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How to Use WordPress for Document Management or File Management

Do you want to use WordPress to manage your files and documents?

Some website owners have spreadsheets, images, and other documents they need to collaborate on with a team. With WordPress you can manage all of these and more, right from your admin panel.

In this article, we’ll show you how you can use WordPress as a document management system for file management, workflow, and file hosting.

How to use WordPress for document management and file management

Why Use WordPress to Manage Documents and Files?

By using WordPress to manage your documents and files, you can turn your WordPress website into a complete collaboration platform and improve productivity.

It’s easy for things to fall through the cracks when you’re using multiple tools to manage workflows, store documents, collaborate and edit, and more.

Instead, you can do all of this from your WordPress admin dashboard. This will help you save time, keep track of projects, and never lose important documents or files.

With that said, let’s show you how to use WordPress to manage your documents and files easily.

Setting Up Your WordPress Document Management System

The easiest way to set up a document management system in WordPress is by using the WP Document Revisions plugin. It lets you collaboratively edit files, store documents, track progress, and more.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Once the plugin is installed, you’ll have a new menu option called ‘Documents’. To view your document library, go to Documents » All Documents. Then, click the ‘Add Document’ button to add a new document.

Document library add new document

Next, you need to give your document a title.

To upload the file to your WordPress site, click the ‘Upload New Version’ button.

Name and create new document

This brings up the same popup for adding media files to WordPress.

You can drag and drop the file, or click the ‘Select File’ button to upload a file from your computer.

Upload new document

Once you add the file, it will automatically upload.

Next, you can change your permission settings, workflow state, document owner, and add a document image in the right hand column.

Change document settings

The default setting is for your document to be published privately. This makes it so that logged-in users can access it, but it won’t be visible to your visitors.

You can change this by clicking the ‘Edit’ link in the visibility section, selecting the ‘Public’, or ‘Password protected’ options, then clicking ‘OK.

Change visibility settings

Next, you can change the ‘Workflow State’ setting.

Simply select which phase of production the document is in from the ‘Current state’ drop down.

Change workflow state

Then, you can add an image in the ‘Document Image’ box.

The process is similar to adding a featured image to WordPress posts and pages.

Add document image

After that, you can change the owner of the document to another member of your team.

In the ‘Owner’ meta box, you can choose a new team member from the ‘Document owner’ drop down.

Change document owner

Once you’re finished customizing your document, make sure to click the ‘Update’ button to save your settings.

Managing Document Revisions and Workflow States in WordPress

Another great feature that makes this plugin a great collaboration tool is the revision log and version control features.

When you open up a document, you’ll see the ‘Document’ meta box.

Here it shows the latest version of the document and when it was last opened.

Document meta box

Below that, you’ll find the ‘Revision Summary’ meta box.

Here, you can add notes about any changes made to the newest version of a document.

Revision summary box

Then, there’s the ‘Revision Log’ meta box, which shows all of the changes that have been made to the document across different versions.

You’ll see when it was modified, who made changes, and you can even restore a previous version by clicking the ‘Restore’ link.

Revision log and restore

Customizing and Creating Your Own Workflow States

Workflow states are different process terms for your documents, similar to how your blog posts can be saved as a draft or published live.

To change these, go to Documents » Workflow States in your WordPress admin panel.

Then, you can hover over an existing workflow state and click the ‘Edit’ button.

Customize existing workflow states

This brings up a screen where you can change the name, slug, and description of the workflow state.

Once you’re done making changes, click the ‘Update’ button.

Edit existing workflow state

You can also add new workflow states to suit your document workflow better.

Simply add a new name, slug, and description, then click the ‘Add New Workflow State’ button.

Add new workflow state

Managing User Roles and Document Access in WordPress

This plugin takes advantage of your existing WordPress user roles. Each user will have different document editing capabilities similar to user roles for your WordPress blog.

Here are the different user roles and actions they can take with your documents.

  • Contributors. Can create new documents, and download existing documents, but they can’t upload new files. They can’t view privately published documents created by other users.
  • Authors. Can create and upload new documents. They can also download publicly published documents and edit their own documents.
  • Editors. Can work on all documents, delete documents, and manage workflows. They can’t add new users to the system.
  • Administrators. Can perform all tasks and add new users to the document management system.

To learn more, see our beginner’s guide to WordPress user roles and permissions.

We hope this article helped you learn how to use WordPress for document management or file management. You may also want to see our guide on how to create a free business email address and our picks on the best live chat software for small businesses.

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Reader Interactions

18 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Hi!

    I’m glad to see there is a plugin for this – but it won’t let me upload my document. I’m trying to upload a .accdb file that can be opened by different employees to keep the document up to date, but it say it’s not supported. Is there a way to upload this file format somehow? It’s the only one my employer has at the moment.


    • I have multiple files to migrate from a third party cloud. I want to have my documents available through my website but don’t want to spend more time than necessary. So, I’m also wondering about being able to bulk upload.

  2. Hi, thank you for this post I agree with you that WordPress as the platform and WP Document Revisions as your document management system provides an open source alternative to costly collaboration tools. very useful information

  3. it was an awesome post and it became very useful for me . it stated about how to use wordpress for document management software , after trying that i had a positive response and it became useful for me and my company .

  4. I think this plugin will work for me. But stull have questions. I want to use the plug-in to display a list of our club minutes on a secure page. The documents will be uploaded by the secretary in their final state. So there will be no revisions. I just need to be able to add a slug to a page that provides a list of the documents and a user can then click and download the document to read.

    So here are my questions.
    1. When uploading a document can I state the category of the document and then only display the list of documents in that category on a wordpress page?
    2. Where does the plug-in produce the slug or how to I care a slug.
    3. Can documents be set to defult as a final state?
    4. If someone downloads a final state document does it still lock out other users from downloading the same document.

    Thank you so much for your time and plugin.


  5. If you want a more powerful plugin for document management in wordpress, look up SP Client Document Manager. It has a lot more control over who can see different files (permissions) and a ton of other features as well.

  6. Hi there, thanks for this good article. Is there a way to make the document status ‘Public’ by default? Thanks in advance!

  7. I have just installed WP Document Revisions and have loaded up some documents that are for public consumption.
    I can link to these documents individually within posts and pages, but I want to have one page on my site that will show all published documents without having to add the links manually.
    Is there the functionality to do this?
    I thought I would be able to just add the Documents header to the menu bar to do this, but it doesn’t seem to work this way.
    I would like just one menu button that takes users straight to this page so they can see all published documents without having to run all over the site trying to find them.

  8. I installed this… How come I can upload *.doc and *.docx? I imagine there are more since these are the first two I’ve attempted.

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