If you need a system to help manage your documents across your team, but your budget is tight, the free version of Zoho Docs Document Management System (DMS) is a solid option. This version supports teams of up to 25 users, allocates 5GB of cloud storage per user, and touts strong security and compliance. It's our pick for Best Free Document Management Software/Systems for Small Business 2018.

As we reviewed DMS for small businesses, we found that very few offer a free version of their software. Those we did find often only allowed for a single user-account. We also reviewed free open source software but found that using that well necessitates having IT personnel with extensive understanding of the system. Zoho Docs, however, has a friendly user interface, online forums for support and many of the features of paid services we reviewed.

Features offered in the  free version of Zoho Docs include:

  • Desktop Sync

  • 1GB File upload limit

  • Admin controls

  • Dropbox integration

  • Zoho Office Suite

  • SSL

  • File versioning (up to 25 versions)

  • Secure file collaboration

  • Two- factor authentication

  • Mobile app

  • In-app chat

  • Email notification

Of course, the free version does not have all the features that paid Zoho Docs users get, such as audit trail, unlimited file version, password protected/expiry links, unlimited recovery, transfer of file ownership and more. This is to be expected and a free user can upgrade to a paid service as their needs increase.

Customer reviews, including those who commented on the free version, were overall very positive. The platform won FinancesOnline.com's Great User Experience Award 2017 & was rated #11 in their file sharing & document management category.

Zoho Docs, like Google Docs, has its own format for files. Some users commented that working with Word documents in this system is a bit more challenging than they'd like. However, once a file is converted to a Zoho Doc it seems easy to edit and collaborate. What's more, the functionality and appearance of most features of the user interface will be familiar. For example, file organization uses the traditional file cabinet structure. And, like many document management systems, full text keyword search functionality allows a user to find a document even if they can't recall its location or title.

One challenge to the free version may be getting support when you need it. Phone support is only available to paying customers. Non-paying users can submit a support ticket and access forums right from the app to chat with other users who may help trouble shoot problems. You can also access the User Guide, FAQs, webinars and the blog on the resources section of the website.    

Overall, Zoho Docs has a solid feature set for managing, storing and collaborating on documents across small teams. Companies on a tight budget or wanting to start with a free service and then upgrade as needs grow, can consider Zoho Docs free version.

To learn about our selections of the best DMS in other categories, read "Best Document Management Software/Systems for Small Business 2018."

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Editor's Note: Looking for Document Management Systems for your company? If you would like information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our partner, BuyerZone, provide you with information for free:

Editorial Disclosure: Inc. writes about products and services in this and other articles. These articles are editorially independent - that means editors and reporters research and write on these products free of any influence of any marketing or sales departments. In other words, no one is telling our reporters or editors what to write or to include any particular positive or negative information about these products or services in the article. The article's content is entirely at the discretion of the reporter and editor. You will notice, however, that sometimes we include links to these products and services in the articles. When readers click on these links, and buy these products or services, Inc may be compensated. This e-commerce based advertising model - like every other ad on our article pages - has no impact on our editorial coverage. Reporters and editors don't add those links, nor will they manage them. This advertising model, like others you see on Inc, supports the independent journalism you find on this site.