The 25 Best Online Collaboration Tools of 2020: Work Better Online

As more people work remotely, it can be difficult to find the right online collaboration tools for your team. Read on for the 25 best online collaboration tools for chatting, video calls, document and file sharing, project management and more.

Aleksandar Kochovski
By Aleksandar Kochovski (Editor)
— Last Updated: 2020-10-08T00:15:07+00:00

Online work has become ubiquitous in recent times, and businesses and teams depend more and more on online collaboration software. However, with so many co-working apps out there, finding the right ones for your team can get confusing.

To make things easier for you, we’ve put together our picks for the 25 best online collaboration tools for chatting, video calls, document and file sharing, project management and more.

Companies and organizations can greatly benefit from using these tools to organize their office life. Plus, as remote learning becomes commonplace, good online collaboration software can help reduce the distance between teachers and students. These collaboration tools can be very useful, even if you’re just a college student looking for a way to organize your team project.

Our list provides both paid and free options so that you can find the online collaboration tools you need, no matter your budget. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the best tools for collaboration online.

Chat Tools

Chat tools are essential for any modern company, and finding a good chat platform can make or break your team’s communication. These tools can ease remote communication and provide a convenient way to share ideas. Plus, most chat apps have useful features, such as file and image sharing.

Some communication tools follow a more traditional route, offering little more than the essential chat functions. On the other hand, apps like Slack give users much more flexibility with lots of customization options. There are even some outside-the-box solutions, like Chanty’s kanban boards and Yammer’s social network-like interface. Let’s look at the best chat apps for teams.

1. Slack — Powerful and Flexible Chat App for Teams

Slack team chat
Slack offers powerful communication features.

Pros:

  • Plenty of third-party apps
  • Great free plan
  • Feature-rich

Cons:

  • Paid plans are more expensive than the competition

This cloud-based chat app is no stranger to the business world. Slack is one of the biggest names in online communication, and for good reason. It provides everything you would expect, such as real-time messaging and file sharing, and supplements that with over 2,200 third-party app integrations. It has an excellent free plan, though its paid plans are a bit pricey and there are cheaper alternatives to Slack.

Pricing:

  • Free plan — $0/month per user
  • Standard — $8/month per user
  • Plus — $15/month per user
  • Enterprise — Contact Slack for pricing

2. Twist — Slow-Paced and Organized Team Chat

Twist topic comments
Twist organizes your team communication into topics.

Pros:

  • Easy to manage
  • Well-organized chat
  • Third-party app integration

Cons:

  • Low on extra features
  • No voice or video calls

Unlike Slack, Twist doesn’t focus on real-time messaging. Instead, teammates leave comments on different topics, which are organized within channels. This structure makes it easy to keep track of your team’s communication. Plus, there’s an instant messaging function for quick one-on-one communication. It’s cheap too, with an excellent free plan, plus a 50-percent discount for schools and nonprofits.

Pricing:

  • Free plan — $0/month per user
  • Unlimited — $5/month per user

3. Chanty — Messaging App for Productivity

Chanty kanban chat
Chanty merges team chats with project management.

Pros:

  • Innovative interface
  • Built-in project management

Cons:

  • No video calls for groups

Chanty is an off-beat chat tool that organizes chats into a kanban-style task board. Team members can be added to a task, which is a chat room and an item on a kanban board at the same time. It may sound a little odd, but it can be a great way to improve productivity because you’ll always know how far along your team’s tasks are. The free version has some limitations, but thankfully Chanty’s paid plan is very cheap.

Pricing:

  • Free plan — $0/month per user
  • Business — $4/month per user

4. Flock — Cheaper Slack Alternative

Flock project chat
Flock is a cheaper alternative to Slack.

Pros:

  • Third-party app integration
  • Plenty of features

Cons:

  • Extra features aren’t very useful
  • Limited free plan

Flock markets itself as a cheaper version of Slack, and it offers similar functionality. It has instant messaging, with communication organized into channels, just like Slack. There’s even a good number of app integrations. Its pricing isn’t that great, though, being only slightly cheaper than Slack, plus its free plan has a few features cut out or significantly limited.

Pricing:

  • Free plan — $0/month per user
  • Pro — $6/month per user
  • Enterprise — $10/month per user

5. Rocket.Chat — Open-Source Messaging App

Rocket.Chat open-source chat
Rocket.Chat is an open-source team messaging solution.

Pros:

  • Highly customizable
  • Open-source

Cons:

  • Complicated setup
  • Confusing pricing plans

Rocket.Chat is one of the most customizable chat apps thanks to its open-source nature. With a bit of coding know-how, you can tailor Rocket.Chat to fit your exact needs. You can even save a few bucks by using the self-hosted free version. However, its features can get confusing and the setup is complicated. Some features are limited to the more expensive paid plans, as well.

Pricing:

  • Community — $0/month per user
  • Bronze — $2/month per user
  • Silver — $4/month per user
  • Gold — Contact Rocket.Chat for pricing

Video Conferencing Tools

Although chat apps can facilitate fast communication, there’s nothing like a face-to-face conversation. Video conferencing software has become indispensable because of social distancing norms, with the likes of Zoom becoming household names. Here are our picks for the best video conferencing tools.

6. Zoom — Easy-to-Use and Reliable Video Conferencing Tool

Zoom video chat
Zoom is one of the most popular video chat platforms in the world.

Pros:

  • Superb call quality
  • Easy to use
  • Rich in features

Cons:

  • Not the cheapest option

Zoom has proven itself to be a favorite for schools and businesses alike, offering excellent video and audio quality, as well as stable connections. You can even set a virtual background if you like. Although its free plan can host up to 100 people in a single call, that call length is limited to 40 minutes. The paid plans offer more call time and participants, but Zoom is costlier than other communication tools.

Pricing:

  • Basic — $0/month per user
  • Pro — $14.99/month per user
  • Business — $19.99/month per user
  • Enterprise — $19.99/month per user

7. Google Meet — Video Conferencing by Google

Google Meet
Google Meet integrates with the G Suite and other third-party apps.

Pros:

  • Deep integration with Google’s G Suite
  • You can add features via extensions
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Some features require extensions

Google Meet comes with the G Suite, along with Google Drive and Google’s document-editing apps. It’s pretty cheap, with a free option that can host up to 100 participants for an hour-long meeting. It also integrates well with Google’s other services. For example, you can schedule Meet calls in the Calendar app. It’s missing some features, though, such as a built-in whiteboard, which you can only get as a third-party extension.

Pricing:

  • Free plan — $0/month per user
  • Google Workspace Essentials — $8/month per user
  • Google Workspace Enterprise — Contact Google for pricing

8. Microsoft Teams — Powerful Yet Affordable Video Calling App

Microsoft Teams features
Microsoft Teams offer its users many useful features.

Pros:

  • Advanced features, such as background replacement
  • Comes bundled with other Microsoft apps
  • Excellent value for its low cost

Cons:

  • Must create an account to make a call

Microsoft has been integrating the popular Skype for Business into its Teams platform for a while, and by July 2021, it will be completely folded in. Teams comes packaged with the rest of the Microsoft 365 suite, which includes OneDrive cloud storage and the Office 365 apps. Microsoft 365 is surprisingly cheap while offering more cloud storage than G Suite. Meet is also available for free, but it requires signing in.

Pricing:

  • Free plan — $0/month per user
  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic — $5/month per user (billed annually)
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard — $12/month per user (billed annually)
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium — $20/month per user (billed annually)

9. GoToMeeting — High-Quantity Video Conferencing at a Price

GoToMeeting multi-user video chat
GoToMeeting lets over 3,000 users communicate simultaneously.

Pros:

  • Up to 3,000 call participants
  • High-quality video

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Need an account to make a call

GoToMeeting is an enterprise-oriented video conferencing app. It offers HD video chat and comes with some nice features, such as screen sharing and a whiteboard. It can host a high volume of participants, up to 3,000 for its highest precinct tier. However, its pricing can leave your wallet feeling light, especially because its free plan hosts up to only three people.

Pricing:

  • Free plan — $0/month per user
  • Professional — $12.50/month per user
  • Enterprise — Contact GoToMeeting for pricing

10. Whereby — One-Click Video Conferencing

Whereby one-click video chat
Whereby lets you start a video call with just one click.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • No login required

Cons:

  • Limited number of call participants
  • Paid plans don’t offer value

Formerly known as Appear.in, the newly rebranded Whereby is an excellent choice for small businesses and teams. It offers a one-click solution for video chatting by sharing a link to your chat room. The free version is limited to four participants, and the paid plans upgrade that only up to 50 participants. Small teams and students will benefit the most from Whereby’s free plan.

Pricing:

  • Free plan — $0/month per user
  • Pro — $9.99/month
  • Business — $59.99/month

Project Management Tools

Project management tools help your company organize its projects by giving you an overview of your team’s tasks. The best online project management software can help your team power through tasks and reach deadlines by laying out tasks and timelines in an accessible manner.

Here, we’ve laid out our favorite team collaboration tools for project organization.

11. Monday.com — Project Management Made Simple

Monday.com task management
Monday.com organizes your team’s tasks the way you want.

Pros:

  • Uncomplicated
  • Reasonably priced
  • Different project views

Cons:

  • No full free version
  • Lacks subtasks

Monday.com is an excellent cloud-based project management tool. It’s easy to use, organizing your team’s work into tasks, with different ways of displaying tasks, such as timelines and charts. There are many ways to customize tasks and add fields to them, but you can’t subdivide your team members’ tasks.

Monday.com is a cheap collaboration tool for small businesses, which comes with a 14-day free trial.

Pricing:

  • Basic — $8/month per user
  • Standard — $10/month per user
  • Pro — $16/month per user
  • Enterprise — Contact Monday.com for pricing

12. Asana — Cheerful Task Management Tool

Asana quick setup
Asana is easy to set up and use.

Pros:

  • Motivates your team
  • Task subdivision
  • Straightforward interface

Cons:

  • Complicated customer support system

Asana focuses on managing tasks, rather than project management. It’s easy to use, with a list of tasks that you divide into subtasks. Asana motivates your team with “celebrations,” which reward users for getting a task done, usually with a little animated unicorn. It has a generous free plan for up to 15 team members, plus its paid plans are well-priced, if not the cheapest.

Pricing:

  • Basic — $0/month per user
  • Premium — $13.49/month per user
  • Business — $30.49/month per user
  • Enterprise — Contact Asana for pricing

13. Trello — Kanban Board for Simple Team Projects

Trello Kanban board
Trello organizes your tasks in an uncomplicated Kanban board.

Pros:

  • Convenient for simple tasks
  • Easy to learn

Cons:

  • Lacks features
  • Not enough value for its price

Trello isn’t the most feature-filled collaborative tool out there, but it can be useful for teams that don’t need more than a basic Kanban board. Trello’s interface makes it easy to learn, offering only an overview of your tasks. You can comment on tasks, but you can’t divide or edit them in any meaningful way. It’s good as a free tool, but its paid plans don’t offer enough features for the price.

Pricing:

  • Free plan — $0/month per user
  • Business Class — $12.50/month per user
  • Enterprise — $17.50/month per user

14. Wrike — Collaboration Platform Packed With Features

Wrike project management
Wrike offers lots of features at a low cost.

Pros:

  • In-depth project management
  • Plenty of features for your money

Cons:

  • Can be complicated to use

No matter how complicated your team’s projects are, Wrike can probably handle it all. Wrike has subtasks, calendars, event streams, in-depth reports, Gantt charts and more. The downside to this approach is that its interface can get a little complicated. Surprisingly, all those features won’t drain your wallet, and there’s a free plan, as well, albeit somewhat limited.

Pricing:

  • Free plan — $0/month per user
  • Professional — $9.80/month per user
  • Business — $24.80/month per user
  • Enterprise — Contact Wrike for pricing

15. TeamGantt — Timelines for Team Collaboration

TeamGantt timeline
TeamGantt organizes your tasks into a timeline that’s easy to follow.

Pros:

  • Intuitive interface
  • Time tracking features

Cons:

  • Not many third-party integrations

If Gantt charts are what your team needs, TeamGantt has them in its name. TeamGantt makes time tracking easy by organizing your projects into a timeline that gives you an overview of what is going on and when. Its interface is intuitive and easy to pick up. TeamGantt offers a free plan for up to three users, but its paid plans are expensive for what they offer.

Pricing:

  • Free plan — $0/month per user
  • Standard Team — $24.95/month for one user (plus $9.95 per extra user)
  • Advanced Team — $29.95/month for one user (plus $14.95 per extra user)

Document & File Sharing Tools

File sharing is indispensable for any team’s collaboration effort. Cloud storage services, such as Box, let you store and share files, and document editor integration lets multiple team members collaborate on a single file. Some cloud services have specific features that help your team members work together on documents.

It’s imperative that the sharing platform doesn’t interrupt the flow of teamwork. The best file-sharing tools can lead your team members to success by offering comprehensive sharing and permission editing features. Here are our favorite collaboration tools for sharing.

16. Sync.com — The Best Cloud Storage for Sharing

Sync.com sharing features
Sync.com offers comprehensive options for sharing files.

Pros:

  • Advanced sharing options
  • Light on the wallet

Cons:

  • Some sharing options are a paid feature

Sync.com is a cloud storage platform, and it’s our favorite service for sharing files, along with pCloud. It has a smattering of sharing options, including password-protected sharing links, expiry dates, download limits, link activity tracking and more. Sync.com has a killer free plan, but its advanced sharing options are only available with its very affordable paid plans.

Pricing:

  • Free plan — $0/month per user
  • Standard — $5/month per user (billed annually)
  • Plus — $8/month per user (billed annually)
  • Advanced — $15/month per user (billed annually)
  • Enterprise — Contact Sync.com for pricing

17. Egnyte Connect — File Storage With Productivity App Integrations

Egnyte Connect sharing features
Egnyte Connect is a business-oriented file storage and sharing platform.

Pros:

  • Integrates with both G Suite & Office 365
  • Good bang for your buck

Cons:

  • Only the most expensive plan offers private encryption

Egnyte Connect is an enterprise cloud storage service that integrates with both G Suite and Office 365. That’s a rarity offered by only a handful of storage clouds, such as Box. Although Egnyte is very secure, it’s not a zero-knowledge service, like the more expensive Tresorit. Its various plans are well-priced, considering the online collaboration options Egnyte provides.

Pricing:

  • Team — $10/month per user (billed annually)
  • Business — $20/month per user (billed annually)
  • Enterprise — Contact Egnyte for pricing

18. Google Docs — Powerful Document Editing for Teams

Google Docs editing
Google Docs has robust document editing and sharing features.

Pros:

  • Permissions-based sharing
  • Top-of-the-line document editing
  • Completely free

Cons:

  • Google’s privacy issues

Google Docs is one of the best free online collaboration tools because of its tight integration with the rest of the G Suite, most importantly Google Drive’s cloud storage. All of your Docs files are kept in Google Drive, which lets you share them and set detailed editing permissions. Docs is free for all Google users, plus it comes with G Suite for teams that collaborate using Google.

Pricing:

  • Free plan — $0/month per user
  • G Suite Basic — $6/month per user
  • G Suite Business — $12/month per user
  • G Suite Enterprise — Contact Google for pricing

19. Microsoft Office 365 — Tried and Tested Document Editing

Microsoft Office 365
Microsoft Office 365 is the online version of the popular Microsoft Office suite.

Pros:

  • One of the best document editors
  • Microsoft 365 integration

Cons:

  • Sharing features could be better

Microsoft Office needs no introduction, and Office 365 is its online incarnation. Office 365 comes as a part of the cheaply priced Microsoft 365 package, and it’s also available for free for standalone use. It integrates with OneDrive, which lets you share files for team collaboration, similar to Google Drive and Docs, though its sharing features leave something to be desired.

Pricing:

  • Free plan — $0/month per user
  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic — $5/month per user (billed annually)
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard — $12/month per user (billed annually)
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium — $20/month per user (billed annually)
  • Microsoft 365 Apps — $8.25/month per user (billed annually)

20. Dropbox Business — Cloud Storage for Collaboration

Dropbox cloud storage
Dropbox integrates with both Office 365 and G Suite.

Pros:

  • G Suite & Office 365 integration
  • Great sharing options

Cons:

  • Paid plans are expensive

Dropbox is a household name, with millions of subscribers around the world. It’s a mature cloud storage service with stellar sharing options. You can share editing or viewing links, restrict downloads, and set passwords and expiration dates for links. Best of all, Dropbox integrates with Office 365 and G Suite. Its paid plans might be a little north of your budget, but you can try them out for free for 30 days.

Pricing:

  • Standard — $15/month per user
  • Advanced — $25/month per user (billed annually)
  • Enterprise — Contact Dropbox for pricing

Other Online Collaboration Tools

Not all collaboration tools fit into an exact category. Some collaboration software just refuses to be put into a box, finding its own niche of users by offering something that competitors don’t. The following services are all top-notch software for collaboration that doesn’t fit into any of our previous categories, but we still believe they are some of the best online collaboration tools.

21. GitHub — Project Management for Coding Teams

GitHub code repository
GitHub is a code repository with communication features.

Pros:

  • Built-in team communication tools
  • Public & private repositories
  • Excellent free plan

Cons:

  • The interface isn’t intuitive

GitHub is a code hosting site that helps teams of coders collaborate on projects. If you need to work together with other programmers, GitHub can help your team keep track of all the different versions of your project’s code, and it provides communication tools to help teams coordinate better. Its free plan is generous, and its paid plans are affordable, even for freshly baked programmers working out of their garage.

Pricing:

  • Free plan — $0/month per user
  • Team — $4/month per user
  • Enterprise — $21/month per user
  • GitHub One — Contact GitHub for pricing

22. Invision — UX Design Prototyping for Teams

Invision UX design
Invision creates app design prototypes that you can interact with.

Pros:

  • Easy sharing & feedback options
  • Interactive prototypes
  • Intuitive interface

Cons:

  • Project administration options are only for the most expensive package

Invision can help get your projects off the ground by offering powerful tools for creating an intuitive user experience. Invision lets you create app prototypes with clickable buttons, which you can then share with your teammates and clients. You can even get feedback right within Invision, plus manage your project via its dashboard. Small teams can use the free plan, but larger projects will require a paid subscription.

Pricing:

  • Free plan — $0/month per user
  • Pro — $9.95/month per user
  • Enterprise — Contact Invision for pricing

23. Time Doctor — Easy-to-Use Time Management Software

Time Doctor work tracking
Time Doctor lets you keep track of your teammates’ work, but it can be intrusive.

Pros:

  • Powerful time tracking
  • Third-party integrations

Cons:

  • Some features are too intrusive

If you’re having a hard time keeping track of your team member’s work, Time Doctor can help with that. Time Doctor is a time management service that gives team leaders a real-time overview of what team members are doing. Its default settings let teammates check in and out of tasks, but it has some intrusive options, as well, such as scheduled screenshotting.

Pricing:

  • Basic — $7/month for one user, pay extra for more users
  • Standard — $10/month for one user, pay extra for more users
  • Premium — $20/month for one user, pay extra for more users
  • Enterprise — Contact Time Doctor for pricing

24. MindMeister — Brainstorming Visualized

MindMeister mind maps
MindMeister helps you visualize your ideas.

Pros:

  • Mind maps & mood boards

Cons:

  • Not too useful after the initial concept phase

MindMeister is a collaboration tool that lets teams visualize ideas for their projects by creating mind maps. These mind maps are presented as bubble diagrams that can link written ideas and images together. This can be very helpful in the early stages of projects but isn’t too useful for project development. There’s a free version that has some limitations and a paid version that’s very affordable.

Pricing:

  • Basic plan — $0/month per user
  • Personal — $4.99/month per user
  • Pro — $8.25/month per user
  • Business — $12.49/month per user

25. Usersnap — Bug Reporting in Your Browser

Usersnap bug reports
Usersnap lets clients comment on bugs and website issues.

Pros:

  • Simple & intuitive bug reporting
  • Leave feedback in the browser

Cons:

  • No free version

Usersnap is a quality assurance and collaboration tool that lets you comment on website bugs and issues in the browser, without requiring an extra bug reporting app. It’s one of the best online collaboration tools for website designers because clients don’t need to create an account to leave feedback. Unfortunately, its pricing is a bit high for what it provides, and there’s no free plan.

Pricing:

  • Basic — $29/month
  • Startup — $79/month
  • Company — $149/month
  • Enterprise — Contact Usersnap for pricing

Final Thoughts

Online collaboration is here to stay, and your business needs to find the right tools for it. Online teamwork tools can help your company find a workflow that fits its style, and a communication platform that will let teammates collaborate the way they need to.

That’s it for our roundup of the best online collaborative tools for business. We hope you’ve found the right fit for your team’s projects in one of these 25 services. Did your favorite productivity tool make it onto the list? Which collaboration tools does your company use? Be sure to let us know in the comment section below. Thank you for reading.

FAQ

  • What Are Online Collaboration Tools?

    Online collaboration tools help teams and businesses improve their workflow by setting and keeping track of individual team members’ tasks. Some collaboration tools have specific uses, such as code versioning or bug reporting, while others are used for messaging, video calls or sharing files.

  • Why Should I Use Online Collaboration Tools?

    The world has seen the shutdown of public life with the 2020 pandemic, and many businesses have been forced to move their work online. It’s since become apparent that online collaboration can be a valid alternative to office work. Online co-working tools are now abundant and high quality, and you can find apps for every niche at a low cost, too.