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How to Use WordPress as a Document Management System

How to Use WordPress as a Document Management System

Have you ever troubled by a mass of files on the website but can do nothing about that? If so, a document management system must be a good helper for you to deal with such embarrassing situation. Since most of you create sites based on WordPress, we are going to go ahead a guide on how to use WordPress as a document management system.

No coding stuff is included in the following guide. Instead, the best functional file management plugins are selected to reach the target, namely, WP Document Revisions and WordPress Download Manager. They have been accepted by a large number of webmasters who wish to manage web content systematically.

Method 1: WP Document Revisions Plugin

WP Document Revisions is a professional plugin designed for workflow management and version control. That further comes with three things for collaborative management, including a document management system, a collaborative tool and a file hosting solution. Those functions are available for different purposes, in terms of storing & organizing files, editing & drafting documents and delivering files to others.

WP Document Revisions Plugin

Install WP Document Revisions Plugin

In addition to the advanced features mentioned above, more functions are available since you have enabled this plugin on your site. Install WP Document Revisions through WordPress dashboard and complete activation. Let’s get started to explore this powerful plugin as far as possible.

Install WP Document Revisions

Set Up Document Management System

Check if there is an item called “Documents” in your admin sidebar, if so, go to Documents > Add Document to create your first document right now. In case no new item appears on sidebar, click to Plugins > Add New and re-install this plugin.

Here requires you to enter a name for that new document and then upload files by clicking “Upload New Version”. Give it a brief introduction via Revision Summary field, which leaves an initial impression on visitors so as to help them have a rough idea about that version.

Add New Document

Move to “Publish” mode. The default document status is Privately Published and that means only the website users are allowed to check this newly created document. To make it public, “Edit” Visibility and check the “Public” option as planned. The “Password Protect” function enables you to set a complicated password for that document and password protect it from visitors without permissions.

Publish Document

“Workflow State” mode is where to manage workflow state. Four states are available in the drop-down list, including Final, In Progress, Initial Draft and Under Review, which describe different workflow states clearly.

Workflow State

  • Final – The document underway is coming to an end. Try your best to get a perfect ending.
  • In Progress – The document is on-going and all assignees should be on the fly.
  • Initial Draft – The document is included in the plan and pending to edit & define. Are you ready for that?
  • Under Review – The document has been completed through the efforts. Please check if everything goes right.
  • If you have no idea which state should be appointed to that new document, leave it blank and move to the next mode.

All users are included in the drop-down list under “Owner”. Select one member and designate he/she as the owner for this document. Having all settings done, click “Update” button and then add more documents if needed.

Assign Document to Owner

WP Document Revisions plugin enables you to add new workflow state if the default options cannot satisfy your needs. Go to Document > Workflow States and fill out the new workflow state details as required, including name, slug and description. All existing workflow states are shown on the right list, which allow you to edit, quick edit, delete or view any item if needed.

Add New Workflow States

Method 2: WordPress Download Manager

WordPress Download Manager is also a documents management plugin comparable with WP Document Revisions in the aspects of popularity. A collection of advanced features is available for all users to manage documents in good order, such as drag & drop file upload, download speed control, password protection, and so on. Some free add-ons, like Google Drive, DropBox and Box.com, enhance the usability of WordPress Download Manager. More surprises are allowed if you enable this plugin on your website right now.

WordPress Download Manager Plugin

Install WordPress Download Manager

Log into your WP admin and install this plugin as the way to finish installation of WP Document Revisions. An item called “Downloads” comes to dashboard sidebar.

Install WordPress Download Manager

Since you come to the following page, the installation for WordPress Download Manager is completed successfully. Click to download and install more add-ons to make this plugin more awesome.

WordPress Download Manager Welcome Page

Set Up WordPress Download Manager

Go to Downloads > Add New and set about adding the first file on your website. A title should be entered in the “Enter title here” field and an excerpt is optional for you to make a summary to this new file.

Add New File

And then, scroll down to File Settings. This is where to add more details to the file, in terms of link label, password, stock limit, download count and allow access. You can password protect your file from attacking by malicious hackers as well as limit stock & download to improve the security level. Besides, “Icons” tab enables multiple icons for that file.

File Settings

Move to the right page and focus on Attach File mode. Drag and drop any file to this area, which will be uploaded automatically. Perhaps, you can “Select Files” from computer and then “Open” it. The uploaded file is shown on the top of this mode and that is allowed to be deleted in any time as needed. Click “Publish” and create as many files as planned.

Attach File Mode

To enable a perfect management for all files, you’d better create certain categories to hold those files respectively. Go to Downloads > Categories and add new categories. Name your first category properly and give it an appropriate description. Click “Add New Category” to confirm all details and create more categories if needed.

Add New Category

Since you have all categories created, go back to Downloads > All Files and assign those files to respective categories as planned. That is a great method to manage all files in an order way. Note that, more basic settings are available via Downloads > Settings and this is where to modify message permissions, file browser access, download speed, and so on.

There are multiple add-ons included in Downloads > Add-Ons, having to do with Cloud Storage, eCommerce, Email, Payment Gateways, Social Networking, and so on. A majority of items are free for all users and certain options are only for paid users. Care a hang about those premium add-ons and download as many add-ons as you need.

Best WordPress Web Hosting

A great WordPress web hosting provider helps you explore more uses of WordPress smoothly, for which guarantees reliable hosting environment and high level of security. Besides, cost-effective service is much more worth mentioning. Since some readers are lingering between various companies and cannot make a decision, we recommend the following options for reference.


Lucy has been a very experienced SEOer, technical writer, web developer, c# developer since 2002. Now she owns a startup in San Francisco, CA, focusing on running a couple of blogs to share knowledge and experience with global readers and deliver exceptional results to global sponsors by leveraging the power of Internet.