Document collaboration
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The best document collaboration tools to drive productivity in 2024

Slack makes document collaboration easy with built-in features and app integrations.

Slack 團隊2024 年 1 月 2 日

Modern corporate teams often span oceans, time zones and sleep schedules. So where does the teamwork happen?

Document collaboration tools let users collaborate in shared files. It’s a game changer for remote and hybrid teams. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of document collaboration and review some of the best tools out there.

What is document collaboration?

Have you ever worked with fellow contributors on a shared document or spreadsheet? If so, congrats! You’re a document collaborator already.

Document collaboration is when multiple users team up online to edit the same document, often simultaneously. Remote and hybrid teams can use collaboration tools to work together on whiteboards, wikis and other files in real time—regardless of location and time zone.

If your team uses Slack, you’re way ahead. Every Slack channel and direct message (DM) comes with a collaborative Slack canvas to store ideas, meeting notes, to-do lists and whatever information your team might need to get work done. You can also integrate third-party collaboration tools like Google Drive, Dropbox and Confluence. (We’ll look at the best platforms for document collaboration later.)

How does document collaboration make your team more efficient?

Cloud document collaboration allows your team to work in sync without being, well, synchronous. The following features can streamline your ideation, content creation and editing processes.

Real-time document collaboration

Multiple users can work on the same document at the same time, viewing everyone’s additions and changes as they happen. Collaborators can see other team members’ input in real time and implement each other’s suggestions right away. This means:

  • No more sending files back and forth and waiting on each other’s contributions
  • Faster turnarounds on big projects with tight deadlines
  • You can ditch those file folders cluttered with “Project.docx,” “Project FINAL.docx,” “Project FINAL (1).docx,” “Project FINAL FINAL.docx,” etc.

Cloud-based document collaboration for growing teams

Cloud-based collaboration tools make it simple to add users and adjust share settings—an ideal solution for expanding teams.

Take Slack canvas, for example. When you add a new member to an existing Slack channel, they can just peek at the channel’s canvas to catch up on ongoing discussions, outstanding questions and recent updates.

Any good document collaboration platform should give you the following:

  • Easy scalability so you can add additional collaborators as needed
  • A centralized hub for shared documents so new hires don’t have to learn a complex filing system
  • Instant, secure file sharing with fellow contributors, external partners and other stakeholders

How to make the most of document collaboration

Choose the right platform

Your document collaboration platform should fit seamlessly into your team’s workflow.

For example, if you’re already a Slack user, you can create canvases for specific projects, users and conversations. Plus, Slack integrates with other popular document-sharing tools like Google Drive and Dropbox so you can access shared documents and reply to comments without having to leave Slack.

Pick the best file type and format

Depending on your platform, you can collaborate on text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, mind maps, survey forms and other file types. You can also format any Slack canvas with checklists, tables and file uploads. Choose a format and document type that makes sense for your team and project.

Be thoughtful about access settings

Who needs access, and how much access do they need? You can grant editing permissions to anyone who needs to make changes to the shared document. Other teammates may only need commenting or viewing access.

Get to know your platform’s features

Your chosen platform should offer all of the functionalities your team needs, which may include:

  • Access control and security: Protect sensitive information by controlling who can view, edit and share a document or folder
  • Activity logs: Maintain team accountability by tracking who made which changes and when
  • Commenting and feedback: Create and reply to others’ comments and annotations
  • Document management: Easily and intuitively organize folders and files
  • Real-time collaboration: Users can edit a document simultaneously and view each other’s edits in real time
  • Tagging and tasks: Tag other collaborators in comments to send notifications and assign tasks
  • Version control: Track previous changes made to the doc and revert to a previous version if necessary

Top document collaboration tools to use in 2024

Overwhelmed by choice? Let’s narrow down your options to some of the best document collaboration platforms on the market.

(Oh, and these platforms all integrate with Slack, so you can securely share files via channel or DM without having to switch apps.)

Slack canvas

If you use Slack, you already have canvas. Every channel and direct message comes with its own canvas, where you can capture and document your most important information.

Use a canvas to add lists, tables, code blocks and text for the whole team to reference and collaborate‌ on. Alternatively, you can adjust a standalone canvas’s share settings so only certain users can view and edit.

Google Drive

With Google Drive, users can securely create and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Drive allows you to generate shareable links and set access permissions for both individual files and shared folders. You can collaborate on any Drive document with other users in real time, and you can convert existing files from other programs to make them editable in Drive.

Drive folders allow you to categorize shared files, and the search feature makes it easy to locate the doc you need.

Dropbox

Dropbox supports document sharing, real-time collaboration and customizable access permissions. Dropbox Paper allows collaborators to work on multiple content types in one document, and ready-made templates streamline the file-creation process. Features like version history and file recovery let users track changes, revert to previous versions and recover recently deleted files.

Dropbox also supports encryption, device access control and integration with third-party security tools. You can even set shared Dropbox links to expire for added security.

Box

Box enables secure file-sharing and custom access controls. Box users can password-protect their share links, take collaborative notes with Box Notes, create virtual whiteboards with Box Canvas and save all files in the Content Cloud. (And if your files are scattered across various platforms, you can use Box Shuttle to simplify migration to Box.)

Box features workflow automation, metadata management and content governance tools too.

Atlassian Confluence

Atlassian Confluence provides collaborative spaces for your team to create, format, organize and securely share work. With Confluence, you can store, manage, set access permissions for and even archive files as needed. The platform even allows you to make Confluence sites viewable to external stakeholders, and it provides engagement analytics so you know how your site is performing.

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud allows users to access, edit and save files across devices. Users can edit Creative Cloud files directly in apps like Photoshop, Adobe XD, Illustrator and Fresco. Team members can co-edit files at the same time, add comments on Creative Cloud folders and files, and receive immediate feedback on their work.

Creative Cloud’s security controls and processes ensure data privacy protection and compliance with relevant regulations.

Securely share and work on documents anytime, anywhere

If your team has been emailing files back and forth, waiting to review each other’s edits, let’s face it: There’s a better (and faster) way to get the job done.

Document collaboration tools let your teammates update the same doc at the same time—without having to be in the same place. Easy. Plus, Slack lets you securely share collaborative docs, spreadsheets, presentations and other files on one secure, centralized platform.

Check out the Slack App Directory to learn more about the document-sharing tools Slack supports.

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