Working collectively positive is not what it was once.
Lately, you do not have to be in the identical convention room — or, heck, even time zone — to work aspect by aspect with co-workers. Because of the number of top-notch collaboration instruments for our ever-connected gadgets, you possibly can edit, manage, and talk with anybody as if you happen to had been sitting proper subsequent to them, irrespective of the place your corporeal kind resides.
And you do not even need to be perched at a pc for that to carry true: With the proper set of Android apps, you possibly can put the ability of collaboration into your pocket — prepared to leap into motion anytime, anyplace.
These are the very best Android apps for efficient and environment friendly collaboration, damaged down by what they will assist you do.
Collaborate on paperwork
Google Docs or Microsoft Phrase
For years, Microsoft uncared for Android, with app choices starting from “barely usable” to “totally nonexistent.” Whilst lately as 2017, when the corporate first began taking Workplace for Android critically, the software program’s real-time collaboration characteristic was vexingly clunky and inconsistent.
As we speak, all of that’s historical past. Microsoft Phrase on Android is now a delight to make use of — and its multiuser modifying system is clean as will be, with real-time modifications and inline commenting totally practical throughout a number of platforms.
That places it neck and neck with Google, whose Docs phrase processor has all the time excelled at collaboration and continues to function a shining instance of easy multiuser assist.
The one actual query is which app you favor and which ecosystem makes extra sense in your skilled wants.
Docs is free for particular person use, with company-wide plans beginning at $72 per consumer per 12 months. Phrase is equally free for particular person use, although with some vital restrictions in place — like read-only entry on large-screen gadgets. Its totally featured plans are $70 a 12 months and up for people or $12 per consumer per 12 months and up for companies, as a part of Microsoft’s broader Microsoft 365 subscriptions.
Collaborate on emails
E mail is an space the place staff collaboration is usually wanted — and but the method has remained clunky, inefficient, and principally unchanged over time. Give it some thought: When you’ll want to get a co-worker’s enter on an e-mail you acquired or ask them to weigh in on a response, what do you do? Odds are, you ahead the message to them in some capability, both straight or by way of some secondary service, and then you definitely change messages forwards and backwards or work on edits in another app till you get every little thing hammered out and able to be pasted again over.
The corporate behind Spark thought there needed to be a greater approach — and positive sufficient, they discovered it. The Spark app makes it easy as will be to talk with colleagues about an e-mail proper alongside that e-mail (think about that!). It does so by supplying you with a non-public, inside chat system that lives inside your inbox: You merely point out a staff member within the chat space related to any message, and you may then talk with them concerning the e-mail, change associated information, assign duties and due dates, and even work on a response collectively proper then and there.
Spark’s Android app is properly designed, too, and chock-full of helpful options and customization choices. The one actual draw back is that the service nonetheless is not obtainable in a easy web-based kind, although the corporate does now have native macOS and Home windows apps obtainable along with the mobile-specific variations.
Spark is free for particular person use with restricted collaboration options and an optionally available $60 a 12 months premium improve. For the total staff model, it prices $84 per consumer per 12 months.
Collaborate on notes
On the subject of notice collaboration, Notion is in a league of its personal. The service offers a versatile canvas for nearly any form of collective brainstorming and idea-storing possible, and it makes it particularly simple to share notes with anybody and management precisely what stage of entry collaborators are granted — viewing, modifying, or each modifying and inviting different collaborators.
Notion permits a number of folks to edit paperwork on the identical time, in actual time, and the app boasts a sturdy system for commenting and tagging different members of your staff to assign particular objects and work together all all through your supplies.
The app empowers you to publish particular person notes or complete collections to the net, too, and to permit anybody with the hyperlink to view them — even when they do not have their very own Notion account. You possibly can set expiration dates for such hyperlinks, too, to make them public just for a restricted time period, and you may determine whether or not you need any of your hyperlinks to get listed by search engines like google or stay in an “unlisted” type of standing.
Notion is free for particular person use with an optionally available $48-a-year Professional improve that gives limitless file uploads, limitless visitor entry, and a 30-day modifying historical past. Workforce-level entry begins at $96 per consumer per 12 months with a full set of collaboration and administrative controls.
Collaborate on initiatives
Have to work with others on organizing concepts and monitoring progress on initiatives? Trello is the Android app for you.
Trello offers you a easy but feature-packed framework for preserving initiatives so as: You simply create a board for every challenge or space of curiosity, then create a sequence of lists inside every board. The lists then get crammed up with playing cards — particular person objects that comprise textual content, information, checklists, photos, and different such supplies.
Each card incorporates its personal remark stream for co-workers to go away ideas and concepts, and every card — in addition to the board on the entire — has an in depth exercise log that lists all feedback, additions, edits, and invitations in a single place.
And whereas Notion additionally presents a broadly comparable type of organizational system, Trello’s board-based setup (identified formally as a Kanban board) really is past examine when it comes to its energy, flexibility, and consumer friendliness — each on the cellular entrance and on the desktop aspect of issues as effectively.
Including in new customers is as simple as tapping the three-dot menu icon alongside your workspace title throughout the app’s essential menu. There, you possibly can invite anybody to view your board — with or with out their very own Trello account — and to hitch you in modifying it, offered they’ve an account with the service (or are prepared to join one). You may as well create a shareable hyperlink that’ll let anybody view your challenge or particular person playing cards inside your challenge with out the necessity for an account or invite.
[ Trello tips for beginners | Advanced Trello tips | Trello productivity power-ups ]
All foundational options apart, Trello actually shines with its spectacular built-in automation capabilities. The service’s Butler system helps you to arrange all kinds of superior “if this, then that”-style guidelines for organizing your boards, updating playing cards, and speaking with staff members at any time when sure triggers happen. The triggers could possibly be something from the arrival of a selected day and time to the motion of a card from one record to a different — and even the posting of a remark that features a particular phrase or phrase.
Trello is free, with optionally available premium subscriptions beginning at $60 per consumer per 12 months that unlock further options equivalent to bigger file attachments, administration capabilities, and the flexibility to view your information in a wide range of superior views.
Chat along with your staff
Slack has develop into the de facto communication service for corporations and groups — and for good motive: The app offers a robust, dependable, and easy-to-use system for preserving in contact with colleagues in nearly any approach possible.
[ Slack tips, tricks, and hacks for power users ]
Slack offers you a mixture of channels — subject-specific boards for particular members of your staff — and personal direct messaging capabilities to communicate with particular person co-workers. It has customizable notifications so you will get alerted to exercise as usually as you want, with choices for keyword-specific notifications in addition to channel-wide exercise alerts and pings for direct messages and mentions.
With productivity-oriented integrations for every little thing starting from Google Drive and Calendar to Salesforce, Zendesk, and Trello, Slack is designed to function the central nervous system for all your work-oriented communication. It is free with probably the most primary set of options (and a few strict limits on each storage and integrations) or $87 per consumer per 12 months and up for limitless use together with superior options equivalent to visitor entry and impromptu audio calls.
Seamlessly share information
Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive
Slack, Trello, and Notion all embody their very own built-in file-sharing capabilities — however when collectively accessing information is a frequent a part of your staff’s workflow, having a devoted frequent folder could make your life simpler.
The excellent news: You’ve got obtained loads of stable choices. Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive all have easy capabilities for sharing particular person information or complete folders from their respective Android apps. You possibly can create shareable hyperlinks that’ll let anybody obtain the information in query — or you possibly can share straight with different registered customers to allow them to each entry the information and add their very own additions. With the respective firm’s software program in place, you possibly can even make a shared folder look and act like a daily native folder in your desktop pc for fast drag-and-drop transfers.
Dropbox offers 2GB of house without cost; Google Drive offers you 15GB of free storage that is shared throughout all Google providers (together with Gmail and Google Images); and OneDrive begins you off with 5GB of storage at its free stage. All three providers provide choices to pay for added house and different superior options, with business-level plans obtainable as effectively.
[ How to use Dropbox | Google Drive | Microsoft OneDrive for collaboration ]
Coordinate your calendars
Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook
Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook each do a commendable job of supporting shared calendars for colleague coordination. The primary distinction is every app’s related ecosystem — and likewise the truth that Microsoft’s service comes bundled as a part of its broader e-mail utility.
Principally, if you happen to’re already utilizing Microsoft apps — particularly Outlook — then utilizing Outlook for shared calendars possible is sensible. In any other case, you are in all probability higher off going with Google’s standalone calendar service.
Each apps are free to make use of, with choices to improve to enterprise-level plans. (See Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 enterprise pricing.)
Work collectively on whiteboards
Clichéd as it could sound, typically an image actually is price a thousand phrases. (Or at the least a pair hundred.) The subsequent time you want a shared visible floor for long-distance collaboration, Microsoft’s Whiteboard app is the software to attempt.
Whiteboard, as its title suggests, places a clean whiteboard floor in your display screen. You ship a non-public hyperlink to whomever you want to invite, and — whether or not from a cellular gadget, a desktop internet browser, or the native Home windows app — they will have the ability to view and work together along with your digital board in actual time.
Collectively, you possibly can create diagrams, sketch out concepts, and annotate photos. Whiteboard makes it simple to export and save your boards while you’re executed, and it is free to make use of (although any boards you create and save inside it’s going to rely in opposition to your customary Microsoft 365 storage quota).
Share your smartphone’s display screen
Possibly you want greater than a whiteboard. Possibly you desire a colleague to see precisely what you are seeing by yourself display screen — one thing inside an app, on the net, or regardless of the case could also be.
You would be forgiven for failing to note, however Google’s personal free Meet videoconferencing app makes it extremely simple to share your display screen in actual time with anybody else you invite into a gathering. When you’re on a name, all you have gotta do to start out a display screen share is:
- Faucet the three-dot menu icon within the lower-right nook of the display screen.
- Search for the “Share display screen” possibility within the panel that pops up.
- Faucet that, then faucet the “Begin sharing” textual content to verify that you just wish to proceed.
From that time onward, anybody else in your room will see a stay view of your smartphone’s display screen on their very own gadget. Solely you possibly can management the telephone, however any distant observers will witness every little thing you are doing at each step of the way in which whereas nonetheless having the ability to chat with you on the identical time.
[ Google Meet cheat sheet ]
Ah…trendy collaboration. With instruments like these, you will by no means have to go away your favourite chair once more.*
* However please do — at the least now and again. OK?
This story was initially revealed in January 2018 and most lately up to date in January 2023.
Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.