4 Free Tools To Improve Online Collaboration

May 8, 2015

5:00 pm

As Casey Stengel once said about his winning baseball team, “Gettin' good players is easy. Gettin' 'em to play together is the hard part.” The same hold true for the tech world.

Efficient collaboration is the major key to success to matter what size and shape your team is. To keep cracking your to-do lists faster, keeping conversation clear and projects finished on time, take advantage of these 4 free online collaboration tools to have you covered at all times.

1. Bitrix


Bitrix is actually 35+ free collaboration tools in one available in different languages including English, German, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian, Chinese, and Portuguese.  Think of it as your company's new cool social intranet where you can view all team activities in a real-time stream and most importantly, which updates you'd like to monitor. You can like, comment, and share all types of documents; receive instant feedback on your project; schedule events and get notifications; plus send and receive company wide announcements. Basically, the stream allows you to get off your email and receive only those updates you need.

Bitrix free tool bundle is also packed with:

  • Simple, visual task planner, Gantt chart, personal and general checklists, workgroups, report builder and tasker and a couple more handy project management tools.
  • Instant work chart, real time calls and video, desktop sharing tool and even HD video conferencing
  • Secure online storage up to 5 GB in free plan and unlimited if you go pro
  • Custom CRM
  • In-built telephony: you can dial any mobile or land line domestically or internationally directly from the app
  • HRMS including company structure builder, detailed profiles of all employees, roles, contacts, HR forms, time management, reporting and more features.

Bitrix is also available as an iOS and Android app. Frankly, I still can't believe you can receive so many useful tools for nothing. Pro plans are also a bargain, starting from $25 per month if you'd like to use it for a team of 13+ employees or get extra online storage space.

2. Flatsi


If you work in design, you know how daunting it is to send mockups, concepts, and finished projects via email. Flatsi allows you to host the project on one of your private dashboards and simply send a custom URL to view it. Yet, your projects are password protected and you can share it only with the client you work for. Other handy features include:

  • Retina optimization: all the images are auto-scaled to look equally great on retina & non-retina screens.
  • Free mobile app.
  • Batch design uploads.
  • Custom branding and unlimited project designs (available in pro-version for £4/month).

3. Mind Meister


Arguably, the best mind mapping tool out there that happens to cost nothing. With Mind Meister you can draw sleek, colorful mind maps to share with other users privately, via social media or email. You can customize your mind maps with different styles and boundaries, add comments to original thoughts, color-code specific topics and drag and drop any files you need to include to the map. It's a perfect tool for anyone who prefers visualization over words. Other useful features include:

  • Task management widget. You can set priorities, assign tasks to other users and monitor the progress or analyze your personal productivity.
  • Embed active mind-maps anywhere on the web.
  • Comparable with most popular doc apps including Google Drive, Evernote, Microsoft Office, and more to attach all the documents you need.
  • Multi-format exporter
  • Free mobile app

4. LucidChart


LucidChart allows you to build complex diagrams and visuals to represent any piece of information out there. Probably, it's the only diagram building app allowing real-time collaboration as well. You can built anything from website mockups to all sort of work and org charts. The app backups revision history and allows leaving and has a built-in group chat and comments section. Besides, LucidChats are comparable with Confluence, JIRA, Jive, and Google Drive/apps. More features include:

  • Microsoft Visio Import/Export along with numerous other formats image formats.
  • Final visuals can be downloaded, embeded, instantly shared via email or social media or printed out
  • Easy-to-use, drag and drop interface
  • Secure online data storage and encryption.


Image Credit: Rubix Cube on Negative Space

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien