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8 best creative approval software for creative operations

13 min read
Aaron Marquis

High-quality creative content is key to keeping a brand relevant and driving business growth. With the market changing quickly and a high demand for innovative content, creative teams face significant pressure to deliver exceptional work on tight deadlines.

The review and approval process is a vital stage in this effort, but it often slows things down due to outdated, ill-equipped, or mismatched tools.

Creative approval software is designed to improve and speed up the content approval process. Here, we'll look at the top 8 creative approval software solutions that can streamline the workflow for creative teams and ensure they can deliver outstanding work on time.

What we'll cover

What is creative approval software?

Ziflow online creative approval software dashboard view with proofs listing and proof details sidebar

Creative approval software is tailor-made to streamline the review and approval process for creative assets. Picture a single hub where each comment, discussion, decision, and version of every asset in every campaign is consolidated. It's a significant step up from juggling all that via email!

But the benefits go beyond centralization. This type of software also boosts collaboration, sparks creativity, and sharpens decision-making. It oversees and simplifies the entire review and approval workflow, enhancing efficiency and productivity.

Sounds pretty great, right?

The benefits of creative approval software

Creative approval software plays an invaluable role in the creative journey, offering a streamlined framework that nurtures creativity and teamwork. Let's see into how it benefits creative teams:

Enhanced collaboration and creativity

At its core, creativity thrives on teamwork. Creative approval software creates an ideal space for exchanging ideas, fostering discussions, and making decisive, creative choices. It lays the groundwork for positive, constructive feedback, ensuring projects resonate with stakeholders and bear a mark of quality you're proud to showcase.

Tracking and visibility

Creative approval platforms enhance project transparency by offering a comprehensive overview of each reviewer’s progress on every asset in every campaign. This visibility ensures everyone knows where things stand, boosting accountability and eliminating delays. No more of this “what are you working on” business.

Speed with control

Creative teams are caught in a tug-of-war between speed and control. They must produce more content faster without compromising their brand’s integrity. Creative approval software eases this tension by defining clear workflows for quality assurance and compliance, complete with a digital trail for audits and records.

Faster project delivery and greater productivity

Creative approval software noticeably accelerates project delivery times—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 efficiency, ultimately boosting productivity (and profitability).

Key features of creative approval software

Evaluate collaboration features

Ziflow comments features with reactions and stakeholders comments

Crafting exceptional creative work is a collective effort, so the software you pick needs to be equipped with solid collaborative functionalities like commenting, marking up, and annotating. Essentials such as threaded conversations and alerts for mentions are non-negotiable. The ability for stakeholders to chime in with immediate feedback during the review stages can mean the difference between “average” and “stunning” for creative projects. Your chosen software should promote effortless communication among team members, be it through built-in chat functions or compatibility with popular platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams.

Consider user experience

Nobody wants to use a clunky app. Opt for software that's not only easy on the eyes but also simple to navigate and a pleasure to use. The software should offer a straightforward learning curve for your in-house team and external partners. Key considerations should include how responsive the software is, how easily accessible it is, and the overall user satisfaction.

Review version control capabilities

For your creative team’s sanity, 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 creative 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.

The best creative approval software for creative teams 

Finding the right software can transform the way your team collaborates, innovates, and delivers on creative projects. With that in mind, let's take an honest look into the options available for creative approval software.


Ziflow online proofing software with comments and markup feature

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.


GoVisually User Interface with list of content for review and reviewers on the sidebar

Based in Sydney, Australia, GoVisually is a compact team of 10, launched in 2011 to cater to the online proofing needs of individual creators and small teams. It's praised for its no-fuss interface and customer support, though it keeps things pretty basic on the feature front.


  • The interface is clean and straightforward, inviting even for those not tech-savvy.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud integration is on point, making it a favorite among designers.
  • Customer support is often spotlighted for its excellence.


  • The feature set is on the lean side, which might actually be a plus if you're after simplicity.
  • Larger teams or projects might find it lacking in robustness.
  • If you're juggling multiple types of assets in a campaign, you might find issues.
  • Side-by-side comparison tools don’t quite match up to other platforms.
  • Heads up for potentially slow load times with hefty files, and brace yourself for an inbox full of notifications.


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.


Aproove saas dashboard for approval software for creative operations

Based out of Belgium and founded in 2004, Aproove and its team of 11 has carved a niche for itself as a provider of Work Management Software and Online Proofing, initially aimed at supporting marketing teams, brands, and large enterprises. By 2020, Aproove expanded with Aproove Work Management for enterprise-level needs and WeAproove for freelancers and small businesses.


  • Users seem to like the file organization and management.
  • Task prioritization and approval notifications are clear and helpful


  • Reports of complicated review processes because of the control learning curve.
  • Lack of Free Trial or Freemium Version. Potential users can’t try Aproove without an initial investment.
  • No Premium Consulting/Integration Services. Hard to seamlessly integrate into existing workflows.


Goproof creative approval software for content dashboard

Based in the UK, GoProof is the brainchild of Oppolis Software, a small team of 9 professionals dedicated to simplifying the online proofing process. With its small feature set, his platform works for small businesses or projects needing straightforward proofing tools.


  • Intuitive setup, making it easy for new users (though, keep an eye on the cons).
  • A snug fit for compact projects.
  • Quick integration with Adobe Creative Cloud ensures a smoother workflow for designers.
  • Support team gets thumbs up for being helpful.


  • The user experience could use some polish, feeling a bit cumbersome at times.
  • Proofs might not dazzle you with their image quality.
  • If you handle email and web page proofs, prepare for some hurdles.
  • Larger projects might feel like fitting a square peg in a round hole due to its basic organizational tools.
  • Mixed feedback on the speed of support and pace of new features.


Proofhub list of tasks and content review view user interface

With its roots in India and a team about 50 strong, 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.


Quickreviewer interface with sidebar on the left and proofs thumbnails on the right

QuickReviewer, based in Noida, Uttar Pradesh and founded in 2014, is aimed at consolidating project feedback for creative, marketing, and web development teams. It’s a relatively small team, but the platform garners positive feedback.


  • Fast to get started and priced competitively.
  • Intuitive UX design for creatives and stakeholders alike.


  • Complaints about integrations with other tools.
  • Missing support / integrations for some Adobe tools.
  • Limited / No Automated workflows.


Filestage online approval software proof review interface with timestamps

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).

How to evaluate the right creative approval 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 creative approval 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 creative approval software, 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.

Laptop with Ziflow online best creative approval software user interface and workflows

Accelerate your approval workflows with Ziflow

Creative Ops is really feeling the heat to pump out more creative work quickly without dropping the ball on quality. Creative approval software smooths out the kinks in your creative operations and streamlines the review and approval phase while fostering collaboration. We walked you through what to look for and how to judge creative approval software, and took a peek into the most-known options out there. We strongly believe that Ziflow is the best fit for what you’re ultimately trying to accomplish: exceptional creative at today’s demanding pace. 

See for yourself what Ziflow can do for your creative ops!

Try the best creative approval platform free

See why Ziflow is the best creative approval platform for every creative team.

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