Documentation

Top Collaborative Documentation Tools of 2022

Collaboration is the key to successful documentation. Here are the top collaborative documentation tools

Introduction

Team collaboration on a document is like taking a shortcut through a side street — it’s a lot faster. 

And in this day and age, collaborative documentation is non-negotiable for any company, regardless of size. 

Why? Because the alternative is messy, inconvenient and ineffective.

After all, it’s much simpler to let your team members make direct edits to your document instead of going back and forth with edits. Another benefit is that collaborative documentation also promotes a sense of teamwork, which helps colleagues work together more effectively. 

In fact, a research study by Stanford University concludes even the perception of working collaboratively on a task is instrumental in boosting productivity within a team. 

But to really leverage collaborative documentation, you need a tool to simplify the process.

There are a lot of great options in the market, which makes it difficult to pick one that’s most suited to you. Luckily, we’ve done the grunt work, curating a list of the top five collaborative documentation tools in 2022. 

Excited? We are! Let’s dive in. 

What is collaborative documentation?

Document collaboration tool is software that lets your team members work on projects, records and documents tasks in real-time, together. 

You can ideally operate it from anywhere in the world, making this tool essential to the success of distributed or remote teams. 

collaborative documentation tools

Considering there are dozens of collaborative documentation tools in the market right now, you might be wondering how to tell the difference between a good and bad one. 

We’re here to help! The key is to look for the right features. A good collaborative documentation tool generally includes the following:

  • Real-time editor: Allows members to edit various aspects of the document simultaneously. This will help them work together remotely, irrespective of which device they’re using. 
  • Commenting and feedback: Allows members to add comments and feedback to various parts of the document. This reduces back-and-forth drastically, making document creation faster.  
  • Versioning: Allows members to track changes and find out when team members view, comment or edit a document. This provides transparency, allowing team leads to understand who made what changes. 
  • Auto-save: Allows members to see an updated version of the doc. This ensures that all team members are looking at the same content, even if it hasn’t been saved manually by someone, thus preventing rework. 
  • Tagging team members: Allows team members to tag specific people on the team while adding feedback. This helps in reducing the amount of time taken for edits. 
  • Permissions and access: Allows team managers to share permissions based on member roles. This includes the right to edit, view and comment.  

There are a host of benefits associated with using a collaborative documentation tool. Some of them include improved productivity, faster timelines, increased engagement in the team and easier workflow tracking.

Best collaborative documentation tools in 2022

Now that you know the importance of collaborative documentation tools—and which features to look out for—it’s time to take a look at the top tools you can find in the market today. From ratings to pros and cons, here’s a quick rundown on a few tools you can consider using with your team. 

1. Google Docs

collaborative documentation tools

G2 rating: 4.6 out of 5

Capterra rating: 4.7 out of 5

Google Docs pricing: Google Docs is free for everyone to use. It gives you upto 1 GB space per document. If you run out of the 15 GB of free space, you can upgrade your plan and pick something that works for your team structure. 

Google Docs overview 

Google Docs is Google’s cloud-based word processing tool. It is extremely popular for both personal and business use. Apart from being available as a web app, Google Docs is also available as an app for Android, iOS, Windows, Blackberry, and also a desktop program for Chrome OS. 

The tool lets you collaborate with team members in real time. It provides an easy-to-operate activity log where you can track who edited your document and even allows you to access version history. You also get an in-built spelling error-checking feature. 

What we love:

  • Given how intuitive it is to use, you won’t have to spend much time on training. 
  • Allows you to work in real-time 
  • You can cross link and sync your data from any Google service easily 
  • In-built spell checker
  • Commenting on any file brings a conversation into context so you avoid back-and-forth email and save time 

What can be improved:

  • Currently Google Docs only works on browsers, so if you find yourself doing a lot of offline work, this tool isn’t for you. 
  • Google Docs’ presentation feature doesn’t offer variety in terms of style, themes, templates, charts and slides transitions. 

If your team works in the Google environment and often uses Google Excel, Google Drive, Google Keep and Gmail, all your documents can be synced with a few clicks.

 It’s also a great option if your team works on the go — across multiple devices. 

2. Bit.ai

G2 rating: 4.2 out of 5

Capterra rating: 5 out of 5

Bit.ai pricing: The tool has a free version for up to 5 members, 50 documents, 5 MB file limit, and 1 GB of total storage. 

Bit.ai overview:

Bit.ai is an intelligent platform for collaborative documentation. They are marketed as an all-in-one document collaboration platform which offers a smart editor for creating interactive live docs with rich media and a robust digital content library. From beautifying documents to assigning tasks to individual team members, it helps you do it all in an interactive manner. In addition to working together in real-time, you can also send updates and notifications to your team members. 

What we loved: 

  • They offer private workspaces, in case you don’t want to share certain documents with your team. 
  • From videos to GIFs, you can embed any media format—upto 150+ media types—in your document. 
  • If your team uses a style guide, you can automate formatting to save time as well. 
  • The tool lets you pick from a massive library of templates with a universal search feature. 

What can be improved:

  • Some might experience a slight learning curve and find it difficult to operate. 
  • Importing and exporting data between your CRM and other platforms is difficult and laggy.

3. Microsoft Word

collaborative documentation tools

G2 rating: 4.7 out of 5

Capterra rating: 4.8 out of 5

Microsoft Word pricing: The online version of Microsoft Word is free. However, if you want to work offline, you’ll need to buy the paid version at $159.99.

Microsoft Word overview: 

Featuring a ton of formatting options, Microsoft Word is a great option if you’re looking to create visually-rich documents. It also includes features like web page formatting, cover page inserts and 3D models. You can use Word for free on your smartphone with Word Mobile, which helps you write and edit documents on the go. 

What we loved:

  • Allows you to collaborate on a single document with your teams in real-time. 
  • Includes spell check and built-in editor for readability suggestions. 
  • Works on your company’s intranet network.
  • Easy to track and assign changes. 
  • Offers easy mail integration and merge features. 
  • Has templates to help you structure your document. 

What can be improved:

  • Some users may get overwhelmed with the volume and complexity of features.
  • Useful features like speech recognition are no longer available.

Microsoft Word comes in handy for teams that need to work offline. It is also ideal for companies that already use Microsoft Office and Teams. 

4. Scribe

Collaborative documentation tools

G2 rating: 5 out of 5

Scribe pricing: It is available for free, but certain features can only be accessed in the paid version

Scribe overview: 

Scribe is an automated screen capture and documentation tool. It turns whatever your capture on screen into step-by-step guides, complete with text and screenshots. 

All you need to do is turn on the extension and execute your workflow. Every click and keystroke will be turned into comprehensive and visual steps that are easy to understand. These guides can be shared with your team members via a link. You can also embed multiple Scribes into a knowledge base. 

What we loved:

  • Provides a browser extension and desktop app too.
  • Allows you to easily share guides with team members.
  • Exponentially speeds up the document creation process.
  • Lets you combine Scribes with video, images and more with Scribe Pages. 

What can be improved:

  • The 5 out of 5-star rating says it all.

5. Confluence 

collaborative documentation tools

G2 rating: 4.1 out of 5

Capterra rating: 4.4 out of 5

Confluence pricing: It is available for free for upto 10 users

Confluence overview: 

Confluence is a project document collaboration tool by Atlassian. It allows your team to gather and manage all your project data in one place. When you turn on the collaborative editing mode, multiple team members will be able to access the same document and edit it at once.

What we loved:

  • Up to 12 people can edit the same page at the same time. 
  • The software is dynamic and adaptable to optimize the workflow of all teams.
  • Confluence helps your team make quick decisions, interact openly and align tasks swiftly. 

What can be improved:

  • Their premium subscription is on the expensive side. 

Confluence works great with teams of any type and size. If you find yourself working with critical, high-stakes projects or wish to build a strong team culture, Confluence could be a good option.

Finding the right collaborative documentation tool 

Collaborative documentation can help improve your team’s productivity by leaps and bounds. To make the process easier, you can use collaborative documentation tools that enable real-time editing. Before you pick one, make sure it has all the features your team needs. For example, if you’re looking to create step-by-step guides, then Scribe should be your go-to option.