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The Top 10 Document Collaboration Tools — Pros, Cons & Pricing

The move towards remote working has turned document collaboration on its head.

You’re no longer all in the office sitting next to each other — your teams are in different locations and time zones. Remote teams have mentioned that communication tools (74%), remote work tools (74%), and collaboration tools (67%) become the most important prerequisites for them to be efficient.

That’s why choosing the right document collaboration software can be the difference between hitting your targets on time or not.

Some businesses might want to just make basic edits in a live document. When it comes to something like legal document collaboration, though, you’ll need advanced features including user rights, e-signature, and pre-lawyered templates.

With various options out there, picking a document collaboration tool can be challenging.

In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know to choose the right document collaboration software for your team along with the top 10 best tools for document collaboration on the market.

But first things first…

 

What Is Document Collaboration Software?

In a nutshell, document collaboration software is a central tool or platform where your teams can collaborate in real time on a single document or file to achieve a single final version.

Say goodbye to never-ending email chains — collaboration software lets colleagues edit, suggest, and comment simultaneously for maximum efficiency.

As we’ll come to see in our list, tools vary in their functionality. Some offer basic text editing between colleagues, while others include advanced collaboration features.

Legal documents, for example, require specialized legal tools due to the specific workflows involved:

  • edits to documents need to be made systematically
  • approvals are collected in a particular order
  • and eSignatures should be legally binding

In such cases, legal document software like Avokaado’s CLM tool lets you edit templates with other collaborators, negotiate, and add legal eSignatures to a document — all from one shared environment.

 

Try modern Avokaado for 7 days for free.

Draft, sign and download documents. No credit card required.

 

 

7 Essential Features For Document Collaboration Software

Here are 7 essential features to look out for when you’re looking for the best way to collaborate on documents online.

Notifications

With document activity notifications, your teams get a comprehensive oversight of what is happening and when. There’s no need to wait for an email confirmation after each completed step. You can get an immediate notification that an item is finished so you can move on to the next task. 

Autosave 

The whole point of investing in real-time document collaboration is to increase internal efficiencies and save time. With multiple colleagues working on a document, you need autosave functionality that cuts out the need to save manually — because, who has time for that?

Activity log/history

With today’s documents and contracts passing through so many stakeholders, you often need to know who made changes and when. An activity log gives you exactly that and provides document transparency across your organization. 

Mobile friendly

Particularly with the advance of remote work, your employees are working from phones more than ever. So when you’re choosing secure document collaboration software, be sure to opt for a vendor that offers proven mobile functionality. Without this, you’ll simply alienate those colleagues that are often on the move. 

Intuitive UX

Similar to mobile functionality, the platform has to be easy-to-use and intuitive. To get all your employees onboard with the new system, it should be a pleasure to use — not a chore. Look for platforms with a clean, minimal design that’s intuitive for first-time users.

Storage space

This is relatively obvious, but keep in mind that you’ll want a platform that can scale with your business and keep up with the increased numbers of documents. 

User rights 

With so many documents flying around, security should be top of mind for all growing organizations. With user rights, you can guarantee data integrity and be sure that only those who should see a document can. 

 

Top 10 Document Collaboration Tools

Avokaado 

Different phases of contract management: Drafting with Avokaado

Best for legal document collaboration and workflow management

Overview

Avokaado’s document collaboration software lets businesses easily collaborate on legal documents in one single place, improving productivity and workflow efficiency in the process. 

Pros

  • Workflow collaboration, dynamic contract approval process, and audit trails — say goodbye to long email chains;
  • Share legal documents with clients for unlimited external collaboration and negotiations via public link, or enable self-serve with automated contract templates;
  • Assign editing permissions and user groups for your team and external collaborators.

Cons

  • You need to use in-doc discussion to request changes, but tracked changes will be introduced shortly;
  • You’ll need to upgrade from the Freemium version to access certain features. See the full list here

Pricing 

Freemium

Starter

Standard

Premium

Custom

€0

€29 user/month

€49 user/month

€60 user/month

Contact

Access to 100+ free pre-lawyered templates (+ in-app purchases)

For solo users to draft, sign and manage documents

Team collaboration for dynamic workflows

Automation and personalization for teams with a legal department

Fully customizable for large teams and API users

 

Google Docs

Best for collaborating on standard text in real time

Overview

With Google Docs, you can access, create, and edit your documents wherever you are — from any mobile device, tablet, or computer — even when offline.

Pros

  • Edit together in real-time with comments, suggestions, and action items to keep things moving;
  • Connect to other Google apps (Gmail, Google Sheets, Google Meet) to save you time;
  • Easily edit Microsoft Word files online without converting them and import PDFs, making them instantly editable.

Cons

  • Users report formatting issues when importing Microsoft Word documents and when using visual elements within the text;
  • Setting up automated workflows requires Google Apps Scripts which need additional code and custom development. 

Pricing 

Personal

Business 

Standard

Enterprise

$0

$12 user/month

Contact 

For personal users to create content in Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms with 15 GB secure cloud storage

Shared drives and up to 2 TB storage per user for small to mid-sized teams

Custom functionality for multiple large teams across an organization

 

Microsoft Word

Best for visually appealing documents

Overview

Microsoft Word’s document sharing and collaboration software lets you create, edit and share documents no matter where you are. 

Pros

  • Translate documents in your non-native language with just a click;
  • Editor version history lets you revert to view earlier drafts to edit docs;
  • Insert 3D models directly in your reports, presentations, or any document.

Cons

Pricing 

Microsoft 365 Business Basic

Microsoft 365 Business Standard

Microsoft 365 Business Premium

Microsoft 365 Apps for business

$5.00 user/month

$12.50 user/month

$20.00 user/month

$8.25 user/month

Chat, call, and meet up to 300 attendees with 1 TB of cloud storage

Desktop versions of Office apps with premium features

Advanced security, access and data control and cyberthreat protection

Desktop versions of Office apps, 1 TB of cloud storage and standard security

 

Zoho WorkDrive

Best for teams of any size to work together securely 

Overview

Zoho WorkDrive is an online file storage and document collaboration tool that lets you store, organize, and manage all your files in a single place and access them from any device. 

Pros

  • Create Team Folders, add members, and assign role-based access to them;
  • External share links for those people outside your organization;
  • Enable notifications to see when changes are made to a specific file or a folder. 

Cons

  • Zoho doesn’t offer zero-knowledge encryption, which could put your files at risk;
  • Users note that the desktop app often downloads all files locally instead of directly to the cloud, which can take time and space. 

Pricing

Starter

Team

Business

€2.50 user/month

€4.50 user/month

€9.00 user/month

Small teams can collaborate with Team folders, sub-folder level sharing and external file sharing

File locking, file activity and access stats, and team folder activity timeline for greater transparency

Audit trail functionality, full content visibility and advanced admin controls for larger businesses

 

Dropbox

Best for a simple, intuitive interface to create and share documents

Overview

Dropbox Paper offers a collaborative workspace that helps teams create and share early ideas, from video and images to code and sound—all in a single place.

Pros

  • You can access PDFs, Google Docs, and JPEGs plus connected tools like Slack and Zoom without leaving Dropbox;
  • Send automatic reminders to contributors so that everyone is on the same page and can track tasks;
  • Leave comments on specific document sections and tag team members who will be notified that you’ve left feedback.

Cons

  • Users have commented that Dropbox Paper isn’t as user-friendly as other products on the market;
  • You cannot create and save different versions of your content, so you’re unable to refer back to previous versions. 

Pricing

Professional

Standard

Advanced

€19.99/month

€12/user/month

€18/user/month

For individuals including file locking, branded content sharing and file requests

For smaller teams, featuring full-text search, company-managed groups and multi-team admin login

For larger teams that require tiered admin roles, audit logs with file event tracking and SSO integrations

 

SharePoint

Best for sharing documents internally and externally, across devices

Overview

With Microsoft Sharepoint, you can share and manage content, knowledge, and applications to empower teamwork, quickly find information, and seamlessly collaborate across your organization.

Pros

  • Document edits are saved directly to OneDrive or SharePoint and updated across all synced devices;
  • Configure how you share files with third parties (sharing only to authenticated users, setting expiration periods for anonymous access, or using groups to manage who can share documents externally);
  • With the Microsoft Flow integration, you can create and implement workflows between different platforms. 

Cons

  • The number of tools, features, and integrations can be daunting for teams new to document collaboration tools;
  • The platform can require implementation by Microsoft, which represents additional cost before you get started;
  • No free trial option when just purchasing SharePoint.

Pricing

SharePoint Online (plan 1)

SharePoint Online (plan 2)

Office 365 E3

$5.00 user/month

$10.00 user/month

$20.00 user/month

Includes the collaboration features that small and mid-sized businesses need to succeed

Full-featured SharePoint Online with capabilities for the enterprise and unlimited personal cloud storage

For businesses that need the power of Office with advanced services for messaging, document sharing, compliance and IT management features

 

Confluence

Best for providing a single source of truth for all parts of your organization

Overview

Confluence is a remote-friendly team workspace that makes it easy for you to jot down ideas as they come to you, create and edit pages, and collaborate with your team from virtually anywhere.

Pros

  • The open, connected structure allows information to flow freely across the whole organization;
  • Its social features allow employees at every level to contribute, share, and receive feedback;
  • @ mention members and assign tasks to move projects forward.

Cons

  • A common issue faced by users is the quality of the search functionality, which often returns no, or inadequate results;
  • Formatting text can be challenging for new users and isn’t as intuitive as other document sharing and collaboration software options; 
  • Not able to export to parties outside of the organization without setting up a Confluence account. 

Pricing

Free

Standard

Premium

Enterprise

$0

$5.50 user/month

$10.50 user/month

Contact

For small teams to document project information and decisions

For growing teams to collaborate and share knowledge

For organizations to scale with advanced content controls

For enterprises with global scale, security, and governance needs

 

Bit.ai

Best for businesses that frequently collaborate with editors outside of their organization.

Overview

Bit.ai is built for teams and individuals to create, collaborate, and organize all your knowledge in one place from anywhere in the world.

Pros

  • Colleagues can edit workspaces with documents, notes, links, and other resources without the need for complex permission controls;
  • A minimalist smart editor that lets you collaborate with your clients in real time;
  • Keep your work organized by creating workspaces around projects, teams, clients, etc.

Cons

  • Users have said that ​​they’ve been unable to change the font style to match internal branding;
  • No native e-signature functionality;
  • Lacking OCR search.

Pricing

Free Plan

Pro Plan

Business Plan

Enterprise

$0 user/month

$8.00 user/month

$15.00 user/month

Contact

Real-time collaboration for individuals or very small teams and up to 50 docs

Unlimited documents, members and version history for larger teams 

Document tracking functionality for businesses that need greater collaboration automation.

Personalized plans for

large team deployments

 

Notion

Best for small business basic task management

Overview

Notion is an all-in-one workspace that lets you write, plan, collaborate, and get organized — it allows you to take notes, add tasks, and manage projects.

Pros

  • Follow specific pages to receive instant notifications of changes to the page;
  • Automate user provisioning and management;
  • The flexible, infinitely configurable sidebar helps structure the information teams need, in context.

Cons

  • Lacking key features such as OCR search and email forwarding;
  • Doesn’t support annotation for uploaded PDFs and images;
  • Formatting gets lost when importing/exporting. 

Pricing

Personal

Personal Pro

Team

Enterprise

Free for individuals

$4.00 per month

$8.00 user/month

Contact

For solo users to organise their personal documents and share with up to 5 guests

For solo users who need that little something more with unlimited guests and 30-day version history

For teams to collaborate in one place and with permission controls

Designed to support and control entire organizations with a collaborative workspace

 

Clickup

Best for teams that want to visualize day-to-day work capacity and commitments

Overview

ClickUp is a cloud-based work platform that combines important business applications and centralizes company information into a single online solution.

Pros

  • Highly customizable views help project management efficiency and collaboration;
  • Work with your team in real-time with chat and notifications;
  • The LineUp TM functionality offers a prioritized order of tasks for each person so that you see colleagues’ main focus areas and priorities. 

Cons

Pricing

Free forever

Unlimited

Business

Business Plus

Enterprise

$0

$5.00 user/month

$9.00 user/month

$19.00 user/month

Contact

For personal users who want to create, edit and track documents

For smaller teams that want to visualise workflows and document progress

For mid-sized teams, featuring advanced time tracking, workload management and dashboard features

Best for multiple teams that require custom permissions, custom role creation and  team sharing 

Designed for multiple large teams and includes access to managed services and a dedicated success manager

 

What is the main advantage of document collaboration?

Although different document collaboration tools vary by feature, it’s clear that real-time collaboration is essential for all businesses. 

Ultimately, the stand-out advantages of document collaboration software are that they save your business time and improve internal communication. 

These advantages then have knock-on effects across your business:

  • By automating tasks and simplifying processes, you can re-allocate resources across your business to increase productivity; 
  • As discussed previously, with remote work increasing, online document collaboration lets your teams work as if they were sitting next to each other; 
  • Increased productivity and flexibility lead to improved team morale as colleagues can see the newfound efficiency gains. 

 

Wrapping up the top 10 document collaboration tools

In today’s business world — where remote work is the new norm and collaboration drives success — choosing software that can scale with your business is crucial. 

Investing in document collaboration software isn’t just about colleagues making simple edits to a text document. As we’ve seen today, it goes well beyond that. From automating processes to eliminating manual tasks, the right software can transform how your teams work. 

Don’t get left behind — reward your business with a modern-day collaboration solution that provides the infrastructure to succeed.

Avokaado’s collaboration software offers the advanced features needed for dealing with legal documentation. And what’s more, you can sign up for a 7–day free trial and start benefiting from Avokaado’s easy-to-use platform immediately. Get started today!

17.12.2021

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