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M-Files Review

By Adam Uzialko, Writer | Updated Jun 15, 2020

M-Files is our pick as the easiest-to-use document management software solution. Users can quickly and seamlessly organize and manage electronic documents. Its sleek and intuitive user interface offers the familiar feel of Windows File Explorer, reducing the learning curve for new users.



The Best Document Management Software of 2020

The Verdict

M-Files is powerful document management software that seamlessly organizes and manages electronic documents. With its comprehensive features, M-Files earns our pick for best document management software overall.

View all our recommendations for document management software on our best picks page.

 M-Files comes in both a cloud and on-premises version. The cloud-based version works on any of the major web browsers, including Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Safari. The on-premises version is only available on Windows operating systems. Mac and Linux users will need to use the web version of M-Files.

M-Files is extremely intuitive. The user interface is neatly organized. Users can carry out most tasks directly from a central dashboard. The dashboard displays a search bar and navigation tools across the top of the screen. These tools include Home, which returns you to the main page; Recent, which displays all recent documents you have accessed; Assigned shows any documents or tasks that are currently assigned to you and awaiting action; and Favorites displays any files or documents you have tagged as one of your favorites for quick access.

A Create button is available on the top navigation bar, which allows you to create new assignments, customers, documents or projects. Users can also scan documents using this button and use M-Files' OCR tool to make documents fully searchable.

M-Files' file explorer tool displays all publicly accessible folders and those you have access to privately. Using a toolbar on the right-hand side of the screen, users can easily view metadata, tags and filter documents. The most useful aspect of M-Files is that most major functions can be carried out directly from the dashboard in a few clicks, making it easy to learn and reducing the amount of time it could take to train others on using the software.

While M-Files does not offer some of the useful features more comprehensive software includes, it does have all the core document management features we looked for in these applications.

Here's a look at M-Files' core features:

  • Search: M-Files' search function, like many other document management solutions, is based on the metadata associated with documents. When uploading a document, users can add metadata to them. For example, uploading an invoice with the metadata "Q2" "2020," and "invoice," along with information like the date and time it was uploaded, can make it easier to find in the system.

  • OCR: Optical character recognition improves the searchability of documents by scanning them and making the text of the document searchable beyond the metadata. For example, if you upload a document that includes the salutation "To Whom It May Concern," you can search your files for that specific document using that exact phrase. OCR can also be used to automate the process of applying metadata tags to new uploads.

  • Workflow automation: Workflow automation serves as a type of project management function within the document management software. Built-in tools automatically categorize certain documents and assign certain tasks to users. For example, if a staff member has completed work on a document, they can send the document to a manager with the "review and approval" task assigned. All interested parties are notified once the manager has approved the document, allowing the next step to begin without delay.

  • Versioning: The versioning feature tracks a document's history, monitoring changes and archiving old versions so you can refer to them if needed. It tracks who last opened the document, when, and any changes they made, so you know exactly which team members are making which edits. Versioning includes a check-in and checkout feature; when a user checks out a document, it is unavailable to edit until it is checked back in. This prevents multiple current versions of the same document. 
  • Electronic signature: M-Files offers an integration with third-party service DocuSign to enable e-signatures on documents that require approvals. Using DocuSign, users can affix their signature to any file within the M-Files application. The integration with DocuSign also allows users to send signed files to the recipient(s) directly from the software program.

  • User permissions: Administrators can set permissions for individual users and create groups of users. Permissions can be set to read or write to allow users to view or edit documents. Users can also be granted priority. For example, if a manager and staff member both want to access a document to make edits at the same time, the manager would be granted priority and the staff member would have to wait.

  • Offline access: If a user anticipates they will not have internet access, files can be designated for offline use on a laptop or mobile device. Any changes a user makes while offline are recorded and automatically synced with the system once internet access is restored.

Unfortunately, M-Files does not publish their pricing online. You will need to contact the company for a customized quote representative. A 30-day free trial is available, though, so you can test the software first before deciding whether you want to continue using it.

Editor's note: Looking for a document management system for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.



Image Credit: LanaStock / Getty Images


The Best Document Management Software of 2020

The Verdict

M-Files is powerful document management software that seamlessly organizes and manages electronic documents. With its comprehensive features, M-Files earns our pick for best document management software overall.

Adam Uzialko: Writer
Adam Uzialko, Writer
Adam C. Uzialko, a New Jersey native, graduated from Rutgers University in 2014 with a degree in political science and journalism and media studies. He reviews healthcare information technology, call centers, document management software and employee monitoring software. In addition to his full-time position at Business News Daily and, Adam freelances for several outlets. An indispensable ally of the feline race, Adam is owned by four lovely cats.