If you are working in a large organization or with multiple teams, you may want to learn more about best online document collaboration tools. These tools make it easier for everyone to share and edit files from any computer. Collaboration tools can also be useful for team members who are working remotely or who travel frequently.
Businesses need to collaborate with customers, partners, employees, and other stakeholders. It’s a crucial part of growing their business. The potential of improving your business drastically increases when you actively seek collaboration with others and retain them over time. Collaboration can be framed in two ways: one-way vs. two-way communication, and centralized vs. decentralized knowledge sharing. Here I present a comprehensive list of the best online document collaboration tools in the world.
I’m sure you have faced the troubles of sharing files online. Many online tools have made this task easier for us, which is why I decided to put together a list of my favorite online document collaboration tools.
Collaboration tools are a necessity for any team of workers to stay connected. With the advent of online collaboration, it is easier and faster to communicate and share information. You’re about to read about some of the best online collaboration tools available.
Collaboration Is Going Virtual: Tools To Enhance Productivity!
Due to the current Coronavirus pandemic, almost all technology companies have gone remote. Although the move was put in place to counter the spread of the virus, remote work has a ton of other benefits:
- It helps minimize office finances like rent, stationery, utilities, etc.
- It helps save commute time for employees, which results in higher productivity.
- It reduces the need for unnecessary office meetings, watercooler talks, and politics.
Companies like Automattic, the company behind WordPress, were already sold on the idea of remote work prior to the pandemic as they closed their 15,000 sq feet San Francisco office because their ‘employees never showed up.’ Automattic gives its employees a $250/month stipend to spend on co-working spaces or for coffee at Starbucks
Adjectives like monotonous, boring, dull, or tedious pop up when people think of Mondays, but Monday.com aims to change the entire notion. Monday is tailor-made to suit the needs of employees working on a team project. Teams can create personalized workflows, and Monday intelligently adapts itself to best suit the team’s needs.
Monday is perfect for businesses of all sizes and comes in with a plethora of features.
- Gives you the flexibility to assign tasks to the team members and track the progress of each member. This feature eliminates the lack of workload clarity while working on an online project.
- Their user interface is clean and lets you visualize the bigger picture through its intuitive and user-friendly layout.
- Tag team members using @, which significantly eases communication. Team members no longer need to communicate through lengthy emails for the slightest needs.
- Integrate all the applications under one roof to make it a one-stop destination for team projects. You can bring in files from Google Drive, Dropbox, and more using Monday.
- Not limited to a single platform; instead, the platform makes sure you have access to your project on all major platforms. Currently, Monday is available on the Web, Android, iPhones, and iPads.
ClickUp is an all-in-one application that aims to ease team collaboration projects with its specialized feature set. Its fully customizable and unique features make it a must-have for businesses of all sizes. You can easily manage group tasks, documents, reminders, goals, calendars, and more using ClickUp.
You also get messaging functionality where you can send individual or group messages on the same platform.
Some perks of using this platform include:
- You get eight different view options to manage team collaboration projects.
- There are times when a team member is working on multiple projects simultaneously. ClickUp allows you to create custom editable statuses for every individual project.
- It is a perfect tool for admins as they can assign tasks to multiple members simultaneously. Admins can track every assigned task using the table view and multitask functionality.
- ClickUp uses SCRUM methodology to provide informative yet straightforward insight into different parameters across the platform.
- The third-party integrations are seamless, and the platform lets you bring in files from all popular applications.
Try ClickUp to see how it helps.
Zoho is yet another feature-packed cloud-based word processing tool that syncs your documents in real-time. Zoho makes sure your MS Word documents get imported to the platform without any formatting errors. Also, Zoho lets you collaborate on team projects using their real-time sharing features. As you share your documents with other team members, you can see their cursor movement and the edits they make.
Some perks of using Zoho Writer include:
- The cloud-based nature of Zoho makes team collaborations efficient and swift.
- The documents you create on Zoho don’t occupy local system storage and instead get stored on Cloud.
- The real-time sync feature makes sure your documents never get tampered with in case of a calamity.
- Zoho features a fresh UI with easy navigation to all the vital word processing options.
- Administrators can control the access rights of every member in a team project and grant permissions to specific functions as well.
Dropbox Paper is an online doc for team collaboration from the tech giant Dropbox itself. It is a no-brainer that Dropbox Paper comes with a lot more perks if your team largely depends on Dropbox to store files. Teams can easily organize documents, assign tasks, create systematic workflows, and collaborate on projects.
Moreover, the task management tools in Dropbox Paper greatly ease functions that would otherwise become complicated in an online scenario. The platform lets you mention other group members, assign tasks to others, and efficiently manage your to-dos. Some exciting features of this platform include:
- You can exchange a wide variety of multimedia on Dropbox Paper, like YouTube links, GIFs, Pinterest boards, Locations on Google Maps, audio from SoundCloud, and many more.
- Paper supports embedded previews of Inversion and Sketch files. Also, you can convert your documents into PPTs without using a third-party application.
- You can choose a template for your project from the vast template library on Dropbox Paper. There are numerous templates for brainstorming, product launches, product specifications, bug tracking projects, and more.
- Dropbox Paper comes with the option to connect your calendar to the platform. Your entire work schedule gets synced onto the platform. Paper then adapts itself, providing access to agendas, background documents, task assignments, and meeting events directly through the application.
- The mobile application gives you the feature to capture images using the camera and give feedback.
Google Docs is a word processing software from Google which uses a different approach to word processing. Most word processors like Word and Open Office remained offline tools that were local programs stored in a PC. On the other hand, Google Docs is a cloud-based word processor that needs online connectivity to run.
Opting for the online route opens a new world of innovations for a word-processor like team collaborations. Docs allow you to share a document with other members, making it a go-to platform for basic team collaboration. Please note that Docs is majorly a word processor, and you won’t get tailored functions like other listings in the article. That said, Docs is still a great option for team collaborations, mainly if you use it as your primary word processor.
Some perks of using Google Docs:
- Google Docs sends a notification as an email when a document gets shared with you.
- Members don’t need to sign up, especially for Docs; having a Google account is enough to use the platform.
- You can view recent revisions to a document and the members who made the tweaks.
- You can seamlessly import all significant formats of word documents on Docs.
- The real-time sync feature makes sure you never lose any data during a network interruption.
Bit is not an ordinary word processor; instead, it caters predominantly to team collaboration projects. You can create quick dynamic notes, documents, wikis, knowledge bases, projects, client deliverables, technical docs, and more using powerful management tools on Bit. Moreover, you get to create separate workspaces for all your projects.
Collaborating on Bit is efficient and helps you maintain transparency between different team members. https://www.youtube.com/embed/3KtcKdMw3vs?feature=oembed
Some benefits of using Bit:
- The Workspace feature on Bit lets you organize your projects, clients, and teams. You can also move documents between different workspaces, eliminating the hassle of uploading the same file multiple times.
- The mention feature using “@” is a great efficiency booster while working in team collaborations.
- Bit comes with a minimalistic yet innovative editor that lets you effortlessly create documents. The efficiency gets further boosted by coupling the editor and real-time collaboration features.
- You can add visual web links, rich media, videos, graphics, designs, embeds, social media posts, surveys, and a lot more right into the editor.
- Bit also gives you the feature to track the engagement of the documents you shared. These insights are a great way to improve your documents and gain more traction.
- You can save all your essential files on Bit to enhance the cross-platform usability of the solution.
Collaboration Tool: Dropbox Paper
Dropbox Paper is a document collaboration editor focused on design teams to collaborate internally.
It allows you to add rich media along with text and images to collaborate and work on projects with your team. Add Dropbox files inside the document, YouTube videos, social media posts and more.
You can easily share a document with someone or add a collaborator by simply clicking the “share” button and invite them to view or edit the document via a custom link. You can also create groups and share documents with your teams, so no one is left behind.
Users can share files individually or by creating groups, manage access to documents, assign tasks to a team member with @mentions and give feedback in real time.
Dropbox paper has taken time to create custom stickers to add personality and humor to the conversations you have with your teammates.
Dropbox paper is powerful, yet a light-weight alternative to Google Docs and does a good job of being an online collaborative workspace for teams to work internally.
With over 800 million active worldwide users, Google Docs is the most well-known of all the document collaboration software on this list.
However, many don’t realize that, in addition to adding comments and making edits to a finished draft, real-time online collaboration is possible with Docs.
Up to 200 people can simultaneously view a Doc, and 10 users can make simultaneous real-time edits.
All edits are automatically updated in the same master doc and saved in the cloud, so there is no need to create a new document for every draft. This version control feature prevents teams from making edits to outdated drafts.
Documents are shared via email or through a URL, and team leaders can select which specific employees can directly edit, suggest edits, or have view-only access.
The “Live Edits” feature shows real-time, color-coded updates that multiple people have made to a file. Users can track changes to see previous file versions without the new changes, approve or deny edits. They can also make comments in the sidebar, tag each other in these comments, or communicate via chat messaging.
Docs also allows users to save files in multiple formats, including PDF, plain text, web page, and rich text. It’s a wise choice for teams with a focus on user-friendly software, or for smaller companies that need a free editing tool.
Pricing and Plans
Google Docs can be purchased as a part of the G Suite product package or on its own. The below table compares the prices and plans of the free Google Docs Personal plan and the paid Google Docs Business Plan.
|Features||Personal Plan||Businesses Plan|
|Cost||Free||$10/user per month|
|iOS and Android Mobile App||✓||✓|
|Comments and In-Line Edits||✓||✓|
|Includes Google Meet||X||✓|
|Cloud Storage||15 GB per user||100 GB per user|
Microsoft 365 (formerly Microsoft Office 365) allows simultaneous users to create and edit documents via SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business.
Once a document has been created and saved to the cloud, users can invite other team members to collaborate with them by sending them a link to the file or via email.
As in Google Docs, each user has specific file permissions for accessing the knowledge base, set by the file’s creator. Access can also be controlled via 365 Groups, which divides all users into teams. Each team can be granted or denied access to specific documents, speeding up the collaborative process.
New document changes are automatically synced and can be shown in-line or in the sidebar. Reviewers can track changes made by specific employees only, or see a summary of all new changes a team made. Markups can be previewed before suggested changes are accepted, and reviewers can accept changes en masse or individually.
In addition to making direct real-time edits, authors can communicate with each other via commenting, user tagging, and chat messages in the Microsoft Teams app. Best of all, because it comes with Microsoft Teams, it’s one of the few tools here that allows for video conferencing while editing files.
Microsoft 365 allows for up to 99 simultaneous editors per document.
It’s a good fit for teams who want to switch to the Microsoft Teams update from Skype and other business communication tools, and for those who need to divide larger teams into smaller editing groups.
Pricing and Plans
Microsoft 365 has three paid business plans, which can be billed on an annual or monthly basis. As shown below, the only real differences between the three plans are related to security and storage, so most companies can get by with the Business Basic version.
Essential Features to Look For
In addition to real-time in-line editing, look for file collaboration tool features like:
- Version history
- Version control
- Track changes
- New changes notifications
- Multiple file formats
- User tagging
- Chat instant messaging
- Pre-made file templates
- App integration
- Mobile device accessibility
- File access control
- Online and offline access
- Scalable file storage space
Online collaboration tools have come a long way over the last decade and many of them offer functionality that is just too good to pass up. Not only can they save your business money by eliminating paper, but they could also save you time working on projects with a client remotely. These are my recommendations for online document collaboration tools based on specific use cases.
From businesses to education and more, the need for collaborative tools is greater than ever. When you have too much work to do and not enough time to do it, collaboration becomes a big part of working efficiently. Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents alone just aren’t enough anymore. With the amount of information in today’s society, you need online collaboration tools to sort through it all.