Back to Blog

10 online proofing software tools to transform content review

18 min read
Aaron Marquis

Great creative content is an essential engine that drives brand relevance and powers business growth. And with accelerating market changes and the sheer volume of content devoured by customers, the demand for more innovative, high-quality creative content has exploded. This constant pressure for fresh and impactful content puts creative operations and teams front and center. You’re expected to rise to the challenge, navigating tight deadlines and high expectations to deliver the creative magic that drives business forward.

At the heart of this creative torrent is the review and approval process—a pivotal, yet often bottlenecked, stage that demands a solution beyond the patchwork of status quo tools that many have outgrown.

That’s why you need online proofing software to streamline, simplify, and supercharge the efficiency of content approval. Here, we'll look into the top 8 online proofing software tools that promise to transform how creative teams operate, ensuring quality and speed go hand-in-hand.

What we'll cover

What is online proofing software?

Online proofing software, which you might also hear called "collaborative proofing software," gives marketers and creatives a streamlined way to manage the review and approval of all their creative content in one place. It's a leap forward from managing feedback through an antiquated patchwork of emails, Slack, Teams, printed proofs, or quick chats by the water cooler.

Online proofing software is specifically designed to manage the review and approval of creative assets. It is a centralized platform for every comment, discussion, and decision of every version of every asset in every campaign - a lot, we know! Now, think again about all of that being managed by email!

However, online proofing software does more than centralize the review and approval process. It also enhances collaboration, creativity, and decision-making. Plus, it orchestrates the entire workflow for review and approval, improving efficiency and productivity.

What is online proofing?
Efficiency Collaboration and Accuracy placed adjuscent to each other - Chart drawing, shaking hands and dart shield with an arrow

What are the benefits of online proofing?

Online proofing software streamlines creativity and collaboration in the creative process. Here's how it benefits you and your creative ops:

Faster project delivery and greater productivity

Proof approval software delivers a noticeable acceleration in project delivery times. We’re talking double-digit percentages here. By making feedback easier, facilitating collaboration, automating repetitive tasks, and tracking changes between versions, proof approval software helps your creative team complete projects faster. It improves your efficiency, ultimately boosting your productivity (and profitability).

Enhanced collaboration and creativity

Creativity is, at its heart, a collaborative endeavor. Proof approval software provides a great collaborative environment for feedback, collaborative discussion, and clear, creative decision-making. It provides the framework for constructive feedback to make sure that projects are aligned with the stakeholders' vision and something that you are happy to put your name on.

Speed without sacrificing compliance

Creative teams are in the middle of a tug-of-war between speed and control. They need to deliver more creative content in shorter time frames for their brand to stay relevant. However, they must also mitigate the risk of damaging their brand’s reputation by producing poor quality, inappropriate, or non-compliant content. Proof approval software takes the strain by providing clearly defined workflows to support quality control and compliance processes. It also provides a system record for compliance records and audits.

Tracking and visibility

Proof approval tools offer improved tracking by providing a clear view of the review and approval status of each reviewer on each asset in each campaign. Everyone involved in the project can see the status, improving visibility and accountability and removing bottlenecks. No more of this “what are you working on” business.

Improved client communication and trust

A solid client relationship is built on one thing: trust. Nothing breaks down trust faster than poor communication between a creative team and clients. Proof approval software enhances communication, improves clarity, and builds trust. Clients appreciate increased transparency and accountability, and you know that satisfaction leads to long-term partnerships and referrals.

How to define your online proofing requirements

Creative designers brainstorming about new marketing campaign concept by the desk

So what’s the best online proofing software for you and your team? That depends on a few key factors, but ultimately you need something that is specific to your needs and enhances your creative workflow. With that in mind, here are the key considerations:

Assess your team’s needs

You need to understand your team's specific challenges and requirements in proofing processes. How big is your team? What is their structure? How do they work? Where are they located?

What type of work do you do?

What type of work do they do? For example, if your team mostly works with video files, you'll need software that has robust video proofing capabilities. Are you dealing with JPEGs, large MP4s, or maybe playful GIFs for banner ads? And don’t forget about the scale of your creative projects. If you’re in the business of crafting websites, for example, you’ll be looking at a tool that juggles WEBM videos, and SVG graphics.

What’s the scale of your work?

You should also consider the scale of your projects; if you handle large-scale projects with multiple stakeholders, you'll need software that can accommodate complex workflows and large file sizes.

What are your workflows?

Sketch out your workflow. You need to understand how your projects flow from inception to final nod. Ask your team to help out, and tell them to be honest: Where do things get sticky? Where does everyone come together? Identifying the steps in your unique workflow helps you find the right online proofing software.

Do you need to manage compliance?

Know your compliance. Compliance is not just about ticking boxes, it’s about weaving through the regulatory and brand obstacles that dot your industry. Whether it’s healthcare or finance, make sure your software choice can navigate these industries.

What do your clients or stakeholders need?

Listen to client needs — Understanding your clients’ review and approval choreography can guide you to a proofing software solution that not only resonates with your team but also creates a frictionless experience for the clients. Because at the end of the day, if you choose online proofing software that your clients hate using, what’s the point?

Key features you should look for in online proofing software

Consider user experience

Nobody wants to use a clunky app. Choose software with an intuitive and user-friendly interface that is enjoyable to use. Clear navigation makes the user journey painless. The ease of learning for both internal team members and external clients is also important. Consider factors such as responsiveness, ease of access, and overall satisfaction with the platform.

Evaluate collaboration features

Delivering exceptional creative content is a team sport, and your creative team needs software that offers robust collaborative tools such as commenting, markup, and annotation capabilities. Features like threaded comments and mention notifications are a must. Real-time feedback that allow stakeholders to provide instant input during the review process is also a game-changer for creatives. Software should support seamless team communication, whether through integrated messaging systems or integration with popular communication tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams.

Review version control capabilities

For your creative team’s sanity, you have to choose software that offers robust version control to prevent confusion and errors. Look for features that automatically update shared proofs to the latest version whenever changes are made. Verifying that the software maintains a comprehensive version history, allowing users to track changes, revert to previous versions if needed, and ensure accountability for revisions, is essential. The software should also differentiate between internal and external versions to maintain privacy and confidentiality, especially when sharing proofs with clients or external stakeholders.

Routing and workflow

Different stages of the creative process require different eyes. Your creative team needs the peace of mind that content approvals follow the correct sequence and involve the right stakeholders at the right time, particularly for compliance. For example, in a marketing campaign, the compliance team might need to review content before it's sent to clients.

Clear approval features

Decision-making tools such as electronic signatures and checkboxes keep the documentation of approvals air-tight. Case in point, your creative team might have a creative director that needs to electronically sign off on the final deliverable before it's sent to the client.

Detailed activity logging for compliance purposes

Detailed activity logs provide a record of all proof-related actions, essential for compliance requirements. For example, in a pharmaceutical advertising campaign, detailed activity logs ensure that every change made to the content is documented for regulatory purposes.


Automation streamlines the approval process by sending approved files to the next stage of production and distribution automatically. For instance, once a piece of creative is approved, it can be automatically forwarded to the appropriate stakeholder. Automation cuts out the manual hassles that slow down output.

Look for integrations

Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water when you choose proof approval software — it should integrate effortlessly with your existing tech stack. For example, if your team uses a project management tool like Monday or Asana, look for proofing software that offers direct integrations with this platform. Considering integration with a creative software application such as Adobe Creative Cloud is also beneficial. Looking for API support that enables custom integrations with proprietary tools or workflows unique to your organization is recommended.

Security and compliance

Prioritizing software that adheres to industry-standard security protocols and compliance requirements, such as GDPR or HIPAA regulations, is important for creative teams working with hospitals and similar clients. Features like data encryption, access controls, and audit trails ensure data security and regulatory compliance. Verifying that the software offers robust user authentication mechanisms, such as multi-factor authentication or single sign-on (SSO), to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information should be top of mind.

How to evaluate the right online proofing software for your team

Understand the market

At first glance, there are a plethora of options to choose from. However, closer analysis shows many clear differences between the types of online proofing solutions available.

One way to think about the market is to examine proofing specialization on one axis and enterprise readiness on the other.

Online proofing specialization considers how focused the product is on supporting the creative review and approval process. Is the solution provider focused primarily on review and approval? Or is their proofing a minor feature bolted onto a different product focused on solving a different business process? For example, project management tools can include very basic online proofing, but they cannot support the type of proofing a creative operations team needs.

Enterprise readiness refers to the capability of the product to support large enterprises. This includes examining whether the online proofing features can support more complex project structures and workflows. Whether compliance requirements can be supported. Whether the account architecture can support large distributed organizations with sophisticated account set-up and permissions, and finally, whether the solution has the security and scalability that large enterprises mandate.

Take a trial and demo

Before you go head first into and online proofing platform, you should try it out. Free trials and demos are your best friends here. They let you get hands-on, checking if the platform matches how your creative team operates. Try uploading some work, getting the team to chime in, and running through the kinds of tasks you do daily. It's like a test drive for software—you'll quickly see if it's the right fit.

Search for reviews and testimonials

Nothing beats hearing from the people who've walked the walk with the platform you're eyeing. Dig into user reviews and stories to get the unvarnished take on how it's played out in the real world, especially from businesses that look a bit like yours. Note the praise about the things that matter, but also, don't ignore the complaints—they might be the very things that bug you, too.

Consider the costs

No one wants to, but we have to talk about cost. It's all about finding that sweet spot where the price tag doesn't make your budget weep but still checks all your boxes for your creative team. Some platforms have a menu of plans, while others might have a one-size-fits-all setup. And remember to factor in the indirect extras like training your team or any custom tweaks you might need. It's about weighing what you'll spend against what you're getting to make sure it's worth it.

And beware of false claims about pricing. Some providers claim they are the only vendor without hidden costs, but this is wrong. In our experience, most vendors are very honest and transparent about costs. To claim otherwise is dishonest. Conversely, some claim they offer "Unlimited" features, but if you try creating tens of thousands of users or proofs, they do not allow that.

The 10 best online proofing software for seamless and timely approvals

We’re constantly researching and looking at the best online proofing software, and we've put together some of the options on the market based on factors like ease of use, value for price, and key features. Here are our top picks:

ziflow-Feb-23-2024-10-28-24-9446-AM Ziflow

London city centre landscape proof being reviewed in Ziflow with comments

Stepping up as the front-runner in online proofing, Ziflow sets the bar high, boasting an impressive pedigree and a knack for innovation that's hard to beat. At the helm are the co-founders, who've been shaping the online proofing world from the word go, bringing a wealth of experience and insight to the table. Ziflow has a relentless innovation pace, and seamlessly blends simplicity with robust functionality to deliver a platform that's both powerful and user-friendly. It's this unique combination of ease, flexibility, and sheer horsepower that makes Ziflow stand out from the crowd.


  • The interface for creators, by creators—intuitive yet packed with features.
  • Workflow and security are top-tier, offering peace of mind alongside efficiency.
  • It's fast and scales up with your needs, no matter how big you grow.
  • Service is in a league of its own, ensuring you're supported at every step.


  • With great power comes a bit of complexity. New users might find the platform's depth a tad overwhelming at first glance, but it's worth the dive.

Tools tiles icon dashboard with tasks view

Monday got its fame as a project management hero, but now it's also dabbling in online proofing. You might wonder why they're popping up in a conversation about proofing, especially since Ziflow and Monday integrate quite well. The truth is, Monday sneaks in some pretty basic online proofing features, making it an option if your proofing needs are more on the light side and just a small part of your bigger project management workflow. 


  • Perfect for when your proofing needs are super simple and straightforward. Plus, it's part of your Monday package.
  • It's a powerhouse for managing projects and plays really well with Ziflow for a more robust solution.


  • The proofing tools are pretty basic—don't expect the bells and whistles.
  • It’s a bit picky with the types of creative files it likes to work with.
  • The workflow for proofing won’t win any complexity awards.

Tools tiles Asana icon Asana

Asana dashboard with kanban view of tasks

Asana is like the Swiss Army knife of project management tools, and it's got a special spot in the hearts of many creative teams. Here’s the breakdown: Asana steps into the online proofing space with some basic features up its sleeve. If you're in the market for some straightforward proofing and you're already hitched to Asana, you're in luck. And for those moments when you're craving the full gamut in online proofing, Asana and Ziflow team up well.


  • Spot-on for no-fuss proofing needs, and it's all wrapped up in your Asana subscription.
  • Knocks it out of the park as an enterprise-ready project management tool, especially with its tight-knit integration with Ziflow for when you need to level up your proofing.


  • The proofing features are on the basic side, so manage your expectations.
  • It's a bit picky with the types of creative files it can handle.
  • The proofing workflow is basic—don’t expect to do anything complicated.

PageProof PageProof

Pageproof content review with comments dashboard

Pageproof kicked off in 2014 and is based in Auckland, New Zealand. This team of 26 has developed a web app that's all about making your proofing life easier. With a setup that splits between a proofing screen for all your review and markup needs and a workflow side for getting those proofs ready to go, they keep things straightforward.


  • Users seem to get PageProof's easy-to-get-into user experience.
  • When it comes to needing a hand or a quick fix, PageProof's customer service gets good shout-outs for being on the ball.


  • For you big, enterprise-level players, PageProof might leave you wanting more. If you need basics like custom dashboards, archiving, detailed security settings, and a robust workflow with automation, move along.
  • Those looking for support in North America might find it a bit quiet on this front.
  • And about those "no hidden costs" claims… take it with a grain of salt. Plus, while they boast about a fancy "patented triple-layer encryption," it's a bit of a head-scratcher without the heavy-hitting certifications like SOC 2 Type II and ISO 27001 that many of us look for. They're riding on Microsoft cloud's coattails for that sense of security.

Filestage Filestage

Filestage user interface application

Based out of Germany since 2014 and boasting a team of around 50, Filestage is about sharing content, managing workflows, and streamlining feedback, approvals, and versioning.


  • Praise for its user interface and simplicity in setup.
  • Kudos for customer service.


  • Similar to Pageproof, it's not quite cut out for enterprise needs due to customization, archiving and security limitations.
  • Some users report glitchy notifications and a stiff workflow (ie, no automation).

ProofHub  ProofHub


ProofHub has its roots in India and is a team of about 50 strong. Despite having the word “proof” in its name, ProofHub stands as a project management contender, sparring with the likes of Asana, Wrike, and Basecamp, while throwing in some proofing features like ​​task management, time tracking, and project templates for the creative crowd.


  • Packed with project management goodies tailored for agencies.
  • Easy and quick to get rolling at a friendly price point.


  • That low cost comes with a trade-off in the form of overwhelming notifications and a user experience that could use some TLC.
  • Customization and integration options leave a bit to be desired, alongside proofing functions and integrations that are more of an afterthought.

Pastel Pastel

Pastel online reviewing application user interface

Based in Ontario, Canada, Pastel started in 2016 with a 10-person team. It's an online proofing tool that takes a unique angle, focusing on quick feedback for websites, PDFs, and images but without much beyond that.


  • Wins points for simplicity and a sleek design.


  • It's pretty basic in terms of asset support and markup tools, lacking workflow features.
  • It’s not really geared for enterprise use, lacking architecture, permission, and project setup.

WebProof  WebProof

Webproof version comparison tool in app UI

Webproof has been operating out of Copenhagen, Denmark since way back in 1998, specializing in graphic production with a knack for packaging and boasting 3D Page-flip tech.



  • The UI could use a modern makeover.
  • It's a bit picky with the asset types it supports, not to mention a bit quiet on the product development front.

ReviewStudio  ReviewStudio

Review studio markup tool and batch review in app UI

Montreal, Canada is homebase for ReviewStudio, with a remote team of 10 spread out from Lisbon to the UK. Its goal is to make online proofing straightforward, with decent features for commenting, managing tasks, comparing versions, and a dab of automated workflow. It’s mostly geared toward small and mid-sized businesses.


  • A smooth user experience backed by solid customer support.


  • Might not be the best fit for the big leagues in terms of project size or workflow complexity
  • Some people have noted it can be a bit slow.

proofhq  Workfront Proof

Workfront ProofHQ dashboard

We're tossing Workfront Proof into the mix for old times' sake (and because we built it). Born as proofHQ in 2007, it became part of the Workfront family in 2015, and then part of Adobe in 2019.


  • It's the OG of enterprise online proofing platforms.


  • Might not be the best fit for the big leagues in terms of project size or workflow complexity
  • It's riding off into the sunset as a standalone product in 2024, as per Adobe's latest announcement.

Ready for online proofing software that will transform your creative team? It starts with Ziflow.

While all the online proofing software options mentioned above offer valuable features, Ziflow stands out as the superior choice for organizations looking to improve their approval and proofing processes, while also having the option for enterprise-level capabilities. Its user-friendly interface, seamless integrations, real-time collaboration tools, robust version control, and commitment to security make it an exceptional solution. Ziflow empowers your team to streamline the review and approval of creative content, ensuring that it meets the highest standards.

Transform your creative operations with Ziflow. Try it now.

Related posts

(function (c, p, d, u, id, i) { id = ''; // Optional Custom ID for user in your system u = '' + c + '.js?p=' + encodeURI(p) + '&e=' + id; i = document.createElement('script'); i.type = 'application/javascript'; i.defer = true; i.src = u; d.getElementsByTagName('head')[0].appendChild(i); }("4187", document.location.href, document));
setTimeout(function(){ window.intercomSettings = { api_base: "", app_id: "i94medbe" }; }, 10); setTimeout(function(){ // We pre-filled your app ID in the widget URL: '' (function(){var w=window;var ic=w.Intercom;if(typeof ic==="function"){ic('reattach_activator');ic('update',w.intercomSettings);}else{var d=document;var i=function(){i.c(arguments);};i.q=[];i.c=function(args){i.q.push(args);};w.Intercom=i;var l=function(){var s=d.createElement('script');s.type='text/javascript';s.async=true;s.src='';var x=d.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];x.parentNode.insertBefore(s,x);};if(document.readyState==='complete'){l();}else if(w.attachEvent){w.attachEvent('onload',l);}else{w.addEventListener('load',l,false);}}})(); }, 10);