Nick has been leading high growth teams and scaling early stage tech startups for 10+ years (most recently at Clearbit). He's been in a fantasy football league with his best friends from high school for just as long...and has never won. 😂
Document collaboration software is an umbrella term for any tool that helps teams work together on the same document in real-time, without version conflicts.
If you take a look at your recent downloads, how many of them have file names like “doc-version-2A-edits-draft-27?”
Your secret’s safe with us. While document collaboration software has come a long way in recent years, most solutions fail to address the root causes that lead to knowledge gaps, information silos, missed opportunities, and other sources of cross-functional friction.
It doesn’t matter how slick your software is if nobody’s using it. And if institutional knowledge is still trapped inside people’s heads, your top performers are spending more time context switching than they are getting stuff done, and collaboration is only happening synchronously.
The best document collaboration software tools check all of the boxes you’d expect (autosave, version history, edit history, feedback loop, comments, tagging, embed and export options, integrations and extensions, cloud storage and easy search options, etc.) *and* make it easier to:
Capture and share knowledge, asynchronously
Build on each other’s unique expertise in real-time
Action process improvements and pro tips in just a few clicks
Stay in focus mode 💪🏾
We’ve rounded up some of the best document collaboration software below so you can decide which will work best for your team. For consistency, we’ve included monthly pricing when billed annually for each tool.
Great for teams who want to get sh*t done, together—without jumping on another screen share.
Tango is a document collaboration software that transforms how teams capture, share, improve, and follow best practices—in the flow of work.
When you need to show someone how to do something on any website or browser app (while you work, with zero code, and without any complicated flow builders!), you can use Tango to document your process in seconds. With cropped and annotated screenshots, and without any fluff or special skills. In return, you get a beautiful, automatically generated how-to guide designed to help your peers find answers, fast.
What makes life even better for teammates following your Tangos? On-screen Guidance. Which turns step-by-step instructions into interactive walk-throughs with curated insights. 🤩
Automatically capture process steps and screenshots while they work.
Turn how-to guides into interactive walkthroughs that show people exactly what to do and where to click.
Use the extension discovery to quickly surface all relevant Tangos on any website.
Rely on the most accurate answers to pop up when and where people need them most, without switching tabs or sharing screens.
Leverage built-in context and callouts to apply nuanced information in real-time (that previously would have required a live conversation).
Surface solutions to solve common problems with Automagic FAQs.
Protect sensitive customer, personal, and company information with Blur.
Interact with anything-but-static process documentation via comments and reactions.
Partner with process experts (asynchronously!) to update documentation when something is out of date, doesn’t make sense, or there’s a better way to do the task.
Access a detailed analytics dashboard to see who’s using how-to guides, how often, and how successfully.
Starter is free and lets you create 25 Tangos per user. It also includes up to 25 seats in Workspace, browser capture, basic exports and sharing, and lets you share on-screen Guidance with anyone in your Workspace.
Pro is $16 per user per month and includes everything from the Starter plan. It also lets you create unlimited Tangos, browser and desktop capture, branded exports, and advanced viewership insights for Tangos.
Enterprise pricing varies and includes everything in the Pro and Starter plan. It also includes SSO (SAML) and flexible user administration, an admin analytics dashboard, dedicated onboarding and training, and lets you automatically blur sensitive information during capture.
Captures and converts visual, editable how-to guides for any process into interactive walkthroughs with curated insights
Doesn’t export to PowerPoint
Works for every website, SaaS product, and cross-application processes without any code
Geared towards process-based documents
Includes a built-in feedback loop and analytics dashboard to continually improve processes from the bottom up
Need to collaborate on other types of documents? No problem. Check out this next tool.
2. Google Docs
Great for people who want a straightforward solution to collaborate on all types of documents.
Google Docs is a collaborative online document collaboration tool that enables teams to easily work on documents in real-time. You can add suggestions, action items, and comments in any doc. You can also @-mention files, calendar events, people, and more to pull the most relevant information into your doc. Google Docs is compatible with files like .docx and PDFs, so you can import and edit those files or export your Doc in several file types.
Here's how your team can use Google Docs:
Add comments, suggestions, action items, and other edits that are saved and reflected in real time.
Tag people, files, events, and more to connect relevant items in your Doc.
Use Smart Compose to quickly write content.
Seamlessly search and work with other Google apps.
Import and export different file types.
Access Docs offline.
Add third-party add-ons for more features.
Google Docs is a part of Google Workspace, so one account grants you access to all of the other apps (like Gmail and Google Sheets). See below for pricing:
Personal (not pictured) is free and includes access to all apps, 15 GB of secure cloud storage with Google Drive, up to 100 participants using Google Meet, and access to self-service online and community forums.
Business Starter is $6 per user per month and includes everything from the Personal plan. It also includes 30 GB of storage per user, security and management controls, and standard support.
Business Standard is $12 per user per month and includes everything from the Business Starter plan. It also includes up to 2 TB of storage per user and 150 participant video meetings, and recording capabilities in meetings.
Business Plus is $18 per user per month and includes everything from the Business Standard plan. It also includes 5 TB of storage per user, 500 participant video meetings and attendance tracking, and enhanced security and management controls.
Enterprise pricing varies per organization and includes everything from the Business Plus plan. It also includes the option to request additional storage, noise cancellation and in-domain live streaming for video meetings, and additional advanced security features.
Real-time document editing with version history
Limited templates, formatting options, and offline capabilities
Intuitive file sharing and mentions
Can lag with slow internet speeds or long documents
Can import and export different file types
Looking for a solution with more features? Take a look at this next one, from our friends over at Notion. 😊
Great for teams who want a simple solution with flexible formatting and content options.
Notion is a versatile tool with functionalities for Wikis, Projects, and Docs (but we’ll focus on Docs!). Their tool provides several blocks and content types such as code snippets, images and videos, and toggles to easily upgrade your Docs. Docs are easily searchable and organized under Notion's teamspaces. Notion also lets people edit blocks at the same time without locking anyone out.
If you’re interested in creating comprehensive documents effortlessly, don’t sleep on some of Notion’s most noteworthy features:
Use 50+ content type blocks to use in Docs.
Browse the template gallery for different documentation types.
Create searchable documentation that’s organized in each teamspace.
Tag other people in a Doc and include comments.
Leverage the Wiki, Projects, and Docs features (included in all plans).
Use the desktop or mobile app.
Integrate other tools like Jira, Slack, and Asana.
A plan with Notion includes access to Docs, Wikis, and Projects. Learn more about their pricing tiers:
Free includes unlimited blocks for individuals, limited block trials for teams, the ability to invite 10 guests, seven-day page history, basic page analytics, and integrations with other tools.
Plus is $8 per user per month, includes everything in the Free tier, and lets you invite up to 100 guests. It also includes 30-day page history, unlimited file uploads, and unlimited blocks for teams.
Business is $15 per user per month, includes everything in the Plus plan, and lets you invite up to 250 guests. It also includes 80-day page history, advanced page analytics, bulk PDF export, private teamspaces, and SAML SSO.
Enterprise pricing varies between organizations and includes everything in the Business plan. It also includes a custom guest limit, unlimited page history, workspace analytics, an audit log, and a dedicated success manager if you have 100 or more seats.
Variety of content blocks to integrate content formats with no code
Limitations with integrations and the mobile app
Customizable for many types of documents
Formatting may not be intuitive for first-time users
Tagging and comments function
Page history limits based on pricing tiers
If your team is already on Dropbox, you probably have access to the next document collaboration software on the list.
4. Dropbox Paper
Great for teams who want a solution that works seamlessly with many types of rich media.
Dropbox Paper is a free co-editing tool that comes included with any Dropbox account. They offer different templates tailored for teams ranging from Marketing, HR, and Sales. It also works well for visual projects since you can embed InVision or Sketch files.
Check out everything Dropbox Paper has to offer:
Start with templates that range from meeting notes to creative briefs.
Use task management tools to mention people, add due dates, and assign tasks directly in the doc.
Add annotations directly to specific parts of images.
Embed Invision, Sketch, or Dropbox files.
Take advantage of Paper’s smart formatting to automatically format docs.
Turn docs into presentations automatically.
Follow up on items like deadlines, tasks due, and mentions.
Use the Desktop, iOS, or Android app.
Although Dropbox Paper is free, you need a Dropbox account to use it. Learn more about all of Dropbox’s pricing levels below:
Basic is free and includes 2 GB of storage, one user, automatic backup of your computer files, lets you connect up to three devices, and the option to manage login info with Dropbox Passwords.
Plus is $9.99 per month and includes everything from the Basic plan. It also includes 2 TB of storage, unlimited device linking, 30-day file and account history, large file delivery with Dropbox Transfer (up to 2 GB), and three free eSignatures per month.
Family is $16.99 and includes everything in the Plus plan and lets you add up to six users. It also includes access to a Family Room folder for group sharing and a single bill for all users.
Professional is $16.58 per month and includes everything in the Plus plan. It also includes up to 3 TB of storage, 180-day file and account recovery, advanced sharing controls and file locking, and large file delivery with Dropbox Transfer (up to 100GB).
Standard is $15 per user per month and lets you have three or more users. It also includes intuitive content protection and external sharing controls, file recovery or account restoration for up to 180 days, and the ability to automatically back up computers and external drives directly to the cloud.
Advanced is $24 per user per month and includes everything in the Standard plan. It gives your team the flexibility to use as much space as needed (once purchased) and can accommodate three or more users. It also includes large file delivery with Dropbox Transfer (up to 100 GB), constant security monitoring, notifications and alerts, data classification for confidential and sensitive information, and large file delivery with Dropbox Transfer (up to 100 GB).
Enterprise pricing, storage, and user availability vary with each organization. It includes everything in Advanced plus a customer success manager, enterprise-grade visibility and security tools, and integrations.
Displays previews for links and files, like InVision or Sketch files
Limited formatting and export options
Allows you to add annotations directly to images
Minimal capabilities with mobile apps
Includes automation for built-in follow-ups and formatting
Looking for an all-in-one tool? How about the next solution?
Great for teams who want a solution that can serve as their single source of truth.
Guru can keep your team wikis, intranet, and knowledge base in one place. Their solution lets teams capture and create content where teams are already working (👋, Slack!) and quickly embed content into "building blocks of knowledge" called Cards. You can also use generative AI as your writing assistant to speed up content creation.
Guru’s other features can also help your team discover content, surface important topics people talk about, and continually optimize all of your team’s documents.
Guru has a lot of intuitive features to help your team create, manage, and update content. Learn more below:
Use AI to look for answers, improve searches, suggest content, and more.
Create and share content from the tools your team already uses.
Leverage templates to create content.
Surface trending topics in Slack.
Dive into analytics to learn how your team uses your content.
Take advantage of Verification to send reminders to subject matter experts on keeping content up to date.
Manage permission levels for users.
Use integrations with different tools and apps like Chrome, Slack, and Microsoft Teams.
Take a look at Guru’s different pricing plans:
Starter is free for up to three users. Teams can pay $5 per user per month for additional users. It includes access to their browser extension, Slack, and Microsoft Teams app, and scheduled content verification.
Builder is $10 per user per month and includes everything in Starter. It also includes advanced permissions, custom branding, analytics, and duplicate content detection.
Enterprise pricing varies and includes everything from the Builder plan. It also includes AI-powered content suggestions, premier support, and a designated customer success manager.
Lets users capture and create content from anywhere
No collaborative editing function (yet!)
Speeds up manual processes and surfaces improvements using AI integrations
Potential for slow performance
Provides context on usage and engagement via analytics
Want to consider other document collaboration tools that can also serve as a knowledge base? Check out this next one.
Great for teams who want a scalable platform with lots of template options.
Confluence is a collaborative workspace that lets your team seamlessly work together and organize everything in one place. You can work on Confluence Pages at the same time and keep track of changes with version history. Confluence also lets you start from scratch with templates.
Confluence has a handful of features that make it both a strong document collaboration software and a knowledge base. Check out more of what Confluence can do:
Find Pages with advanced search, labeling, and a page tree.
Collaborate in real time with edits, likes, comments, and visuals.
Automatically send notifications when you tag someone or assign something.
Use templates to jump start a variety of documents.
Manage access with permission settings.
Track changes with Version history for Pages.
Integrate with other tools like Lucidchart, Google Drive, and Microsoft Teams.
Take a look at Confluence’s pricing options below:
Free plans include up to 10 users. It also includes up to 2 GB of file storage, apps and integrations, and unlimited spaces and pages.
Standard is $5.75 per user per month, includes everything from the Free plan, and can accommodate up to 50,000 users. It also includes local business hours support, user permissions settings, and 250 GB of file storage.
Premium is $11 per user per month and includes everything from the Standard plan. It also includes 24/7 Premium support, analytics, and unlimited storage.
Enterprise pricing varies, gets billed annually, is available for teams with 801 or more users, and includes everything from the Premium plan. It also includes unlimited sites, Atlassian access, and 24/7 Enterprise support.
Real-time content editing and commenting
Automation is only available for Premium and higher plans
Variety of templates available
Pages can be difficult to navigate
Page versioning available for all plans
If your team is only in the market for a document collaboration tool, this next tool may be your tried-and-true.
7. Microsoft Word
Great for teams who want a powerful document editor that also comes with other apps and services.
Microsoft Word is a word processor with lots of features to elevate your writing. Copilot can help you write, edit, suggest, summarize, and more when you’re working in a document. Word also has audio and visual assistance tools to help support multiple learning styles. When you save and share documents from OneDrive, you can collaborate with others in real-time.
Wondering what’s so beloved about Microsoft Word? Take a look at some of their most popular features:
Leverage Copilot as a writing assistant to help with things like referencing information from other parts of your organization, summarizing and rewriting copy, and adding content to existing documents.
Improve grammar, spelling, and punctuation with Microsoft Editor.
Edit, add comments, and suggest changes in real time with documents saved and shared through OneDrive.
Access documents anywhere via OneDrive.
Browse customizable content and templates.
Use visual and audio assistance tools in Immersive Reader.
You can access Microsoft Word for free with a Microsoft account. This gives you access to basic features for a single user. However, you’ll need a paid Microsoft 365 account if you want access to more features. We’ll go over the Free plan and the Business plans below.
Free (not pictured) includes one user, sharing and real-time collaboration, 5 GB of cloud storage, and access to basic spelling and grammar, templates, and fonts.
Microsoft 365 Business Basic is $6 per user per month and includes access to web and mobile versions of Microsoft 365 apps like Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. It also includes standard security and 1 TB of cloud storage per user.
Microsoft 365 Business Standard is $12.50 per user per month and includes everything in the Microsoft 365 Business Basic plan. It also includes desktop versions of Microsoft 365 apps with premium features, attendee registration and reporting tools, and the ability to manage customer appointments.
Microsoft 365 Business Premium is $22 per user per month and includes everything in the Microsoft 365 Business Standard plan. It also includes advanced security, data and access control; and cyberthreat protection.
Microsoft 365 Apps for Business is $8.25 per user per month and includes desktop versions of Microsoft 365 apps with premium features. It also includes 1 TB of cloud storage per user, standard security, and anytime phone and web support.
Access and collaborate on documents via OneDrive
Desktop version is only available for Microsoft 365 Business Standard and above
Audio and visual assistance tools available
Formatting and compatibility issues can occur when copying and pasting between other apps or files
Paid plans provide varying access to Microsoft 365 apps
Is your team searching for a solution that can support different departments? This next solution has quite a few products that can help with that.
8. Zoho WorkDrive
Great for teams who want a platform with products that can help in many areas of their business.
Zoho offers a suite of products for different functions, but we’ll focus on Zoho WorkDrive and Zoho Writer. Zoho Writer is their word processor, and you’ll need to subscribe to Zoho WorkDrive to access Writer’s advanced features.
With Zoho Writer, you can collaborate in real-time with others and sync versions between devices. You can also work offline, get writing suggestions from Zia (their writing assistant), and use feedback and track-changing tools.
Zoho WorkDrive gives you access to Zoho Writer, Zoho Sheet, and Zoho Show. Using Zoho WorkDrive, you can manage access to Team Folders, build a collaborative workspace with a suite of feedback, drafting, and editing features, and use analytics to keep track of how people share, view, and use your files.
Here are some document collaboration-related features that come with Zoho WorkDrive:
Collaborate in real-time and collect feedback from your team directly in your document.
Post content directly to WordPress or Blogger.
Prevent other people from editing docs with the check-in/check-out feature.
Oversee team activity with a complete audit trail of every action made in your Team Folder.
Organize files with WorkDrive’s data Templates to help organize data.
Use advanced analytics to get a summary of file access, usage, and intelligent reports for more granular information.
Unlimited version history and access to manage deleted files.
Zoho Writer is free to use, but you’ll need a registered Zoho account to save to the cloud and collaborate with others. You’ll also need to purchase document automation add-on credits if you’d like to use document merge and fillable forms.
We’re going to focus on the price of Zoho WorkDrive plans for businesses below.
Starter is $2.50 per user per month starting with three users. It includes 1 TB of storage per team for up to 10 users, an additional shared storage of 100GB per user (after hitting 10 users), and a 1 GB file upload limit. It also includes features like team folders, granular access controls, universal content search, and templates.
Team is $4.50 per user per month and includes everything from the Starter plan. It also includes 3 TB of storage per team for up to 10 users, an additional shared storage of 300GB per user (after hitting 10 users), and a 5 GB file upload limit. Other features include file activity and access statistics, and a team folder activity timeline.
Business is $9 per user per month and comes with everything from the Team plan. It also includes advanced admin controls, full content visibility and management, and custom data retention.
Various file and data management features
Pricing and add-ons structure can get complex
Advanced analytics and intelligence reports to analyze usage
Number of features can feel overwhelming
Unlimited file version history for all plans
If you’re looking for a powerful tool that focuses on areas like project management, stay tuned for the next option on the list.
Great for teams who want to replace existing project management and collaboration tools.
ClickUp is a collaborative platform that includes a wide range of features for project management, reporting, collaboration, and so much more. To support great document collaboration, ClickUp lets you link Docs and tasks together, add widgets and styling, work on documents in real time with others, and keep track of all of your doc’s details.
Ready to hear what ClickUp has to offer? Read on:
Collaborate in real-time with teammates, assign action items, and convert copy to tasks.
Connect widgets, change project statuses, and more within the Doc editor.
Organize Docs by using categories and adding them to any part of your workspace.
Manage permissions and access to Docs.
Use Focus Mode to stay on track and silence distractions.
Get started with templates and save frequently used documents as templates.
Access rich formatting using simple /Slash commands to add things like tasks, code blocks, and tables.
Learn more about ClickUp’s pricing options:
Free Forever includes 100 MB storage, unlimited tasks, unlimited free plan members, collaborative docs, and 24/7 support.
Unlimited is $5 per member per month and includes everything from the Free Forever plan. It also includes unlimited storage, integrations, dashboards, guest permissions, goals, and portfolios.
Business is $12 per member per month and includes everything from the Unlimited plan. It also includes unlimited teams, custom exporting, advanced automations, advanced public sharing, goal folders, timelines, and mind maps.
Business Plus is $19 per member per month and includes everything from the Business plan. It also includes custom role creation and permissions; team sharing, increased automation and API, and priority support.
Enterprise pricing varies for each organization and includes everything from the Business Plus plan. It also includes white labeling, unlimited custom roles, team sharing for spaces, enterprise API, and a dedicated success manager.
Easily customize to your team’s needs
Limited security features for non-Enterprise plans
Constantly adding features
Mobile app can be difficult to use
Integrations for all plans
Almost there! We have one more document collaboration software you can consider.
Great for teams who want a document editor that also works for developers.
ONLYOFFICE is a complete office suite that lets you collaborate with your team in the documents, spreadsheet, and presentation editors. You can build fillable forms, read, export, and import to and from PDFs, and convert docs to Markdown and HTML.
It includes a suite of formatting tools to enhance your documents and make life easier for developers. You can also manage collaboration with different co-editing modes, permissions, and easy document comparison.
Using DocSpace, you can enter collaboration rooms to work directly with others in the doc, communicate with built-in chat, and make audio or video calls.
Work with others on a document using Collaboration Rooms.
Manage access and permissions for users.
Leverage different co-editing modes to collaborate in real time or when co-authors save their changes.
Rely on version history to track changes.
Compare two documents for changes and merge them into a single version.
Communicate with co-authors with the built-in chat or with audio or video calls.
Use one API to convert 50+ popular document formats.
Build documents to enable your application to build or modify Microsoft Office documents.
Access open-source code on GitHub and API documentation on their site.
Use for text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, digital forms, PDFs, e-books, and multimedia.
ONLYOFFICE has pricing options for DocSpace, Docs Enterprise, Workspace, and Docs Developer Edition (with further customization based on usage). We’ll focus only on the business-focused Docs plans that use the cloud.
DocSpace Cloud Startup is free for a limited time and allows one administrator and two power users. It also includes up to 12 rooms, unlimited users in each room, and 2 GB of file storage per space.
DocSpace Business is $15 per admin and power user. It includes unlimited administrators, power users, rooms, and users in each room; 100 GB of file storage per admin and power user, and options for branding.
Docs Enterprise for Business (On-premises) is $1500 for a lifetime license. It includes online editors for text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and forms; mobile web editors, and ready-to-use connectors.
Docs Cloud for Business (not pictured) is $8 per user per month. It also includes an editor for documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, plugins, live/offline viewer, multi-tenancy, and uses a public server.
Docs Cloud for VIP pricing (not pictured) varies for each organization and includes everything from the Docs Enterprise Cloud for Business plan. It also includes a dedicated server, a 24-hour response time from support, and a dedicated client success manager.
Docs Developer Edition for development (not pictured) is $1950 for a lifetime license per one development server. It includes online editors for text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and forms, enhanced security features, a document builder, and 20 connections.
Docs Developer Edition for production (not pictured) starts at $9100 for a one-year license for a production server. It also includes online editors for text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and forms, a conversion service, and a document builder. You also have the option to change the number of connections and add additional tools and services.
Compatible with many file formats
Pricing plans can be difficult to understand
Open-source code is available on GitHub
Potentially long loading times
Pricing options available for those who aren’t interested in the full ONLYOFFICE Workspace
All features and prices are sourced from company websites and are accurate at the time of writing (May 2023).
The bottom line
That’s a wrap!
The right document collaboration software makes sure nobody’s best ideas go unseen and unheard, learning on the job is as easy as it should be, and cross-functional collaboration is friction-free.
You know what your team needs to do their best work better than anyone. If you want to help everyone spend more time getting work done (and less time feeling frustrated/drained!) and building on each other’s collective intelligence (asynchronously, without breaking flow to exchange ideas!), you need Tango.
Online document collaboration lets teams work on documents at the same time while syncing in real time over the internet. Real-time sync helps teams see edits and feedback without worrying about managing different versions.
What are the benefits of document collaboration software?
The benefits of using document collaboration software include:
More accurate and updated documentation to help everyone get better while they work