6 Free Easy-to-Use Online Collaboration Tools – Make Teamwork Simple

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Here at trendblog.net all collaboration happens online, as all 3 of us are currently living in 3 different countries. All this time we have managed to work together perfectly, even without seeing each other for a long time.

Since the initial launch of trendblog.net we had to get used to working together remotely, using only free online collaboration tools. These tools not only allow us to work from 3 different locations, but also to be more productive and organised.

Nowadays, more and more teams/companies are forced to work together remotely. But switching from a regular day-to-day work-flow to a complex and expensive project management software is very difficult to do.

Have you ever struggled to successfully collaborate online with your clients or suppliers?

Which Collaboration Tools Should You Use?

During the last 5 months we have successfully managed to work on several projects using only free online collaboration tools. Some of these tools might be already familiar to you. But still, we want to share them with you.

1. Dropbox

dropbox for online collaboration

Dropbox is probably one tool that we use most for collaboration. With this little software, we are able to have access to all our documents, files, articles and everything else.

As we are all tech junkies, we own quite a few pieces of technology, including multiple notebooks, tablets and smartphones. And we can access our files from each gadget we own. Dropbox is compatible with all popular computer- and mobile platforms. There are native apps built for Windows, Mac, Ubuntu, Android, iOS and Blackberry. Also, you can access your Dropbox from the internet browser. Check out the Dropbox system requirements.

If you aren’t using Dropbox for teamwork, you should definitely consider doing it immediately. This tool allows you to create so-called “shared folders“, which will appear in every team member’s computer. Any file, which has been uploaded to those folders, can be accessed by every person with access to it.

Make sure to check out our post about unusual ways to use Dropbox and how to get more Dropbox space for free!

Dropbox is a must-have for everyone. Seriously.

2. Google Docs

use google docs to edit together

Sometimes we need to work on one document together at the same time. With Google Docs you can do that very easily; This tool allows you to create online documents, presentations and spreadsheets. You don’t even need to have any office software installed – everything happens right in your browser or via the mobile app for iOS and Android.

Just create a document and share the link with other people. Now you can edit the document together at the same time in live-mode.

Of course, every document you create online can be exported and be used offline.

3. Screenhero (beta)

screenhero collaboration screen-sharing

Screenhero is one of the best tools for screen-sharing&  voice chat collaboration.

For instance, if you are working on some kind presentation or any other document, you can simply share your screen with your team and work together on your screen. With Screenhero, all participants will have their own cursor on your screen and will be able to edit documents.

To start collaborating in real-time, every team member first needs to download the Screenhero client for either Windows or Mac OSX. After doing so, simply add your team to your contact list and start collaborating!

Since Screenhero is still in beta, the amount of features is still limited. As of now, only two participants can collaborate in real-time. However, in the near future Screenhero will allow group screen-sharing for all premium users.

4. Skype

online communication and collaboration with skype

If you happen to be in the same situation as us, Skype is probably an application, which you never close. For me it is the most used application on my computer.

All internal communication within the trendblog.net team happens via Skype, either through IM Messaging or video-calls. In spite of being separated by at least 1.500 miles (2.500 km) from each other it seems like we are sitting together in one office.

5. Google Hangouts

use google hangouts for collaboration

With Skype you can only video-chat with 2 people for free. And that’s the reason why we sometimes use Google Hangouts. This tool allows you to have a video-conference with up to 100 people for free.

The new Google Hangouts are great to keep all your communication in one place and synchronized. For the sake of testing the new Hangouts we have ditched all other online communication tools. Make sure to check out our review.

6. Trello

trello project management tool

Over the last few months we have tested pretty much every free team/project collaboration tool out there, including popular ones like Asana and Podio. After trying them we didn’t really feel that these tools were making our lives easier. Instead, managing our projects has become a complicated chore.

But there is one tool out there which is different. Trello uses a card-based system for keeping your project overview as simple as possible. You can create custom columns like “To-Do” or “In Progress” which you will use to organize individual tasks. The tasks will be then added as a small card to the column. For each card you can set a due date, write comments, assign people to it and many more.

Asana, Podio and alike are made for managers. Trello is made for people.

One especially great thing about Trello is the user experience. The interface is very simple to use. For example, you can drag every card from column to column (i.e. after completing a task) and assign people to the card by dragging their profile picture onto the card.

Also, Trello probably has the best mobile and tablet collaboration app out there. The experience is exactly what you would expect from an app, with many features taken from the system it runs on. For example, you can delete tasks on your iPad by swiping them to the left, which will reveal a red “delete” button. This looks very much like the native iOS deleting feature. All of these combined make sure that your learning curve is as smooth as possible and you won’t get a headache while using it.

Check out the video below for a demonstration of how Trello works.

What tools do you use to collaborate with your team?

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Daniel's passion is optimizing stuff, making it work better and faster. And that's what Digital Marketing is about. You can find him on Google+ and Twitter. Online Marketer | Student | Hard Worker | Smart Thinker | Techie
  • Markus

    Nice post. Another nice tool for collaboration is sharelatex.com. It’s a latex environment in the google docs style, perfect for every student or people who writes papers or other documents which should look professional.

  • agreedo

    How about https://www.agreedo.com. It provides collaboration on meeting minutes and agenda. Great for handling meeting content.

  • http://twitter.com/eFileHosting Raban

    I will also add http://www.binfire.com which combines most features the above six apps have in one package.

    • DanielBulygin

      Thanks, Raban. I will definitely check this out. Same goes for Agreedo.
      Are you using any other tools in combination with BinFire?

  • pankaj

    Check out HyperOffice (http://www.hyperoffice.com)

  • http://twitter.com/HimaliG Himali Girkar

    You can also try out Brightpod, a project management app specifically for marketing teams. Includes readymade workflows & a whole bunch of collaboration features.

  • david warner

    Great list of tools. Additionally, one may even deploy on premise RHUB online collaboration appliances in order to conduct webinars, web meetings, web conferences, online meetings etc.

  • Docs9 Administrator

    Perhaps the hottest one around is Docs9

    https://www.docs9.com/

  • Mike

    Thank you for a list. I wish to add something slide different. Have you tried to manage your tasks with web-based task board? I just have started a free trial on KanbanTool http://kanbantool.com and I am looking for other similar solution to make a comparison Do you know any? Do you have any experience with this one? Thank you!

    • DanielBulygin

      Hey Mike, We have used quite a number of different collaboration tools, both free and paid. From my experience, smaller teams (3-4 people) with relatively small projects can stick with the free ones above. But when it comes to more complex projects with lots of dependable tasks using tools like this might come in handy. Some project management tools that might be interesting for you are Podio, Asana and Samepage.io

  • Cley Morel
  • Guest

    Great list of collaboration tools! One tool is missing, though, Fylcloud. It’s basically 39signals’ Basecamp (file sharing, project management, discussion, etc.) but it has some special features for accountants. It was originally developed for cpa’s so definitely worth a try for people in the financial industry.

  • Jimmy

    Also have a look at http://www.proofhub.com/. It is a great online collaboration and project management tool that makes handling work easier, faster and better.

  • Pradeep George

    Thanks for the detailed post . I would like to add iCoordinator Free. You can add read more and register it here. http://www.icoordinator.com/blog/Free-Project-Management-Software

  • Jan Nowak

    Hi. Great list, I actually use most of the tools from above :)

    Lately I found also two different project, there are still under development but look promising

    1. https://teamstatus.tv/ – you can display you key project data, they still have only a batch of integration but new are comming

    2, http://remotestandup.com/ – we use it in our team. On the end of the day every team member receive an email which he answer and then on the begging of the next day whole team receive a summary of what’s going on. Really simple but quite useful.

  • http://www.databay.de Aresch Yavari

    If you just want to edit texts try EasyPad http://www.databay.de/easypad/ It’s an easy etherpad-alternative which is very easy to install and to use.

  • http://www.cloudappsportal.com/ Regina Ritter

    Microsoft’s SharePoint is one of the best online collaboration tool in the market. SharePoint offers many good features for document management, task management, blogging, team management and more.You can try it for free with http://www.cloudappsportal.com/sharepoint/online-collaboration-software/.

  • http://www.casual.pm/ Nick Nikolaev

    Amazing stuff!

    Just a couple of tools, which we use in our team:

    Evernote for knowledge sharing.
    https://www.box.com/ instead of Dropbox
    http://casual.pm/ instead of trello.

    Cheers

  • varitc

    About project collaboration tool, you can also try out http://www.taskworld.com/ . It can brings teams together to work towards the same goal with a simple and to the point task management panel

  • Concept.vu

    We have to put in our vote for Trello – we use it for everything that we do!

    We’d also like to add Concept.vu (http://www.concept.vu) to this list. It’s a client approval tool we just launched to help producers, designers, and project managers get fast feedback and sign off on work. Unlike some other products out there, ours was designed to get fast approval and was built from the ground up with this purpose. It also works in IE8 and with video :)

  • Michelle Etthy

    I’m using VoxyPAD because it’s the only app that lets me talk, draw, view webs and Dropbox files together. There’s a lot it can do. It helps me get instant feedback and increase my productivity. And VoxyPAD’s free (www.voxypad.com)

  • https://www.docs9.com/ Docs9 Administrator

    https://www.docs9.com – Check if that isn’t simpler, and convenient for majority of collaboration needs.

  • http://www.au.mobilepundits.com/ Mobile Pundits

    Such an incredible list of tools.. The world has really opened up to creative marketers. I wonder what the apps are going to be able to do in 5, 10, 15 years from now..

    Optimizely is a tool that continually amazes everyone I know. Great list :)
    Mobile application testing tools

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