What is Document Control?

Document Control is a profession and a job role that is now widely implemented in various activity sectors. 


But what is Document Control? 

Document Control in less than 3 minutes [Video]

Document Control Definition

Document Control is a document management profession whose purpose is to enforce controlled processes and practices for the creation, review, modification, issuance, distribution and accessibility of documents.


The role ensures that documentation available at official points of use within an organisation is trusted by its users and contains up-to-date, reliable, checked and formally approved information.


It is mostly present in activity sectors or organisations:

  • Involving engineering and construction; and/or
  • Wherein documentation is frequently modified and updated; and/or
  • Seeking or holding ISO 9001 certification; and/or
  • Wherein finding reliable, up-to-date and official documents and information is of critical importance; and/or
  • Which are regulated; and/or
  • Wherein the unintended use of an outdated or unofficial documents can lead to injury or death; and/or
  • Wherein large amounts of documents are produced and exchanged between different entities; and/or
  • Involving technical operations; and/or
  • With a strong emphasis on compliance, traceability and auditability.

Document Control is a profession and it is not to be confused with Electronic Document Management Software packages, or the use thereof.

Document Control manages documents throughout their lifecycle

In a very simple way, we could define it as organising documents, data and information in a consistent, standardised and controlled manner.


We can also say that document control is the set of measures taken to regulate the preparation, review, approval, release, distribution, access, storage, security, alteration, change, withdrawal or disposal of documents... so, pretty much everything about documents!


Document control is a requirement from the ISO 9001 standard

Document control is also a requirement from the ISO(*) 9001 international standard (Quality Management Systems - Requirements). This standard states notably that:


"A documented procedure shall be established to define the controls needed:

  1. to approve documents for adequacy prior to issue,
  2. to review and update as necessary and re-approve documents,
  3. to ensure that changes and the current revision status of documents are identified,
  4. to ensure that relevant versions of applicable documents are available at points of use,
  5. to ensure that documents remain legible and readily identifiable,
  6. to ensure that documents of external origin are identified and their distribution controlled,
  7. and to prevent the unintended use of obsolete documents, and to apply suitable identification to them if they are retained for any purpose."


(*) ISO = International Organisation for Standardisation

Source: Extract from ISO 9001 standard. The complete latest version of this standard can be purchased here: iso.org 

Document Control is critical to any business

Document control is key to any business. It is a crucial element to ensure efficiency, performance, reliability, traceability, quality and safety. 


If you are starting or pursuing a career in Document Control, you may be interested in our articles on:


Good to know


Consepsys is the world leading provider of Document Control courses and certification programs. Find out more here!


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Comments: 7
  • #1

    Abubakar Mohammed B (Monday, 23 April 2018 09:39)

    Thanks, The blog articles have actually aided me to become a better document controller.
    I really want to take these courses.

    Wishing you will consider coming to west Africa soon.

    Thanks once again!

  • #2

    Tarek Ahmed Sayed (Wednesday, 11 July 2018 09:31)

    Thanks for your information you provide me I am Document Controller and I want to know more experience hope to receive all traning concerning document controller

  • #3

    Bonginkosi Bright (Friday, 06 September 2019 12:14)

    in a simple answer what are document control processes?

  • #4

    Andy Oliver (Friday, 17 April 2020 22:51)

    Great post - thanks for sharing. Question - do you know of a Document Control system that will integrate with my document classification software? https://www.bisok.com/grooper-data-capture-method-features/document-classification/ Tried researching this, but couldn't find any definite answer. Thanks

  • #5

    Ryan Gillespie (Tuesday, 21 April 2020 17:05)

    Consepsys looks like a great option for us. Question - do you know if your software will integrate with my document classification software? https://www.bisok.com/grooper-data-capture-method-features/document-classification/ Tried researching this, but couldn't find any definite answer. Thanks

  • #6

    Maryjane Emmanuel (Monday, 15 June 2020 20:33)

    I want to do a course on database analysis, documents control, and secretariat administration

  • #7

    Kathir (Thursday, 16 July 2020 16:26)

    Thanks to author , it is very neatly described statement .. excellent