40+ Best Online Collaboration Tools for Teams in 2018
What is the most crucial concern when you work with a team on a project? We can count 3 or 4, 6 or 8 things, etc. – this list can be dictated by the needs of a certain project. Nevertheless, there is always one peculiarity typical of any successful project. This is collaboration.
A great number of team projects exist in the environment without a face-to-face communication between team members. It creates obstacles for an ongoing collaboration. In the best-case scenario, it may lead to a project scope creep. In the worst case, your project will be ruined. That’s why it is critical to have a good command of special online collaboration tools.
Note that tools will not magically solve problems. The collaboration tools you’ve chosen for your project may be one of the best in the category as well as you may have an excellent command of them. But your project might fail due to misunderstanding issues or lack of leadership skills. Remember to pay attention to all aspects.
What are online collaboration tools?
Key features for communication and collaboration
What do people need for best collaboration on a project? They need to simultaneously work with tasks, communicate using messengers or video calls, track time, work with documents, share files, and manage knowledge. So in the article, team collaboration tools are combined in the following groups, of course, with examples.
To ensure the best possible work on a project, managers often use tools from different categories. Our list below will help you to choose the most efficient combinations.
17. Time Doctor.
23. Google Docs.
24. Microsoft Office 365.
28. Creativity 365.
29. Google Drive.
Project management tools
Originally, these tools were used for dividing projects into tasks, assigning them to team members, creating dependencies between tasks, and tracking statuses. However, nowadays project management tools are more complex solutions that allow managers to work on projects from different perspectives. They also help to manage resources, expenses, and workload, communicate with teammates, create baselines, present dynamic or static states of plans to third parties, and simply visualize every detail of projects.
GanttPRO is an online Gantt chart tool that helps to work with personal as well as team projects. Thanks to a Gantt chart view, all the tasks and their dates are clearly seen on a timeline. With GanttPRO, managers are able to track tasks’ and the whole project’s progress. Team members are always aware of the statuses and avoid risks and fallacies in planning.
Collaboration opportunities in the cloud-based GanttPRO are powerful. Team members can collaborate in real time: comment tasks, attach files, leave descriptions to tasks, export their charts in PDF or PNG and share them with a public URL. With the real-time notifications, project participants will be aware of all changes.
Moreover, this Gantt chart maker provides with possibilities to work with resources, costs, and calendars what makes it a sound resource management tool.
What is so unique about GanttPRO:
- Visually appealing Gantt chart view. But if needed, managers can switch to a board view.
- Real-time collaboration.
- History of changes with Undo opportunities.
- Resource management.
- Short learning curve.
Proofhub helps to unite all projects, distributed teams, and clients in one place that allows managers to have a full control over their projects. Therefore, ProofHub could become a central place for all your work.
All you need to manage projects you will find in the tool: tasks, their progress, collaboration with files and attachments as well as a group chat, and even time tracking. In theory, ProofHub provides with everything you need to succeed in project management, not only online collaboration, and be aware of all the process going on in a project.
What is so unique about ProofHub:
Formerly dapulse, Monday.com provides with a single board where managers work with projects in a visually appealing way. They have to-do lists, current statuses of tasks, what is supposed to be done, etc.
The software works well as a resource management tool. Managers can get an instant picture of who is doing what, how much a task requires, who is underperforming or overloaded.
Monday.com is a powerful online collaboration tool. Managers have possibilities to invite clients as guests to work on a project or simply share plans with them. The tool offers real-time notifications via desktop or mobile, mentions, comments and thumb-ups, and file attachments.
What is so unique about Monday.com:
- Single space for work management.
- Real-time context collaboration.
- Deadline management.
- Search options.
- iOS and Android apps.
Podio directs projects and teams towards the right ways and keeps everyone on the same page making collaboration smooth and effective. All project related processes are kept in one place what allows managers to easily define steps and take them to successfully complete a project.
In the tool, there are different roles for team members. For example, an admin, regular or light member. But team collaboration is not limited to internal teams. If there is the need to share a project with external parties, it can be done in seconds.
Notably that Podio is integrated with popular products like Dropbox, Google Drive, Google Calendar, and others.
What is so unique about Podio:
Like other mentioned online collaboration tools in the project management category, TipHive provides with a clear view of tasks and assignees in a project. Thanks to it, the tool gives good opportunities for resource management and efficient resource allocation. Every team member will know what, when, and how to perform a task.
At the same time, TipHive allows team members to create personal workspaces to better organize their project activities.
As the software is included in the list of online project collaboration tools, it should provide with collaboration opportunities. In TipHive, users can create, share, and organize files, notes, links, videos, and do many other things.
What is so unique about TipHive:
Aha! is a professional online roadmap software. It allows concentrating purely on fast product experience. As usual with project management tools, here managers are able to set dates and dependencies to get a clear view of their projects.
Online collaboration features allow working with cross-functional teams. You and your team don’t have to worry about any unexpected changes in a project – you’ll be instantly notified.
This roadmap software offers a variety of other features: templates, estimation, progress tracking, and many others.
What is so unique about Aha!:
- Dozens of integrations.
- Burndown charts.
- Ideas dashboard.
- Possibilities to create mockups.
Worth mentioning tools in the project management category
Of course, this is not the ultimate list of project management software as it is almost impossible to describe each of them. Nevertheless, here are some great tools.
Trello as it is the most widespread Kanban software. It looks nice and is very pleasant to work in.
Wrike as it is a rich in features machine.
Communication and video conferencing tools
The tools from this category are needed to provide instant communication between team members, colleagues, project participants, etc. Also, these tools are used for file sharing, attachments, and keeping all communication including video calls in one place in general.
Ryver online collaboration tool offers splendid communication and task management that takes the best of Trello Kanban tool. What can be better?
Almost all you need for communication inside your team you will find in Ryver. There are open forums, private teams for closed communities, private conversations and threads, freeform conversation in a chat for everyone without specific topics, file sharing from Dropbox, Google Drive or via any URL, and voice and video calls. And all this is accompanied by personal and team task boards with checklists.
What is so unique about Ryver:
Less known than the niche leaders, nevertheless, Flock gives exactly what you expect from an online communication tool – increased productivity and efficiency. Users can communicate in private and group chats, make voice or video calls, and share screens. Also, Flock offers some task management functions like to-do lists and reminders. Surprisingly, but here users can even conduct polls.
This online collaboration tool offers searching options that allow for finding messages, files, and even links with no difference who shared them. By the way, sharing is also a breeze with drag and drop function.
What is so unique about Flock:
- Audio and video calls.
- Fast and easy searching.
- Task management.
- Limited access to invited guests.
You’ve probably noticed on the screenshot that Yammer is the Microsoft owned product. Therefore, don’t be surprised as the tool allows users to work and edit documents with Microsoft integration.
Actually, Yammer is an enterprise network with the aim to assist your business. It enables collaboration between departments and across locations. No one outside your organization can access this tool as users are authorized in it with the email from your company’s domain.
What is so unique about Yammer:
Scribblar has a specific nature as it is designed to be applied in a certain sphere. It is a perfect online collaboration tool for students and teachers. It offers chats and audio, and it makes it a good choice for online tutoring. That’s why Scribblar is a good online collaboration tool for teachers.
What is so unique about Scribblar:
Chanty is a business AI-powered communication tool that is pretty affordable in comparison with some other online collaboration tools. Moreover, at Chanty, they call themselves an affordable alternative to Slack that is easy to start to work in and that has the intuitive interface.
They offer faster message delivery time and file sharing what increases productivity. More storage capacity opens possibilities to store more files to collaborate with a team. What is more is that you can turn your messages into tasks, manage, and assign them to team members.
What is so unique about Chanty:
- Powered by Artificial Intelligence.
- Faster file sharing in comparison with competitors.
- No message history limit.
- More room for files in comparison with competitors.
Fleep is an open network that allows users to communicate regardless of team size. You only need to be a Fleep user. But if you are not, no worries as it has integration with any email client. So if you are a user of this online collaboration tool and someone is just an email user, there are no obstacles to communicate with them. It provides with opportunities to keep track of all your conversations too.
The files you share in this collaboration tool are stored in the cloud and are available everywhere where there is an Internet connection. It works on Android and iPhone, PC and Mac.
Also, the tool serves well as a task management platform with to-do lists.
What is so unique about Fleep:
This is a very simple to use online video collaboration tool. It takes seconds to create your room where you can communicate with up to four people at once and 12 – on the PRO plan. At the same time, it can be a good collaboration tool for business as users can share their screens and show presentations, images, etc.
What is so unique about Appear.in:
Again, this is the tool for making video calls of high quality. With GoToMeeting, it’s easy to organize a Webinar or a conference just from your working place. This all makes the software best for remote collaboration. To get access to a video room you only need to click on the link.
One of the coolest features is that users can schedule their meetings in calendars beforehand. Also, team settings are customizable to your needs.
What is so unique about GoToMeeting:
- HD quality video calls.
- Drawing tools while sharing a screen.
- Calendars for scheduling meetings in advance.
- Recognized by millions: rated #1 in customer satisfaction.
ReadyTalk video conferencing tool is good for organizing audio and video meetings and conferences, webinars, and live streaming videos.
The tool enables online collaboration with multiple users and content sharing where you can show presentations or even sales demos.
What is so unique about ReadyTalk:
- HD video capabilities.
- Open API.
- Skype for business and Lync integrations.
- Google Calendar gadget.
- Privacy options.
Highly recognized among users, Zoom meets the requirements of businesses of all sizes. Here you can organize meetings, training with whiteboards, webinars or conferences with dozens and hundreds of people.
Being one of the best collaboration tools in the video conferencing category, Zoom allows for screen sharing, group messaging and offers other collaboration features that are highly recognized around the world.
What is so unique about Zoom:
- HD video and high-quality audio.
- Up to 500 video participants & 10,000 viewers.
- Extensions for popular browsers.
- Mobile apps for Android and iOS.
- Highly reliable.
Worth mentioning tools in the communication category
Slack as it is the most rocking and popular tool for communication.
Skype as it was a successful pioneer that is still (well, with performance issues) running for free.
Time tracking/Time management tools
17. Time Doctor
If you need to increase your or your team online collaboration and productivity, Time Doctor time tracking software will be your choice. When you are able to track time spent on tasks, it enables you to do more in less time. As a business owner, you’ll get a chance to pay employees or bill clients based on tracked time.
Moreover, Time Doctor helps to avoid distractions gently reminding you what you are working on. Also, it monitors Internet usage of employees during working time. If they spend too much time on sites like Facebook or YouTube, the tool will remind them that they need to work.
What is so unique about Time Doctor:
- Shows user’s weaknesses and the ways to improve them.
- Reports with time spent on sites and in applications.
- Screen monitoring.
- Integrations with world-known management applications.
Trusted by 2000+ business, Everhour is another big player in the time management category. This online collaboration tool offers plenty of useful features: budgeting, expenses, resource planning, task management, reporting, invoicing, and of course, time tracking.
Live dashboards show who is working on what, what has already been done or simply empty fields if your team member did nothing at all. If you need the whole summary of your project, with Everhour, it is a matter of seconds. It will show money and time spent, the individual progress of each employee, and also give a comparison of profit and cost.
What is so unique about Everhour:
- Quick set up.
- Rich functionality.
- Powerful integrations with project management tools, CRM, and accounting systems.
With Hubstaff, managers know what every employee is working on. As with other time management tools, it helps to monitor employees showing screenshots and activity levels, their Internet usage, and websites visits even with a quick preview of a page.
Moreover, Hubstaff offers features that won’t be found in some other tools. For any project, users can set time and cost limits. For team members, there is a possibility to set weekly limits. This all ensures payments according to the actual delivered work.
What is so unique about Hubstaff:
If you have a question “Where is my time working”, this online collaboration tool for teams will easily give an answer. Harvest is another well-known player around the globe in the time tracking category.
With the tool, managers can track time and expenses thus getting unique knowledge of the critical data. Other features can be called classical for this kind of software: you can see who is doing what and in what project as well as how much time is needed.
What is so unique about Harvest:
- Extended free 30-day trial.
- Professional invoices.
- Friendly reminders for colleagues to submit their time.
- Data export.
At Toggl, they call their product as the simplest time tracker. And it is really so: to start a timer, you only need to hit the button – that’s it. You can start your work on your computer and then finish it on your phone. All time entries are synchronized between extensions, desktop, and mobile apps.
Reminders work great: idle detectors can remind of time-tracking and get you back to work.
It is multi-purpose and can be used by freelancers, teams, and even agencies for a greater collaboration.
What is so unique about Toggl:
- Flexible reporting.
- Automated timesheet management.
- Reports scheduling to email.
- Report export.
- Public API.
TimeCamp helps to deal with employees, tasks, and projects. This online collaboration tool will show you how your team members spend their day with a detailed history. As a result, you will never miss a billable hour.
Moreover, TimeCamp gives insights on what sites or applications take most time from your team members during the working day. It will provide you with analytical data on productivity.
There are possibilities to send invoices based on the time tracked per customer and project.
What is so unique about TimeCamp:
- Intuitive interface.
- Powerful integrations.
- Computer activities tracking.
Worth mentioning tools in the time tracking/time management category
ClickTime as it is simple to use with lots of functionality.
Documentation management tools
Online document collaboration tools help teams to work on documents simultaneously. They allow for online editing, sharing or e-signing documents. In general, these tools significantly simplify collaboration on documents.
23. Google Docs
This is a well-known online collaboration tool that needs no introduction. You might not know the tools from the project management or time tracking category, but this is another story. If you have ever worked with documents online, it is 100% sure that at least you have heard of Google Docs.
The powerful software allows creating and editing documents wherever you are as well chatting and commenting. These are awesome collaboration features that make all word-related work a breeze.
Google Docs offers dozens of templates and add-ons. You only need to log in and that’s it. Everything else you have to do is to enjoy smooth online work on documents.
What is so unique about Google Docs:
- No lost data – everything is instantly saved online.
- Great link sharing with different access levels.
- Rich functionality.
24. Microsoft Office 365
It looks like this one does not need an introduction either. But the reason is different: many of us work with letters and words in the original offline Office suite that also offers Excel, PowerPoint, and other tools. Meet its updated brother for online collaboration.
You can edit documents online while working with your team members, share files, invite other people, and set access permissions. In general, it is easy to keep and work with your documents in one place.
What is so unique about Microsoft Office 365:
BoardDocs is an online tool that will help to organize collaboration. With its help, users can formulate guidelines, implement policies, discuss issues, collect ideas, and conduct online meetings with carefully prepared agendas.
What is so unique about BoardDocs:
- Designed for school systems, municipalities, and public governing bodies.
- Recording and video conferencing.
- Library categories.
Quip organizes online collaboration on documents and task lists in a very smooth way as it helps teams to work faster and more productive.
This online document collaboration tool serves well for making collaborative meetings notes and managing projects. Quip will be the place where you and your team will keep all documentation to get work done.
What is so unique about Quip:
- Possibilities to add project trackers, calendars, and many other tools right into a Quip document.
- Combines team chat, checklists, documents, and spreadsheet in one place.
This tool is more about collaboration to organize online sales workflow. Actually, this is powerful all-in-one software that offers plenty of features. With its help, users can create and edit documents, connect to payment systems, organize team workspaces and track their performance, eSign documents, and do many other things.
In the case of PandaDoc, it is better to test it on your own as this software is really powerful with lots of features.
What is so unique about PandaDoc:
- Interactive and personalized documents.
- Automated quote creation.
- Pre-approved templates.
- Document tracking.
- Powerful integrations.
28. Creativity 365
Creativity 365 offers Individual, Business, and Education content creation solutions. With the help of this tool, teams can easily collaborate online and implement their concepts across desktop and mobile devices.
The complete suite include five apps: Animation desk for creating your own animation, GIFs or storyboards; Write-on Video for making and editing movies; NoteLedge for taking notes, sketching ideas or recording moments; Markup for making annotations of Web pages, ePub or PDF documents and sharing them; Pocket Scanner for scanning paperwork and digitalizing it.
What is so unique about Creativity 365:
- Great for creative teams.
- Enormous storage capacities.
- Presentation feature.
Worth mentioning tools in the documentation management category
Etherpad as it is an online editor that is highly customizable and an open source.
File sharing tools
29. Google Drive
This is another well-known product by Google and, probably, the most popular online file sharing tool. If there is a need to save documents, images, drawings, tables, or any other digital file, Google Drive is a strongly reliable handler.
The files you store in the tool will be accessible by anyone from your team, anytime. With Google Drive, online collaboration is a breeze.
What is so unique about Google Drive:
- Easiness of use.
- First 15 GB of storage are free for a Google account.
- Files are accessible from any device.
Dropbox is also a highly widespread online file sharing tool. Users can easily store their media files in it and share them with team members what gives great opportunities for real-time collaboration from any device at any given moment.
The business version of Dropbox gives access to a long list of super features: file and version recovery, smart synchronization, admin dashboard, and many others.
What is so unique about Dropbox:
- Free version for individuals with up to 2 GB file storage.
- An unbelievable number of integrated apps.
Wiredrive makes media management and collaboration processes smooth and easy to deal with. The tool can become a centralized place where creative teams can store project related files.
Shared workplaces for projects and teams allow for quick online collaboration between team members: you can review, comment, and track all activity. By the way, shared work is encrypted so you don’t have to worry about security issues.
What is so unique about Wiredrive:
- Notifications that keep everyone from a team updated.
- Robust search and filtering.
- Presentations in seconds.
OneDrive, the Microsoft product, allows saving files for free of up to 5 GB with an instant online access from any device be it your phone, tablet or computer. Moreover, the tool provides with an offline access – you can work with your documents anytime, anywhere.
The collaboration itself is a breeze. Users can share photos, files, and folders with anyone they want. For that, you only need to send a link – that’s it. If you are concerned about security, you can set expiration dates for shared files.
With OneDrive, users can organize online collaboration with team members in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote from any device.
What is so unique about OneDrive:
Hightail will be your choice if you need working opportunities for file sharing, creative collaboration, and project management.
File sharing opportunities allow for sending large multimedia files with ease. For this, just select, drag & drop or import your files from other services – Hightail will cover you. Creative online collaboration provides a single space for teams what eliminates miscommunication issues. With project management features, users can gather team members, set up to-do lists for them, comment on assignments, and assign follow-ups.
What is so unique about Hightail:
- Access codes and expiration dates.
- Lots of file formats supported for previewing.
- Files track delivery.
- Version control.
The tool allows for online real-time collaboration with business-class file sharing opportunities that are backed by high security and encryption standards. Then, you can access your shared files from any device. ShareFiles allows users to co-edit documents, get real-time feedback, and request approvals.
Also, ShareFile offers quite an unusual feature for file sharing category – legally binding eSignatures.
With this online collaboration tool, teams report that they manage to increase productivity and save time.
What is so unique about ShareFile:
- Two-factor authentication.
- Industry-leading encryption.
- Integration with Office 365.
- Secure eSignatures.
- Real-time tracking.
Worth mentioning tools in the file sharing category
Box as it is an enterprise level system with lots of features.
Mediafire as it remains simple and offers powerful features.
Knowledge management tools
This collaboration tool has an answer and question format. Here, users can write articles, leave comments, asks questions, like ideas, etc. In the tool, it is easy to structure all the post or organize them in such a way that it gets really easy to find what you were looking for.
What is so unique about AnswerHub:
In Confluence, online collaboration is centralized and the information is kept up-to-date. The software allows for creating, sharing, and collaborating on projects in one place. It significantly simplifies the way teams collaborate online.
Users can create notes, receive feedback, comment on tasks, create project plans, include multimedia or any other dynamic content. Also, your structured information is kept in one location. Thus, your customers can access it and help themselves with knowledge.
What is so unique about Confluence:
BoostHQ is a place you can organize, discuss, and share the knowledge of your company. The tool helps to create a resource library of your organization where you can collaborate through sharing materials, allowing employees to share their ideas and thoughts, and organizing content by groups and categories for further convenient search. As a result, users are able to build a robust learning community.
With the analytics in this online collaboration software, you’ll know what content is used most and who is the most active in your team.
What is so unique about BoostHQ:
- Smart content search.
- Robust analytics.
- Good for sales and marketing teams, customer service.
This online collaboration tool can be used for two purposes: for knowledge sharing and for customer insights. In the first case, it will help your team to find online the exact company-related information at any given moment. In the latter case, the platform helps to manage research and make it accessible.
In general, Bloomfire allows for spending less time on content search and increasing the efficiency of online collaboration in your team.
What is so unique about Bloomfire:
In Crowdbase, users can gather documents, reports, articles, build a library of answers, share files, video, etc. All the content needed for collaboration is stored in one place and in the secure and private environment.
The tool allows for creating private space or groups of interests. Thus, users will follow only those sections they have the concern about.
What is so unique about Crowdbase:
- Content can be sorted out.
- Third-party integrations.
- Can be served as an intranet for small and medium companies.
Nuclino is a knowledge sharing platform where your team will be able to collaborate online from the very first steps of using it. It is an easy-to-understand software with lots of useful features.
In the online tool, users can write and edit articles together with team members and enrich content with images, videos, embeds, code blocks, etc. Also, Nuclino offers version history: if there is a need to restore previous content, users can simply undo unnecessary actions.
The tool has iOS and Android apps. All the work is synchronized across devices.
What is so unique about Nuclino:
- Flexible views: users can work in lists, boards or graphs.
- Linked documents.
- Instant search.
- Integrations with world-known applications.
Worth mentioning tools in the knowledge management category
KBPublisher as it is an easy to use and open source tool.
ProProfs as you can try their Knowledge Base tool for free with up to 20 pages and it is forever free. Note: only one user is permitted.
iMeetCentral as it offers plenty of features.
What online collaboration tools do you use?
If you use some other tools for collaboration with your team and I haven’t described them, please, give us your feedback in the comments below!