Free Online Collaboration Tools

Work and share with your team online at no cost

The internet is full of great free tools you can use for work and personal tasks in your free time. But sometimes, it's difficult to find the perfect tool that does exactly what you need it to do and, best of all, for free. To help you make the most of your virtual collaboration environment, we picked the best free virtual collaboration tools available.

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Best for Android Users: Google Docs

Google docs
What We Like
  • Very intuitive, especially if you've worked with other office suites.

  • Documents are available anywhere, and to anyone you share with.

What We Don't Like
  • Some users might find the app slightly limiting, compared to Microsoft Office.

  • Can't access documents without internet access unless you synced Docs with your computer.

Perhaps one of the best-known collaboration tools around, Google Docs is Google's answer to the Microsoft Office productivity suite. It has a pleasant and easy-to-use interface. Anyone who previously used a productivity suite will easily adapt to it.

This tool lets users share links that lead colleagues to documents being worked on. They can then view or edit the documents in real time. There's also a chat facility, so users can communicate while they work.

It supports up to 10 people at a time on presentations and word processing documents, and up to 50 people on a spreadsheet.​

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Comprehensive Project Management Tools: Collabtive

What We Like
  • A long list of comprehensive project management tools.

  • It's easy to learn and use.

What We Don't Like
  • The last update was in 2017.

  • Requires installation on your server.

This online collaboration tool is browser-based, open-source, and completely free of charge. While it hasn't seen an update in some years, it does have many useful features, especially for small to medium-sized companies. Collabtive can be used for an unlimited number of projects, and your team can have any number of members. This makes it more appropriate for large teams than the free version of Huddle, for example.

The tool can be used to set and track time and project milestones. It can also be used to manage files. Users can download time tracker reports, synchronize their calendars, and receive email notifications when a document has been changed.

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Simple, Yet Powerful Tracking: Timecamp

Task reports in Timecamp.
What We Like
  • Integration with over 100 apps and work tools.

  • Automatic time tracking.

  • One-click timesheet approvals.

What We Don't Like
  • Teams and businesses must pay a monthly subscription.

Timecamp offers a simple yet powerful app for tracking your projects, teams, invoices, and more. It can automatically scan the domain names of your apps and group apps into pre-defined categories. Meanwhile, one-click timesheet approvals and built-in attendance reporting let you keep track of your employees.

Timecamp works with over 100 apps and work tools, including Slack, Trello, Google Calendar, and Quickbooks. It offers a free 14-day trial and is free if you're a solo user. Teams and businesses have to pay a monthly subscription to access its features once the trial ends.

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Best Whiteboard App: Twiddla

What We Like
  • The online sandbox allows you to try the service before deciding.

  • The shared whiteboard is convenient and innovative.

What We Don't Like
  • The free account restricts meeting participants to 10 and the length to 20 minutes.

  • Can't save files and screenshots with the free version.

Twiddla is great because it's easy to get started and collaborate with team members. It's good for those who need a platform to collaborate on during a phone conference, so there's no need to email files during the call.

In its free version, users can log in for a one-off session as guests. It's possible to share pictures, files, email, and also to capture a screen. But it's important to keep in mind that since no accounts were created, nothing gets stored in the tool. It's crucial to save any documents locally, so data doesn't get lost.

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Best Self-Hosted Option: Nextcloud Collabora

Nextcloud Collabora
What We Like
  • Self-hosted and under your control.

  • Simple and familiar interface.

  • Support for a range of formats.

What We Don't Like
  • Requires technical knowledge to set up.

  • Requires hosting.

Nextcloud is known for its top-quality self-hosted cloud storage. Still, few people know it also offers a self-hosted alternative to the Google Docs suite in the form of Nextcloud Collabora.

Nextcloud Collabora is based on LibreOffice, the popular open-source alternative to Microsoft Office. It features a similar interface and controls with more freedom and flexibility. It offers a similar experience in the cloud, introducing the ability to collaborate and share online.

The only downside is the setup. Nextcloud is free because it's self-hosted, meaning you need to set it up on your web host. For some people, that's ideal, and for others, it's a deal-breaker.

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