A document management system (DMS) is a system (based on computer programs in the case of the management of digital documents) used to track, manage and store documents and reduce paper. Most are capable of keeping a record of the various versions created and modified by different users (history tracking). The term has some overlap with the concepts of content management systems. It is often viewed as a component of enterprise content management (ECM) systems and related to digital asset management, document imaging, workflow systems and records management systems.

Beginning in the 1980s, a number of vendors began to develop software systems to manage paper-based documents. These systems dealt with paper documents, which included not only printed and published documents, but also photographs, prints, etc…

Later developers began to write a second type of system which could manage electronic documents, i.e., all those documents, or files, created on computers, and often stored on users’ local file-systems.