Online document collaboration software

Updated: February 24, 2019
Online tools that allow to collaborate on text documents in real-time

2018. Collaborative document editor Coda integrates with Slack



Coda, the smart collaborative document editor that breaks down the barriers between documents, spreadsheets, databases and presentations, is adding an option to pull in data from third-party sources and send out messages to their teams on Slack or by SMS and email. One part of these new integrations, which Coda calls “Coda Packs,” is that you now have the ability to extend your spreadsheets with data that you typically would have had to pull in by hand — something few people are likely to do. That may be stock, sports or weather data, but also open GitHub requests, Intercom tickets and data from your Google Calendar. But there also is a second set of integrations that now let you push out information to Slack and Twilio .


2018. Dropbox improves its collaboration layer - Paper



Dropbox adds some enhancements to its collaboration Paper to keep people working in it without having to switch programs. Now you can paste a number of elements into Paper and get live previews. For starters, they are letting you link to a Dropbox folder in Paper, where you can view the files inside the folder, even navigating any sub-folders. When the documents in the folder change, Paper updates the preview automatically because the folder is actually a live link to the Dropbox folder. This one seems like a table stakes feature for a company like Dropbox. In addition, Dropbox now supports Airtables, a kind of souped up spreadsheet. With the new enhancement, you just grab an Airtable embed code and drop it into Paper. From there, you can see a preview in whatever Airtable view you’ve saved the table. Finally, Paper now supports LucidCharts. As with Airtables and folders, you simply paste the link and you can see a live preview inside Paper. If the original chart changes, updates are reflected automatically in the Paper preview.


2016. Apple iWork adds real-time collaboration



Apple takes on Google Documents with real-time collaboration on iWork documents. The long-awaited feature makes it easier to cooperate and create documents on the fly. Users can collaborate on images, text and everything else across the iWork suite, including on the mac, iPad, iPhone and on the web. All the iWork apps – Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Aimed at students, professional setting and other collaborative efforts, it’s a long overdue addition to Apple’s productivity suite. The updated apps are expected to ship imminently.


2015. Online office suite ONLYOFFICE launched free cloud version



On the occasion of its 5th birthday ONLYOFFICE announced the launch of the free SaaS version ONLYOFFICE Free Cloud. It includes mail server to create corporate mailboxes, 2 GB of Amazon cloud storage space, online editors for text, spreadsheets and presentations, Calendar, Chat, Feed and Mail Aggregator, and 5 full-featured modules: Documents, Projects, CRM, People and Community. ONLYOFFICE Free Cloud is listed on our new website – www.onlyoffice.org - where you will find the information about all the solutions provided by ONLYOFFICE at no cost.


2013. Teamlab launches free alternative to Google Docs and MS Office



Online service Teamlab is know not only for its collaboration and business management features, but also for cool online document editors that can be well compared to Google Docs, MS Office Web Apps or Zoho Docs. But until now these editors where available only for Teamlab paid users. Today TeamLab is launching a free productivity tool Teamlab Personal - an alternative to Google Drive, Skydrive and Zoho Docs. It's a cloud file storage with office editors. Teamlab says that it combines reach formatting features from MS Office with collaboration tools from Google Docs. The service allows to upload and edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint from your computer and even pull docs from other online services: Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, Box (note that the last three services have their own document editors). You can share files with colleagues, co-edit and comment them in real time and embed documents to your web page.


2013. Web Office Apps add normal real-time co-authoring


Microsoft's online document editors Office Web Apps (available in SkyDrive and Office 365) already provided collaborative editing for some time. But it worked in the old-fashioned way: you had to press the Save button - and only then your colleagues saw the changes you made. Now this feature will become modern: you'll be able to see who is currently working on a document and see what collaborators are doing. And the Save button is gone, now the changes are saved automatically. So now it works just like in Google Docs. But this does not mean that Microsoft's online editors are lagging behind Google's. Regarding the document formatting, Office Web Apps does the better job, especially after today's update. In particular, the Word Web App added page headers and footers, ability to find and replace words and phrases, table styles and formatting and the Excel Web App added status bar and the ability to drag and drop cells and reorder sheets.


2013. New Free iWork allows to collaborate in real time



Today Apple has introduced new versions of its tablets iPad Air, iPad Mini and laptops MacBook Air, MacBook Pro. As usually, they all become thinner, faster and even slightly cheaper. But there are two more interesting news that were announced at the presentation. First - is that Apple's office suite iWork adds real time collaboration feature. It works via iWork for iCloud, so it allows even interaction between Apple computer and PC. Of course, meanwhile iWork (and in particular its collaboration tools) - are far behind MS Office and Google Docs, but for Apple users it's still a useful thing. Another interesting news - is that Apples's software (including iWork and operating system OS X Mavericks) is now available for free. All Mac OS users can get the latest version of the operating system for free, and if you buy iPhone, iPad or Mac - you get the free iWork. Of course, this can be called innovation, but from the other side - Apple can always include the cost of its software to the price of the hardware.


2011. Word Web App adds almost-real-time collaboration


When the MS Office Web Apps launched, only  the Excel Web App allowed to collaborate on online documents in real time. Now the trick is also available in the online Word. Though it's not so cool as in Google Docs. To let co-editors see your changes you have to click the Save button, then co-editors will see the notification in the status bar, then click Save and only then see your changes. There is no chat / comments like in Google Docs, but at least you can see who is currently editing every part of the document. Meanwhile co-authoring in the online Word works only in the free Windows Live Office (SkyDrive) and is not yet available in Office 365.


2010. Google gets inside MS Office



Google continues to use the fact that the main competitor of the new MS Office 2010 is not Google Docs but Office 2007/2003. "Why should I pay some hundreds of dollars for the new Office 2010?" - user thinking. "First, it has more beautiful buttons. Second, you can sync with online Office Web Apps" - says Microsoft. "Hey, you don't need to update! " - Google enters the conversation - "Now you can sync between Office 2003/2007 and Google Docs in real time." Today Google has introduced Cloud Connect - the plug-in that allows to open documents, spreadsheets and presentations from Google Docs in MS Office applications, edit them and save back. Moreover, multiple people can edit the same document simultaneously and Google will keep track of the versions and conflict resolution. Cloud Connect is a remake of DocVerse that was bought by Google in March this year. DocVerse was originally designed for collaborative editing in MS Office and used Google Docs account as a synchronization point. Google added to it the ability to edit documents in Google Docs. This means that several people can collaborate on a document either in desktop Office, or in browser, or on a mobile device (Android, iPhone, Windows Phone). At the moment, Cloud Connect is available only to paid Google Apps users, but soon will be available for all and for free. And it is not surprising, because it's the best weapon for Google in the fight against MS Office. Cloud Connect duplicates the functionality of another well-known plug-in OffiSync (which costs $ 30). Apparently, the OffiSync business has come to the end.