Benubird PDF: free document management system lets you manage, organize, and tag your files


Benubird PDF is a free document management system designed to manage all manner of documents and files in a single, centralized location.

It allows you to organize your files and documents within virtual folders (irrespective of where they reside on your hard drive), and to and apply tags to them as well as other metadata.

The interface provides for quick and easy filtering and search capabilities. Advanced features include the ability to monitor local folders for changes and to use a set of user-defined rules to update the library of documents/files accordingly.

One way to describe what a document management system is to consider the filtering functions available in, say, modern media players: you can filter songs by genre, artist, album, and even tags (for some), etc, in order to find a correct set of results.

Benubird PDF allows you to do something similar for documents and files; you can create a “library” of documents/files, organize them in virtual folders, add tags and metadata, and filter the documents according to the criteria you need.

Note that the program title (Benubird PDF) elevates its presumed ability to convert any type of document to PDF (presumably because of PDF’s status as a “standard” document format). The only problem with this is that it actually does NOT convert other documents to PDFs, at least not in the free version that I tested. It seems that for PDF conversions it is designed to use a shareware virtual PDF printer called NovoPDF, but it doesn’t seem to install this properly. This really is no big deal though, since you can use the program to manage any document or file type. If you need PDF conversions, use the free PDFCreatorPrimoPDF, or doPDF (all very capable freeware virtual PDF printers).

Here are more notes on this program:

  • Creating a library: you can add documents and files to the library by specifying a file or folder (or zip archive) or by drag and drop; however you can use a set of rules to filter exactly the file types to add, whether to include subfolders, which virtual folders (called “collections”) you might want them to be automatically added to, and even filter by metadata (e.g. all documents from author x to be added to collection y).
  • Virtual folders: you can create a set of hierarchical folders/subfolders (collections) and organize your files in them. This is virtual and completely independent of where they reside on the hard drive. One cool option is the ability to select a bunch of documents/files and right click to add them to a collection or create a collection out of them.
  • Documents: any filetype can be added. The program is designed to display previews of some filetypes including Office files, PDFs (if you use Adobe Reader), image files, and some media files.
  • Windows context menu: want to add file(s) or folder(s) to the library? You can do this quickly by right clicking on them in explorer and using Benubird PDF’s context menu entry.
  • Metadata: there are 5 fields that can be used as metadata for any file type: Title, Author, Subject, Categories, and Comments. At times there will be overlap between these and any metadata that is already defined in your files (e.g. most Office documents will have a Title and author by default, but will not necessarily be correct).
  • Tags: in addition to the metadata fields discussed above, you can add tags to any file(s) at will, and filter by these in the right hand pane. To filter by tags, click (or ctrl+click) on the tags; to un-filter, click anywhere on the white space in the tag pane. To add tags, you will have to define them first in the “Library tags” section (they cannot be defined on the fly).
  • Folder monitoring: if using this option, the program will monitor folders you specify according to certain rules you set for file extension types, metadata, checking frequency, etc. (A process names “Benubird assistant will run in the background at all times, but it only consumes 6 megs or so, which is quite light).
  • User interface: is quite good (employs the ribbon-style interface popularized by Office 2007). The media-player like filters section on top is both powerful and will be familiar to most people. You can view your files as icons or list and sort by column names, etc.
  • The search function: a powerful, quick and easy way to hone in on what you want.
  • “Smart” playlists: actually smart “collections” (i.e. virtual folders). Three of these: last modified files, last added, and an “incomplete properties” collection that can

Wish list (or how this program can be even better)

  • Mass metadata editing by user defined rules: for example, a way to populate”Title” metadata (or other fields) from the filename or some section(s) of the filename or path.

The verdict: Benubird PDF provides a very simple and easy way to categorize, and organize your documents and folders, and with its folder-monitoring option it may be one of the best solutions for general, system-wide file tagging.

this is a well thought out, powerful, and professional program that has a lot of potential. The program’s web page states that Benubird PDF is “guaranteed to save you time and revolutionize the way you work with your documents”, and at least for some I think this might turn out to be the case.

Version Tested:

Compatibility: Windows 2000, XP, Vista.

Go to the program page to download the latest version (approx 10.56 megs).

  • Jalal


  • Doc

    To convert to PDF, I’ve always used CutePDF with great results.

  • RG

    So that’s a very confusing app title then

  • I use CutePDF as well for converting to PDF since it’s Vista/Server 2008 compatible.

  • The document management/virtual folder is a built in feature in Windows 7. So, you might need this if you stuck in XP or Vista.

  • Mohammed Sarhan

    Thanx For This Review

  • anoniemuis

    great, been searching this for free since years

  • Shim

    The only problem I could see with this application is that it actually copies the documents into another directory (i.e. the documents end up being in two locations, the original directory in which they were initially saved, and the Benubird directory. Wouldn’t it be more sensible to create logical directories, in which case a document could be associated with a number of logical directories, and only have one physical storage place for the document?

  • jack.walker

    First i thought this is a good idea a program where you can put all your important ore interresting files/programs all together and give it a virtual folder and idtag.
    Well i still think it is a good idea but when i found out it did just copy all thouse files in one folder insteat of storing pathways i thought that that made the program unfriendly.
    I do not like blogging my system up with double files (and like to keep them in my own folder and my prefered harddrives).
    It would be great if you can attatge a virtual folder with pathways and idtag to any kind of software ore file remeber where it is stored and checks for chainges instead of just copy evry file compleetly.If it would do that it could be a winner.
    I am looking forwart to a reply.

  • Colin

    I’m always on the lookout for better document management and at first glance this program does look very interesting.

    However, the COPYING of files to another folder is something I can’t live with

    a) I backup my documents online and this could double my uploads/downloads at a stroke.

    b) I know I could deselect the directory folder, but the copies would still be on my hard drive taking up gazzillions of space.

    So I will pass on this until/unless they create logical links instead of copies. Thanks for the review anyway.

  • Colin

    Me again…I just checked the forum at the program’s website and this is in there from 20th May…

    “Great tool, must have option to suppress copy of documents

    Hi guys, yes, we’ve been working on this behind the scenes… I can’t advise exactly when this feature will be released, but will be relatively soon.

    Cheers -Karl”

    So this is definitely one to watch, as far as I’m concerned.

    Of course the other option, I guess, is to allow Benubird to import the files and delete the originals from the folder THEY are stored in?

  • They’ve integrated direct linking into the latest beta release and it will definitely be included in the next stable release.

    Check it out here.

  • Nemo PDF Converter 4.0 converts PDF to Word/RTF and Word/Excel to PDF for uses of different situations with speed and 100 accuracy. It keeps intact of the original files and supports batch conversion. You can either batch convert files from the converter or from the button integrated in your documents with ease. Moreover, its user-friendly interfaces will make you a veteran from a new user in minutes.

  • Amox
  • Jane

    Has anyone here taken a look at Mendeley? It’s currently targeted at scientific/research papers, but is basically for PDF files as far as I can tell. Any other thoughts/reactions especially relative to Benubird PDF?

  • Kiran Palla

    The software sounds good. I havent tried it though. But it appears as though it is a single user solution. Are there any features that support data stored in a cetral computer and access restrictions placed on some one and stuff like that…