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Best Free Document Collaboration Software

Today is the era of information. The World Wide Web has revolutionized this concept. Information, once hard to find, has now become so readily available and accessible that we can store it in our smartphones (or laptops). Yet one of the biggest challenges organizations are facing today is not the lack of information but information overload.

The explosion of document collaboration is a recent phenomenon, and there are tons of options to choose from. Collaboration software has been made possible by the ubiquity of cheap internet/cloud/hosting, which makes it an affordable option compared to in-house servers.

Looking for best free document collaboration software? Well, the answer lies in online document sharing and editing tools. Here I have listed down some of the best virtual collaboration tools available on the web!

Best Free Document Collaboration Software – The term “collaboration” means a lot of things in different contexts. This article explores some of the different forms it can take and how to use the new tools available to improve your knowledge management efforts.

What Is Document Collaboration Software?

Document collaboration software provides teams with the right platform to collaborate effectively. 

Whether it’s a Google Doc, PDF, spreadsheet, or anything else, you can rely on document collaboration tools to help you and your team make sense of it all.

 Flock

With Flock, team members can exchange messages, share files, host video conferences, manage to-dos, and set up calendar events all from one easy-to-use app. Flock integrates with popular business tools such as Google Calendar, Google Drive, Asana, MailChimp, and Twitter, making it easier for team members to stay on top of things without juggling a dozen different apps. 

videocalls

Flock’s free plan gives your team:

  • Unlimited team members and one-to-one messages
  • 10 public channels for group conversations
  • Unlimited 1:1 video calls
  • 5GB storage for file sharing and 10K message history for quick search
  • Built-in productivity apps such as shared notes, polls, and reminders 
  • Unlimited integrations for third-party services, such as Asana, Jira, or Google Drive

Need more room? Flock PRO unlocks enhanced admin controls, group video conferencing, unlimited channels, guest accounts, more file storage, and access to priority support. At just $4.50 per user per month, we think it’s a steal, but our free plan is pretty generous and well, free. It’s your call.

Slack

If you’ve heard of team chat, you’ve probably heard of them. IM, channels, video calls, integrations and bots for hundreds of third-party tools; Slack has it all. But the free plan limits you to 10 service integrations, so choose wisely.

Mac-Slack-client-for-media-kit.en-GB 2xImage: Slack

Slack’s free plan

  • Unlimited users, messages, and channels
  • Unlimited one-to-one voice and video calls 
  • 5GB storage for file sharing and 10K message history
  • Up to 10 apps or service integrations

For video conferencing (up to 15 participants) and guest accounts, you’ll need to upgrade to a Standard plan that costs $6.67 per user per month. There’s also a Plus plan that adds more features at $12.50 a user per month. 

Microsoft Teams

Initially an exclusive for businesses with Office 365 subscriptions, Microsoft Teams has since launched a free plan for small businesses. We love its innovative features such as inline translation for messages and the ability to record meetings with automatic transcriptions. Also a plus, its deep integrations with OneDrive and Office 365 services.

Image: Microsoft

Microsoft Team’s free plan

  • Up to 300 users
  • Unlimited messages, channels, and search
  • Unlimited audio and video meetings with up to 250 participants
  • 10GB of team file storage + 2GB per user
  • 140+ apps and service integrations

For advanced collaboration features such as meeting recordings and automatic transcriptions, you’ll need to pony up for an Office 365 subscription.  Office 365 Business Essentials costs $5 a user per month and the full-featured Office 365 Business Premium will set you back $12.50 a user per month.

ClickUp

clickup devices 2021

ClickUp is one of the leading project management tool and is used by highly productive teams worldwide.

From team document collaboration to remote project management, this project management software can handle anything and everything! 

The best part?

This team collaboration software is free!

ClickUp key features

Here’s why ClickUp is the best document collaboration software available in the market:

1. Docs 

ClickUp’s Docs is a built-in document collaboration solution for your team. 

Use it to create and store important company and project-related documents that your team can easily edit and access. 

Here’s a closer look at what you get with ClickUp Docs:

  • Real-Time Editing to edit a document alongside other team members to maximize collaboration
  • Collaboration Detection to see when a team member views, comments, or edits a document
  • Add Authors to get a clear view of who has contributed to the Doc
  • Real-Time Syncing ensures that recent changes are reflected on every team members’ device
  • Nesting allows you to organize pages within a document for added categorization 
  • Relationships to link related tasks and pages within your document for easy access and to bring your team’s work in one place
  • Keep your Docs public or private with the Permissions Feature. Send links for file sharing and you can customize what the recipient can do with the file 
  • Import Feature for importing documents from external sources to Clickup Docs. For example, you can import work from Evernote, Google Docs, and even from a Microsoft Word Document
  • The ability to get your Docs indexed by Google to appear in search results 

That’s not all…

Take your Docs to the next level by using these formatting features: 

  • Doc Style: choose the style that best represents your document and work—Classic, Blog, or Knowledge-based style
  • Subtitle: add a subtitle to include context for extra clarity for your team
  • Typography: choose from basic and advanced modes 
  • Rich Text Formattingadjust font size (small, medium, large) and choose from various font and highlighting colors to emphasize important details or even assign certain font colors for each team member for seamless collaboration within Docs

Talk about the perfect tool for knowledge management!

Assigning comments in ClickUp Docs
Collaborating and assigning a comment to a team member in ClickUp Docs

2. Notepad

ClickUp’s Notepad feature offers team members a personal space to jot down important ideas. No one else can access your notepad and you can convert your ideas to tasks when needed and then share them with your team.

You can also use the notepad to create simple to-do lists for yourself, like a list of ingredients for a new recipe you want to try out! 🧀 #FoodiesUnite

clickup notepad
Using the Notepad feature in ClickUp
Comments

Stop, collaborate, and listen with ClickUp’s Comments feature. It lets teams communicate by sharing images, links, and videos within the task and also lets you tag team members.

Worried your team might scroll past these comments or forget to address them?

Don’t worry.

ClickUp’s powerful collaborative system has got you covered!

With the Assigned Comments feature, you can convert comments into action items for specific members. This way, the comment always stays on their radar. 

assigned comments subtasks
Assigning a comment to a team member within a task in ClickUp
Mind Maps

ClickUp’s Mind Maps tool is the Dr. Watson to your Sherlock. 🎩

We all need someone or something to bring a logical approach to our fantastic ideas, right?

For maximum flexibility, there are two modes you can use:

  • Task Mode helps you visualize your existing task structure by rearranging them into logical paths. You can also edit, create, and delete tasks right from your view.
  • Blank Mode lets you create a mindmap from scratch. The nodes you create can be converted to tasks with a click of a button.
clickup mind maps
Creating a mind map from Black Mode in ClickUp’s Mind Map view
5. Annotations & Proofing

ClickUp’s Annotate & Proofing feature lets you easily add feedback to PNG, GIF, PEG, WEBP, and PDF files. Highlight important points, leave comments and notes for the reader… the file is your oyster! 

clickup proofing and annotating
Annotating and proofing in ClickUp

ClickUp pros

ClickUp cons

  • No white-labeling support
  • Can’t export dashboards

Check out ClickUp’s roadmap here to see how we’re fixing these minor drawbacks. Also, see all the exciting features that this free document collaboration tool has in store for you!

ClickUp pricing

ClickUp has a feature-rich free plan with paid plans starting from $5/user per month.

ClickUp user ratings

  • G2: 4.7/5 (1400+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 5.7/5 (2000+ reviews)

Zoho Docs

Zoho docs: Collaborative document editing software

Zoho Docs is a document management platform by Zoho. Zoho provides tools to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations- all form a neat dashboard. Zoho Writer is the name of the collaborative document editor that allows teams to edit documents in real-time. With its similarity to Microsoft Word, Zoho brings a new spin to the age-old document editors and allows the creation, storage, and sharing of documents easily.

Teammates can set permissions, password-protect their docs, or even set an expiration time after which, everyone loses access to the file or document. Zoho Docs also provides the ability to chat with collaborators in real-time to make document editing easier. With writing modes, Zoho accommodates itself to the phase of document creation you are in- compose, review, or distribution.

Zoho Writer has over 350+ fonts and provides a plethora of editing options. An advanced document review system onboard, Zoho allows teams to search and filter through comments, track change history, get email updates, turn off live cursors, and reply to the comments happening on the doc directly from the email.

Some standout features of Zoho Writer

  • Integrates with DocuSign and Adobe EchoSign
  • Post content directly to WordPress
  • Lock portions of a document for editing

Pricing: 

  • Free to use

Twist

Made by the folks behind Todoist, Twist makes it easy to organize and keep track of discussions with threads. Their message board-like interface is easy to use, though using threads and the inbox (they work more like email threads, not Slack threads) takes some getting used to. The upside? Fewer notifications! 

Twist’s free plan

  • Unlimited users, guests, messages, channels, and threads
  • Access to 1 month of conversations
  • 5GB storage for file sharing
  • 5 service integrations

Twist doesn’t bother with audio/video conferencing or screen sharing features, they have a Wherein integration instead. For $5 a user per month, Twist Unlimited offers unlimited conversation history, file storage, service integrations, and priority support.

How does this work?

Document collaboration tools enable real-time access, edits, and updates for team members who are working on the same project document.

With a collaborative document, multiple people will be able to voice their opinions by contributing or editing the same document

Not to mention, people tend to feel more confident behind a screen, which could lead to innovative remote team discussions!

Conclusion

Document collaboration software can be used by different people who may be in different locations to share, write and edit documents. One of the best free document collaboration tools is Google Docs. It allows users to create and store their files on google servers and then save them, share them or make changes as required. Other online document sharing tools include wikis and forums, emailing and instant messaging. Word is now a thing of the past. Researchers and educators love how collaborative editing has become an integral part of the computer documents world. Editing has never been easier and being able to work together on one project online by sharing and tracking changes is a luxury too good to miss out on.

It’s so easy to use and available in the market. Try it now. Its free edition. It comes with drag and drop and you can also work together on documents, spreadsheets, presentations. It is free of cost to download. The company behind Google Docs is Google which the most popular search engine on the Internet.

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