15 document collaboration tools to increase productivity

As a project manager, it’s your job to encourage close collaboration among your team and provide the right tools for the job. Even though collaborating on documents can often be a confusing and time-consuming process, there are a plethora of solutions out there. Here’s a look at the best document collaboration tools.

What are document collaboration tools? 

Document collaboration tools help project managers encourage close cooperation on documents of any shape or size. These tools should offer key functionality like sharing, commenting and annotating documents that allow teams to collaborate and boost the final results of their collateral.

Overview of 8 document collaboration tools 

Since these tools can save your projects, let’s dive right into the top ones.

Filestage

Filestage website PDF annotation

Filestage makes document and PDF reviews faster and more collaborative. Multiple stakeholders can give feedback on the same document and discuss their feedback with each other in real-time. Since reviewers add their comments and annotations directly to the document, feedback is always in-context and misunderstandings are prevented. 

Additionally, you can further streamline your document reviews with automated file sharing, due date reminders, and status updates. This allows you to speed up review rounds and hit all your deadlines with ease. 

Key features:

  • Compatible with multiple file types
  • Add comments and annotations directly to your document
  • Reviewers can discuss changes in the comment section  
  • Cloud storage
  • Automatically version control
  • Compare two versions side by side
  • Automatic reminders for reviewers
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  • Reviewers don’t need an account
  • The tool is intuitive and easy-to-use
  • Receive and manage all feedback in one place
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  • No mobile app

Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Office 365

Office 365 is a place where agencies and marketing teams create, communicate, and achieve the best results possible. It contains all of the common Office apps, including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

Functionality (e.g., online storage and organization) is complemented by a range of supplementary collaboration apps (e.g., Microsoft Teams and Skype), which gives teams a comprehensive collaboration suite.

Key features

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  • It’s available on a range of devices.
  • Its cloud-based functionality works well.
  • It offers each user a free terabyte of space.
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  • Its synchronization issues can cause confusion.
  • Its new features can be disruptive. 
  • If it’s used by large teams, it could cause security issues.

Box

Box

Box is a web-based platform that makes it easy for teams to instantly share files and access their documents anywhere. Therefore, they can easily manage content and get files as needed.

This tool gives project managers and other administrators a central view of all the content involved in a given project, which makes it useful from a project management perspective.

Key features

  • Document archiving
  • Document assembly
  • Document indexing
  • Version control
  • Cloud storage
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  • It’s a reliable, well-functioning service.
  • It has a simple, functional UX.
  • It’s safe and secure.
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  • Its synchronization issues can cause Given its limited functionality, it’s pricey.
  • With the preview tool, some of the file types don’t open. 
  • To run smoothly, users need to employ it on relatively new, powerful computers.

Huddle

Huddle

Huddle is a platform for document collaboration and client engagement that helps strengthen the bonds between teams and engage with each individual member. For instance, this tool helps facilitate version control and real-time editing, which are important tasks.

This tool has a built-in approval workflow that’s particularly useful, as far as collaborating with external stakeholders (such as partners and clients).

Key features

  • Collaboration tools
  • File recovery
  • Offline access
  • Version control
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  • It has a strong mobile application.
  • It offers offline access.
  • It’s easy to deploy.
  • It has an impressive UI and UX.
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  • Its calendar functionality is lacking.
  • Users can make edits while a document is pending approval, which can create confusion.

Document360

Document360

Document360 is a document-management platform that empowers project managers and their teams to create, collaborate, and publish. Thanks to this unique set of platform features, users can create a powerful self-service knowledge base that provides value over time.

This document editing platform can help project managers provide a wide range of features, including analytics performance, backup, version control, markdown support, and more.

Key features

  • Collaboration
  • Content management
  • Knowledge base management
  • Self-service portal
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  • It has strong commenting features.
  • It protects work via both daily and manual backup.
  • It has a simple interface.
  • It has a powerful auto-complete search tool.
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  • Its documentation and learning materials are limited.
  • Document360 is difficult to integrate with other applications.

Paperflite

Paperflite

Paperflite helps project managers organize and implement various marketing collateral. Specifically, it helps them curate, organize, and distribute these resources to put an end to complicated, confusing email chains.

This tool is also backed by engagement analytics, so project managers can find out who’s accessed specific materials. In other words, it’s an effective way to engage the team and bolster document collaboration.

Key features:

  • Customizable templates
  • Document indexing
  • Full text search
  • Text editor
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  • Its content can be personalized.
  • Its images and other documents retain their quality.
  • Users can distribute finished content on this platform.
  • It reduces back-and-forth.
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  • It lacks plugins.
  • It offers limited views.

Filecamp

Filecamp

Filecamp empowers project managers to share and collaborate on their files. Its goal is to make finding, editing, and sharing files as simple, efficient, and secure as possible.

This tool is used by both small and large companies from a wide range of industries. It was specifically developed for marketing professionals who need a trusted, robust way to share their digital assets.

Key features

  • Asset library
  • Asset sharing
  • Customizable branding
  • Reporting and analytics
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  • It’s easy to upload files. 
  • Its process for adding users is streamlined.
  • Its customer service is quick to respond. 
  • Its pricing is competitive.
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  • It lacks plugins.
  • It offers limited vieIt doesn’t allow document editing.
  • Some users are concerned about its layouts.
  • Its UX choices are questionable, which can create confusion.

Quip

Quip

Quip is a space for project managers that centralizes and organizes their team’s progress. It fosters collaboration by allowing them to create and share documents, manage projects, and maintain close connections with their teammates. 

This online tool can be accessed on a wide range of devices (including Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS)—which help teams work together in faster, smarter ways.

Key features

  • Collaboration tools
  • Document archiving
  • Version control
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  • It offers real-time editing and discussions.
  • Its group chats enhance visibility.
  • Its file management is intuitive.
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  • It requires constant internet connectivity. 
  • Its spreadsheets are so large that they can cause dramatic drops in performance.
  • It’s hard for users to revert to older versions of a document.

Seven free and easy collaboration tools for documents 

Upgrading your approach to team collaboration doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, there are some fantastic online collaboration tools and software out there, which are completely free. 

Keep reading to find our round up of the best free pieces of document collaboration software.

Google Docs

Google Docs Screenshot

Google Docs offers users a suite of smart editing and styling tools that give teams the power to create meaningful, high-quality documents. Essentially, it’s a cloud-based alternative to Word that enhances its value through added security and control for project managers.

This tool also offers comments and tracked changes, which drive accountability and make it easy to edit in a constructive way. And since this tool can be accessed through a Google account, every user can be identified. As far as document collaboration, these key features really do help. 

Key features

  • File sharing
  • Document creation
  • Project management
  • Team chat
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  • It offers a top-of-the-line editing experience via the cloud.
  • It’s totally free to use.
  • If you’re comfortable with other Google tools, it feels familiar.
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  • It requires constant internet connectivity. 
  • It doesn’t have some of Word’s advanced features. 
  • It’s difficult to achieve truly sophisticated formatting.
  • It requires an internet connection.

Dropbox Paper

Dropbox paper

Dropbox Paper helps creative and remote teams share and exchange their ideas in a unified space. This tool makes it incredibly easy to collaborate in real-time while they assign takes, create to-do lists, and more.

However, it doesn’t offer a lot of sophisticated functionality. Instead, it focuses on offering a simple, bare-bones approach, which makes it easy for new users to get started and understand the tool.

Key features

  • Collaboration
  • Ideation
  • Workflow management
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  • It has lots of formatting options.
  • It integrates with Dropbox. 
  • It provides lots of collaboration tools, such as commenting and chatting.
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  • Its features for tables are limited. 
  • Generally, it’s not very advanced.
  • It requires an internet connection.

Slite

Slite

Slite is a smart space for teams to organize their knowledge and create documentation that inspires collaboration. Its writing tool is lightweight, and it offers a simple editor that has a suite of collaborative features.

This tool helps businesses (large and small) organize and share important content that can expedite processes. Therefore, they can make sure nothing is overlooked during the course of a project.

Although the free version does offer some great features, its main limitations are its restricted number of documents, and the absence of either a usage dashboard or administrator rights. 

Key features

  • Brainstorming
  • Content management
  • Discussion boards
  • Document management
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  • It’s easy to add comments.
  • Users can cite and pursue ideas. 
  • It’s beautiful and easy to use.
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  • The free version is limited to 100 notes.
  • Its new features can change habits.
  • It won’t be appealing to some team members, depending on their tastes.

Bit.ai

Bit.ai

Bit.ai is a document-collaboration platform that helps teams centralize and organize their work while they collaborate in real-time. Its ability to intelligently manage digital content makes collaboration more effective. And its 50+ integrations enhance the functionality it offers.

This tool can be scaled to accommodate teams of all sizes. Project managers and team members alike appreciate the ability to manage their knowledge over the course of a project, which has the added benefit of helping new hires quickly get up to speed.

The main drawbacks of Bit.ai’s free version include the fact that your account can only have a maximum of five members. Furthermore, you are restricted to 50 documents, and a 1GB storage limit. 

Key features

  • Document assembly
  • Document retention
  • File-type conversion
  • Version control
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  • It’s easy to add comments.
  • Users cIt’s easy to use.
  • Its editor is minimalistic and attractive. 
  • It’s easy to organize workspaces and documents.
  • It has lots of different templates.
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  • It requires internet connectivity.
  • It lacks some key functionality.

Zoho Docs

Zoho Docs

Zoho Docs provides online file storage and management capabilities that help project managers keep their images, videos, files, and other documents in check. It also makes it easy for team members to access these documents on the move.

This tool offers preview functionality for over 160 different file types, and it prides itself on its security and high-level encryption. This tool is scalable, and it can be used by businesses of any size.

The main downsides of opting for the software’s free version are that you can only work with a maximum of five users, and they are restricted to 5GB per user. Plus, you will have to work around the file upload limit of 1GB.  

Key features

  • Collaboration tools
  • Document archiving
  • Document assembly
  • Document indexing
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  • It’s cost-effective, compared to other options.
  • Its files synchronize with desktops.
  • It integrates with other file-storage services.
  • It has strong security.
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  • It requires intIts process for sharing files with external stakeholders is complex.
  • It’s difficult to execute some tasks.
  • Users need a Zoho Docs account to be able to access files.

Samepage

Samepage

Samepage helps project managers foster better communication, run more effective meetings, and bolster teamwork—by consolidating features like task management, file sharing, and team chat.

This tool improves collaboration across a wide range of teams and businesses. Specifically, it helps them share key ideas, store files, communicate clearly, and get important updates from both internal and external stakeholders.

Although the free version is still a great tool, it does have a number of drawbacks. For instance, users are restricted to basic document collaboration, basic data controls and basic folder sharing capabilities, while only working with 2GB of storage. 

Key features:

  • Brainstorming
  • Content management
  • Calendar management
  • Version control
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  • It gives users a clear view into its activities.
  • Its admins can easily add and remove users.
  • Its new functionalities are regularly released.
  • Its permission control is intuitive.
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  • Its free version is somewhat limited.
  • Users can’t assign tasks to multiple team members.
  • Its mobile app is unreliable.

Notion

Notion

Notion gives project managers a tool that can be used to foster collaboration and discussion about any given project. It’s easy to create dashboards without having any coding or IT experience. And you can use these dashboards to track metrics, share data, and more.

This tool also offers in-app comments and slack integration, which boosts visibility into key areas of your project, increases transparency, and boosts results.

The free version of Notion’s collaboration platform is primarily designed for personal use. From the perspective of team collaboration, its main drawbacks are that you’re limited to five users, and you don’t have access to sharing permissions or admin tools. 

Key features

  • Customizable dashboards
  • Data source connectors
  • Financial reports
  • Marketing reports
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  • It has a rich variety of features.
  • It’s easy to create custom databases.
  • It has the ability to create custom apps.
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  • An internet connection is required. 
  • Some large documents and apps can be sluggish.
  • The tables are somewhat weak.

What is the best way to collaborate on a document? 

It’s not always easy to undertake collaborative working. Different team members will have different availability, skills, and ideas, all of which need to be managed effectively. 

Remember, there are multiple ways and strategies to undertake team collaboration, so you must choose the best fit for your specific context. 

When collaborating on a document, our six top tips to ensure best practice are: 

  1. Establish clear roles. Each collaborator must know what exactly is expected of them. 
  2. Set clear deadlines. To keep the process running smoothly, you need to set clear deadlines for each reviewer to have completed their edits. 
  3. Share any files that you need through a cloud-based system. This is far more helpful and efficient than allowing key files to get lost in a sea of email threads. 
  4. Track all changes. With automatic document version control, you can monitor any edits, and ensure that a second person approves them before they are finalized. 
  5. Leave feedback or questions as comments. Adding comments and annotations directly to the document is a great way to leave precise, specific, and in-context feedback. 
  6. Compare your file with previous versions. With most document collaboration software, users can compare existing versions of the document with previous versions, to see what, how, and why it has changed. 
  7. Lock finalized documents. If multiple team members have been collaborating on the document, once the document editing stage is finalized and the piece is approved, locking it will prevent any further changes from being made. 
  8. Make it clear who the document owner is. While there can be multiple editors and even several co-authors, there should only be one document owner. This will avoid confusion and accidental errors or deletion. 

Important features of document collaboration software 

When you choose a new document collaboration software to introduce to your team’s workflow, you want to make sure that you get it right the first time. 

You don’t want to go through all the hassle of researching, enlisting, training, and then implementing, only to find that the software you chose is missing a function. 

With that in mind, here is a checklist of all of the important features that a collaboration platform for documents should offer you:  

  • Cloud storage 
  • High storage space 
  • The ability to manage file access (either via links or passwords)
  • File security
  • Comments functions 
  • Tracking changes 
  • Different user roles 
  • Autosave 
  • Available to access via mobile and other devices 
  • Automatic version control 
  • Compare two versions of the same document

Why should you use a document collaboration software? 

These online collaboration tools can help in a wide range of areas. Here’s a look at some of the key examples.

Document storage and sharing

Every stakeholder on your project needs to be able to access the right document at the right time. With so many working versions and different platforms, you’ll often find that storing and sharing documents can be complicated. 

Therefore it’s helpful to use a document collaboration tool that stores and shares your documents. These tools offer a centralized space that manages permissions and gives everybody the access they need to work effectively.

Version control and real-time collaboration

All too often, stakeholders waste their time by working on an outdated document. Not only is this situation frustrating and costly, it can also negatively impact the motivation of your team.

A range of tools has emerged that help teams and creative professionals effectively track the various versions of their documents and engage in real-time collaboration. This diversity helps reduce complexity and confusion while it encourages closer collaboration among your team members.

Document review

Many projects fall apart during the review and approval process. Often stakeholders find it difficult to access the latest version and leave accurate feedback. This process is confusing, and it takes a long time to implement. Furthermore, it requires lots of back-and-forths. 

Review and approval platforms like Filestage make it easy to collect accurate, in-context feedback from every stakeholder. This feature boosts accountability, speeds up review rounde, and improves the final quality of your work.

Conclusion 

Better document collaboration is only an app away. We hope this look at the best document collaboration tools has given you the knowledge you need to streamline your processes and achieve better results.
Not found what you’ve been looking for? Feel free to read our comprehensive article on all types of online collaboration tools.

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