Top 10 Online Collaboration and Document Sharing Tools

The most successful businesses in the world all rely on strong teamwork. In the past, a “team” meant people sharing the same office. In today’s virtual world however, a team can be as diverse as a group of people from Poland, New York, India and London all working together. Whether you have virtual staff, outsourced staff or just co-workers who work from home, having the right tools makes all the difference. Having great online collaboration and document sharing tools will enable you to all work together and eliminated wasted time. Here are ten of the top online collaboration and document sharing tools. If you’re running an online business, these can really help you bring your team together.

Tool #1: Basecamp

http://basecamp.com Basecamp (Used by Westwood Virtual Associates team) is one of the top project management tools on the market for small businesses. It allows you to create multiple projects, track milestones, assign to dos, see daily progress, communicate through discussions and more. It’s perfect from tracking what needs to get done by who and by when.

Collaboration and Document Sharing

Tool #2: Doodle

http://doodle.com Need to schedule a meeting? Instead of emailing availability back and forth, just use Doodle.com. Use Doodle with Google Calendar, iCal, and Outlook, and create polls in Doodle’s convenient calendar view. Your personal profile for 1:1 meetings: Show your co-workers and friends when you are available. A user-account remembers your polls for you and lets you connect your calendar. Best of all? It’s free.

Doodle dot Com screenshot

Tool #3: Pidgin

http://www.pidgin.im If you work with a diverse team that has a wide range of communication mediums, having Pidgin can save you a lot of time and headache. Pidgin allows you to communicate on Google Talk, AIM, MSN, Yahoo! Messenger, ICQ and a lot more.

Many industries tend to only work in one medium. For example, the CPA affiliate marketing industry runs a lot on AIM. Programmers on the other hand love IRC. Having Pidgin makes managing virtual communication a cinch.

Collaboration and Document Sharing

Tool #4: Mindmeister

http://www.mindmeister.com Mindmeister allows you to create and share mindmaps on the web. These mindmaps can then be shared with other people on your team, who can also edit and add to those mindmaps.

A lot of research has been done on how mindmaps work with the brain. People retain mindmaps much better than linear notes. They’re a versatile tool for taking notes, making plans or brainstorming.

Collaboration and Document Sharing

Tool #5: Google Docs

http://docs.google.com Google Docs allows you to collaborate on documents with others in real time. Any document that’s shared with other people can be accessed by them at any time. The moment you make any changes to that document, the changes will be reflected on the other person’s screen. You can literally take notes in a document and have those notes appear in real time halfway around the world. For documents like word files or spreadsheets, Google Docs is a fantastic sharing tool.

Collaboration and Document Sharing

Tool #6: Dropbox

https://www.dropbox.com Dropbox allows you to create a shared folder that can be accessed by everyone on your team. Any files added to Dropbox will automatically be uploaded to Dropbox. It works just like any other folder on your computer, except the upload is automatic. You don’t have to worry about sending files to others or backing anything up – It’s all done for you. Likewise, any new files uploaded by co-workers is automatically downloaded as well.

Collaboration and Document Sharing

Tool #7: Google Drive

https://drive.google.com Google Drive is Google’s version of Dropbox. It aims to provide much of the same functionality as Dropbox, as well as contain all your Google Docs files.

At the time of this writing, Google Drive provides about double what Dropbox does for the same price. That said, Google Drive doesn’t quite have the same functionality as Dropbox yet. Only time will tell which is the better tool.

Collaboration and Document Sharing

Tool #8: YouSendIt

https://www.yousendit.com If you need to send a large file quickly and don’t have time to get someone to signup for and install Dropbox, use YouSendIt. This allows you to send large files (up to 250 MB) for free. Most email clients only allow you to send files up to 25 MB. If you’re sending a large document or file, YouSendIt makes it easy. All you need to do is upload the file and YouSendIt will send the other person a link with your file in it.

Collaboration and Document Sharing

Tool #9: Skype

http://skype.com As far as real time team collaboration goes, there’s no better tool than Skype. Skype has just about everything you could want from a messaging and chat service. First, you have text chat. That’s great for quick messages and requests. You can easily call team members if you need to talk about something more complex. Video chat enables even better communication. Screen sharing lets you show others exactly what you’re talking about. If you’re looking for a versatile tool to communicate with the rest of your virtual team, Skype is often the best answer.

Collaboration and Document Sharing

Tool #10: Hootsuite

http://hootsuite.com One of the toughest things to co-ordinate online is a social media strategy that’s run by multiple people. For example, let’s say you’re running a contest. The prize announcements are handled by one person, the updates by another and the personality by yet another person. How do you co-ordinate it all? Hootsuite makes this easy. Hootsuite allows you to access all your social media accounts all in one screen. You can schedule posts to go out in the future rather than post them all right now. Best of all, the account can be managed by multiple people. For example, the person responsible for the prize can upload tweets about what the prizes are without sending them. The person responsible for the personality can look over the announcements and rewrite them to make sure they’re in line with the brand. Then and only then are the tweets sent. If you’re managing a multi-person social media strategy, give Hootsuite a try.

Collaboration and Document Sharing

These ten online collaboration tools will make managing any kind of virtual team a whole lot easier. Whether you’re running a two-person business or a business with hundreds of staff, the tools available here can help you streamline your processes and increase productivity.

Have a collaboration or document sharing tool you like to use? Please leave a comment below on what works and what doesn’t in your workflow.

Create a New Google Form

In this tutorial, we will show you how to create a new Google form.

You will need:

  • A Google Account

Step 1: Log into Account

Log into your Google account or create one if you don’t currently have an account.


Step 2: Navigate To Google Docs

On the main Google page click the “more” dropdown and select “Documents.”


Step 3: Select Doc Type

Click the “create new” dropdown button and select “form”.


Step 4: Name Form and Add Instructions

Click on the included filler text to change the title and the instructions.


Step 5: Add Questions

Add your questions in the text area beside “Question Title” by clicking in that area. Once you click in the box, “Sample Question” disappears. You must type a question for the sample text to disappear permanently.


Step 6: Add Help Text

Click inside the box to add help text such as “Choose up to three of your favorite items.”


Step 7: Select Question Type

This is the section where you will actually choose a format for the answer to your question. For example the answers may be multiple choice, text, a paragraph, check boxes, lists, a numbered scale, or in grid format.

With each option type you choose, you will see a preview to the left of the dropdown.


Step 8: Add Answers

Once you choose the question type, click in the box with the sample answers to replace it with your own answers or reader choices. To add more answers, click in the last box and type in your text.


Step 9: Delete Answer Choices

If you type in answers to your question and then decide you’ve added to many items to choose from, you can delete any unwanted answer choices by mousing over and clicking the X at the end of the answer.


Step 10: Choose Requirement


Depending on the type of form you create, there may be questions that must be answered and others, which are optional. After each question that requires an answer, check the “Make this a required question” box and click done when finished.

Step 11: Insert New Questions And Make Edits

To add additional questions to your form, go to a completed question and click the duplicate button on the far right. Then edit the new section as desired. Note that the edit buttons “follow” your cursor so just mouse over any section and click on the “pencil” button to edit, the “papers” button to duplicate and the “trash can” button to delete.


Note:

If you need to edit the form after you’ve closed the “create new form” screen, look in your list of docs and open the form. It will open as a spreadsheet. To edit, click the “Form” tab to access the tools and make the changes needed.

Be sure to click the save button in the top right before closing the popup screen.

Step 12: Sharing Your Form

You may share your form by emailing it or embedding in a page. To email, click the button and fill in the email info.


To embed, click the “More actions” tab. Click “Embed” and copy the embed code from the popup. Place the code in the page where you would like the form to appear.


Create a New Google Presentation

In this tutorial, we will show you how to create a new Google presentation.

You will need:

  • A Google Account

Step 1: Log into Account

Log into your Google account or create one if you don’t currently have an account.

Google Presentation

Step 2: Navigate To Google Docs

On the main Google page click the “more” dropdown and select “Documents.”

Google Presentation

Step 3: Select Doc Type

Click the “create new” dropdown button and select “presentation”.

Google Presentation

Step 4: Name Presentation

When you are taken to the new blank workspace, you will notice the title area says “Untitled presentation”. Add your own title and save the document before you begin creating the content. Just click the title area and type your document name in the popup.

Google Presentation

Step 5: Format Buttons

This toolbar has buttons and tabs, which allow you to add slides, text, images, and shapes. You may also change the font type, size and color. Some of the other familiar buttons like bold, link, indent, etc., are also available.

Note:

As you use perform different actions, you will see some buttons gray-out when the function is not available.

Google Presentation

Google Presentation

Step 6: Choose or Change Format

Before you begin adding text, you may want to “pretty up” your slideshow presentation. To do this using the built-in images, click on the format tab. Mouse over presentation settings and change the background color or pick/change the theme. For this tutorial, we will be choosing a theme.

Google Presentation

Currently, there are 15 themes from which to choose and we will be using the “Grass” theme, on the popup.

Google Presentation

Step 7: Add Title and Subtitle

On the first slide, add your title and subtitle. Here we added the title in large green text. Below it, we added a phrase in a different color for the subtitle. To change the font type, size or color, highlight the text and select the appropriate buttons from the toolbar. Notices when you click in the title area, the new toolbar options are now seen in color.

Google Presentation

Step 8: Add A New Slide

You can add a slide in 2 ways. Click the “ + ” above the slide views on the left or click the slide tab and “New slide” in the dropdown. Both methods will bring up a popup box where you can choose the type of slide you’d like to add.

From the slide tab, you may also choose to duplicate or delete a slide you have already added. We prefer the tab method but you may find the other method is easier for you.

Google Presentation

Step 9: Choosing A Slide Type

There are several types of slide layouts. For most cases, you may choose the text layout, which has a place for a heading at the top and a content area below.

The Title Layout is best suited for the title page. The Two Column option is best suited for short lists or pages with little text. The Caption Layout would work well when adding a graph or other visual aid. The Blank layout works well if you want to add a different background color or image.

We chose the Text Layout.

Google Presentation

Note:

With any layout, you can delete or add text areas.

Keep adding slides and content as needed.

Step 10: Add A Link

You may add a link anywhere within a text area. If you have a business or just want to direct people to a web page or blog, you can do it with the Link button. Here we have added a link on the last slide but you may choose to add it to any or every slide.

Just click the Link button and fill in your information.

Google Presentation

Step 11: Download and Save

After you’ve finished adding your content, images, graphs and other items, you may download this presentation to your computer in a variety of formats. To download, click the “File” tab to select “Download as and the format of your choice.

We chose to download as a PowerPoint presentation so we would have an offline copy that we could edit using the PowerPoint or other software. Once your presentation has downloaded, simply close the tab or window to exit.

Google Presentation

 

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