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9 top free online collaboration tools for more productive teamwork
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9 top free online collaboration tools for more productive teamwork

Discover the top free online collaboration tools for your company—and how to use them all in Switchboard for more efficient and productive teamwork.

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More tools don’t necessarily mean better collaboration. In fact, too many tools can lead to notification overwhelm, siloed working and information, and context switching, which negatively impacts concentration, efficiency, and productivity. 

Building the perfect tech stack quickly gets expensive and can require big commitments. Luckily, leaders who understand their team’s working styles and organizational needs can build a lean, efficient tech stack based on a few collaboration tools.

If that sounds like you, read on. This post will give you a list of free online collaboration tools with the functionality your teams need to work well together no matter where they are. You’ll also learn how Switchboard facilitates teamwork by acting as a home base where you can bring all your online collaboration tools together and get more done. 

Tired of searching through multiple apps to find what you need? 
Open all your browser-based collaboration apps in your persistent Switchboard room—and never search for anything again. 
Sign up free

1. Switchboard: Best team collaboration tool

Three apps in a Switchboard room
Switchboard makes real-time collaboration and async work easy by letting you open, annotate, and work on bowser-based files with your team. Source: Switchboard

Switchboard is a visual collaboration platform that organizes all the browser-based apps and tools your team uses into intuitive, persistent meeting and project rooms—and makes everything instantly multiplayer. It’s designed to foster team connection, collaboration, and productivity by letting you organize work and tools by project. 

People can work together in coworking sessions, meetings, and in between meetings on a wide range of files, apps, and visual collaboration tools. You can also communicate in real time with video, audio, chat, polls, and emoji reactions without having to share screens. ‍

You can work side-by-side allowing everyone to scroll, type, and browse the same document at the same time. Also, you can create virtual rooms for brainstorming, host spontaneous meetings with your team, and connect with clients in an interactive space. 

Switchboard also lets you collaborate on project–not file–level, which helps async teams come together and build faster. By bringing people, applications, and conversations together in one place, you can cancel more meetings and get more done without juggling fragmented apps and timezones.  

Throughout the meeting or working session, you can explore any file in the room, moving around and viewing whatever you want without getting in the way of others. Best of all, Switchboard saves all your files after every session, so you never need to download anything or repopulate the room again. 

In Switchboard, you can avoid tool bloat and context switching. Most of the external and internal collaboration tools listed below work in Switchboard—with no integrations. This means you can get cross-functional team members in a room and open up everything from spreadsheets to mind maps to Gantt charts to work on them together.  

Key free features:  

  • Up to five dedicated, persistent project rooms that save your work
  • Unlimited 1:1 rooms 
  • Up to 10 members, five workspace guests, and 100 meeting invites/month
  • A huge canvas to visually organize apps, documents, and files in one view
  • Interactive, multiplayer browsers that support all of your web-based apps
  • In-room sticky notes, whiteboards, chat, polls, and surveys to gather and leave feedback
  • Live voice and video calls for interactive working sessions
  • Up to 25 meeting attendees 
  • 15-day access to chats, room recordings, and closed content for async review
  • Google Calendar integration 
  • 4GB/member file storage 

Best for:

Switchboard is ideal for highly collaborative in-person, hybrid, or remote teams that need an always-open space to find each other and get work done together in real time or async. It’s designed to streamline teamwork and let you follow solid team collaboration principles by facilitating open communication and efficiency.  

2. Asana: Best workflow and task management tool

Project management dashboard in Asana
Asana streamlines task and project management by giving you visibility into cross-departmental workflows and task status.  Source: Asana

Asana is a comprehensive project management software that lets in-person, remote, or hybrid teams assign, manage, and move tasks through a workflow

Since everyone can see project progress and task status on Asana's Kanban boards, it’s easy to see who’s responsible for what and when tasks are due, which helps keep projects on track. Having clear ownership of tasks also prevents unnecessary communications that happen when there's confusion, and individuals end up messaging the entire team. This makes it easier to avoid notification overload and follow collaboration best practices

Key free features: 

  • Unlimited tasks, projects, in-app messages, and activity log 
  • Up to 15 collaborators 
  • Shared team calendar and tasks timeline
  • List, board, or calendar view of projects and tasks 
  • Task automation 
  • Assignee and due dates 
  • Project overview and brief 
  • File sharing and storage (up to 100MB per file)  
  • 100+ integrations with popular tools including time tracking  
  • iOS and Android apps 

Best for: 

The Asana free plan is great for individuals or small businesses of less than 15 people that need a basic project management tool or want to try out its features before upgrading to a paid plan. 

3. Dropbox: Best for file sharing

An illustration file in Dropbox with viewer comments
Dropbox makes it easy to get feedback on files from clients and collaboratorsSource: Dropbox

Dropbox is an online file hosting service that lets you securely store, share, and collaborate on a wide range of file types, from photos to proposals to presentations. Even if recipients don’t have an account, they can still view and comment on files from any device, so it’s easy to get the input you need to move things forward.

Key free features: 

  • 2 GB of storage
  • Web, desktop, or mobile app 
  • 175 file types supported 
  • Shareable links
  • File previews and commenting 
  • File sync
  • Automatically upload photos and videos from your phone, camera, or SD card
  • 30-day version history and file recovery 

Best for: 

Dropbox Basic is a good option for individuals or small teams that need a basic cloud storage and file-sharing solution without paying for additional features.

4. Zoom: Best for video conferencing

Online meeting on Zoom
Zoom is useful for teams that want a basic, reliable online meeting tool. Source: Zoom

Zoom is one of the most recognizable online meeting platforms out there today. It offers solutions for various industries, from engineering to education, so you can bring multiple team members together for status updates, discussions, and decision-making.  

Key free features: 

  • Meetings of up to 40 minutes and 100 attendees 
  • Up to three basic online whiteboards
  • In-meeting team chat
  • Mail and calendar functions 
  • Locally stored call recordings
  • Screen sharing
  • Breakout rooms

Best for: 

Zoom can accommodate a large number of participants, so it’s ideal if you need to get a lot of people on a call. The built-in whiteboard and messaging features also make meetings interactive but small, highly collaborative teams may find it lacks the functionality you need for true side-by-side collaboration. 

It’s also the only tool on our list that doesn’t work in Switchboard, though you’re unlikely to miss it as Switchboard offers video conferencing.

5. Google Docs: Best real-time document collaboration software

Screenshot of a living Google Docs document with @-mention capabilities
Google Docs lets you pull your coworkers directly into your workflow and bring their attention to important tasks or information. Source: Google

Google Docs is a popular document collaboration tool that’s accessible and easy to use, especially if you’re familiar with Google Workspace. It integrates with Google Drive so you can save any type of document or file. You can also import, edit, save, and share PDFs, Microsoft Word documents, and more with your teammates. 

Key free features: 

  • Real-time edits, comments, and action items 
  • Tag collaborators to send an email notification 
  • Document translation 
  • Smart Compose 
  • Version history 
  • Autosave

Best for: 

Small teams using the Google Workspace, Gmail, and Google Drive to collaborate on a range of file types and stay in the loop with email notifications. 

6. Slack: Best team messaging app

Screenshot of workplace communication on Slack
Slack is an instant messaging tool that lets teams stay connected and share information easily. Source: Slack

Slack is a popular employee communication and collaboration tool that lets in-person, remote, and hybrid teams exchange information quickly and easily. You can organize conversations based on topic or function, automate routine actions and communications, and make video and audio calls. It also offers “huddle” rooms for spontaneous 1:1 interactions or impromptu meetings.  

Key free features: 

  • Unlimited public and private internal communication channels 
  • 1:1 external communication channels 
  • 90-day history for unlimited messages 
  • Video clip recording 
  • Up to 10 Integrations with third-party tools  
  • Documents, files, and voice note sharing
  • Desktop, mobile, and browser-based web application

Best for: 

Individuals and small teams that need a simple communication tool with instant messaging and file sharing to stay connected and work together on projects. 

7. GitHub: Best for collaborative software development

GitHub conversation thread
Access to GitHub’s large open-source community makes it easy to get answers when your team needs help. Source: GitHub

GitHub is a cloud-based platform used by software developers to store, manage, and collaborate on code, as well as track and control version changes all in one place. With GitHub, it’s easy to connect and ask questions, share ideas, and work together on projects right next to your code, which reduces the number of apps you have to switch between to get things done. 

Key free features: 

  • Unlimited public/private repositories
  • Automatic security and version updates 
  • 2,000 CI/CD minutes/month 
  • 500MB of Packages storage 
  • New issues and projects (currently in limited beta) 

Best for: 

GitHub is used by engineers, programmers, developers, instructors, and coding students. The free plan is ideal for individuals and small-scale projects that need to use Git open-source version control. Access to the open-source community also means there’s help on hand when your team is blocked. 

8. Figma: Best for design and prototyping

Website mockup design in Figma
Figma is ideal for collaborating on visual projects like web or app design, among many other uses. Source: Figma

Figma is a highly versatile browser-based graphics and user interface (UI) design platform that offers a multiplayer experience. It’s used by creative teams to work together in real time or async on websites, apps, prototypes, social media posts, user testing, and much more.

Its visual and collaboration features also make it suitable for brainstorming and project management since you can use shapes and text to share ideas, get input, and create project timelines.

Key free features: 

  • Three Figma and three FigJam files 
  • Figma Editor 
  • 30-day version history 
  • Unlimited personal files and collaborators 
  • File export and unlimited storage 
  • Plugins, widgets, and templates 
  • Sketch import 
  • Auto layout 
  • Advanced drawing tools and animations 
  • Unlimited viewers and observation mode 
  • Shareable links 
  • On-canvas commenting 
  • Interactive prototypes with library of pre-made, embeddable videos  
  • REST APIs 
  • Third-party integrations 
  • Mobile app  

Best for: 

Figma is a favorite tool of UX/UI designers, product people, and marketers, among others, who need to work together on digital designs. The intuitive interface and wide range of features available on the free plan allow individuals, startups, and small teams to explore its possibilities before committing to a paid subscription. 

9. Canva: Best for graphic design and content creation

Images of teams working together and a message in Canva
Canva offers collaboration features so everyone can get involved in design and provide their input. Source: Canva

Canva is an online graphic design platform that makes digital design a breeze—even if you have no experience

You can upload and edit images and files and choose from thousands of stock photos and professionally designed drag-and-drop templates to create everything from social media posts to presentations to business plans. Best of all, you can easily share designs with others and invite them to pitch in by adding comments, assigning actions, or editing. 

Key free features: 

  • Drag-and-drop editor 
  • 250,000+ free, customizable templates 
  • 100+ design types 
  • 1+ million free photos and graphics 
  • AI-powered design tools 
  • Printing and delivery of designs 
  • 5GB of cloud storage 

Best for: 

The free version of Canva is ideal for individuals, small teams, and startups in industries like marketing, tech, or design to create and collaborate on professional-looking content, images, etc. 

The best online collaboration tools for free: Get more done without breaking the bank  

Free tools like Google Docs, Asana, Canva, Figma, GitHub, and Slack meet the needs of cross-functional teams with less of the notification overload and siloed working and information they used to experience. 

The best part is, you can use any of the above in Switchboard. By adding browser-based tools into your persistent project, meeting, and 1:1 rooms, you can work together side-by-side and make true collaboration possible, async and in real time. 

This lets you communicate in context and move projects forward faster. With everything saved in one place, there’s also no more wasted time hunting around in multiple tabs to find what you need.

Tired of searching through multiple apps to find what you need? 
Open all your browser-based collaboration apps in your persistent Switchboard room—and never search for anything again. 
Sign up free

Frequently asked questions about free online collaboration tools

Which is the best free collaboration online tool?

Switchboard is the best free online collaboration tool as it makes everything multiplayer, so you can work side-by-side on projects and get more done in meetings without sharing screens. It serves as the bedrock of your collaboration tech stack because you can open all your browser-based tools in your persistent room. After the session, your work stays right where you left it, so you can easily pick up where you left off next time.

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Tired of searching through multiple apps to find what you need?

Open all your browser-based collaboration apps in your persistent Switchboard room—and never search for anything again.