8 Best Free Collaborative Writing Tools
Here is a list of best free collaborative writing tools. All of these are cloud based and online services that offer collaborative writing environment. In these services, you can create new documents and also upload TXT, DOC, DOCX, ODT, and more documents. After creating or uploading documents to these services, you can share them with other users for collaborative work. Although, you can change the document access permission at the time of sharing. In these services, you mainly get three types of document sharing permissions namely Can Edit, Only View, and Add Comment. For collaborative writing, it is necessary to give editing permission to other users with which you are sharing your document. In these services, you also get a good set of writing tools to provide a good text editing and writing environment. Some of the text editing tools that you get are Text Style, Format, Align, and Bullet List.
These services also offer other important collaboration tools such as Version History (to track previous versions of a document) and Comments (to give feedback regarding a shared document). In some services, you can also find text chat feature that enables users to communicate with one another. You can also find various additional tools in these services such as Word Counter, Add Ons Support, Spell Checker, Translate, and more. Go through the list to know more about these services.
My Favorite Collaborative Writing Tools:
Google Docs is my favorite service because it allows any number of users to collaboratively work on a writing project. Plus, it also offers all the essential writing and collaboration tools.
Samepage is another good collaborative writing tool that you can try as it offers a good collaborative environment. Plus, it also offers handy text chat and voice call features to improve writing collaboration.
You can also check out lists of best free Online Document Collaboration, Whiteboard Websites With Real-Time Collaboration, and Cloud Based Screenwriting services.
Google Docs is a free collaborative writing tool. Using it, you can write and collaboratively edit documents. Along with simple text documents, you can also upload and edit DOC, DOCX, ODT, RTF, etc., documents in it. Through this service, you can also manage a large set of documents. You can also permanently store documents on your Google Drive. Plus, all the essential writing and editing tools are also present in it. Now, check out its main features.
- Collaboration Tool: To collaboratively work on a document, you need to share it with other users with added permissions namely Viewer, Comment, and Editor. The Viewer permission only allows other users to view shared documents. The Comment permission lets users give comments to shared documents. On the other hand, Editor permission allows other users to edit every aspect of the shared document.
- Version History: Using it, you can view all the versions of a document along with editing time and name of the editor. It also lets you jump to any previous version of a document.
- Activity Dashboard: Through this feature, you and other users can view the number of visits by each user on a specific document.
- Writing and Editing Tools: It also offers all the essential writing and editing tools such as Insert (to add tables, charts, breaks, etc.), Format (to adjust text style, paragraph style, align document, etc.), Undo, Redo, Select All, etc.
- Spelling and Grammar: Using these tools, you can quickly find out all the spelling and grammar mistakes.
- Word Count: Use it to find out the total number of words, pages, and characters with or without spaces.
- Compare Documents: Through this feature, you can find out all the dissimilarities between two or more similar documents.
- Add Ons: Using it, you can add more features to this service such as DocuSign, LucidCharts, etc.
- In this free version of Google Docs, you only get 15 GB of online storage to store your documents.
It is a clean, easy to use yet a powerful collaborative writing tool through which you can collaboratively work with other users over shared documents.
Samepage is another free collaborative writing tool service. Through this service, you can create teams, chat with team members, collaborate with members over voice/ video calls, and share documents with each other. In addition to that, it also offers document management features namely Documents and Files sections. Now, check out the main features of this service.
- Share Document: Through this feature, you can easily share a text document with other users so that they can also make changes to it. By default, this feature shares an editable document link that you cannot disable.
- Collaborative Editing Tools: This service offers a lot of useful tools that users can use during the editing of a document like Image (to insert images to document), Table (to add tables to a document), Diagram (to add shapes and diagrams to document), and more.
- People: It is another useful feature that shows all the users currently working on this service.
- WorkSpace: Using it, you can view and manage all your documents.
- Chat and Calls: It provides a voice calling and a handy instant text chat feature that further improve the communication among multiple users.
- In this free version of this service, you can only store data of up to 2 GB.
It is a cleanly designed collaborative writing tool through which multiple users can easily communicate and collaborate with each other.
Microsoft Word is another free collaborative writing tool service. It is an online service that comes under Microsoft Office cloud service. Using this service, you can collaboratively work with multiple users over a document. Plus, other handy collaboration tools like track changes, comments, etc., are also present in it. You can also save all your edited document on your OneDrive. Now, lets check out its main features.
- Share Link: Using it, you can generate a sharable link with added permissions like allow editing, password, and expiration date. By enabling the allow editing feature at the time of sharing, you can enable the collaborative editing of the shared document. By adding a password to a sharable link, you can ensure that no unauthorized user can view and edit shared documents. The expiration date feature automatically disables the access and editing permissions of a document when the expiration date reaches.
- Track Changes: You can find this feature under the Review tab that enables you to view all the changes made by other users over a shared document. Although at any time, you can remove changes made by other users.
- Comments: Through this feature, you can add comments on your own and other documents shared with you by other users to provide your feedback.
- Editing and Document Formatting Tools: It also offers all the essential editing and formatting tools like Text Style, Page Layout, Undo, Redo, Header, Insert, and more.
- Storage: In this service, you can also upload and manage documents of TXT, DOCX, DOC, ODT, etc., formats.
- Translate: Using it, you can translate the text written in other languages to English, Dutch, Chez, etc., languages.
- In this free version of Online Microsoft Word, you can only store and manage documents of up to 5 GB.
It is another simple to use collaborative writing tool through which you can easily work in collaboration with other users.
ONLYOFFICE is another free collaborative writing tool. According to its name implies, it is an online office suite that offers multiple modules namely Document, Spreadsheet, and Presentation. Although, you only need its Document module to work on a collaborative writing environment. Using it, you can create new documents and share them with others for collaborative work. At any time, you can change the access rights for shared documents to enable or disable other users from editing on shared documents. Now, check out its main features.
- Collaboration: Through this feature, you can share your documents with other users. At the time of sharing the documents, you can choose one of the various available access rights such as Full Access (It enables other users to edit the shared document), Read-Only (it only allows other users to view the shared document), and Deny Access (using it, you can disable other users from accessing the shared document).
- C0-Editing Modes: It offers two models namely Fast and Strict. The Fast mode automatically save all the changes done by one or more users on a document. In Strict mode, all the users need to manually save the changes after editing.
- Add Comment: Using it, users of this service can comment on the shared documents.
- Track Changes: Through this feature, you can track changes done by other users to a shared document. Plus, it also lets you revert back changes done by other users.
- Version History: It shows the time and name of users who have edited a shared document. By selecting the name of a user, you can view the change made by that user.
- Plugins: Using it, you can add more plugins to introduce more features like translate, dictionary, OCR, etc.
- This service is only free for personal use.
It is another good collaborative writing tool through which you can easily work on a text-based project with multiple users.
Dropbox Paper is yet another free collaborative writing tool. It is an online service that lets you directly access and edit documents from your Dropbox account. It also lets users share editable documents with one another to collaboratively work on a project. Plus, all the essential writing and text editing tools are present in it. Now, check out its main features.
- Share: It is the main feature that allows you to share editable documents with multiple users. At the time of sharing a text document, you can specify whether other users can just view its content or view and edit the content. Still, in both cases, other users can comment on the shared document to give their feedback.
- Doc History: It is basically a version history feature of this service through which you can view the time and names of all the users who have made modifications to a shared document. By selecting the name of a user, you can view the changes done by the user.
- Editing Tools: To make modifications to a document, you can use features like Add Images, Add Media, Create Table, Bullet List, Add Code, etc.
- Present this doc: This features offers a great document reading environment that offers minimal distractions.
- Things to do: Use it to make a list of all the task that you want to complete on a given date.
It is a simple and effective collaboration tool service that anyone can use with ease.
Notion is another free collaborative writing tool service. Using it, you can share your workspace documents with up to 5 different users that they can edit and view. Although, you can restrict the editing access of users at any time. It also offers various private tools to create and store quick notes, task lists, journals, resume, job applications, weekly agenda, etc. Let’s take a brief look at the main features of this service.
- Workspace: In it, you can create, read, and manage all your text-based documents. From here, you can also share your documents with other users.
- Share: Use it to invite new users and share text documents with other users for collaborative work. At the time of sharing a document, you can grant can edit (to allow other uses to view and edit the shared document), can view (only allow other users to view the document), and can comment (it allows other users to comment on the shared document) permissions.
- Text Editing and Insert Tools: To work over a text document, this software offers various editing and elements insertion tools such as Heading, Bullet List, Numbered List, Quote, Mention a Page, Table, Calendar, and more.
- Export: Using it, you can export the documents in PDF, HTML, and CSV formats.
- In this free version of this service, many important collaboration features like page history, unlimited team members, etc., are locked. To unlock all its features, you need to purchase the premium versions of this service.
It is another capable collaborative writing tool that offers a good set of collaboration and writing tools.
CryptPad is the next free collaborative writing tool service. This service is a part of the CryptDrive in which you can securely store and manage all your data and documents. The good thing about this service is its ability to share editable text, spreadsheet, code, etc., documents. Let’s take a brief look at the main features of this collaborative writing tool service.
- Share: As its name implies, it is used to share your documents with other users. At the time of sharing a document, you can add choose one of three types of access rights namely View (it only lets other users view the shared document), Edit (it allows other users to view and edit the shared document), and View Once and Self-Destruct (it allows other users to only view the shared document once after that it will automatically get deleted).
- Access: Using it, you can add password protection and expiration date over text and other documents.
- Chat: This service also offers a text chat feature through which multiple users can communicate with each other.
- Writing Tools: In this service, you get all the essential writing tools such as Text Style, Page Format, Bullet List, Align, Insert, and more.
- Export: It allows you to export saved documents in DOC and HTML formats.
- User List: It shows a list of all the active and inactive users.
- This free version of this service only offers 50 MB of online storage.
It is another capable yet easy to use collaborative writing tool that a group of users can use to collaboratively work on writing projects.
BIT.AI is a free knowledge collaboration platform that also acts as a collaborative writing tool service. In this service, you can collaboratively work with up to 5 different users. Before starting the collaboration, you need to create a workspace. After that, you can upload or create new text documents over which you can collaboratively work with other users. Now, check out its main features.
- WorkSpaces: Using it, you can create new workspaces and manage existing ones. In each workspace, you can create new documents that you can share with other users so that they can also collaborate.
- Share: After creating a document, use this feature to share it with other users. At the time of sharing a document, you get three sharing options Share Live Link (anyone with this link can view your document), Embed Document (it allows users to embed shard document to a website), Trackable Link (using it you can track what other users are doing on your shared document).
- Conversation: Through this feature, a team of users can communicate about a document and also comment on shared documents.
- In this free version of BIT.AI, you will face multiple restrictions such as document storage limit (up to 50 documents), limited storage space (1 GB), locked version history, etc.
It is a beautifully designed collaborative writing tool service that fulfills all essential collaborative writing needs.
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