Document Control - Please help me with a basic document control system



Document Controlling

Can anyone help me please with a basic document control system. The following is what I think is needed:

Ability for users to view and access documents through server.

All current documents scanned into PDF Format.

All drawings in a viewer format.

An Index for scanned documents - how do I do this?

Master list of all documents - is this a complete list of every document I scan, and if so, is there an easy way to do it?

All documents on the server, should be the final version - how are changes made to these documents if necessary? Do we convert back to their original format e.g. word?

All printer matter is watermarked "Uncontrolled if printed".

How do we record any changes to documents. Is it by physically updating a log which has a record of every single memo/letter/doc/drawing?

Should the actual author/creator of a document be allowed to change it or should it always be requested and change by a document control station?

Can anyone recommend a really good scanner - price is not a huge issue. I want something powerful, fast and with the ability to scan all forms of documents.

Any help would be gratefully appreciated. Many thanks.

Al Dyer

The best advice I can give is to initiate a checksheet of all functions you require and send it to the various software companies that sell and customize programs and get their input. A couple that come to mind are:

ISO Xpert: Don't know address

Just remember to keep it as simple as possible. By using a network server set up with proper securities you should have no problem initiating a system such as you described.


Rick Goodson

A couple of thoughts.

IMHO you do not need to put all documents in pdf. Microsoft Word on a network can lock people out from making changes. You therefore can have multiple types of documents files. The directory listing on the network becomes the master list and index of documents. With the Word documents, using very descriptive names, you can use the 'find' function as a search tool.

A master list requirement does not necessarily mean one list. You can have lists based on the type of document or the document owner if using local control. Local control can allow the actual author/creator to change it. Revision notes can be at the end of the document.

If you use Word you can add a footer in each document (in the template) that says "This document, if printed, is controlled for the print date only" and then insert a field for the current date.

Scanners are dirt cheap now. You can pick HP's up for as low as $40 on sale. You sacrifice speed, but there are always trade offs. More money, quicker scans.

Hope some of these ideas help, or at least give you food for thought.




I use Pilgrim softwares QMIS Document Control module. I absolutely love it. It makes things so easy. They have other modules that tie together. We also have the Training module.
Their prices are pretty good. Their customer service and tech support are great.

Jim Triller

If you want to have the files available in PDF format consider using Acrobat Distiller rather than scanning them in.

Have you thought of implementing a web-based system? It can be far more effective for the users and less expensive than almost any other method.


I agree with Rick's approach as we use a Word based document system too. There is a nice redline feature in Word for circulating revision suggestions etc. Only thing I would be careful of is the auditors usually require a hard copy of the master list. We run a seperate "index" file for this purpose but it is extra work. I would like to use just the directory as the index if it is acceptable.
Have you had a problem Rick?

Laura M

Just implemented a web-based system with .pdf files for the individual procedures and instructions. Forms are next.
Its a piece of cake. Any "canned" system still required manual intervention in terms of revision control and distribution.

I'd rather invest in Acrobat than some restrictive canned doc control system. One company with a 'canned'product needs to spend another 5K+ to get seats for everyone to access the sytem. A web-based/pdf system on the server you only need the creator to have acrobat. Alot cheaper and acrobat has other uses!


Thanks to you all for your help. Very informative. I may go with the Acrobat/Web Based system approach. Is it easy enough to emplement the web side of things? My users do not adapt very well to change! I feel that if all the documents are in .pdf format, at least we will be absolutely sure that the master files are in pdf.

Thanks again.

Laura M

If I can do it its easy :)

After you create your "main screen" in word, save as .html. Set up the links to .pdf, word or other .html files.

Put the system on the server, and put a shortcut on everyones desktop for "Quality System." Make sure server has you as read/write and everyone else as read only.
Email notification if there is an update.

I eliminate 11 3 ring binders with about 400 pages each in them, so our desktop icon for the system is a tree. At a company where change is tough, I got very positive comments.



I'm beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I will go with Laura M's method as I think it will be best for our situation at the present time. Thanks to everybody for such informative help.
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