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5 Insanely Useful Collaboration Tools Your Team Needs To Know About

Remember the first time you ever saw the real-time collaboration feature for Google Docs (now Google Drive)? It seems obvious now, but in 2005 seeing changes happen live felt nothing short of magical. Never again would you have to email documents to various co-workers, only to manually add everyone’s changes to a single document.

Ten years later and Google Drive continues to improve A Shine In The Clouds: The New Google Drive Gets A Redesigned Look With generous free space, it is a personal cloud for many. What it needed was a fresh makeover. The “new look” Google Drive brings that. Take the new Google Drive for a spin. Read More , Microsoft offers real-time collaboration Don’t Pay For Word! 5 Reasons You Should Use Office Online Office Online is the free and cloud-connected version of Microsoft Office. Limitations are compensated by features, useful even to users of desktop Office. Best of all is its Read More in their online version of Office, and Dropbox is reportedly working on a real-time collaboration app of their own.

Even with all this, though, many people are stuck using the email-and-collect-revisions method of collaboration. Today Cool Websites and Apps looks at five tools that fix that for you.

Frame.io: Preview, Comment and Post Revisions of Media Files

This app looks to make collaborating on anything – from photos to videos to sound – a lot easier. There are annotation tools, comments and the ability to upload various revisions of the same file all in one place.

Google Drive collaboration on video projects is a long way off – bandwidth needs to get a lot better before that’s possible. That doesn’t mean you’re stuck with the email-and-revise method for video projects though, as Frame.io demonstrates nicely. If you’re sick of keeping track of email chains and compiling feedback, this app helps you put it all in one place.

A free account gives you 2 GB to work with; for more than that you’ll have to upgrade.

Fiddle.md: Collaborate on Markdown Files

As great as Google Drive is, it’s limited for writers in one key way: it offers a word processor. And while for millions word processors are the default tool for writing, for a growing number of people their paper-focused design is obsolete. Hence the growing popularity of Markdown, a quick way to format documents destined for the web (and not paper). Our complete guide to MarkDown Learning Markdown: Write For The Web, Faster Markdown is the best way to write in plain text but still create complex documents. Unlike HTML or LaTex, for example, Markdown is simple to learn. Read More is worth checking out if you want more information.

Anyway: Fiddle.md lets you collaborate on Markdown files. The interface features a real-time-preview, and you don’t even need an account to try the service.


Give this one a shot, you’ll probably like it. If not, we’ve outlined a few Markdown editors that play nice with Google Drive 6 Markdown Editors That Play Nice With Google Drive Markdown is the text editing format of the future. It’s simpler, sleeker, and easier to use than HTML without sacrificing much power or flexibility. Read More .

GraphPaper: Ambitious Platform for Combining Tools

If you’re looking for a way to combine a bunch of different collaboration tools, GraphPaper’s probably worth a look. This ambitious tool lets you quickly make a sheet combining text, images and even embeds from other websites.

You even embed an appear.in video chat Move Over Google Plus Hangouts. Appear.in Is Here & It’s Really Good People have been crying out for a decent video conferencing app for ages. We thought that was Google Plus. We were wrong. Meet Appear.in. Read More , if you want to, meaning a meeting and its notes can all live in one tab.

Canavanizer: Online Brainstorming System

If you like the idea of brainstorming with your team, but are looking for something simpler, try Canavanizer. This simple tool gives you a variety of brainstorming templates which you can use to think up ideas with your team.


Create your own canvas, then share it with your team. Let me know what kind of uses you find for this tool, okay?

Notion: Wiki With Real-Time Collaboration

Every company needs a place to store documentation, and for many that means a wiki. But wikis come with one key caveat: they almost all have terrible user interfaces, requiring anyone who needs to make edits to learn a markup language.


Notion aims to make things simpler, with a number of tools that make editing easier. It also offers real-time collaboration – if something is being edited right now, you’ll know.

The app is currently in private beta, so you’ll need to sign up in order to try it. If you’ve been considering a wiki for your company, consider signing up. If you need something now, check out these self-hosted wiki options 3 Alternatives To MediaWiki When Hosting Your Own Wiki MediaWiki powers some of the largest wikis in the world. However, just because it’s the most popular choice doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best. Here are a handful of strong alternatives. Read More .

What Did We Miss?

This column aims to highlight web apps we’ve never featured on MakeUseOf, so there’s a good chance one of your favourite tools wasn’t covered. It’s also possible you know about something great and new that I don’t. Either way, we want to hear from you: let us know your favourite real-time collaboration tools in the comments below, okay?

And also let me know what kind of roundups you’d like to take on in the future. It’s literally my job to find cool apps for you, so feel free to boss me around.

Image Credits: coworking center Via Shutterstock

About Justin Pot

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