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There are plenty of online collaboration tools for teams available, so figuring out which is best for you is tough. You want to communicate more effectively and share information seamlessly, but need to figure out which tool is the best fit. I've got you! In this post I make things simple, leveraging my experience managing big, complex projects, and using dozens of different collaboration tools to bring you this shortlist of the best online collaboration tools for teams.

Why Trust Our Collaboration Tools Reviews

We’ve been testing and reviewing collaboration tools since 2012. As project managers ourselves, we know how critical and difficult it is to make the right decision when selecting software.

We invest in deep research to help our audience make better software purchasing decisions. We’ve tested more than 2,000 tools for different project management use cases and written over 1,000 comprehensive software reviews. Learn how we stay transparent & our collaboration tools review methodology.

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How To Choose Online Collaboration Tools

With so many different collaboration tools solutions available, it can be challenging to make decisions on what collaboration tools is going to be the best fit for your needs.

As you're shortlisting, trialing, and selecting collaboration tools consider the following:

  • What problem are you trying to solve - Start by identifying the collaboration tools feature gap you're trying to fill to clarify the features and functionality the collaboration tools needs to provide.
  • Who will need to use it - To evaluate cost and requirements, consider who'll be using the software and how many licenses you'll need. You'll need to evaluate if it'll just be the project teams or the whole organization that will require access. When that's clear, it's worth considering if you're prioritizing ease of use for all, or speed for your collaboration tools power users.
  • What other tools it needs to work with - Clarify what tools you're replacing, what tools are staying, and the tools you'll need to integrate with, such as accounting, CRM or HR software. You'll need to decide if the tools will need to integrate together, or alternatively, if you can replace multiple tools with one consolidated collaboration tool.
  • What outcomes are important - Consider the result that the software needs to deliver to be considered a success. Consider what capability you want to gain, or what you want to improve, and how you will be measuring success. For example, an outcome could be the ability to get greater visibility into performance. You could compare collaboration tools features until you’re blue in the face but if you aren’t thinking about the outcomes you want to drive, you could be wasting a lot of valuable time.
  • How it would work within your organization - Consider the software selection alongside your workflows and delivery methodology. Evaluate what's working well, and the areas that are causing issues that need to be addressed. Remember every business is different — don’t assume that because a tool is popular that it'll work in your organization.

Best Collaboration Tools Reviews

Here’s a list of the top online collaboration tools to improve your virtual teamwork:

1

MediaValet

Best for enterprise-grade security in digital asset collaboration

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.5
122 reviews

Free demo available

Custom pricing available upon request

MediaValet is recognized as a leading digital asset management (DAM) solution. It can facilitate remote collaboration on files and documents, and offers tools to help you keep your digital assets organized and searchable.

Why I chose MediaValet: I selected this platform for its robust collaboration tools, which include global distribution and customizable access. Teams that rely on digital assets to do their work will benefit from having the platform as a central repository for all their creative assets. You can use the system to store and manage your documents, images, videos, and other assets, but also to control the access to those assets. The system also provides a high level of security. You'll have peace of mind knowing it's SOC 2 compliant and encrypted.

MediaValet Standout Features and Integrations

One standout feature of this software are its AI capabilities. I was impressed by how it can automate asset tagging, saving your team the manual workload. It can also make your assets highly searchable through its color, face, and text recognition. Another cool feature is the ability to transcribe video and audio content, making it searchable, too.

Integrations include Wrike, Workfront, Slack, OKTA, Active Directory, WordPress. Drupal 8, Adobe Creative Cloud, Sharepoint, Office 365, Hootsuite, and more. You can also access an open API that will help you build custom integrations with your current tech stack.

Pros

  • High level of security
  • Excellent customer support
  • Regular updates and improvements

Cons

  • Limited offline access to files
  • Limited customization options
2

Smartsheet

Best collaboration tool for a high level of security

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.4
7400 reviews

Freemium version available

From $7/user/month

Smartsheet is a spreadsheet-based project management software that helps you manage projects, automate processes, and scale up to enterprise-level programs and portfolios.

Why I picked Smartsheet: This software is designed with enterprise businesses in mind and as such, has a very high level of security. I picked it for teams who are looking to collaborate virtually, but keep their data well-governed. Granular access controls help you ensure only approved collaborators have access to specific information. The platform's request forms and approval workflows also caught my attention, as they ensure an effective transfer of data and information to right people at the right time.

Smartsheet Standout Features & Integrations

Standout features include the no-code, automated workflow builder and the system's document management capabilities. I particularly like how you can set up automated workflows to streamline your processes and reduce manual tasks. As for file management, proofing and approvals are included as well as version control to ensure no important information is lost.

Integrations include Google Workspace, Microsoft Office 365, Box, DocuSign, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Gmail, Outlook, and many other apps. Some integrations require Business or Enterprise plans.

Pros

  • Plenty of self-serve knowledge base content
  • Ability to collaborate with external partners
  • Comprehensive enterprise work management platform

Cons

  • Robust system, comes with a learning curve
  • Freemium limited to 2 editors
3

Wrike

Best collaboration tool for teams of all sizes

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.2
2545 reviews

Free plan available

From $9.80/user/month

Wrike is a workflow management software that's highly configurable and easy to use, making it suitable for teams of all sizes.

Why I picked Wrike: This platform made my list because of its versatility. It has a large suite of project management features, from resource management to approval flows to request forms and more. As for collaboration, team members can share files and chat in real-time with threaded messages and @-mentions to stay in the loop and work together more effectively. You can easily jump around from your home screen to timesheets, dashboards, calendars, and an activity stream to keep up with project progress, roadblocks, and updates.

Wrike Standout Features & Integrations

One standout feature is the customizability of the platform. If categories like 'task' and 'project' don't quite fit your team's workflow, you can update it to a custom work type. Another great feature is the depth of detail with which you can outline projects and tasks. Task lists, subtasks, in-task discussions, and more ensure no detail goes undocumented.

Integrations include Microsoft Suite, Google Workspace, Asana, Basecamp, Dropbox, Salesforce, HubSpot, Jira, Slack, Shopify, and hundreds more.

Pros

  • Lots of smart AI and automation features
  • Guest access available
  • Free plan with unlimited users

Cons

  • Resource management limited to higher-tier plans
  • Real-time reports not included in free or basic plan
4

MyHub

Best for flexible internal knowledge sharing

14-day free trial

From $1,300/year for 50 users

MyHub Intranet Solutions is an internal intranet platform for businesses. It can be used for various use cases and contexts, and helps improve and streamline knowledge sharing among a workforce.

Why I picked MyHub Intranet Solutions: I added this tool to my list because it helps users keep documents, policies, processes, and more organized. It's a flexible intranet that can be used to create different types of content and communications channels, including blogs, forums, calendars, newsfeeds, and more.

In addition to content and information management, the software offers task automation and collaboration tools for teams. You'll be able to set up automated workflows to facilitate repeated processes and tasks, and discuss things in real-time with live chat. Surveys and feedback forms help tap into ideas and sentiments of your workforce.

MyHub Intranet Solutions Standout Features & Integrations

Standout features include the platform's template library, which boasts over 60 ready-made templates you can use to quickly set up a page or wiki. Another cool feature is the ability to create quizzes. This helps make training and learning more engaging, and ensures staff have the information they need.

Integrations include Salesforce, Microsoft 365, Gmail, Google Cloud Platform, Google Calendar, and Microsoft Azure.

Pros

  • Intuitive, friendly, and easy to learn
  • Remote access via mobile devices
  • Step-by-step guides and videos available

Cons

  • Limited customization options
  • Limitations in analytics capabilities
5

Visor

Best for collaborating across time zones

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
5
3 reviews

Free plan available

From $9/user/month

Visor is an online collaboration tool for remote teams who need to work together in real time and manage projects in a centralized location. Visor allows you to create free Gantt charts and spreadsheets that connect to SaaS apps like Jira or Hubspot and update data accordingly, thanks to its 2-way sync.

Why I picked Visor: I chose Visor as one of the best online collaboration tools for teams because it is intuitive, easy to use, and offers all the features you need to collaborate with your team effectively. On top of that, Visor allows you to share project plans with stakeholders who don't use apps like Jira, which I think makes it especially useful for collaborating with clients or outside contractors.

Visor also caught my attention because its task management system is robust and easy to use. You can create tasks, assign them to team members, set due dates, and track progress all in one place. Plus, the chat feature makes it easy to communicate with team members about specific tasks or projects. You can also customize your dashboard with widgets for tasks, messages, files, and more, making it easy to keep track of everything that's going on within your team.

Visor Standout Features & Integrations

Features include API, dashboards, data export/data import, data visualization, external integrations, Gantt charts, project management, task scheduling/tracking, resource management, and third-party plugins/add-ons.

Integrations include Salesforce, HubSpot, and Jira. You can also import data from Google Sheets and Excel.

Visor plans start at $9 per user per month, and they also have a free forever plan that includes the basics.

6

Axero

Best for building an intranet or extranet

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.2
53 reviews

14-day free trial

From $2,000/month for up to 200 users

Axero is a knowledge sharing platform that can be used to build out content hubs for internal and external collaboration. It's a flexible solution that's adaptable to the needs of various types and sizes of businesses.

Why I picked Axero: I decided to give this platform a spot on my list for its capacity to build a knowledge base for either internal or external collaborators (or both). It's flexible enough to suit various contexts, yet provides the necessary structure to keep information organized, accessible, and accounted for.

You can create both public and private spaces in your company wiki, and build out content in various formats. Blog posts, forums, surveys, and broadcasts are among the supported content types. Meanwhile, commenting and like buttons allow for engagement and interaction, and live chat lets you keep all communications centralized in one space.

Axero Standout Features and Integrations

Standout features of this tool include its best-in-class mobile apps. Your knowledge base will be fully accessible from iOS and Android devices, helping to enable a distributed or mobile workforce. Higher-tier plans also allow for white labeling of the mobile apps, so you can customize it to reflect your company branding and provide a familiar environment to your collaborators.

Integrations include Outlook 365, Sharepoint, OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, Google Workspace, Slack, Zoom, Dropbox, Box, Unsplash, and Twilio, among others.

Pros

  • Suitable to the needs of larger organizations
  • Can be used for internal and external knowledge sharing
  • Highly flexible and customizable to various contexts

Cons

  • Takes time to get familiar with all features
  • Integrations not included in starter plan
7

Miro

Best collaboration tool for virtual whiteboards

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.8
3415 reviews

Free plan available

From $10/user/month

Miro is a collaborative online whiteboard built to facilitate brainstorming, ideation, team meetings, project planning, and other team activities.

Why I picked Miro: I decided to include this platform because of how versatile and flexible it is. Your team can start with a blank canvas or choose from the 1,000+ pre-built templates included. Its visual, interactive space for real-time teamwork particularly stood out to me. The elements you can use in your whiteboard include sticky notes, shapes, lines, arrows, graphs, GIFs, and even videos. I also love that members can use emoji reacts and comments to collaborate on ideas, making teamwork both more direct and more fun.

Miro Standout Features & Integrations

Some of the standout features of Miro include its robust resources for continuous learning. Miro Academy, online events, and a community forum help you uncover new uses and features of the product and improve your teamwork skills. Some other nice features are timers, music, and voting, which are useful for meetings and brainstorming sessions. 

Integrations include Zoom, Figma, Asana, Microsoft Teams, Jira, Slack, Google Drive, Box, Airtable, Notion, Azure, and Webex. Some integrations are limited to paid plans only.

Pros

  • Highly versatile and flexible solution
  • Thousands of customizable templates
  • Intuitive and easy setup

Cons

  • Zooming can be jumpy on larger projects
  • No high-quality PDF export with free plan
8

FigJam by Figma

Best collaboration tool for designers

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.7
1032 reviews

Free plan available

From $3/user/month

FigJam is an online whiteboard that supports team collaboration, and connects easily with Figma's design platform. Its functionalities cater to various group activities, like stand-up meetings and brainstorming sessions.

Why I chose FigJam by Figma: This platform is highly flexible and well-suited to the needs of various types of teams. But I chose it because its integration with Figma's design platform makes it a good choice for teams looking for a collaboration tool that complements their existing design processes. In a world where disjointed tech stacks continually make teamwork more challenging, I love that FigJam allows design teams to work together within the same environment they use to do their work.

The whiteboard tool is highly flexible and can be used for all kinds of purposes. You can use its stickers, comments, shapes, lines, arrows, images, and more to map out concepts, ideas, and plans. There are also tons of pre-built templates to help you get started, from brainstorming outlines to retrospective structures to project management and roadmapping tools.

FigJam by Figma Standout Features & Integrations

Some standout features I really appreciate about FigJam are the precise ways it connects with the Figma design platform. You can share assets between the two systems, turning your rough concepts into more structured prototypes. It also has some super useful automations, which can do things like auto-sort your sticky notes or consolidate notes into clear action items.

Integrations include Figma, Microsoft Teams, Asana, Jira, Mixpanel, and Github.

Pros

  • Freemium plan for up to 3 files
  • User-friendly and intuitive
  • Super helpful integration with Figma

Cons

  • Non-Figma users may not get all the benefits
  • Onboarding and account support locked to enterprise plan
9

Troop Messenger

Best virtual team communication tool

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.8
102 reviews

7-day free trial

From $2.50/user/month

Troop Messenger is a team communication platform that helps remote and hybrid teams keep in touch and stay aligned on their work.

Why I picked Troop Messenger: This platform's major features caught my attention, include instant messaging, voice and video calling, video conferencing, file sharing, and screen sharing and remote screen control. The main reason Troop Messenger made it onto my list, however, is because of its extensive capabilities for connecting team members working together but apart. It keeps all of your communications in a single platform, making it easier to find information and keep conversations centralized. I also want to note that, although it’s a SaaS tool, self-hosting, API, and custom application options are available, too.

Troop Messenger Standout Features & Integrations

Standout features I find especially useful in this tool are its more advanced capabilities. It has a 'respond later' option and a 'burnout' option that lets you set a message to send at a later time. The self-messaging feature is also unique—a simple but useful feature that lets you send reminders and notes to yourself. Finally, the 'forkout' feature lets you send bulk text messages and files to multiple users at once, and when viewing files you see a preview so you don't have to download to see them.

Integrations include Google Drive, Dropbox, and LDAP. You can also connect it to a paid Zapier account for additional integrations. The app is available across Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, and iOS.

Pros

  • High level of security (end-to-end encryption, MFA)
  • Extensive filters for search function
  • Ability to invite guest collaborators

Cons

  • Group calling not included in basic plan
  • No free-forever plan available
10

Forecast

Best collaboration tool between teams and clients

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.7
253 reviews

Free demo available

Pricing upon request

Forecast is a project and resource management software that's well-suited to the needs of professional services teams and agencies.

Why I picked Forecast: I selected Forecast for this list primarily due to its extremely organized approach to team collaboration. Teams can manage their projects and tasks easily with the software's Kanban boards, task cards with subtasks and dependencies, and velocity tracking tools, which I think makes this tool excellent for teams that have intersecting project management and team collaboration needs. Team members can also collaborate by commenting, sharing files, and logging hours in task cards.

But what stood out most to me about this tool is its client-facing capabilities. You can set up access permissions for your projects and tasks so that external collaborators can stay up to date and contribute to the work.

Forecast Standout Features & Integrations

Some standout features this product offers are its AI capabilities and financial management tools. The software's AI can provide timesheet suggestions, calculate time estimates for tasks, and assign resources to specific projects or tasks. You can also run your billing and invoicing through the software, keeping it in the same place you're sharing project information with clients.

Integrations include Slack, Microsoft Teams, iCloud Calendar, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Outlook, Harvest, Trello, Asana, GitLab, Github, and dozens more using a paid plan through Zapier. Higher-tier subscriptions include native integrations with Timelog, Xero, QuickBooks Online, JIRA, Azure DevOps, Salesforce, Okta, OneLogin, and Azure Active Directory.

Pros

  • Designed for agencies and service providers
  • Smart AI tools streamline and automate your workflows
  • Manage projects, financials, and resources in one place

Cons

  • 20 user minimum for all plans
  • No free plan available
11

Blink

Best collaboration software for deskless workers

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.6
136 reviews

14-day free trial + free demo

From $6.18/user/month

Blink is an online communication tool designed to fit the needs of a deskless workforce.

Why I picked Blink: If you ask me, workplace communication is at the heart of this software. I love that Blink offers direct messaging, group chats, and top-down communications via a company news feed. Moreover, I decided to include it in my list because of how friendly it is to non-office workers. The mobile app is available for both iOS and Android devices, so your team members can have access from their personal or company-provided mobile devices.

In addition to the communication features, the platform also offers an employee recognition tool and engagement tracking tools. You can facilitate peer-to-peer recognition messages and automated messages for things like anniversaries and birthdays. Employee surveys are also included to help you keep a pulse on morale and engagement levels.

Blink Standout Features & Integrations

Some standout features include the platform's analytics capabilities for admins features. You can track post-by-post analytics, and track hub analytics to measure interactions and adoption. You can also track metrics at a company and team level to dig deeper. Another cool feature is the mandatory reads option, which can be added to communications to ensure employees read through important announcements.

Integrations include Jira, Trello, ADP, Workday, Typeform, Dropbox, GitHub, Box, Office 365, and Google Workplace, among others. You can also build new integrations with the software's public APIs.

Pros

  • 24/7 support with all plans
  • User-friendly and intuitive to navigate
  • Custom branding can be implemented

Cons

  • API access restricted to Enterprise plan
  • No free forever plan available
12

Approval Studio

Best collaboration software for creative agencies

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.9
27 reviews

14 days free trial for Lite/Pro packages and 30 days for Enterprise package. No credit card required.

From $35/5 user/month

Approval Studio is a design approval software that allows for design feedback and annotation throughout the creation process.

Why I picked Approval Studio: This software made it onto my list because of how useful it is for creative teams, especially creative agencies. You can manage your creative projects and set up approval flows to ensure feedback and proofing rounds are done in an efficient and consistent way. I am especially impressed by the level of detailed feedback that the platform encourages people to provide. For example, there are 4 different annotation types, which allows for more granular version control and supports collaborative iteration on creative assets. You can also have real-time review sessions using the software's live updates.

Approval Studio Standout Featuress & Integrations

Standout features include the free online demo and training sessions available from the company. I found these super helpful for getting teams up to speed on all the features and functionalities of the platform. They can also help you discover new ways of using the product to better suit your workflows.

Integrations include Shopify and Slack. You can also set up tons of other integrations with a paid Zapier account.

Pros

  • Unlimited projects and external reviews with all plans
  • Custom branding options with all plans
  • Supports over 20 different file types

Cons

  • No free plan available
  • Several feature restrictions with the Lite plan
13

Evernote

Best collaborative note taking app

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.4
2098 reviews

Free plan available

From $17.99/month

Evernote is a note-taking app where teams can store records and documents, plan projects, and communicate.

Why I picked Evernote: I picked this platform because it's a great way to keep track of multimedia notes and information in one place. You can collect web clippings, meeting notes, images, to-do lists and more, and share them with other team members as needed. I also like how customizable the dashboard is, with lots of widgets to choose from so you can set it up however you like. There's also a virtual bulletin board, which makes it easy to share info and announcements with your whole team.

Evernote Standout Features & Integrations

Some of the software's standout features include the ability to search through handwritten notes, and digitize paper documents. You can also create your own custom templates, speeding up your future note-taking and records-keeping activities. The ability to annotate PDFs also stands out to me as a small feature that can be incredibly useful.

Integrations include Google Drive, Outlook, Salesforce, Slack, and Microsoft Teams.

Pros

  • Free plan available for individual users
  • Excellent web clipping capabilities
  • Fast, accurate search functionality

Cons

  • Limited offline capabilities
  • Admin tools not included in basic team plan
14

Backlog

Best for development teams

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.5
162 reviews

30-day free trial

From $35/month

Backlog's unique feature set caught my attention, as it offers project management, bug tracking, and version control management in a single app. I would therefore definitely recommend this app if you're looking for a tool to help manage development projects or working closely with a team of developers.

I should note that, because it offers more features than most project management apps, this app is visually more complex than some of the other apps on this list. Backlog provides a hands-on tool your developers can use to take projects from start to release to maintenance while ensuring transparency and accountability across teams.

Backlog works for a range of team sizes, and they offer a self-hosted Enterprise option for larger companies. Its collaboration features include task management (including subtasks, checklists, and custom fields), milestones, file management, wikis, and more. For collaborating on code, you get SVN and Git repositories, a differences viewer and inline comments, plus pull requests, merge requests, and branches. Visually, the app provides burndown charts, Git graphs, Kanban boards, and Gantt charts, so users can quickly assess projects at a glance.

They also provide a mobile app on both iOS and Android for collaborating on-the-go. It integrates with Nulab's other apps and provides both Redmine and Jira importers.

Backlog is free for up to 10 users with some feature limitations or $35/month for up to 30 users. For $100/month, your team gets unlimited users, i.e. their Standard Plan.

15

Filestage

Best collaboration tool for feedback management

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.7
85 reviews

7-day free trial

From $24/user/month

Filestage is a review and approval platform used by agencies and in-house creative teams around the world. From sharing files to collecting feedback, I believe it can help speed up every step of your creative review process.

Why I picked Filestage: Though it is an overall collaboration tool, I have noticed that feedback management is where Filestage really shines. You can invite reviewers to add comments and discuss ideas right alongside your content and create review steps to group feedback from different types of stakeholders, like Creative, Account management, and Client. Add in automated timecodes, version comparisons, annotations, and attachments, and I think that Filestage is a great feedback platform.

Additionally, I am very impressed that Filestage allows users to see every review step, file format, version, and reviewer in your project, with status indicators to show who’s approved what in a centralized dashboard. At any stage in your creative review process, you can see exactly where things are at a glance.

Filestage Standout Features & Integrations

Features include unlimited reviewers, one-click approvals, annotations, project dashboards, file attachments, version comparisons, centralized approvals, threaded comments, mentions, and custom branding.

Integrations include Slack, Microsoft Teams, Adobe Creative Cloud, and Asana. Additionally, you can access thousands more apps through their integration partners, like Pabbly.

You can also invite an unlimited number of reviewers and external uploaders to your account for free.

Other Collaboration Tools

Although we haven’t included these in the review, there are some other collaboration tools that we haven’t had the chance to dive into fully yet.

  1. MindGenius

    Best for small teams of 10 or less

  2. Samepage

    Best collaboration mobile app

  3. Todoist

    Best collaborative task management

  4. Ziflow

    Best for creative asset collaboration

  5. Creately

    Canvas in-app video conferencing

  6. Teamwork.com

    Company-wide chat feature with video call capability to improve communication

  7. Redbooth

    Best for creating team dashboards

  8. Gmelius

    Best collaboration tool for Gmail

  9. Asana

    Best for individual project views

  10. ProjectManager.com

    Best with built-in employee onboarding

  11. GatherContent

    Best for collaborative content management

  12. Hibox

    Best with meeting management tools

  13. Podio

    Best for low-code automated workflows

  14. Confluence

    Best flexibility & customization capabilities to adapt to your unique workflows

  15. Basecamp

    Best collaboration tool for scaling teams

  16. Ideagen Huddle

    Best document collaboration tool

  17. nutcache

    Best with invoicing and expense management

  18. Next Matter

    Best for handling complex, cross-functional workflows

  19. Punchlist

    Best for feedback and approvals

  20. OppolisCloud

    Best for creative collaboration on the go

If you still haven't found what you're looking for here, check out these other project management tool reviews we've curated for you:

Selection Criteria for Collaboration Tools

Selecting collaboration tools can be a challenging process as it must meet an array of specific needs and functionalities. However, through my experience and research, I have identified key criteria that define a top-tier collaboration tool. These include core functionality, additional standout features, ease of use, onboarding process, customer support, value for money, and user reviews.

Core Collaboration Tools Functionality (25% of final scoring): Common features for collaboration tools typically include real-time collaboration, project management capabilities, document sharing, tracking progress, chat functionality, video conferencing, mobile access, task assignment, integration with other software, and data security.

To be considered for inclusion on my list of the best collaboration tools, the solution had to support the ability to fulfill common use cases. These standard use cases cover crucial aspects that virtually every tool in the category provides:

  • Team collaboration and communication
  • Task scheduling and management
  • File management and sharing
  • Real-time editing and feedback
  • Data security and integrity

Additional Standout Features (25% of final scoring): Unique features and functionalities are indicators that a tool is pushing beyond the generic requirements of collaboration tools. For example, platforms such as Slack offering application integration or Trello providing visual project management through Kanban boards. I favor tools that raise the collaboration bar through innovative features and functionalities.

Usability (10% of final scoring): Evaluation of the tool's capability and complexity against its ease of use and aesthetic design is critical. An intuitive user interface and simple navigation, similar to Canva's drag-and-drop design platform, are examples of usability features I look for.

Onboarding (10% of final scoring): The ease of migration to a new software is paramount. Access to training videos, interactive product tours, chatbots for instant support, webinars, and ready-to-use templates, are pivotal in simplifying the onboarding process.

Customer Support (10% of final scoring): Reliable and round-the-clock customer support is a crucial criterion, especially when dealing with technical glitches or platform queries. Rapid response times, availability of live support, and an extensive knowledge base are particular aspects I evaluate.

Value for Money (10% of final scoring): A cost-effective solution that offers a competitive array of features is always admired. By comparing the variety of features against the pricing plans, I assess whether the tool provides value for its cost.

Customer Reviews (10% of final scoring): Candid reviews from real users provide insights into the actual performance of the tool. Solid ratings, positive testimonials regarding functionalities and customer service, and overall user satisfaction are specifically looked upon during the evaluation.

Combining these criteria gives a holistic approach to evaluating and choosing the right collaboration tool for you or your team.

The landscape of collaboration tools has been rapidly evolving to cater to the persistently transforming dynamics of teamwork and project management. Through deep analysis of product updates, press releases, and release logs from numerous influential tools, several distinct trends come to light. These trends reflect how collaboration technology is innovating to improve communication among team members and with external stakeholders.

Optimized Communication Trends

  • Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) Integration: Collaboration platforms are progressively experimenting with AR and VR to deliver a more immersive communication experience. These technologies help replicate in-person interaction robustly, perfect for remote teams. Tools like Spatial are pioneering this trend by offering a 3D workspace for interactive collaboration. Perhaps we should reconsider making fun of the metaverse after all.

Productivity and Efficiency Trends

  • Advanced Project Visualization: A glaring trend in 2024 is the rise in advanced project visualization tools. Features like Gantt charts, Kanban boards, and mind maps are evolving dramatically, aiding users to visualize their work distinctly.
  • Real-time Collaboration: Collaboration software is putting greater emphasis on real-time collaboration features, such as co-editing, live commenting, and instant updates. These are vital to ensure team members can contribute simultaneously, saving time and boosting productivity. Google Docs is a testament to this feature's popularity.

Security and Integration Trends

  • Enhanced Security Measures: Data security is growing irreplaceable, particularly with the rise in remote work and data protection regulations like GDPR. Collaboration tools are therefore venturing into advanced security measures, including end-to-end encryption and two-factor authentication.
  • Cross-platform Integration: Seamless integration with other project management, communication, and productivity tools is becoming increasingly crucial. As a result, several collaboration tools are expanding their integrations for enhanced data synchronization, ensuring better workflow management.

Declining Trend

  • Stand-alone Applications: Standalone collaboration tools are witnessing a decline in popularity. In 2024, the quest for end-to-end solutions is reducing the demand for single functionality tools. Platforms with combined features of chat, video conferencing, project management, and file sharing are gaining traction, progressively rendering standalone tools obsolete.

Given these trends, the focus will likely remain on enhancing communication, improving productivity, fortifying security, and ensuring synchronization with minimal tools.

What Are Collaboration Tools?

Online collaboration tools for teams are software that facilitate communication, project management, and teamwork over the Internet. These tools enable team members, regardless of their location, to work together in real-time, sharing documents, managing tasks, and conducting meetings through features like cloud-based file sharing, instant messaging, video conferencing, and virtual whiteboards.

They are essential in today's global and remote work environments, helping teams stay connected, aligned, and productive by breaking down the barriers of distance and time zones. Whether it’s for brainstorming sessions, project tracking, or day-to-day communication, these tools ensure that collaboration is seamless, efficient, and effective.

Features Of Collaboration Tools

When selecting a collaboration tool, it's imperative to focus on features that enhance real-time communication, promote stakeholder alignment, and streamline project work. These features form the backbone of successful project collaboration, ensuring that teams remain connected, coordinated, and productive.

  1. Real-time Messaging: This feature enables instant communication among team members. This could be live chat, message boards, voice and video calls, forums, or other ways of staying in touch.
  2. Document Collaboration: Ability to co-edit and share documents is pivotal in maintaining continuity and efficiency in project work while preventing overlapping efforts.
  3. Task/Project Management: It ensures a well-organized workflow, leading to successful project completion. This includes project planning, task management, to-do lists, notifications, timelines, due dates, etc.
  4. Scheduling Tool: A streamlined schedule promotes efficient division and utilization of time. By offering a clear view of deadlines and milestones, it contributes to timely project delivery.
  5. Notification and Alerts: Timely alerts about project updates or changes maintain uninterrupted workflow and decrease the chances of missing out on any crucial information.
  6. File Sharing and Storage: Easy access to all project-related files and documents is indispensable for team collaboration. It assists in maintaining project consistency and accelerates decision-making processes.
  7. User Access Management: Role-based access controls safeguard sensitive project information. They ensure only authorized personnel can make changes, adding an extra layer of security to project management.

The right blend of these features in a collaboration tool simplifies the complexities of teamwork and creates an environment that supports open communication, streamlines workflow, and aligns everyone toward common project goals.

Benefits Of Collaboration Tools

Collaboration tools help overcome common hurdles in project management such as miscommunication, inefficient workflows, and lack of visibility. As a project manager, understanding the power of these tools can help you leverage them to streamline your team's performance and deliver projects efficiently.

  1. Improved Communication: Collaboration tools ensure real-time and efficient communication among team members. By providing a shared platform for discussion, they minimize miscommunication and foster greater transparency.
  2. Enhanced Productivity: Tools with project management capabilities can significantly boost productivity. They help keep track of tasks, deadlines, and milestones, leading to improved team efficiency and on-time project delivery.
  3. Centralized Information: Collaboration tools act as a central repository of all project-related files and documents. This eliminates the time wasted in sorting through scattered files, allowing quick and easy access to data when needed.
  4. Better Stakeholder Management: They enable seamless sharing of progress updates and reports with stakeholders. This fosters a sense of trust and alignment among all parties involved in the project.
  5. Streamlined Workflows: Collaboration tools offer workflow management features that outline the project pathway. It helps in the efficient allotment of tasks, and in identifying and rectifying bottlenecks promptly.

Harnessing the potential of collaboration tools can help in making each project a success story, marking a significant stride in the journey toward project management excellence.

Costs & Pricing For Collaboration Tools

As a software expert specializing in project management tools, I've conducted research on the plan and pricing options available for this type of software to provide valuable insights for potential buyers who may be new to this software category.

These tools offer various pricing plans tailored to meet the diverse needs of businesses and teams, with features ranging from basic communication functionalities to advanced project collaboration options.

Plan Comparison Table for Collaboration Tools

Plan NamePrice (per user/month)Features
Free$0Basic communication, limited users and storage, basic file sharing
Basic$5 - $10Chat, file sharing, basic task management, limited users and storage
Standard$10 - $20Chat, video conferencing, task management, document collaboration, integrations, multiple users and storage
Premium$20 - $50Advanced collaboration features, project tracking, advanced integrations, unlimited users and storage

When choosing a plan, you should carefully assess your business requirements, budget, and desired features. Additionally, evaluate the scalability options offered by each plan to ensure the software can accommodate your growing needs as the business expands.

Collaboration Tools FAQs

Find answers to common questions about remote team collaboration.

What are the types of collaboration tools?

Collaboration software comes in many forms. For example, you’re probably familiar with Slack, a common collaboration online tool with a focus on group instant messaging. Slack, along Google collaboration tools (Drive, Google Docs, Sheets, Hangouts) and perhaps Microsoft collaboration tools (SharePoint, One Drive) are part of collaboration-specific tools.

Today, components of these tools or the tools themselves can be found within many online project management tools. There are also emerging technologies and new types of collaboration platforms coming to market all the time.

Depending on the team you work with, collaboration software could look really different. Customer support teams might rely on their CRM software for collaboration. Meanwhile, design teams might rely on sticky notes inside their UX tools. Really, it’s about finding tools that support your team in whatever work they do.

What are the benefits of collaboration software?

When all project communication, files, and progress are centralized in one place, your team benefits from a clearer exchange of information that will help you avoid miscommunication. If you’ve ever made the mistake of sending an outdated version of a shared document to a client, you’ll understand why collaboration is important.

The benefits of collaboration tools go far beyond improvements in communication, however—with everything accessible in one place, your process becomes more efficient, and you gain a more accurate insight into your project’s progress. Using collaboration and productivity software keeps your team aligned and high-performing.

Can collaboration tools improve remote work?

Yes! Nowadays, remote teams work from different geographies and timezones. This means they never get to share a space like HQ offices and miss out on the interactions and information exchange that organically happens in that environment. Collaboration tools can help connect remote employees, incentivize conversations, and increase the number of touch points between them.

Here are some of the ways in which a collaboration tool help a remote worker:

  • Reducing isolation: These tools provide multiple channels for communication, such as instant messaging, video conferencing, and project-specific discussions.
  • Enabling real-time collaboration: Remote workers can work together on the same document or project plan, leading to faster decision-making and more efficient teamwork.
  • Improving sense of belonging: A collaboration toon will help the remote worker see their tasks, the tasks of others and how they connect to each other. This can help them feel they are a part of a team and how their work impacts others around them.
collaboration tools logos list

Supporting Remote Teamwork With Online Collaboration Tools

In today’s world of work, the ability to collaborate from afar is essential. Not only because of the rise of remote work, but also because of the increase in digital projects. Collaboration fuels digital projects, and keeping your team aligned and on track is important, whether they work in the same physical workspace or not.

The tools outlined in this article will help support your virtual teamwork, and keep your team performing at their best. Try one of the platforms listed here or feel free to do your own research using the information you got from this list.

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By Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and founder of thedpm.com. I've been in the industry for more than 20 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from film to CMS', games to advertising and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony. I'm a Certified Scrum Master, PRINCE2 Practitioner and productivity nut!