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5 best free project collaboration tools to make your teams more productive
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5 best free project collaboration tools to make your teams more productive

Get the best free project collaboration tool to organize your people and work, so you can be more productive and move projects forward faster.

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Picture the scene: It's Monday morning, and you're staring at a screen filled with a dozen open tabs, including an overflowing email inbox. A quick “I’ll just grab that link for you” has turned into a 20-minute hunt through folders and Slack threads, which is keeping you from more urgent project tasks. 

You need a way to bring order to the chaos without breaking the bank. A way to achieve effective teamwork, move projects forward faster, and meet targets without causing burnout. 

The right free project collaboration tools can give teamwork on projects a huge boost. But you need to look for platforms with features that enable people to work together in the way that works best for them. 

In this post, you’ll get a list of some of the best free project collaboration tools out there: Switchboard, Slack, Trello, Asana, and Microsoft Teams. We’ll also cover what you do and don’t get on the free plan, so you can get people working better together, no matter where they are. 

All the pieces of your project in one place. 
Switchboard keeps everything–and everyone–organized by project, so you can always find what you need.  
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Online collaboration tools: Overview

Online collaboration tools comparison chart

1. Switchboard

Switchboard room with different apps and files open
Switchboard reduces unproductive context switching by keeping everything you need for your project in one place. Source: Switchboard 

Switchboard is a visual collaboration platform that organizes all the apps and tools a team uses into persistent rooms—and makes everything instantly multiplayer. It’s designed to foster team connection, collaboration, and productivity through intuitive rooms that let you organize everything by project. This eliminates silos and keeps everyone on the same page—so you can communicate in context, cancel more meetings, and get back more time for focus work.  

Switchboard is the only collaboration platform that unites all your people, files, and internal team collaboration tools in one place. No more wading through notifications or switching between different apps to find what you need—it’s all there in Switchboard. Collaborate in real time or async at project—not just file—level on anything. From docs, files, and apps, from project management software to visual and teamwork collaboration tools. Real-time or async collaboration features include video, audio, team chat, polls, voting, and emoji reactions. 

Best of all, Switchboard saves all your files after every session, so you never need to download anything or repopulate the room again. That means you always know where to find the information you need for a specific project, even between meetings. Also, anyone can hop into the host-free rooms and share ideas, catch up, or make progress on their own schedule.

You get access to all Pro features for one month when you sign up free. After that, you can stay on the Pro plan or downgrade to a free plan with limited features, rooms, and members. 

Key free features 

  • Up to 5 shared, persistent rooms for recurring meetings or project work
  • Up to 10 members, 5 workspace guests, 25 meeting attendees, and 100 meeting guests per month 
  • Unlimited 1:1 rooms 
  • Web-based canvas to add browser-based apps, websites, PDFs, and images side by side
  • Sections to organize content, like dragging and dropping items into a visual folder 
  • Multiplayer browsers  
  • Voice and video calls 
  • Screen sharing 
  • Presentation mode, to get people to focus on your view 
  • Built-in whiteboard (and works with all browser-based whiteboards)
  • Chat for users to type messages for all participants to read 
  • Voting app to poll participants in the room 
  • Icebreaker question generator to kick off meetings in a fun way 
  • Timer to keep you on track  
  • Room recording 
  • Google Calendar integration 
  • 40 GB of storage per workspace 
  • 15-day access to chats, content, and recordings in rooms   
  • Host not required for members to enter a room
  • In-app support

What you don’t get on the free plan 

  • Up to 200 rooms, 500 members, 250 workspace guests, and unlimited meeting guests 
  • 300 GB storage per workspace 
  • Unlimited access to chats, recordings, and in-room content 
  • AI conversation assistant to answer questions 
  • AI-generated sticky note summaries 

Best for 

Switchboard is ideal for highly collaborative teams that need an always-open central space to get project work done in real time or async. It’s designed for teams that want to follow effective collaboration best practices, whether they’re sitting side-by-side in an office or spread across locations and time zones. 

2. Slack

Screenshot of workplace communication on Slack
Slack is an instant messaging tool that helps teams stay connected and share information no matter where they are. Source: Slack

Slack is a popular communication platform for teams that need to exchange information quickly and easily. You can organize conversations in public or private channels by project, topic, or team, which helps keep everyone on the same page. Notifications for new messages, mentions, and other events also ensure everyone’s up to date on the latest developments. Slack also offers audio and video calls, so if a thread is getting too long you can hop into a quick “huddle” to talk it out in real time. 

Key free features 

  • 1 workspace 
  • Dedicated channels and direct messaging 
  • Audio and video clips for async communication 
  • 90-day message and file history 
  • 1:1 huddles 
  • Invite 1 external collaborator 
  • Up to 10 app integrations  
  • Mobile app 
  • Standard support 

What you don’t get on the free plan 

  • Unlimited workspaces (Enterprise only) 
  • Unlimited channels (Business+ and above) 
  • Team huddles 
  • Customizable sections 
  • Workflows, both standard and customized  
  • Custom user groups 
  • Unlimited integrations 
  • 24/7 support 

Best for 

  • Teams of any size that need to keep people on the same page with organized channels for conversation and file-sharing. 

3. Trello

Trello lists showing projects in progress
Trello lets you keep tabs on project status with easy-to-understand list views. Source: Trello 

Trello is a project management tool that allows you to visually organize and prioritize tasks, projects, and ideas using boards, lists, and cards. This makes it easy to manage and prioritize tasks, track project progress, and visualize workflows all in one place. Workflow templates also provide a starting point for project management and more productive meetings. For example, by translating action items into Trello cards or automating recurring get-togethers.  

You can use Trello alongside other project management apps in your Switchboard project room to collaborate with team members in real time or async. 

Key free features 

  • Up to 10 boards per workspace 
  • Unlimited cards to visually represent tasks and ideas  
  • Workflows for different purposes 
  • Task assignee and due dates 
  • 250 no-code commands to automate actions 
  • Unlimited file storage (10 MB per file) 
  • Custom backgrounds and stickers 
  • Unlimited activity log 
  • Unlimited integrations per board 
  • Mobile app 

What you don’t get on the free plan 

  • Unlimited boards and workspace commands 
  • Workspace templates 
  • Advanced checklists 
  • Custom fields 
  • 250 MB storage per file 
  • 1,000 workspace automation commands per month 
  • Saved searches 
  • Calendar, timeline, table, dashboard, and map views (Premium and above) 
  • Simple Data export 
  • Invite guests to multiple boards (on Enterprise) 

Best for 

Trello’s free plan is ideal for freelancers, individuals, or small teams who need a basic project management tool and collaboration software. It's particularly useful if you need to visually organize tasks and ideas in one place. 

4. Asana

List view of projects in Asana
Asana makes project and task management easier by giving you visibility into cross-departmental workflows. Source: Asana

Asana is a comprehensive project management tool that works in Switchboard. You can use it to assign, manage, and move tasks through a workflow. It helps streamline project management by keeping everyone on track with to-do lists and providing visibility into task and project statuses, deadlines, and task ownership. This fosters core collaboration principles and values like accountability. It also helps avoid the notification overload you get when people message the whole team because they don’t know who’s responsible for what. 

Key free features 

  • Unlimited tasks, projects, in-app messages, activity log, and file storage  
  • Up to 15 collaborators 
  • Shared team calendar
  • List, board, or calendar view of projects and tasks 
  • In-app messaging 
  • Assignee and due dates 
  • Project overview and brief 
  • Unlimited file sharing and storage (up to 100MB per file)  
  • 100+ integrations with popular tools  
  • iOS and Android apps 
  • Self-service support via the help center 

What you don’t get on the free plan 

  • Tasks timeline and task templates 
  • Workflow builder
  • AI-driven conversation tool, plus smart optimization of goals, workflows, and statuses
  • Unlimited project reporting, guests, and dashboards 
  • Custom forms and fields to collect and consolidate feedback or information
  • Start dates and times
  • Task automation and custom workflow rules builder 
  • Individual and team workload view 
  • Project templates library 
  • Time tracking
  • Project milestone visualizations 
  • Advanced integrations with Salesforce CRM, Adobe Creative Cloud, Tableau, Power BI

Best for 

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

5. Microsoft Teams

Online Q&A session on Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams lets you host webinars, collaborate with colleagues, and create private spaces for teammembers. Source: Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is an online meeting platform that lets you host video conferences and collaborative work sessions with your team. The free version works well for simple virtual meetings, file sharing, and chat. You can also use channels to keep information and people organized by project, while @mentions and notifications alert them to important updates. 

Key free features 

  • Video conferencing for up to 60 minutes and 100 participants
  • 1:1 meetings of up to 30 hours 
  • Up to 100 users on an account 
  • Screen sharing 
  • Customizable backgrounds 
  • Shared virtual space with different settings 
  • Meeting scheduling 
  • Import contacts from Outlook and Skype 
  • Live captions in English 
  • Unlimited chat messages and search
  • Guest access
  • File attachments up to 2 GB per chat 
  • Up to 5 GB file storage across the team 
  • Access and share Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files 
  • Mobile app
  • 24/7 phone and web support 

What you don’t get on the free plan 

  • Up to 300 participants, 300 users, and 30 hours per meeting
  • Unlimited chat and search 
  • Guest access 
  • Up to 10 GB storage 
  • Live captions in over 30 languages (Business Basic and Business Standard) 
  • Meeting recording and transcripts 
  • Breakout rooms 
  • Whiteboard 
  • Over 250 integrations 

Best for 

The free version of Microsoft Teams is a good choice for real time collaboration, especially if you need to share information created using Microsoft Office 365 products, like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.  

Best online collaboration tools: Move projects forward, faster 

So there you have it: a roundup of the best free project collaboration tools. Now when you log in on Monday mornings, it’s to find a team that knows their tasks and can find what they need, anytime. That’s because you signed up for the right free tools that give teamwork a boost without breaking the bank. Communication and brainstorming are easier, everyone’s on the same page, and your team can make deadlines without the usual stress and burnout.

Among the free project collaboration tools we recommend are Asana, Trello, Slack, and Microsoft Teams. However, if you really want to enable people to work together as if they were in the same room, you should use Switchboard as the base of your tech stack. 

Persistent rooms make everything multiplayer, so you can work side by side on all your favorite browser-based apps, documents, and files—without sharing screens. Best of all, Switchboard saves your work, so you never have to set the room up again or share materials after a call. Having everything saved by project also means less time digging around to find what you need. So you can do more async work, cancel more meetings, and get back more time for focus work. 

All the pieces of your project in one place. 
Switchboard lets you keep everything–and everyone–organized by project, so you can always find what you need.  
Sign up free 

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All the pieces of your project in one place.

Switchboard keeps everything–and everyone–organized by project, so you can always find what you need.