The Internet is full of great free tools that you can use both for working and for personal use in your free time. But sometimes it might be difficult to find that 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, I’ve picked the best free virtual collaboration tools available. This is a growing list, so if you have any suggestions, please feel free to get in touch.
1. Google Docs
Perhaps one of the best known collaboration tools around, this is Google’s answer to the Microsoft Office productivity suite. It has an incredibly pleasant and easy-to-use interface, and anyone who has previously used a productivity suite will easily adapt to it. This tool lets users share links that lead colleagues to documents that are being worked on. They can then just view or edit the documents in real-time. There is also a chat facility available, so users can communicate while they work on documents. It supports up to 10 people at a time on presentations and word processing documents and up to 50 people on a spreadsheet.
This is a simple free online collaboration room that is ideal for holding virtual brainstorms. Its main feature is its whiteboard, which can be changed by multiple users in real-time. While it doesn’t allow for the upload of documents, it does let users upload and download pictures. Users can also use the tool’s VoIP capabilities to transmit audio. It’s very easy to get started with Scribblar, and signup takes less than a minute. Even users who have never done an online brainstorming session before can learn how to use this tool quickly and easily.
This online collaboration tool is browser-based and open source and is completely free of charge. While it’s clearly still being worked on, 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 as well as project milestones and also to manage files. Users can download time tracker reports, synchronize their calendars receive e-mail notifications when a document has been changed.
In its free version, users can log in for a one-off session as guests. What is great about this is that it’s incredibly easy to get started and immediately start collaborating. This tool is good for those who need a platform to collaborate during a phone conference, so there is no need to e-mail files during the call. In the free version, it’s possible to share pictures, files and e-mail and also to capture a screen. But it’s important to keep in mind that since no accounts have been created, nothing gets stored in the tool. Therefore, it’s important to save any documents locally so they don’t get lost.
The free version of this tool is perfect for small teams, since it allows up to five users at a time. It has plenty of features and includes two workspaces, which share 1GB of storage, enough for several word processing files, for example. Basic features include file sharing, discussion forums, virtual calendars, online diagrams, tasks, milestones and also a custom URL for the workspace. It is also a browser-based tool, so accessible from anywhere with an Internet connection. It has a pleasant and clean interface, and is easy-to-use.
This is a perfect collaboration tool for those who want to work from their iPad or other mobile devices. It has a whopping 30GB of storage, so can even support media-heavy projects. Glide allows up to six people to collaborate at a time. The free account includes the option for users to create Glide e-mail accounts, which can be checked from the tool’s workspace. In addition, there is a word processor, spreadsheet editor, a spectacular photo editor, calendar and more. The workspace looks much like a desktop and is clean and pleasant to use.