Best Tools for Document Collaboration

What is document collaboration? Document collaboration tools allow users to work on a single file, in real-time at the same time. It means that multiple people can access and edit the same file from different computers. This helps them collaborate on documents, spreadsheets or presentations. What are document collaboration tools? Document collaboration tools refer to applications used for collaborating on documents within a team.

In this article, you will learn the essentials of document collaboration and discover the role of document collaboration tools in business processes. We’ll also analyze the main features that separate the best online document collaboration tools from their weaker competitors.

Document Collaboration is one of the biggest challenges you face in business. We have already learnt how to organize documents, but we are not so efficient at managing and editing these documents while collaborating with various teams. In this article, I will share a few tools that can help you collaborate effectively and be more productive.

Similarly, document collaboration holds an equally important place for effective communication. To make document creation, sharing and collaboration more streamlined, here are some of the best document collaboration tools you should try.

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! 

This shift towards remote working has led to the rise of many online document collaboration tools that can help your remote teams work like they in the same room.

Statistic illustration: Knowledge workers spend an average of 14% of their work week communicating and collaborating internally.

According to a report published by McKinsey, knowledge workers spend an average of 14% of their workweek communicating and collaborating internally. The study also showed that improving internal collaboration through social tools could help raise the productivity of interactions by as much as impressive 20 to 25 percent!

Document Collaboration tools have a lot of benefits. Some of these include:

  • Increased productivity
  • Brainstorming ideas
  • Faster problem solving
  • Enhanced creativity
  • Faster execution of ideas
  • Builds a sense of community

Document collaboration tools allow team members to view, edit, and work simultaneously on a document without sending email attachments to each other all day.

Did you know that teams can create documents 33% faster with a document management tool that cuts out the need for attachments?

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According to Econsultancy, workers send and receive about 15 emails that include attachments per day. Over 59% of managers miss vital information simply because they can’t find it or never see it!

1. Google Docs

For document collaboration, Google Docs is the best choice. It helps stay ahead of the collaboration game without costing a dime. It eliminates both sender and receiver frustrations by assigning unique links for every document and letting users seamlessly share them with one click.

The collaborative document sharing feature of Google Docs allows multiple users to edit the same document, track and accept suggestions, and see the changes synced in real-time to stay up-to-date on the latest version. Furthermore, it allows editors to add real-time comments and suggestions.

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As the document owner, you can adjust the editing rights according to your needs. You can either add people like editors or viewers using their email addresses. You can also set the document to “View Only” or “Restricted” so that only people with email IDs from the same domain can access it. Additionally, you can control who can share your document with other team members.

However, most people encounter one problem when using Google Docs. Users are unaware of the invitation and link-sharing options in Google Docs. The receiver may download, edit, and email the received document if they do not know how to collaborate in Google Docs. Therefore, if it’s their first time using it, you might need to educate them a bit.

2. Notion

Notion gives you complete control over sharing documents. With it, you can easily control who can edit, view, comment on, or share your Notion pages. Documents can either be shared with a single person or an entire team at once.

In group sharing, you can restrict who has access to documents, whether the whole team or just a few members from the whole group. You can, for example, place your deputy editors in one group and grant them editing access to confidential information in one click. Or, you can give editing access to a few editors while still sharing the document with the entire editing group.

On the left sidebar, Notion keeps a record of your private and shared pages. As a result, you can quickly drag and drop pages from one section to another while setting the access permissions to match those already set in the private page section. The same access permissions apply to nesting pages, but you can later change them as needed.

Also, an admin has the right to either change the document permissions of an already shared document to a few members from the invited group or remove someone from having access to it. If you mess up the permissions for editing, all you need to do is press Restore. Hence, Notion is a good choice for small teams with such control over document sharing.

Notion integrates with Slack, Google Drive, Trello, Mailchimp, and many other services for easy document sharing. The free plan comes with limitations, such as the number of guests you can invite and keeping track of histories. To get maximum benefit, consider upgrading to the paid plan. Check out the Notion pricing page for more details.

3. Zoho Writer

Zoho Writer also lets users seamlessly share documents for collaboration, similar to Google Docs. Sharing documents with your team for reviews while allowing them to comment on the files in real-time is super easy. When you leave your suggestions in the comments, your team knows what to edit and can take action quickly.

You can even chat about your progress as you work. As the document owner, you can turn on the track changes toggle so that every change made to the document from now on will be easily rechecked. Moreover, with Zoho Writer, you can also share documents externally with customers who aren’t in your workspace.

Documents are stored in a well-organized cloud library and can be searched and retrieved quickly. In addition, you can easily integrate the Zoho Writer with applications like Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, and Zoho Mail. Moreover, Zoho Writer has a professional interface and does not have a steep learning curve. So, you won’t have a hard time getting used to it.

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When it comes to pricing, the Zoho Writer is free to use for individuals. However, to enjoy extra perks such as additional space or password protection, you’ll have to go for its paid plans. Check the Zoho Docs pricing page for more details.

A few of the handy features you can enjoy with Zoho Writer are:

  1. Real-time document saving.
  2. Locking sensitive data.
  3. AI-powered writing assistant.
  4. Scheduling or directly publishing articles on WordPress.
  5. Works offline as well.

4. ClickUp Docs

ClickUp Docs is another highly efficient tool for sharing documents remotely. Through its amazing collaboration interface, jam-packed with features, everyone in the Workspace can collaborate, edit, and work on tasks simultaneously.

It allows collaborative editing in the style of Google Docs. You can see the cursor moving when someone is editing a document, with their name being displayed above the cursor. By clicking the yellow binocular icon, you can also see who views your work.

Additionally, real-time changes are synced on all devices to ensure that every team member can access the latest document version. While sharing documents with your team, you’ll have the flexibility to keep some documents private while others are accessible to everyone.

Moreover, by protecting your docs, you can prevent specific team members from accessing those documents without seeking permission from you. Nesting is another of ClickUp’s unique features. It allows you to group pages within a document, and using the Relationships feature, you can link related pages within the document.

You can also import your work from other applications, including Evernote, Google Docs, and even Microsoft Word documents. If you are looking for a highly responsive document collaboration tool, you should give ClickUp a try.

Collaboration Tool: Confluence

Confluence: Document collaboration tool

Atlassian Confluence is a document collaboration software for teams to communicate internally.

Confluence allows teams to easily create, share and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and images. Tracking project progress is a breeze in Confluence.

Team members can share PDFs, docs, images, track every version and changes made to a page, and connect to Jira to provide insight into their development work with automatic linking, quick issue creation, and reports.

With the ability to add inline, file and page comments, you can easily leave feedback without getting lost in your email threads or chat messages. Team members can pin comments on the shared file, add their suggestions or feedback, and can edit office files right from their Confluence dashboard.

Users have the ability to organize and share company information amongst employees and with their customers.

Confluence offers two “power” add-ons, Confluence Calendars and Confluence Questions.

Confluence Calendars adds a central source of truths by offering a single calendar for the entire team. The calendar allows teams to keep track of who’s on leave and for how long, what events or projects are coming up, and switch between four calendar views, list, week, month and timeline. Users also have integration options with Google Calendar, Outlook, and iCal. Confluence Calendars cost $10/month for a team of 10.

Confluence Questions, on the other hand, lets team members ask, vote on, and answer questions collaboratively. All the content posted is searchable to avoid users asking same questions again. Team members can earn points for answering questions and can even earn an “expert” status. The gaming angle makes it fun and encourages people to collaborate and help solve queries. Confluence Questions add on also costs $10/month for up to 10 users.

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Confluence is a great collaboration tool, especially if your team already uses Jira and HipChat by Atlassian, as it’s designed to work with those platforms.

Collaboration Tool: Dropbox Paper

Dropbox Paper: Document collaboration tool

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.

Collaboration Tool: Microsoft Word

Who hasn’t heard of Microsoft Word? The famous editor has been around for over 3 decades and continues to be one of the most popular editors out there. Word has become second nature for most of the PC users out there when they think about writing, editing, and formatting text files. The famous ribbon-style formatting toolbar gives a bunch of options to users to edit their documents however they like.

Now with the Word online, Microsoft has taken the classic Word editor over to the cloud, trying to compete with a new generation of editors that have emerged. Word online provides collaboration features that allow people to edit simultaneously and forget about the to-and-fro email chains. Users can also translate documents in your non-native language with just a click.

Word also offers dedicated Android and iOS apps to take your work with you wherever you go.

Conclusion

Collaboration is an essential part of working in groups and getting things done. Sometimes, you just need to send a document to your colleague so he/she could take a look. Some software like SharePoint or Google Docs let you do this for free but with limited functionalities. You need a better online collaboration tool if you want to make changes and enjoy certain benefits, such as version control, unlimited storage space and the option of creating groups.

Document collaboration is the tool that simplifies teamwork. It is the software where team member can work together in a common document and provide each other with feedback. This way, everyone involved knows if his idea of the document is being understood or not. When you are a small organization or working on your own, it’s easy to share files and edit them online: you just send the file as an attachment and invite people to edit it. The problem is that such documents can become a mess very quickly and they cannot be easily tracked (changes made by different people are difficult to keep track of).

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