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The internet has made collaboration easier than ever. With just a few mouse clicks, you can look at someone halfway around the world and work with them on anything you like.

Lots of online collaboration tools are costly, or meant for a specific field like visual design Turn Gmail Into a Powerful Collaboration Tool with These Apps Turn Gmail Into a Powerful Collaboration Tool with These Apps Are you using using Gmail for collaboration? The world's universal inbox has powerful features baked in, and then there are some wonderful third-party email collaboration tools. Here are some tips that can help. Read More . However, you don’t have to pay anything to for awesome tools that make collaboration easy. Here are six services that cover all of your personal team needs.

1. Google Docs/Drive

Google Docs has become the definitive tool for making awesome documents 10 Neat Ways to Create Beautiful Google Documents 10 Neat Ways to Create Beautiful Google Documents Turn your Google office suite into a word-processing powerhouse with the right Google Drive add-on. Here's some of that power to make your documents look stylish and beautiful. Read More together, but it works great for non-document purposes 5 Everyday Google Drive Collaborations That Are Not About Docs 5 Everyday Google Drive Collaborations That Are Not About Docs Google Docs is often the tool of choice, Google Drive offers so much more. Move beyond collaboration on Docs with these efficient options on Google Drive. Read More , too. With Google Docs, your team can work all at once on spreadsheets, presentations, forms, and more. Using comments, you can leave a note on someone else’s work to request a change or leave yourselves a note for later.

Part of Google Docs is Google Drive, which lets your team set up your own file storage system. With 15 GB of free space, you should have no problem keeping everything in one central location. This is a far better system than emailing documents back and forth or trying to use a flash drive. If the default set of features that Drive provides isn’t enough for you, a host of apps can fill in the voids, like annotation apps that boost collaboration potential How to Easily Collaborate on Google Drive with Online Annotation How to Easily Collaborate on Google Drive with Online Annotation There are specialized annotation web apps available that integrate with Google Drive and make communicating with others about your document easier. We look at the best annotation tools for Google Drive. Read More .

With Google Docs, your team’s file storage and document creation needs are covered.

2. OneNote

Evernote is a big name in the note-taking business, but after its price increase and privacy concerns OneNote has it beat. Totally free on every platform, OneNote gives your team a place to create notebooks and fill them with drawings, tables, links, and any other content you can think of. Creating a shared notebook is easy and lets everyone add their own sections and pages.

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The possibilities abound: With OneNote you can create a team wiki, stay on top of project management, and keep track of notes and ideas whenever they arise. If you like, you can even use OneNote as a virtual white board, allowing everyone to draw and type together.

With OneNote, your team’s note-taking, idea management, and brainstorming needs are taken care of. Our complete guide to OneNote The Only OneNote Guide You'll Ever Need The Only OneNote Guide You'll Ever Need OneNote is a powerful note-taking app. It's cross-platform and well integrated into Microsoft Office. Read this guide to become a OneNote pro! Read More will help you master its use.

3. Appear.in

Chances are, your team can’t all be in the same place all the time. For those times when you need to discuss matters over a video call, it doesn’t get much easier than Appear.in. One of our favorite conference call apps, this tool lets you create a meeting room in your browser and host up to eight people.

It doesn’t require any downloads or plugins, and nobody has to create an account. Simply claim a meeting room as your own, and everyone can connect via audio, video, and a text chat. You can also share your screen, making it a perfect tool for meeting when everyone’s apart Move Over Google Plus Hangouts. Appear.in Is Here & It's Really Good 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 .

With Appear.in, your team can meet anytime, no matter where they are.

4. Trello

Trello is one of the best-known project management tools around, so it needs no introduction. Its card and board based system is perfect for to-do lists, goals, and any other sorts of tasks your team wants to accomplish. We’ve written all you need to know about using Trello, but don’t forget it has other great uses outside of project management like managing your team’s funds.

With Trello, your team can easily keep track of and track tasks, goals, and anything else that’s important to you.

5. Zenkit

While Trello is a big name in the project management space, Zenkit provides an awesome Trello alternative that’s worth a look if you need to manage more data than Trello offers. Zenkit provides a simple interface to start with, but you can quickly change it to a variety of different setups based on your needs. It’s free for personal use, providing 1 GB of attachment space, 2,000 items per collection, and collaboration with up to five others.

Whether you want to view your data in a simple list, work in a Kanban format, or even use the cool Mind Map layout, Zenkit has you covered. It features much better sorting and card control than Trello, going as far as having a complete database behind the scenes that you can manage. If you’re already using Trello, you can import its data to Zenkit in one click.

With Zenkit, your team gains a place to create, store, organize, and sort your data.

6. Slack

Slack is an all-in-one team communication tool that provides a place for friendly banter, important discussions, file sharing, and more. By dividing communication topics in channels, members of your team can get involved with information they need and ignore those that they don’t. You can directly message any team member or create private groups for side conversations. Slack allows you to share any file, and features all kinds of useful integrations to automate your workflow.

Using Slack for communication is superior to emailing back and forth all the time or using a group chat in WhatsApp. Both of those are hard to follow and don’t scale well with more team members. With threaded conversations, @mentions for different groups, the ability to place calls from within the app, and powerful search, Slack is the communication app the modern team needs.

It’s free for an unlimited amount of members, but limits you to 10 integrations and the most recent 10,000 messages, which is fine for small teams. Check out our top Slack tips Solid Tips to Master Slack & Be the Most Effective Employee Ever Solid Tips to Master Slack & Be the Most Effective Employee Ever Don't have a strategy for managing Slack? It's time you got one. You can't let Slack do all the work for you. Try these tips to make effective use of Slack. Read More to master it quickly.

With Slack, your team has a central hub for all forms of communication.

Bonus: Paid Tools with a Free Plan

As a little extra, here are a few services that didn’t make the essential six, but are still worth a look for your team collaboration.

GoToMeeting is more robust than Appear.in, and offers a free plan, that allows you to host up to three users per meeting. You can’t use the GoToMeeting desktop app, as the free service only supports meeting in Chrome. The free plan also doesn’t allow you to use any drawing tools during meetings, though you can screen share. Overall, Appear.in is a simpler option, but GoToMeeting is perhaps a bit more professional for meeting with clients.

If OneNote doesn’t quite suffice as a whiteboard for you, Realtime Board is worth a look. The free plan allows up to three people to collaborate, with three boards per account. Whether you want to brainstorm freely, create a workflow or agile board, or draft up drawings, you can do it here.

How Does Your Team Collaborate for Free?

With these six tools, any small team can manage their data, work together to create documents, and stay in constant communication. While free tools can’t match the features of enterprise software, these apps will certainly suffice for teams of just a few people. No matter how you work, your needs are covered!

For a geekier spin, try turning Gmail into a collaboration tool Turn Gmail Into a Powerful Collaboration Tool with These Apps Turn Gmail Into a Powerful Collaboration Tool with These Apps Are you using using Gmail for collaboration? The world's universal inbox has powerful features baked in, and then there are some wonderful third-party email collaboration tools. Here are some tips that can help. Read More , or check out more free project management tools 7+ Best Free Tools to Manage any Project with Ease 7+ Best Free Tools to Manage any Project with Ease Collaborating on projects is much easier with the Internet. Particularly if your team is spread out or not always at the same location. We show you which tools can help you manage your projects online. Read More .

If you manage a small team, we want to hear from you, now. What free tools does your team use to collaborate? Add your favorites to the list by leaving a comment!

Image Credit: nd3000 via Shutterstock.com

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  1. JustMe
    March 3, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    Where is Ryver?

  2. Alex James
    October 20, 2015 at 8:37 am

    Nice post, all of the tools mentioned are powerful. There are also other excellent online meeting tools, the one i frequently used is EZTalks, you can have a try

  3. Magda Druba?ska
    September 28, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    For Web-Conferencing you should try clickmeeting

  4. Shantanu Mahajan
    June 29, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    I like the post very much.

  5. Mike
    March 29, 2011 at 11:21 am

    For web meetings I prefer http://www.321meet.com; not really that feature rich but no installation needed and screen sharing quality is superb. Also makes it possible to restrict sharing to certain windows or applications. of course teamviewer has also become quite popular recently...

  6. Mike
    March 29, 2011 at 9:21 am

    For web meetings I prefer http://www.321meet.com; not really that feature rich but no installation needed and screen sharing quality is superb. Also makes it possible to restrict sharing to certain windows or applications. of course teamviewer has also become quite popular recently...

  7. Greg
    January 18, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I have just tried DOXWOX - free downloadable application for web meetings. In my opinion it's good for using while making conference calls - I shared Power Point slides and some JPEG images while making presentation to two remote colleagues. We used SKYPE for voice communication. It worked OK. http://doxwox.com

  8. Greg
    January 18, 2011 at 10:27 am

    I have just tried DOXWOX - free downloadable application for web meetings. In my opinion it's good for using while making conference calls - I shared Power Point slides and some JPEG images while making presentation to two remote colleagues. We used SKYPE for voice communication. It worked OK. http://doxwox.com

  9. Groupboard
    January 13, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    Also don't forget Groupboard, which was recently featured here:

    http://www.makeuseof.com/dir/groupboard-whiteboard-widget/

    We have since added new iPhone, iPad and Android app versions of Groupboard.

  10. Groupboard
    January 14, 2011 at 12:42 am

    Also don't forget Groupboard, which was recently featured here:

    http://www.makeuseof.com/dir/g...

    We have since added new iPhone, iPad and Android app versions of Groupboard.

  11. Jessica Cam W.
    January 12, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Thank you for checking in and telling us about the upcoming model! I was
    honestly very impressed with the features you offer for free!

  12. TeamLab
    January 12, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Jessika, thanks for the great overview! We are glad you enjoy using TeamLab and share your experience with the community! Concerning the fees, we can assure you that the upcoming new TeamLab version will be provided free of charge.
    So, you'll be able to create and edit documents, use projects templates and many other fresh functionalities without any payments needed.

    • Jessica Cam W.
      January 12, 2011 at 5:46 pm

      Thank you for checking in and telling us about the upcoming model! I was
      honestly very impressed with the features you offer for free!

  13. TeamLab
    January 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Jessika, thanks for the great overview! We are glad you enjoy using TeamLab and share your experience with the community! Concerning the fees, we can assure you that the upcoming new TeamLab version will be provided free of charge.
    So, you'll be able to create and edit documents, use projects templates and many other fresh functionalities without any payments needed.

  14. Marie Bailay
    January 8, 2011 at 10:20 am

    For video conferencing / group video calls and simple video calling, I'd say http://www.faceflow.com is very good. It's free and directly on the web, very quick to use.

  15. Marie Bailay
    January 8, 2011 at 11:20 am

    For video conferencing / group video calls and simple video calling, I'd say http://www.faceflow.com is very good. It's free and directly on the web, very quick to use.

  16. ANDREI T
    January 8, 2011 at 8:46 am

    I tried dimidim a while ago and found it difficult to use. Now that i revisited, it "has been acquired by Salesforce.com" and accepts no registrations. I guess they improved...

    Join.me is an extremely simple to use service, and quite reliable from what I have seen.

  17. ANDREI T
    January 8, 2011 at 9:46 am

    I tried dimidim a while ago and found it difficult to use. Now that i revisited, it "has been acquired by Salesforce.com" and accepts no registrations. I guess they improved...

    Join.me is an extremely simple to use service, and quite reliable from what I have seen.

  18. jennip98
    January 7, 2011 at 1:04 am

    Hi Jessica
    A free web conference tool that I have been using is WiZiQ (www.wiziq.com). I trialled Dim Dim, Vyew and Sclipo for use with my students (http://jennip.edublogs.org) but finally decided to use WiZiQ as I found it the easiest to use and the free version includes session recordings which was a vital feature as I was unable to attend all of the live training sessions my students gave.
    Cheers Jenni

  19. jennip98
    January 7, 2011 at 2:04 am

    Hi Jessica
    A free web conference tool that I have been using is WiZiQ (http://www.wiziq.com). I trialled Dim Dim, Vyew and Sclipo for use with my students (http://jennip.edublogs.org) but finally decided to use WiZiQ as I found it the easiest to use and the free version includes session recordings which was a vital feature as I was unable to attend all of the live training sessions my students gave.
    Cheers Jenni

  20. Heckner
    January 6, 2011 at 7:52 pm
  21. Heckner
    January 6, 2011 at 8:52 pm
  22. ShowDocument
    January 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    How about ShowDocument.com it is a great online collaboration tool that requires no downloads (its SaaS). It is an app-based document sharing and online meeting tool that has the options for text, voice, and video chat. Plus its free!!

  23. ShowDocument
    January 5, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    How about ShowDocument.com it;s an app-based document sharing and online meeting collaboration tool that has options for text, voice, and video chat. Plus, it is SaaS so requires no downloads.

  24. ShowDocument
    January 5, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    How about ShowDocument.com it;s an app-based document sharing and online meeting collaboration tool that has options for text, voice, and video chat. Plus, it is SaaS so requires no downloads.

  25. Jay
    January 5, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    You should had Huddle to that list. Great for enterprise customers and you can also try their free account.

    Nice list still.

    • Jessica Cam W.
      January 5, 2011 at 12:59 pm

      I actually did find Huddle when I was researching for the article, but I didn't find the limited functionalities for the free accounts very helpful. They do have some big companies as users so maybe I just haven't seen how good the paid accounts are.

  26. Jay
    January 5, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    You should had Huddle to that list. Great for enterprise customers and you can also try their free account.

    Nice list still.

  27. Anonymous
    January 4, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Microsoft SharedView is free and works well too...

    • Jessica Cam W.
      January 4, 2011 at 9:02 pm

      It's a program you need to download though. This list compiles web-based tools only. :)

  28. Alex
    January 4, 2011 at 1:20 am

    Finding a good platform to work on is important for any team. In my opinion Google Docs is great, and I would even consider it as an online meeting tool. The team at EpicLaunch.com compiled our own list of resources we use to collaborate: http://epiclaunch.com/toolbox/...

  29. Alex
    January 4, 2011 at 12:20 am

    Finding a good platform to work on is important for any team. In my opinion Google Docs is great, and I would even consider it as an online meeting tool. The team at EpicLaunch.com compiled our own list of resources we use to collaborate: http://epiclaunch.com/toolbox/#collaboration