Remember fax machines?
If you’re like me and you were born when Atari was still on the cutting edge of video gaming, you can easily remember the high-pitched bleeps and bloops that usually preceded a faxed deli menu or toner sales flier curling out on thermal paper.
There was a time when the fax machine was the most advanced method of file sharing available—a project manager in Boston could send a document to a client in Dallas, then receive it back with notes later that afternoon.
We’ve come a long way in business technology since the roaring 90s.
Fax machines are now all but obsolete, but file sharing is still an integral project management tool. In fact, most project management systems have some type of file sharing tool built right in.
But if you don’t already have a file sharing tool, and you need one, you’re in the right place. I’ve assembled five free, easy file sharing tools that you can use today to help your projects run smoother.
What does a file sharing tool do?
But for our purposes, we’ll be looking at how project managers use file sharing to collaborate on documents, access files from any device, and communicate changes within their team. For those reasons, all of these tools need to have cloud storage and collaboration tools included.
We’ll also look at some additional, unique features that these file sharing tools include, and we’ll take video tours of several options.
Five easy-to-use free file sharing tools
Because we are looking for tools that are both free and easy to use, they are listed in order of their Ease of Use rating and number of reviews on Capterra’s software directory.
It’s important to note that most free versions put a limit on storage space (anywhere from 2 to 15 GB for the options here), so if you’re looking for something to store a lot of files or use with a lot of people, be prepared to pay for extra space.
Ease of Use: 5/5
Free space: 10 GB
Wimi Drive overview
Wimi is a project management and online collaboration tool based out of Paris and San Francisco. Their Wimi Drive feature allows version management, access rights, online and offline editing, and cloud synchronization. You get 10 GB of free storage space for up to two users and eight projects.
Pros: Users find Wimi extremely easy and even fun to use, and 10 GB of free storage space is pretty generous.
Cons: Some users find the Wimi mobile app to be limited in its functionality.
Cost to upgrade: Paid plans start at $5/user/month and include 250 GB of storage, unlimited projects, and phone support.
Have you tried Wimi? Leave a review!
Ease of Use: 4.5/5
Free space: 2 GB
Dropbox Docs in the Dropbox free edition
Founded by a pair of MIT students in 2007, San Francisco-based Dropbox was one of the first cloud storage services on the market, and it has evolved into an industry leader. Dropbox has diversified its business model to keep up with the competition, adding variations such as Dropbox Business for IT departments and Dropbox Professional for advanced individual users.
As a product with 10 years of development behind it, Dropbox has all of the latest collaboration, access, and synchronization features that you would expect from a leading file sharing tool.
Pros: The mobile app works great with the desktop version. Users say that the transition from using Dropbox online or on their mobile device is seamless.
Cons: The free account offers only 2 GB of storage space, which can run out quickly, resulting in annoying notifications reminding you to upgrade.
Cost to upgrade: Paid plans start at $9.99/month and give you up to 1 TB (1,000 GB) of storage space to stretch out in. Team plans, which start at $15/user/month, come with 2 TB of space and administrative tools.
Have you tried DropBox? Leave a review!
3. Google Drive
Ease of Use: 4.5/5
Free space: 15 GB
A new Google Drive ready to store up to 15 GB of files
Part of the G Suite, Google Drive is a great online storage and file sharing option for people who use Gmail and other Google Cloud products such as Calendar, Sheets, and Docs. You get 15 GB of storage space for free, which might be more than enough for some individual users. By using Google Drive alongside other Google Cloud tools, collaboration and synchronization come naturally.
Pros: The 15 GB of free space might be more than you ever need. There’s also a cool feature on the Drive mobile app that lets you take pictures of documents and instantly turn them into PDFs in Drive.
Cons: Some users find the file folder organization system to be a little outdated and clunky.
Cost to upgrade: Like Dropbox, upgrading to 1 TB of storage space costs $9.99/month.
Have you tried Google Drive? Leave a review!
Ease of Use: 4.5/5
Free space: 5 GB
OneDrive is Microsoft’s offering to the free cloud storage universe. The free plan gives you 5 GB of free storage space, so you’ll have to be a little more conservative than you would be with Google’s roomy 15 GB. Still, OneDrive is a sleek, easy-to-use file sharing system. Collaboration and online editing work through the Share feature in Office documents.
As a bonus, Office 365 subscribers get 1 TB of storage included with their subscription. Because OneDrive is woven so tightly into the Microsoft Office suite, it’s probably not the best fit for Mac users (unless you’re using Office for Mac already).
Pros: OneDrive allows users to download entire folders up to 4 GB in size at once as a ZIP file. You can also embed Office documents such as Word, Excel, and Powerpoint into web pages and give visitors access to interface with them.
Cons: Unlike Google Drive or Dropbox, OneDrive does not save previous versions of non-Microsoft Office files. So if you mess up a document and need to go back to an earlier version, you might be out of luck.
Cost to upgrade: Paid plans start at $1.99/month for 50 GB of space. So if you need more space than the free plans offer but less than a terabyte, OneDrive could be your solution. Business plans start at $60/user/year and come with 1 TB.
Have you tried OneDrive? Leave a review!
5. Zoho Docs
Ease of Use: 4.5/5
Free space: 5 GB per user
Zoho Docs 4.0 intro
Zoho is an India-based suite of business management software products with more than 20 years of experience. Zoho Projects is one of the Top 20 Most Popular Project Management Software options based on our research. But what about their file sharing tool?
Zoho Docs is free for teams of up to 25 people, and each user gets 5 GB of free storage space. Its layout may remind some users of Google Drive, which isn’t a bad thing. Collaboration tools are built right in through native chat, group sharing, tasks, and notifications.
Pros: Zoho Docs has a nice feature that allows you to email large files directly into your Zoho cloud storage as an attached file.
Cons: Users found the Zoho mobile apps to be a bit limited when compared to some of their bigger competitors, such as Google Drive and Dropbox.
Cost to upgrade: Paid plans start at $5/user/month and give you 100 GB/user, larger upload limits, advanced analytics, and more.
Have you tried Zoho Docs? Leave a review!
What is your favorite file sharing tool?
Do you use a great, free file sharing tool that didn’t appear on this list? Let us know about it in the comments so we can check it out! Also, if you’re looking for more free project management tools, check out these other articles:
Looking for Project Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Project Management software solutions.