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Best Document Collaboration Software in 2022

You might think that every company uses CRMs, ERPs, and task management tools today. But actually, few companies know how to streamline their processes with online collaboration tools. A survey from Nintex found that managers and employees are still struggling with effective communication and document collaboration. If your organization struggles with these challenges, and the question of implementing document collaboration software is on the table, you came to the right place. 

In this guide, we’ll explain what different types of document collaboration tools can do for your company. We’ll also give you a list of collaboration solutions available on the market today and briefly share their pros and cons.

What is document collaboration software?

File collaboration software are platforms designed to let multiple users work on a single file at once. And with the pandemic raging, it became critical to have remote access to work-related documents and collaborate on them as efficiently as if you were sitting in the same room with your colleagues.

File collaboration software are platforms designed to let multiple users work on a single file at once.

Statista indicates a massive revenue increase for document collaboration software. In 2015, the market was worth $7 billion, and by 2025, experts expect it to almost double, reaching $17.9 billion.

Naturally, with the rising demand for document and file collaboration software, competition to become the most popular collaboration software has increased. For the different platforms, this means offering higher-quality services and exclusive features to attract more users. But generally, what perks can your company expect from document and file collaboration software?

Key benefits of document collaboration tools

Having an efficient way to collaborate on files might not sound like a big deal. But document collaboration tools offer a range of benefits that can translate into tangible outcomes for your company: 

  • Better workflow management. Document collaboration makes it easier to track the processing of important documents. Users can implement version control and review the history of changes made by any team member whenever they need to. Collaboration tools streamline the workflow and save a ton of time for team members working together on a project or task.
  • Increased employee engagement. Both in-house and remote employees can work together using document collaboration software. McKinsey illustrates how better engagement translates into improved KPIs. The formula is quite simple — using collaboration and communication tools makes employees more engaged in their work and enables faster and better decision-making.
  • Team collaboration. Naturally, having better collaboration among team members creates a less stressful and more productive work environment. With document collaboration tools in hand, team members can reach consensus much faster. Requests for information and clarification are resolved organically because any member of the team can contribute information at any time, which will be seen by all members of the team.
  • Easier information access. Digital transformation is all about access. With online document collaboration, users have instant access to the latest versions of files and documents. Team members don’t have to ask for updates of files the team is working on, and it resolves issues linked to transmitting documents. Easy information access brings smoother collaboration. 
  • Improved performance. Improved collaboration translates into positive productivity outcomes. Evidence shows that employees experience less fatigue when collaborating and stick with a task for 64% longer. 
  • Real-time updates. It is easy to track all the ongoing changes with document collaboration tools, from the document’s first to its final version. It means fewer errors and hiccups.
  • Faster editing in real-time. If an employee needs to make last-minute changes, they can open their laptop, access the document, and complete the task in a matter of minutes. Team members will see what’s being changed in real time. In turn, others can also verify that edits are correct and complete. 
  • Digital brainstorming. Forbes argues that digital brainstorming can result in more high-quality ideas than offline sessions. One of the reasons is that people are more willing to speak their minds online. And document collaboration tools create a great platform for brainstorming. 

Evidently, collaboration software can have some major advantages for businesses. Now, let’s talk about various features of different tools that ensure the potential benefits are realized. 

11 essential features of document collaboration software

Document collaboration and file collaboration software offer a myriad of features. Here, we’ve collected the most essential functionality many companies want. 

Access control

Having control over who can access, view, and edit documents brings more security to the entire process. It ensures that unauthorized parties won’t have access to a document you share with a team. 

File formats

Different people in different departments might work with different file formats. Collaboration tools work with multiple file formats, helping to avoid compatibility issues.

Offline access

The opportunity to work on documents offline is a big convenience. Offline access means that even team members without internet access can collaborate. 

Mobile device integration

Users should have the option to run document collaboration software on different devices, including laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. This grants broader and easier access to documents. 

Commenting

With a commenting option, people working on the same document can leave input as they see fit without actually editing the file. Everyone with access to the document will see the comments and can consider them, which makes the editing process more insightful and collaborative. 

User tagging

This feature helps add new users to the document or call a specific user’s attention to something in the document. User tagging is especially useful if you have in mind a particular person who needs to address a particular part of a document. 

Notifications

One of the most important aspects of any document collaboration software, notifications ensure users are updated when any changes occur in the document. 

Real-time editing

Real-time editing lets team members see any changes other users make at the moment. It helps reduce delays in the editing process. 

Instant messaging

Document collaboration software with instant messaging makes communication more efficient. Users don’t need external messaging applications and can discuss any issues at hand directly within the platform. 

Operating systems

Document collaboration software should run on different operating systems, such as Windows, Windows Mobile, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Linux. It helps avoid issues with compatibility. 

Autosave

The feature makes life a lot easier for users; it protects them from losing data. With autosave, you can be sure all changes are saved. Users don’t need to remember to save changes manually. 

With this list of essential features in mind, it’s time to explore software options that include them all, plus many more. 

Top 7 document collaboration software apps for 2022

There’s a broad array of document collaboration tools available. Some of them work as stand-alone solutions and some are a part of a more comprehensive suite of products. And each one has unique features, upsides, and downsides. We’ve gathered some favorable options to consider. Some names you’ve probably heard before, and some might be new to your ear.

Notably, each platform described below has all of these essential features, unless otherwise indicated. In addition, each platform has unique features not found in the others.

Google Docs

Google Docs is a key player in the market. It’s been around for a decade and has built an outstanding reputation. It’s a document collaboration software, which is a part of Google G Suite, the platform with about 2 billion active users

Features

  • track changes
  • real-time online collaboration (up to 200 users can view the same document, and up to 10 users can edit it at the same time)
  • voice typing
  • link embedding
  • version control (helps ensure you work on updated drafts only)
  • sharing documents via email or URL
  • color-coded updates
  • multiple file formats

Pros

  • offers 15 GB of free storage

Cons

  • access control and sharing can be challenging for large teams 
  • lacks styles and themes to vary visual presentation

Pricing

  • Personal: free (up to 15 GB)
  • Business: $10/user per month (100 GB)

Ratings

  • Capterra: 4.7/5

Office 365

Everyone probably knows about Microsoft Office 365. It’s one of the most respected online document collaboration platforms.

Features

  • tracking changes
  • template library
  • Microsoft Team offers screen sharing and can handle up to 300 users working on a document simultaneously
  • external file sharing
  • link embedding
  • advanced threat protection (for the business premium plan only)

Pros

  • known for its reliable and secure infrastructure (built on Microsoft Azure)
  • offers up to 1 TB of storage 

Cons

  • less flexibility (challenging to manage both cloud and on-premise options)
  • email and sharing limitations (there are limits on how many emails can be sent or received in one day)

Pricing

  • Business Basic: $5/user per month
  • Business Standard: $12.50/user per month
  • Business Premium: $20/user per month

Ratings

  • G2: 4.5/5
  • Capterra: 4.6/5 (only 300 reviews)

Dropbox Paper

Dropbox Paper’s key focus is customization. In addition to text, this real-time document collaboration platform works with videos, images, and social media posts. It’s a great choice for companies that work with visual content.

Features

  • template library
  • emoji reactions
  • drag & drop tool (mostly used for images)
  • image gallery 
  • link embedding

Pros

  • free to use starter package (with limited storage)
  • works on all devices and operating systems
  • intuitive UI/UX
  • top-notch security with AES 256-bit protocol

Cons

  • limited storage for the free version
  • expensive
  • UI/UX is not intuitive
  • requires local hard drive space for file synching (Google Drive and Office 365 do not need that)

Pricing

  • Standard: $15/user per month
  • Professional: $19.90/user per month
  • Advanced: $25/user per month

Ratings

  • G2: 4.1/5 (only 140 reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.4/5

Confluence

Confluence dedicates itself to teamwork and progress tracking. It’s considered one of the best online document collaboration platforms for sharing feedback within teams. 

Features

  • meeting notes add-on to take notes during team meetings
  • version control
  • mentions
  • link embedding

Pros

  • integrates with Trello and Jira
  • works with EPUB (the ebook format)

Cons

  • requires various plug-ins for additional features
  • no offline access
  • all users share one account
  • challenging to track changes

Pricing

  • Starter: free (2 GB) 
  • Standard: $55/month (250 GB of storage)
  • Premium: $105/month (unlimited storage)

Ratings

Box

Box emphasizes integrations.

Features

  • real-time editing
  • version history
  • link embedding
  • document templates
  • third-party integrations (Slack, Salesforce, Zoom, etc.)
  • file locking (protects from changes)
  • two-factor authentication

Pros

  • high standard of security (HITECH and HIPAA compliance)
  • highest number of third-party integrations across competitors

Cons

  • syncing issues
  • dashboard is not user-friendly

Pricing

  • Starter Plan: $5/user per month (100 GB)
  • Business Plan: $15/user per month (unlimited storage)
  • Business Plus Plan: $25/user per month (unlimited storage)
  • Enterprise Plan: $35/user per month (unlimited storage)

Ratings

Bit.ai

Bit.ai emphasizes security.

Features

  • integrated smart documents (allows integration with Google Drive, SharePoint, Box, etc.)
  • link embedding
  • compatible with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • document interlinking (for better organization)
  • user access document expiration dates to boost security
  • templates
  • content library (files, images, rich embeds, and web links)
  • personalized branding (adding logo and organization name on top of every document)

Pros

  • intuitive UI/UX
  • third-party integrations
  • enhanced security (PCI Level 1 compliance, SSL/TLS 1.2, and multi-factor authentication)

Cons

  • too many features can overwhelm new users

Pricing

  • Free Plan: free (5 collaborators, 5 MB file upload limit)
  • Pro Plan: $12/user per month (unlimited collaborators, 200 MB file upload limit)
  • Business Plan: $20/user per month (unlimited collaborators, no file upload limit)

Ratings

  • G2: 4.3/5 (only 15 reviews)
  • Capterra: 5.0/5 (only 8 reviews)

AXDRAFT

AXDRAFT is an option for document collaboration software, specifically designed to work with legal documents. It focuses on balancing visual and functional aspects. 

Features

  • support for multiple languages 
  • integrates data from public registries
  • version control
  • third-party invitation without sign-in required
  • e-signature
  • link embedding
  • templates
  • statistics reports on documents used
  • PDF generator
  • machine-learning tool

Pros

  • easy-to-use layout
  • excellent customer support
  • intuitive UX
  • easy third-party integration

Cons

  • can be challenging for less tech-savvy users to learn

Pricing

Ratings

  • G2: 4.8/5 (only 2 reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.9/5 (only 15 reviews)

Though AXDRAFT is a new player on the market, it shows prospects. The key to its success lies in the unique approach toward delivering services to clients. 

How does real-time document collaboration work inside AXDRAFT?

With AXDRAFT’s collaboration engine, you can deal with your documents in four easy steps:

  • Redline and audit changes in real-time, with side-by-side versions.
  • Avoid redundant roll-back changes with version control.
  • Invite external parties to collaborate even if they’re not registered as users.
  • Take any changes to the document through tailored approval flows to avoid errors. 

In addition, AXDRAFT offers some tailored perks: 

  • updating all collaborators via Slack, email, and in-platform notifications
  • organizing your workload with to-do lists

AXDRAFT’s team conducted extensive testing before releasing the platform to make your experience as smooth as possible.

In a nutshell

Poor collaboration can affect your core business processes, making them more time-consuming and less effective. But with the right document collaboration tools, any business can boost employee engagement, improve the company’s performance, and make sure projects are delivered on time.

You have many document collaboration tools to choose from. To get the results you want, look for the tool that best meets your needs and budget.

If you want secure software that allows third-party integration and works with various document formats, AXDRAFT is what you need. 

Ready to give it a try? Take the first step

FAQ

What do you mean by document collaboration?

Document collaboration usually means that multiple users have access to and can edit the same document.

What platforms are available for document collaboration?

To collaborate on documents with others, you can use Google Docs, Office 365, Dropbox Paper, Confluence, Box, AXDRAFT, Bit.ai, and others. 

What are some types of collaboration?

Collaboration types include on- and offline collaboration, team collaboration, network collaboration, internal and external collaboration.

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