Text Editor

Great Open Source Collaborative Editing Tools

In a nutshell, collaborative writing is writing done by more than one person. There are benefits and risks of collaborative working. Some of the benefits include a more integrated / co-ordinated approach, better use of existing resources, and a stronger, united voice. For us, the greatest advantage is one of the most transparent. That’s when we need to take colleagues’ views. Sending files back and forth between colleagues is inefficient, causes unnecessary delays and leaves people (i.e. us) unhappy with the whole notion of collaboration.

With good collaborative software, we can share notes, data and files, and use comments to share thoughts in real-time or asynchronously. Working together on documents, images, video, presentations, and tasks is made less of a chore.

There are many ways to collaborate online, and it has never been easier. This article highlights our favourite open source tools to collaborate on documents in real time.

Google Docs is an excellent productivity application with most of the features we need. It serves as a collaborative tool for editing documents in real time. Documents can be shared, opened, and edited by multiple users simultaneously and users can see character-by-character changes as other collaborators make edits. While Google Docs is free for individuals, it is not open source.

Here is our take on the finest open source collaborative editors which help you focus on writing without interruption, yet work mutually with others.

Ratings chart

Click the links in the table below to learn more about each tool.

Collaborative Editing Tools
ONLYOFFICEMultifunctional cloud online office suite
EtherpadWeb-based collaborative real-time editor
CodiMDRealtime collaborative markdown notes taking inspiration from Hackpad
FoamPersonal knowledge management and sharing system
HedgeDocCreate real-time collaborative markdown notes
ProseMirrorRich semantic content editor
CryptPadRealtime collaborative editor
FirepadFull-featured text editor
NotesDistraction free notes taking app for Nextcloud
GobbySupporting multiple documents in one session and a multi-user chat

This article has been revamped in line with our recent announcement.

Best Free and Open Source SoftwareRead our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. Our curated compilation covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk.

There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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