12 Best Documentation Tools To Boost Efficiency in 2023
12 Best Documentation Tools To Boost Efficiency in 2023
February 23, 2023
February 23, 2023
Tango Head of Marketing
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. 😂
Let’s take a quick poll. If you had to describe how it feels to create documentation in two words, which would you choose?
If you said something to the effect of “tedious and time-consuming,” you don’t need us to tell you that knowledge sharing is fundamentally broken.
Documenting a single process can take hours. PDFs and videos need updating almost immediately. You can’t get your subject matter experts to prioritize making training materials. Your top performers and senior employees have to answer the same questions a dozen times every week. And unless you’re part of a company with a strong culture of documentation, your documentation probably doesn’t get used or appreciated like it should.
Documentation may not be the most glamorous or celebrated work in your company—yet. But you can start shifting your company culture to value know-how, and the people who share it. You can show collective intelligence is the key to operational excellence. And you can prove that firing on all cylinders starts with 🔥 documentation.
As Knowledge Champions ourselves, we’ve curated a list of the 12 best documentation tools to help you and your team document way more, in way less time:
Documentation tools enhance and streamline your organization's processes and procedures. They make creating and managing documentation easy and fast.
They also increase your team's efficiency by automating the documentation process, allowing teams to quickly create, update, and share documents.
Centralizing documentation in one shared location also enables you and your team to access the information they need, when they need it.
Not all documentation tools are the same—some will help you speed up creation and others will become the central vault for all of your documents.
Here are the different types of documentation tools:
Knowledge bases: These are documentation libraries, storing everything from process documentation, SOPs, how-to guides, and frequently asked questions.
Creation tools: These are tools, such as an app or browser extension, that help you create and edit documentation.
Collaboration tools: These are document-sharing tools, allowing you to edit in real time and work with others on a document.
Keep in mind that some platforms on our list are a combination of these main types of documentation tools. And sometimes you'll need all of these types to ensure effective documentation.
12 best documentation tools
If you just started focusing on documenting processes, chances are you've struggled to find the proper documentation tool. With so many options on the market, it can be hard to know where to start.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for the ideal documentation software for your team:
Types of documents: A basic word-processing program will suffice if you only need to create simple documentation. However, if you need to create more complex documents, you'll need a tool that offers more features.
Editing options: Decide how much control you need over the layout and design of your documents. Some teams prefer to have customization options, while others are happy to let the tool handle the formatting.
Ease of use: Evaluate how straightforward the tool is to use. You don't want your team to spend hours struggling to create a simple document.
With these things in mind, let's get into our list of the best documentation tools.
Best for scaling teams looking for fast step-by-step product documentation
Tango is a desktop application and browser extension that automatically generates process documentation while you work. With Tango, you can easily create standard operating procedures, how-to guides, training guides, user guides, and more.
Our platform automatically captures every detail as you work creation—including intuitive callouts and descriptions—and creates easy-to-read documents.
If you want to quickly document your processes, here's what you'll be able to do with Tango:
Screenshot different processes in seconds.
Document steps on any website, SaaS app, or desktop software.
Capture your process in real time.
Delete steps you don't need.
Blur sensitive information.
Pause and restart your capture anytime.
Get screenshots cropped and zoomed in automatically.
Follow along with a guide that opens a checklist next to your screen.
You can also publish and update your documentation across multiple knowledge bases with a single click—or share it as a PDF, with a link, or in an email.
Tango includes three pricing tiers with differing features:
Free: Get up to 25 Workflows per user, a shared library, and unlimited Workflow sharing and exporting.
Pro: Get unlimited Workflows, team Workspace for unlimited users, watermark removal, and the ability to blur sensitive information. Price: $20 per user per month.
Enterprise: Get unlimited Workflows, Single Sign-On, and an Enterprise Success Program. Price: varies by organization.
Although we've got a pretty powerful tool, you deserve our unbiased opinion. So let's take a look at some of Tango’s pros and cons.
Automatic step capture
Doesn't export to PowerPoint
Limited GIF functionality
Ability to manage multiple document types
"Tango has really streamlined our product documentation efforts. It's quick enough that we can run through steps, save, grab the link, and include in a customer email response for things we haven't documented officially yet." (Product Hunt review)
Document360 is a knowledge base software that helps companies document their processes and workflows. It comes with analytics that let you see where your knowledge base traffic is coming from and how users interact with your content.
In addition, Document360 integrates well with several platforms, including ticketing systems like Zendesk, making it an ideal solution for companies that need to document their workflows.
Now for the nitty-gritty. Here's what you can do with Document360:
Read and write your knowledge base with a platform API.
Create and manage documentation.
Collaborate with a discussion platform.
Use article templates.
Create categories and subcategories.
Embed images and videos.
Bonus: if you want to keep your documentation on-brand, you can create a landing page with your own branding.
All of these features come with a price tag. Here's how much it will cost you to use Document360:
Free: You’ll get up to five team accounts with a public knowledge base, 50 articles, 1GB storage, and custom branding.
Startup: Get everything from the free plan, plus 50GB of storage, an SEO description generator, and the ability to add more paid team accounts. Price: $99 per project per month.
Business: Get everything from the Startup plan, including 20 team accounts, knowledge base assistant, and integrations. Price: $249 per project per month.
Enterprise: Get everything from the business plan, plus the option to use a public or private knowledge base and a custom email domain. Price: $499 per project per month.
Although they have a free plan, you can still try their platform for 14 days for free to take advantage of all their features.
Minor technical issues
Intuitive user experience
Editing feature could be improved
Leverage reusable content
Costly for large teams
"One of the best knowledge base platforms. My overall experience with Document360 has been exceptional—as you don't need any special skills to use it and it has helped us share product knowledge with our customers." (Gartner review)
By the end of our list, documentation won't be tedious anymore.
Best for teams looking for different template options
Confluence is a remote-friendly team workspace to share knowledge and collaborate. Their platform makes it easy for team members to find answers, build team participation, and quickly share information across the entire organization.
Looking to create online documentation with Confluence? Here's what you can do:
Build a knowledge base for documentation.
Organize pages with advanced search and labels.
Use over 75 customizable templates.
Add integrations to your workspace.
Edit in real time with team members.
Include in-line comments.
Create announcements and blogs.
Let's take a look at pricing.
Confluence has four pricing tiers, including a free option:
Free: Get one site with up to 10 users per site, unlimited spaces and pages, apps and integrations, and a structured page tree.
Standard: Get everything from the Free plan, including 35,000 users, the ability to archive and unarchive pages, and get page insights. Price: $5.75 per user.
Premium: Get everything from the Standard plan, plus analytics, inspect permissions, and team calendars. Price: $11 per user.
Enterprise: Get everything from the Premium plan, with an unlimited number of sites, plus advanced analytics and unlimited storage. Price: contact their team.
And now on to the pros and cons.
Poor integrations with tools
Ability to use templates
Poor user experience
Not very customizable
"My team really appreciates using Confluence for documenting our Agile steps and functionality. It is great for keeping our documents in one place for everyone to reference." (Gartner review)
Don't leave yet! We've got more documentation tools up our sleeves.
Best for managing your knowledge base
ProProfs Knowledge Base is a cloud-based knowledge management software that helps you centrally store information for your employees, customers, and partners.
The platform makes it easy to create and manage multiple knowledge bases, and it offers a variety of features to help businesses improve the subject matter expertise of their teams.
Now, if you're considering ProProfs as your go-to documentation software, here's what you can do:
Use the training maker anytime, anywhere.
Get a knowledge base with manuals and a help center.
Use templates or start from scratch.
Customize with CSS and HTML.
Build quizzes and surveys.
You can also create a Q&A forum so all the answers are kept in one place.
Price plans for ProProfs Knowledge Base vary depending on whether you’re looking for a public help center or private repository for employees only.
Private knowledge base plans start at $3.50 per user per month, and public help center packages start at $40 per author per month.
Integrates with ticket support tools
High price point
"ProProfs is perfect for conducting large-scale employee assessments. We use tests created with ProProfs to check employees' knowledge on software skills, communication, and safety compliance." (Sitejabber review)
You might know the next documentation tool on our list.
5. Dropbox Paper
Best for document sharing
Dropbox Paper is a versatile tool for everything from taking notes to collaborating on projects. With Paper, you can create and format documents, add images and media, and even invite others to comment on your work.
The platform also integrates seamlessly with the rest of Dropbox, making it easy to access your documents from anywhere.
If you choose to go with Dropbox Paper, here are some things you can do:
Share documents and media.
Create to-do lists.
Use timelines with project milestones.
Create and edit in real time.
Plus, you'll have the ability to use custom templates to jump right into documenting.
Dropbox Paper is available for free to anyone with a Dropbox account.
Not very easy to use
Robust markup system
Difficult to manage files
Access to templates
Customization needs improvement
"Dropbox Paper is a clear and natural stage for making reports and working together with others. It requires next to zero investment to set up archives. Dropbox Paper gives clients the freedom to alter archives to suit their requirements" (G2 review)
We've got more, so keep scrolling.
Best for seamless knowledge sharing
Tettra is a knowledge base platform that helps your team answer real-time questions where they're asked—for example, on Slack. With Tettra, you can quickly verify the accuracy of essential pages and ensure that everyone on your team has access to the latest information.
Tettra also makes searching for answers to specific questions easy, and is a valuable resource for all team members.
If you want to keep your team in the loop with the latest updates, here are a few other things you can do with Tettra:
Create Q&As for team members to find answers fast.
Use integrations with Slack and Microsoft Teams.
Set knowledge experts to answer questions.
Get documentation requests from team members.
Try a clutter-free platform.
Get usage analytics.
Use a simple editor.
Integrate with Google Docs.
Moving on to pricing.
Tettra offers three different pricing options:
Starting: Get up to 10 users as well as Q&As, unlimited content, and 30-day version history. Price: free.
Scaling: Get up to 250 users, Slack integration, advanced permissions, unlimited version history, and content automation. Price: $10 per user per month.
Enterprise: Get everything from the Scaling plan, plus custom onboarding and training and dedicated support. Price: $20 per user per month.
You can also try their Scaling plan for free for 30 days.
Great customer support
Usability isn't optimal
Excellent for collaboration
Workflow customization needs improvement
"For every function of the company, we maintain handbooks. Tettra helps us manage them with ease and these documents are of great help when onboarding a new employee." (G2 review)
Haven’t found a documentation tool that fits your needs, yet? Don't worry, we've got more.
Best for robust support
Whatfix is a software adoption platform that helps enterprises with onboarding and content. The platform is personalized for each user, making it easy to get started. Whatfix also provides support and guidance throughout the software adoption process, ensuring users can get the most out of the platform.
What can you do with Whatfix? People like the ability to:
Tailor the experience to specific users.
Improve experience depending on users' needs.
Allow users to get self-help during training.
Create task lists and track progress.
Conduct interactive surveys.
You can also send team notifications whenever there's a process change or a document has been updated.
While Whatfix doesn’t advertise its pricing plans, they do offer a free trial.
Great customer support
Multiple use cases
High price point
Robust set of features
Usability could be improved
"The application helps to guide your clients to navigate your online portal or website or to effectively use your web product. The application provides you with personalized customer service—at the start you will be given a support member to ask your queries to." (Capterra review)
And just a few more to go.
Best for teams that want to manage information flows externally
Bit.ai is a documentation collaboration tool that helps teams create and manage notes, wikis, and other types of content. With Bit.ai, you can easily control who you share knowledge with internally and externally. You can also track workspace activity and get insights into how your team uses the platform.
What you can do with Bit.ai:
Create multiple workspaces.
Manage user roles and permissions.
Build customizable workflows.
Organize and pin documents.
Get workspace insights.
Search for documents and content.
Use document templates and themes.
Collaborate in real-time.
Embed documentation to your website.
But how much will that cost?
Bit.ai has three pricing plans:
Free: Get up to five members and 50 documents with a 5MB file limit and 1GB of storage.
Pro: Get unlimited members and documents with a 200MB file limit and 500GB of storage. Price: $12 per member per month.
Business: Get everything from the Pro plan, plus trackable documents, unlimited storage, and free guest access. Price: $20 per member per month.
They also have special education, nonprofit, and startup pricing.
Limited formatting options
Ability to link documentation to sites
Doesn't have custom branding options
Shallow learning curve for adoption
"The pre-made templates provide a great launchpad for getting started on any project really quickly. The most impressive feature is the ease of use, embedding digital assets, and links." (GetApp review)
We told you—you've got options.
Best for creating user onboarding guides
UserGuiding is a no-code solution that helps simplify the process of creating product tours, tooltips, and interactive guides. The platform's drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to create custom guides without coding knowledge.
UserGuiding also offers built-in templates and other powerful features to help increase user adoption and decrease churn.
Here's what you can do with UserGuiding:
Create onboarding guides and interactive manuals.
Gather analytics to create more effective product walkthroughs.
Keep all of your resources in one central location.
Personalize onboarding experiences according to the user.
Basic: Get up to 2,500 monthly active users, surveys, integration, and support. Price: $99 per month.
Professional: Get up to 20,000 monthly active users, unlimited guides and checklists, as well as the ability to remove UserGuiding's branding. Price: $399 per month.
Corporate: Get custom monthly active users, a fully customizable platform, and personalized coaching. Price: starting at $699 per month.
Plus, you can try UserGuiding for 14 days for free.
Accessible customer support
Restricted to user onboarding
Easy sign-up process
Some technical knowledge required
Ability to test onboarding before launch
Integrations are limited
"UserGuiding has been quite intuitive to use for the creation of specific guides. It is also very useful to know who saw and completed the specific guide." (G2 review)
We're almost at the finish line—just a few more documentation tools to go.
Best for distraction-free document editing
Typora is a simple yet powerful documentation tool that makes writing clear and concise records a breeze. Its minimalist interface makes it easy for developers and product managers to write technical documentation.
If you're looking for a minimalist tool, here's what else you can do with Typora:
Add headers, lists, and tables.
Use code fences and add math equations.
Create diagrams and flowcharts.
See the outline structure.
Use custom themes.
That's a lot of features for a clean interface.
Typora comes with a 15-day free trial and has a one-time $14.99 fee.
Robust writing features
Limited visual customization
"Despite the minimal look, it has a lot of cool features: syntax highlighting for code blocks, slick diagrams and tables, a file organizer, and a cool outline tab." (Product Hunt review)
Want to make collaboration simple? Check out the next one.
Best for a streamlined user experience
Nuclino is a workspace where teams can organize information using a simple and clean interface. It offers an easy way to edit and share internal and external documents, making it an effective tool for collaboration.
Here's what else you can do with this documentation software:
Create documentation with images, videos, and code blocks.
Collaborate in real time.
Use different views to visualize your workflow.
Find what you need with instant search.
Organize files with ease.
Restore old versions.
If you're worried about losing your progress, don't worry—Nuclino auto-saves all your work.
Nuclino is relatively affordable, and they offer three pricing options:
Free: Get up to 50 items and 2GB of storage space.
Standard: Get unlimited items, admin tools, version history, and 10GB of storage per user. Price: $6 per user per month.
Premium: Get everything from the Standard plan, plus team insights, advanced security controls, and 20GB of storage per user. Price: $12 per user per month.
Plus, they also offer a 14-day free trial of their Standard plan.
Easy to use
Limited formatting tools
Real-time collaboration tools
Lack of analytics and widgets
Web, desktop, and mobile apps
A great, slick documentation app. It proved to be an invaluable tool for my team to share information and collaborate on projects." (Capterra review)
And now…last but not least!
Best for flexibility
ClickHelp is a browser-based product documentation solution that helps teams collaborate on user manuals, guides, FAQs, and more. It's easy to use and provides various features to help you get the most out of your documentation.
Considering ClickHelp? Here's what you can do with the platform:
Document via videos, surveys, and quizzes.
Create interactive tables with sorting features.
Add your own brand to a white-label platform.
Use a custom domain name.
Try over 20 integrations.
Store documentation on the cloud.
Check the version history.
Created to-do lists and check topic statuses.
Build a report with in-depth analytics.
ClickHelp has customizable plans where you can choose your preferred features. Their pricing plans start at $65 per user per month.
Highly customizable plans
Limited design customization
Custom domain and branding
Editing feature could be improved
Templates could be improved
Advanced permission management
"ClickHelp is an excellent solution when you need to turn a lot of existing documentation into a modern web portal with easy navigation and quick search." (G2 review)
Now documentation can be fun!
The bottom line
Trying to scale a team without proper documentation is like trying to build a house without a blueprint. Despite grand/lofty visions, a shaky foundation makes for a wobbly likelihood of success.
So what can you do to reinforce the issue? Prove there's no bigger contribution than empowering everyone to capture, follow, and continuously improve processes with the right documentation tools. Succeed at that, and you might find you’re not the only one championing a culture of knowledge sharing.
Product documentation is any information that accompanies software products. This can include documents like user manuals, release notes, help files, and SOPs. Essentially, product documentation is anything that helps users understand and use the software.
What types of documentation tools exist?
There are two main types of product documentation tools: system documentation and user documentation. System documentation includes things like data flow diagrams and process maps. It provides information about how the system works and how it is organized. On the other hand, user documentation includes user manuals, tutorials, and FAQ.
How do you choose a documentation tool?
You should choose a documentation tool depending on your needs. The best documentation tool will depend on whether your team needs a knowledge base or whether you're looking to improve your documentation speed and accuracy.
Are there free product documentation tools?
Many tools provide free trials or tiers of their service with limits on usage and feature scope.
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