2.50 per user per month, making it a great choice for freelancers and SMB owners on a budget. Zoho Writer comes with four prebuilt workflows and allows you to set automatic custom triggers. Set permissions for who can do what at each stage of the workflow, and view your documents journey through the workflow using the visual status tracker.
- Zoho Writer standalone: Free forever.
- Zoho WorkDriver Starter: $2.50 per user per month billed annually or $3 per user per month billed annually.
- Zoho WorkDrive Team: $4.50 per user per month billed annually or $6 per user per month billed annually.
- Zoho WorkDrive Business: $9 per user per month billed annually or $11 per user per month billed annually.
- Prebuilt document workflows.
- Visual flowchart status tracker (Figure A).
- Set automatic customer triggers.
- Easily view the status of all documents on a dashboard.
- Extremely affordable and transparent pricing plans.
- Workflows are ready to use right out of the box.
- Detailed workflow history and audit trails.
- Real-time document status and email notifications.
- Only supports text documents.
- Not suitable for complex projects or workflows.
- Editor can be slow when working with large documents.
- Doesn’t support complex custom workflows.
PandaDoc: Best for a simple interface
Some document workflow software looks outdated and clunky, but not so with PandaDoc: This popular tool provides a colorful, visually appealing layout that is simple to navigate and a drag-and-drop interface that is easy to use even if you’ve never used document management software. PandaDoc shines especially when it comes to getting eSignatures, but it can be used for different kinds of document workflows as well (Figure B).
- Essentials: $19 per person per month billed annually or $35 per person per month billed monthly
- Business: $49 per person per month billed annually or $65 per person per month billed monthly.
- Enterprise: Contact the sales team for a custom quote.
- Know when documents have been opened, viewed and signed with real-time notifications.
- 1,000+ document templates ensure you never have to start from scratch.
- CRM integrations flow customer data into documents.
- Prevents edits from being made with optional content locking.
- Transparent pricing plans and 14-day free trial available.
- Drag-and-drop editing interface.
- Colorful and appealing layout.
- Excellent eSignature capabilities.
- Essentials plan limited to two users.
- Content library and approval workflow limited to the Business plan only.
- Monthly plans up to 46% more expensive than annual plans.
- Additional add-ons can drive up the price.
Fluix: Best for routine tasks
Fluix is a simple, no-code platform that is designed to automate routine tasks associated with document workflows, such as filling out checklists and reviewing contracts. The drag-and-drop workflow builder is incredibly easy to use, even for beginners and it makes it simple to create custom workflows (Figure D). However, Fluix is lacking in some other areas, notably real-time digital collaboration, which is a drawback for businesses looking for a more complete document management solution vs. just document workflows.
- Fluix Core: $30 per user per month, minimum 10 users.
- Conditional logic add-on: $5 per user per month.
- Power Analytics add-on: $10 per user per month.
- Form and Document Prefill: $10 per user per month.
- Quarterly Review: $50 per user per month.
- Drag-and-drop workflow builder.
- Also includes tools for building forms.
- Offline mode available for mobile apps.
- Digital signature collection.
- Can be used both in office and in the field.
- Low learning curve even for beginners.
- Well-reviewed mobile apps available.
- Easy to mark up documents with a stylus.
- Lacks comprehensive document management features.
- Add-ons can quickly drive up costs.
- Web interface offers less functionality than mobile apps.
- Lacks document creation tools except for forms.
DocuWare: Best for invoicing process
DocuWare is a document workflow management tool that focuses on invoicing processing. Create a digital flow workflow to forward invoices to decision makers, or set up rules for automatic approvals based on data like amounts or vendors. Intelligent indexing ensures that documents are securely stored for easy retrieval later on. All of these tools work together to help your company process invoices before they’re due, saving you from late payment fees.
DocuWare doesn’t disclose pricing on its website; you must contact the sales team for a custom quote.
- Create workflows for automatic approvals (Figure E).
- Ensure confidentiality with access permissions.
- Secure, centralized document storage platform.
- Classify documents and index information.
- Free 30-day trial available.
- Includes tools for employee management as well.
- Cloud-based and on-premise deployment option available.
- Large knowledge base for technical support.
- No pricing information available.
- Lacks reporting tools.
- Users say that mobile app could be improved.
- Workflow setup can be complicated.
Revver: Best for the entire business
If you’ve never heard of Revver before, that’s because it was previously known as eFileCabinet and its subsidiary Rubex. Earlier this year, they rebranded to make a single entity called Revver that offers comprehensive document management and workflow software. Revver’s versatile set works for teams in any departments, including sales, HR and legal. Its no-code workflow builder (Figure F) lets users get quite granular about the specifics so they set up highly detailed processes.
Revver doesn’t disclose pricing on its website; you must contact the sales team for a custom quote.
- No-code document workflow automation.
- Uses OCR technology to scan and digitize files.
- Advanced search functionality.
- Large storage limits.
- Can be used for many different departments.
- Excellent Microsoft 365 integration.
- Audit trails help you track a document’s history.
- Set roles and permissions to restrict access as necessary.
- Pricing is not transparent.
- Free trial not available.
- No mobile app currently available.
- Set-up process can be time consuming.
DocuPhase: Best for enterprises
If you are a large corporation or enterprise looking for document workflow software that can match your level of complexity, then consider DocuPhase. DocuPhase’s workflows are designed to help your company go paperless by making digital file storage and retrieval easy. Create rules based on value authority, task completion or escalations to automatically route documents to the right person. Monitor workflow productivity to identify bottlenecks and use real-time tracking to gain visibility into tasks.
DocuPhase doesn’t disclose pricing on its website; you must contact the sales team for a custom quote.
- Drag-and-drop workflow builder (Figure G).
- Rules-based document routines.
- Real-time visibility into bottlenecks and tracking.
- Deploy document workflows across all departments.
- Highly customizable workflows.
- Lots of scalability makes this suited to enterprises.
- Great solution for going paperless and archiving documents.
- Good security features.
- Can take a while to load large files.
- Updates can sometimes result in bugs.
- OCR function can be complicated.
- Customer support could be improved.
M-Files: Best for automations
M-Files harnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) scans to trigger workflows and set permissions automatically, making it an excellent choice if you need automated document workflows. Use the flowcharts to capture current workflows in a visual way that is also easy to understand (Figure H). You can even set permissions to restrict which other users can see the workflow in the software.
M-Files doesn’t disclose pricing on its website; you must contact the sales team for a custom quote.
- Scan documents with OCR technology.
- Advanced document search feature.
- Receive automation notifications for documents.
- Well-organized file categorization system.
- Powerful workflow automation tool.
- Advanced security features.
- Well-reviewed mobile app available.
- Use offline mode to access documents without internet.
- Workflows can be complicated to set up.
- User interface can seem a little outdated.
- Layout can be difficult to navigate.
- High learning curve for beginners.
Key features of document workflow software
No-code workflow builder
You shouldn’t have to be an expert software developer in order to create document workflow builders. The best document workflow software include no-code workflows builders that typically leverage drag-and-drop functionality so that users of any technical level can easily build workflows.
Once the workflows are built, they should automate manual tasks like emailing an invoice for approval or sending a client a countersigned contract. They should also automate reminders and notifications for deadlines, approvals, editing and other requests for feedback.
Approvals and permissions
The best document workflow allows admission to set permissions on both a document and category level in order to limit who can see the file at what stages of the process. Some software, such as M-Files, also allows users to restrict who else can see a workflow, not just the document itself.
Document scanning and digitizing
Many businesses seek out document workflow software in an effort to go paperless and digitize all of their files in an online content library. The best document workflow software uses optical character recognition (OCR) technology to scan documents, create a digital version of them and make the text searchable.
The best document workflow software also offers a mobile version that allows users to create and edit workflows on either a phone or tablet. Having a mobile app with OCR functionality also makes it simple to take photos of documents and upload them to the content library instead of having to use a printer to scan them.
How do I choose the best document workflow software for my business?
When shopping for document workflow software, consider whether you only need workflow tools or if you need a platform that offers more comprehensive document management software. You should also test the software to see if it provides the workflow customizations and automations that your company needs. Some companies will be satisfied with simple, out-of-the-box workflows, while others will need to be able to customize the workflows to be significantly more complicated.
Many document workflow software platforms don’t disclose their pricing information or offer a free trial, so you will need to contact the sales department for a demo and pricing quotes. Come prepared with questions and a list of the features that you need so that you get the most accurate pricing estimate possible.
To choose the best document workflow software, we consulted user reviews and product documentation. We considered factors such as the pricing, user interface design, learning curve and customer support. We also consider features such as document templates, file sharing, user permissions, real-time editing, document scanning and security protocols.