Top 21 Free Tools For Project Managers to Choose in 2024

24 min read

If you’re a project manager, you face plenty of obstacles every day.

The good news is that you don’t always need to spend money to get the right tools to overcome them. 

This article will introduce you to 21 free tools to help project managers work more efficiently, collaborate better, and stay organized.

Whether you’re new to project management or a seasoned pro, these tools cover a wide range of needs, from tracking tasks to communicating with your team. Whether you prefer Agile or more traditional approaches, there’s something here for everyone.

Let’s dive into the top 21 options and discover how they can make your projects run more smoothly and efficiently.

Why is it important to make use of tools?

As a project manager, you face daily challenges that demand efficiency and organization. 

Using paid or free project management software and other platforms is essential for several important reasons:

  • Get more done faster: Project management tools help you work smarter and accomplish tasks and deliver projects more efficiently, saving time and boosting productivity. You can easily allocate resources, track progress, and spot potential issues.
  • Collaborate effectively: In today’s world, project teams are often spread out geographically. Collaboration tools ensure seamless communication and document sharing, making teamwork more effective and reducing misunderstandings.
  • Stay organized: Project details, timelines, and documents can quickly become overwhelming. The best free project management tools provide a central hub for organizing and accessing critical information, preventing important details from getting lost.
  • Make informed choices: Data is valuable in project management. Tools generate data and insights that guide your decisions. This helps you adapt to changes, optimize processes, and minimize risks.
  • Grow with your projects: Project management tools can scale with your needs, whether you’re managing a startup or multiple complex projects. They adapt as your projects and organization evolve.
  • Reduce risks: Every project carries risks. Project manager software, free and paid, offers risk assessment and mitigation features, helping you identify and address potential issues early to avoid delays and budget overruns.

Pro tip: If you’re stuck in the process of selecting project management software, whether it’s free or paid, we have a guide to finding the best fit for you.

In short, tools are helpful and essential for successful project management. They make you more efficient, enhance collaboration, keep you organized, support data-driven decisions, adapt to growth, and reduce risks. 

In the following sections, we’ll explore 21 free tools that can assist you in becoming a more effective project manager.

What are the best 21 project manager free tools?

Now that we understand why tools are crucial for project managers, let’s get to the exciting part: discovering the best free tools to supercharge your project management efforts. 

In this article, we’ve handpicked 21 free software, apps, and platforms designed to make your job easier and more efficient.

Let’s start with PPM Express, a project management tool that’s free during the trial period, with unlimited features to test.

PPM Express

PPM Express is a comprehensive project and portfolio management platform designed to empower project managers and teams with the tools to plan, execute, and monitor projects effectively. 

It offers a user-friendly interface and a wide range of features for project management, resource allocation, financial tracking, and more:

PPM Express offers a 30-day free trial for users to explore its complete list of features without limitations. Afterward, you can choose one of three pricing plans to continue your project management journey.

Now, let’s focus on other valuable free tools for project management. We’ll continue with Miro.

Miro

Miro is an online collaborative whiteboarding platform that empowers project managers and teams to visually brainstorm, plan, and collaborate in real time. 

It offers a digital canvas where users can create diagrams, mind maps, flowcharts, and more, making it an ideal tool for project planning and visual project management.

Features of Miro’s Free plan:

  • Boards: You can create and collaborate on a single workspace with three boards for unlimited team members.
  • Templates: Access to 2,500+ templates to kickstart your project planning.
  • Real-time collaboration: Team members can collaborate on boards in real time, regardless of location.

Pro tip: Miro can be a great tool for managing remote teams. Interested in efficient collaboration with remote teammates? Check out our guide.

  • Sticky notes and text: Add and organize ideas, tasks, and notes using digital sticky notes and text.
  • Commenting and @mentions: Communicate with team members by leaving comments and using @mentions.
  • Integrations: Connect with 100+ third-party apps like Google Drive and Slack to streamline workflow.
  • Mobile apps: Access and collaborate on your boards using Miro’s mobile apps.

Miro offers several paid plans, including Starter, Business, and Enterprise editions. Pricing varies depending on the number of team members and additional features required, such as meeting features, unlimited boards, advanced integrations, security, and admin controls. 

Miro alternatives:

  • Lucidspark: A digital whiteboarding tool by the creators of Lucidchart. It offers real-time collaboration and brainstorming features, making it an alternative to visual project management.
  • Mural: A free mind-mapping tool and visual collaboration platform that enables teams to work together on digital whiteboards. It offers a range of templates and tools for brainstorming, planning, and design, making it a versatile alternative for visual project management.
  • Creately: An online diagramming and visual collaboration tool that allows teams to create flowcharts, diagrams, and mind maps. It offers real-time collaboration and templates for various diagram types, making it a suitable alternative for visual project planning.

Next up is Notion, which offers versatile project management capabilities.

Notion

Notion is a versatile, all-in-one workspace that caters to project managers and teams seeking a flexible platform for project documentation, collaboration, and organization. 

It allows users to create notes, databases and wikis, and can be used as free task management software, which makes it adaptable to various project management needs.

Features of Notion’s Free plan:

  • Unlimited pages and blocks: You can create unlimited pages and content blocks within Notion (but limited for the team).
  • Templates: Access to a wide range of customizable templates, including project management templates, to kickstart your projects.
  • Collaborative editing: Real-time collaboration allows team members to collaborate on documents and databases.
  • Task management: Utilize the Kanban board, table, and list views to manage tasks and projects.

Pro tip: Notion can be compared to AI work management tools, much like PPM Express. Explore our list of major AI work management tools for your consideration.

  • Integrations: Integrate with various third-party apps and services like Google Drive and Trello for enhanced functionality.
  • Mobile apps: Access and work on your projects on the go using Notion’s mobile apps.

Notion offers Plus, Business and Enterprise paid plans. The Plus plan includes unlimited blocks for teams, file uploads and a 30-day goal planner. The Business plan offers additional functionalities such as more guests, advanced permissions, and advanced analytics.

Notion alternatives:

  • ClickUp: A flexible project management platform with free task management tools that offers features like goal tracking, communication, and document sharing. It’s suitable for teams that require more structure in their project management.
  • Coda: A collaborative workspace tool that combines documents, spreadsheets, and databases into a single platform, allowing teams to build custom solutions and automate workflows.
  • Confluence: This platform by Atlassian is a team collaboration and documentation tool that enables teams to create, share, and collaborate on content, making it useful for project documentation and knowledge sharing.
  • Microsoft Loop: An integrated collaboration platform that combines chat, documents, and tasks within Microsoft Teams, enhancing communication and collaboration for remote and distributed teams.

Moving on, Toggl is a top pick for time tracking and productivity.

Toggl

Toggl is a time-tracking and productivity tool designed to help project managers and teams manage their work hours efficiently. 

It provides a simple and user-friendly interface for tracking time spent on tasks, projects, and activities, which makes it essential for project planning and resource allocation.

Features of Toggl’s Free plan:

  • Time tracking: Easily start and stop timers to track your time on tasks and projects.
  • Manual time entries: Add time entries manually, ensuring that all work is accurately recorded.

Pro tip: Time management is essential in project management. Curious about the latest trends? Check out our article on time management.

  • Reporting: Access basic time reports and insights to analyze your productivity.
  • Browser extensions: Install Toggl browser extensions for quick access and tracking.
  • Mobile apps: Use Toggl’s mobile apps to track time on the go.
  • Integrations: Connect Toggl to various project management and productivity tools to streamline time tracking.
  • Pomodoro timer: Utilize the Pomodoro timer to boost productivity and manage work intervals effectively.

Toggl offers paid plans, including Toggl Starter and Toggl Premium, which provide additional features such as project estimations, fixed fees, team collaboration, project management, and more detailed reporting. 

Toggl alternatives:

  • Clockify: This is a free time tracking tool with features similar to Toggl. It offers both a free plan and paid plans for more advanced time tracking and reporting.
  • Harvest: This provides time tracking, expense tracking, and invoicing features. It offers a free plan for individuals and small teams.
  • RescueTime: While not a direct time tracking tool, RescueTime automatically tracks how you spend time on your computer to help you analyze and improve your productivity.

When it comes to team communication, Slack is an invaluable resource.

Slack

Slack is one of the best free collaboration tools and communication platforms available, helping project managers and teams streamline communication and stay organized. 

It offers a centralized hub for real-time messaging, file sharing, and integration with other productivity tools, making it essential for project coordination and team collaboration.

Features of Slack’s Free plan:

  • Messaging: Create channels and direct messages for team communication and collaboration.
  • File sharing: Share documents, images, and files with team members within Slack.
  • Video and voice calls: Make one-on-one video or voice calls with team members using Slack.

Pro tip: Easy and rapid communication can make you feel in control, but avoid micromanaging your teammates. Learn how to avoid micromanagement in our article.

  • Integrations: Connect Slack to various third-party apps and services to automate workflows and share updates.
  • Searchable message archives: Easily search and access past messages (within 90 days) and files to retrieve project-related information.
  • App Directory: Access a wide range of integrations and apps in the Slack App Directory to enhance productivity.
  • Mobile apps: Stay connected and collaborate on the go with Slack’s mobile apps.

Slack offers paid plans, including Slack Pro and Business+, which provide advanced features such as unlimited message history, additional integrations, enhanced security controls, and support for larger teams. 

Slack alternatives:

  • Microsoft Teams: This platform offers a free plan that includes chat, video conferencing, and file sharing, making it a direct alternative to Slack, especially for organizations using Microsoft 365 and PPM Express.
  • Discord: While commonly used for gaming communities, Discord offers free chat and voice communication features that can be adapted for project management and team collaboration.
  • Mattermost: This open-source team collaboration platform can be self-hosted, providing control and security for organizations with specific requirements.

Moving on, in document management, Google Drive leads the way.

Google Drive

Google Drive is a cloud-based file storage and collaboration platform integral to Google Workspace (formerly G Suite). 

It allows project managers and teams to store, share, and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and other files in a secure and accessible way. Google Drive is a versatile tool for project documentation and file management.

Features of Google Drive’s Free plan:

  • File storage: Store up to 15GB of files and documents for free.
  • Document collaboration: Collaborate in real-time with free office software on Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
  • File sharing: Easily share files and folders with team members and control access permissions.
  • Version history: Access version history to view and restore previous file versions.
  • Integration: Seamlessly integrate with other Google Workspace apps like Gmail and Google Calendar.
  • Mobile apps: Access and edit files on the go using Google Drive’s mobile apps.
  • Offline access: Work on files even without an internet connection using Google Drive’s offline mode.

Google Drive is part of Google Workspace, which offers various paid plans with advanced features like increased storage, security controls, and video conferencing through Google Meet. 

Google Drive alternatives:

  • Dropbox: Dropbox provides cloud storage and file synchronization with collaboration features, which makes it a popular alternative to Google Drive.
  • OneDrive: Microsoft OneDrive is part of Microsoft 365 and offers cloud storage, document collaboration, and integration with Microsoft apps, which makes it a strong alternative for organizations using Microsoft 365.
  • Box: Box is a secure cloud content management platform known for its robust security and collaboration features, which make it suitable for businesses with strict data security requirements.

Moving on, automate your workflow seamlessly with the power of Zapier.

Zapier

Zapier is a powerful automation platform that connects various web apps and services to automate workflows. 

It is an invaluable tool for project managers seeking to streamline repetitive tasks and enhance productivity. With Zapier, you can create “Zaps” to automate actions between different apps, allowing efficient data transfer and task management.

Features of Zapier’s Free plan:

  • Zap creation: Create and manage Zaps to automate tasks between over 2,000 apps and services (including PPM Express).
  • Instant Zaps: Trigger Zaps in real time to ensure a swift response to changes in your connected apps.
  • Integration library: Access a wide range of pre-built app integrations and templates to simplify Zap creation.

Pro tip: Automation and artificial intelligence are rapidly reshaping the project management landscape. Explore our article on how current technologies impact our workflows.

  • Webhooks: Utilize webhooks to integrate with apps that may not have direct Zapier integrations.

Zapier offers paid plans, including Starter, Professional, and Teams plans, which provide additional features such as multi-step zaps, filters, faster automation, priority support, and more complex Zaps. 

Zapier alternatives:

  • Make: This is a robust automation platform similar to Zapier, offering a free plan and advanced automation capabilities.
  • Microsoft Power Automate: Formerly known as Microsoft Flow, Power Automate is Microsoft’s automation tool, which integrates well with Microsoft 365 apps and services.
  • Tray.io: This is an automation and integration platform designed for business users. It offers a wide range of pre-built connectors and a visual workflow builder for creating custom automations.
  • IFTTT (If This Then That): This user-friendly automation platform focuses on connecting devices and apps to trigger actions based on specific conditions.
  • Workato: This integration and automation platform offers a low-code approach to building integrations and automating workflows across various applications and systems.

Moving on, effective communication and error-free writing are achievable with tools like Grammarly.

Grammarly

Grammarly is a widely used writing and grammar-checking tool that helps project managers and teams improve the quality and clarity of their written communication. 

It assists in proofreading and editing documents, emails, and other written content, making it an essential tool for ensuring professional and error-free project documentation.

Features of Grammarly’s Free plan:

  • Grammar and spelling checks: Detect and correct grammar and spelling mistakes in real time as you write.
  • Writing style suggestions: Receive suggestions for improving sentence structure, style, and tone.
  • Punctuation and clarity: Get recommendations on punctuation usage and improving the clarity of your writing.
  • Browser extension: Install Grammarly’s browser extension for checking writing in emails, social media, and web applications.
  • Microsoft Office integration: Integrate Grammarly with Microsoft Word for seamless proofreading within the application.
  • Basic AI writing insights: One of the first AI tools free of charge that can help project managers get insights on their writing performance, including word count and readability (up to 100 monthly prompts).
  • Mobile keyboard: Use Grammarly’s mobile keyboard to check and improve writing on mobile devices.

Grammarly offers premium plans, including Grammarly Premium and Grammarly Business, which provide advanced features such as advanced grammar checks, plagiarism detection, and team collaboration tools. 

Grammarly alternatives:

  • ProWritingAid: This is a grammar and style checker with in-depth writing analysis. It offers a free version and premium plans for writers and professionals.
  • Hemingway Editor: This helps improve the readability of your writing by highlighting complex sentences and suggesting simplifications. A free web version is available.
  • WhiteSmoke: This platform offers grammar and style-checking tools for improving writing. It has both a free and a premium version.

Moving on to free AI tools, ChatGPT, an AI-driven assistant, can revolutionize project planning and documentation.

ChatGPT

ChatGPT is an AI-powered natural language processing tool developed by OpenAI, great option as an AI for project management with wide range of features. 

It can assist project managers and teams by providing answers to questions, generating text, and offering information on various topics, which makes it a versatile tool for quick information retrieval and text generation.

Features of ChatGPT’s Free access:

  • Natural language understanding: As a part of free AI tools online, ChatGPT can understand and respond to text-based queries, offering informative responses.
  • Text generation: It can generate human-like text, which can be useful for creating content, reports, or project documentation.
  • Conversational interactions: Engage in text-based conversations with ChatGPT to ask questions, seek information, or brainstorm ideas.
  • Wide-ranging knowledge: ChatGPT has access to a wide range of information up to its knowledge cutoff date in September 2021, which makes it a valuable resource for answering questions on various topics.

Pro tip: AI can be a vital tool in project management, but it should be used wisely. Need assistance? Explore our comprehensive ChatGPT prompts library designed for project managers.

OpenAI offers a subscription plan called ChatGPT Plus, which includes benefits such as general access even during peak times, faster response times, and priority access to new features. 

ChatGPT alternatives:

  • Claude: This conversational AI platform offers chatbot and virtual assistant capabilities, helping businesses create interactive and intelligent conversational agents.
  • Google Bard: This AI-based language model developed by Google provides natural language processing and understanding capabilities for chatbot and virtual assistant applications.
  • Microsoft Bing: This offers AI-powered natural language processing and language understanding features that can be leveraged to build conversational agents and enhance search capabilities.

Moving on, for secure password management, LastPass is a reliable choice in your project management journey.

LastPass

LastPass is a widely used password management tool that helps project managers and teams securely store, manage, and generate complex passwords for various online accounts and applications. 

With its browser extension and mobile app, LastPass simplifies managing passwords, enhancing security and efficiency for project-related activities.

Features of LastPass’s Free plan:

  • Password storage: Store an unlimited number of passwords and login credentials securely in the LastPass vault.
  • Password generator: Generate strong, unique passwords for online accounts and projects to enhance security.
  • Secure notes: Store sensitive project-related information and notes in encrypted form within LastPass.
  • Autofill and auto-login: Automatically fill in login credentials for websites and applications, streamlining access.
  • Password audit: Assess the strength and security of stored passwords with LastPass’s password audit feature.
  • Browser extension: Use the LastPass browser extension to manage and access passwords while browsing easily.

LastPass offers premium plans, including LastPass Premium and LastPass Families, which provide additional features such as unlimited device access, enhanced security options, and secure sharing of passwords. 

LastPass alternatives:

  • 1Password: This password manager is known for its robust security features and ease of use. It offers a free trial and paid plans for individuals and businesses.
  • Dashlane: This is a user-friendly password manager with features like password generation, dark web monitoring, and secure sharing. It offers a free plan and premium options.
  • Bitwarden: This is an open-source password manager with self-hosting options. It offers both a free plan and premium plans for enhanced features.

Moving on, unlock your creativity with Canva, a design tool that complements project visuals.

Canva

Canva is a versatile graphic design and visual content creation tool that empowers project managers and teams to create eye-catching graphics, presentations, documents, and marketing materials. 

With its intuitive drag-and-drop interface and a library of templates and design elements, Canva simplifies the process of creating engaging visuals for project-related content.

Features of Canva’s Free plan:

  • Drag-and-drop design: Create custom graphics, presentations, and documents by dragging and dropping elements onto the canvas.
  • Templates: Access a vast library of templates for various design needs, including presentations, social media posts, infographics, and more.
  • Design elements: Utilize a wide range of design elements, such as images, icons, text, and backgrounds, to enhance visual content.

Pro tip: Harness the power of Canva to design your project management reports. Dive into our article on top project management reports and how to create them.

  • Image upload: Upload your images and incorporate them into your designs.
  • Collaboration: Collaborate with team members by sharing and editing designs in real time.
  • Export and download: Export designs in various formats, including PDF, PNG, and JPG.
  • Mobile apps: Access Canva on mobile devices for on-the-go design and editing.

Canva offers premium plans, including Canva Pro and Canva for Teams, which provide advanced features such as additional design elements, brand kit management, and team collaboration tools. 

Canva alternatives:

  • Adobe Express: This visual content creation tool offers free and paid plans for creating graphics, web pages, and videos.
  • Visme: This is a versatile design and visual content creation platform that offers templates for infographics, presentations, reports, and social media visuals. 
  • VistaCreate: Previously known as Crello, this is a graphic design tool similar to Canva, offering a free plan and premium options for creating visuals and animations.
  • Snappa: This is an online graphic design tool with a free plan and paid options for creating social media graphics, ads, and more.

Moving on, Zoom’s video conferencing capabilities play a crucial role in remote project collaboration.

Zoom

Zoom is a widely used video conferencing and collaboration platform that enables remote and distributed teams to communicate effectively. 

Project managers and teams can leverage Zoom to conduct virtual meetings, webinars, and screen-sharing sessions, facilitating seamless project communication and collaboration.

Features of Zoom’s Free plan:

  • Video meetings: Host unlimited one-on-one and group meetings with up to 100 participants for up to 40 minutes.
  • Screen sharing: Share your screen to present documents, slideshows, or project-related content.
  • Chat and messaging: Send text messages and files during meetings for real-time collaboration.

Pro tip: Zoom can be a valuable tool for every stage of your project. If you’re looking to explore project management basics, we have an article just for you.

  • Recording: Record meetings and store them in the cloud or your local device.
  • Calendar integrations: Integrate with calendar apps like Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook to schedule and manage meetings.
  • Virtual backgrounds: Customize your video background for a professional and distraction-free meeting environment.
  • Mobile apps: Access Zoom on mobile devices for on-the-go meetings and collaboration.

Zoom offers paid plans, including Zoom Pro, Zoom Business, Business Plus, and Enterprise, which provide additional features such as longer meeting durations, notes, AI companion, more participants, and enhanced security options. 

Zoom alternatives:

  • Microsoft Teams: This is a collaboration platform with video meetings, chat, and integrations with Microsoft 365 apps.
  • Cisco Webex: This offers video conferencing, webinars, and team collaboration features with free and paid plans.
  • Google Meet: This video conferencing tool integrated with Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) offers free and premium plans for online meetings.

Moving on, harness data insights with Power BI, a tool that adds analytics to your project management.

Power BI

Power BI is a powerful business intelligence and data visualization tool developed by Microsoft. It enables project managers and teams to use free reporting tools to turn data into actionable insights through interactive reports, dashboards, and data analysis. 

With Power BI, you can visually explore data, make data-driven decisions, and monitor project progress effectively.

Features of Power BI’s Free plan:

  • Data visualization: Create interactive and visually appealing reports and dashboards using a drag-and-drop interface.
  • Data connections: Connect to various data sources, including Excel, SharePoint, cloud services, and databases.
  • Data modeling: Transform and shape data with Power Query and create data models using Power Pivot.

Pro tip: Crafting reports in Power BI can be challenging. That’s why we’ve prepared over 200 project and portfolio reports for your daily use.

  • Publish and share: Publish reports to the Power BI service and share them with colleagues or stakeholders.
  • Mobile apps: Access and interact with your reports and dashboards on mobile devices.

Power BI offers paid plans, including Power BI Pro and Power BI Premium, which provide additional features such as collaboration, advanced data refresh options, Advanced AI, and dedicated cloud capacity. 

Power BI alternatives:

  • Tableau: This is a free data visualization tool for creating interactive and shareable data visualizations.
  • Google Data Studio: Among other free data visualization tools, Google provides a free tool for creating and sharing customizable data dashboards and reports.
  • QlikView: This data discovery and visualization tool has free and paid versions for exploring and analyzing data.

Moving on, streamline document handling with the convenience of SmallPDF in your toolkit.

SmallPDF

SmallPDF is a web-based platform that offers a wide range of tools for working with PDF documents. 

It simplifies PDF-related tasks, making it a valuable tool for project managers and teams dealing with document management, collaboration, and conversion.

Features of SmallPDF’s Free plan:

  • PDF conversion: Easily convert PDFs to and from various formats, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and image formats.
  • PDF editing: Edit PDFs by adding text, images, annotations, and shapes to documents.
  • PDF compression: Reduce the size of PDF files to make them easier to share and store.
  • PDF merging: Combine multiple PDFs into a single document for better organization.
  • PDF splitting: Extract specific pages or sections from PDFs as needed.
  • eSign PDFs: Electronically sign and send PDF documents for quick approval and collaboration.
  • Secure PDFs: Add passwords and encryption to PDFs for enhanced security.

SmallPDF offers paid plans called SmallPDF Pro, Team, and Business, which include additional features such as unlimited access to all tools, faster processing, and batch processing capabilities. 

SmallPDF alternatives:

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader DC: This is a powerful PDF reader and editor with free and paid plans, offering advanced PDF editing and collaboration features.
  • PDFelement: This comprehensive PDF editor provides free and paid plans catering to advanced PDF editing needs.

Moving on, gather valuable insights and feedback with Typeform’s user-friendly survey and form builder.

Typeform

Typeform is a free survey tool, an online form builder and survey tool that allows project managers and teams to create interactive and engaging forms, surveys, and questionnaires. 

It is designed to collect data, feedback, and responses in a user-friendly and visually appealing manner, which makes it ideal for project-related data collection and feedback gathering.

Features of Typeform’s Free plan:

  • Form builder: Create customized forms and surveys with a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface.
  • Question types: Choose from various question types, including multiple-choice, open text, rating scales, and more.
  • Templates: Access a library of pre-designed templates to kickstart form creation.
  • Logic and branching: Add conditional logic to your forms to create dynamic and personalized experiences for respondents.
  • Data collection: Collect real-time responses and data and view results in an intuitive dashboard.

Pro tip: Utilize Typeform to gather feedback from all your stakeholders – it’s that simple!

  • Mobile optimization: Ensure that forms are mobile-responsive for respondents on various devices.
  • Embedding: Embed forms on websites or share them via links, email, or social media.
  • Basic integrations: Integrate with third-party apps like Slack, Mailchimp, HubSpot, and Google Sheets to streamline data collection and reporting.

Typeform offers paid plans, including Basic, Plus, and Business, which provide additional features such as more responses, custom branding, advanced reporting, and custom domains. 

Typeform alternatives:

  • Google Forms: This is a free and straightforward tool for creating surveys and forms, especially if you use Google Workspace (formerly G Suite).
  • SurveyMonkey: This platform offers free and paid plans for creating surveys and collecting responses with advanced reporting and analysis features.
  • JotForm: This online form builder has a free plan as well as paid options for advanced form features and integrations.

Moving on, Google Trends provides invaluable data for market research and analysis.

Google Trends is a free and powerful tool provided by Google that allows project managers and teams to explore and analyze the popularity and trends of search queries and topics on the Google search engine. 

It offers valuable insights into search behavior, helping businesses and project managers make data-driven decisions.

Features of Google Trends:

  • Search trends: Explore the popularity and interest of specific search terms and topics over time.
  • Regional and demographic data: View trends by geographic region, time range, and audience demographics.
  • Related queries and topics: Discover related search queries and topics to gain insights into user interests.
  • Real-time data: Access near-real-time data to stay updated with the latest trends and events.
  • Data export: Download trends data for further analysis or sharing with team members.
  • Visualization: Visualize trends data using interactive charts and graphs for straightforward interpretation.

Pro tip: If you’re on the hunt for project management trends, check out our article on PM statistics for insightful discoveries.

Google Trends is available for free with no paid plans. Users can access its full range of features without any subscription or payment.

Google Trends alternatives:

  • AnswerThePublic: AnswerThePublic provides insights into search queries by visualizing questions, prepositions, and comparisons based on a specific keyword.
  • SEMrush: SEMrush offers competitive analysis and keyword research tools with a free plan and paid options for in-depth SEO and marketing insights.

Moving on, enhance user experience and optimize your projects with Hotjar’s analytics and feedback tools.

Hotjar

Hotjar is a powerful website and user behavior analytics tool that helps project managers and teams understand how users interact with their websites and digital products within their life cycle

It provides valuable insights into user behavior, enabling data-driven decisions for optimizing websites and improving the user experience.

Features of Hotjar’s Free plan:

  • Heatmaps: Generate heatmaps to visualize user interactions, including clicks, mouse movements, and scrolling behavior.
  • Session recordings: Record and replay user sessions to see how users navigate and interact with your website.
  • Feedback polls: Create and deploy on-site surveys and feedback polls to gather user opinions and suggestions.
  • Survey and form analysis: Analyze user responses to surveys and feedback forms to identify pain points and areas for improvement.
  • User feedback: Collect qualitative feedback from users to gain insights into their experiences.
  • Conversion funnels: Track user journeys and identify drop-off points in conversion funnels.
  • Limited pageviews: The free plan includes a limited number of pageviews per day but provides access to all features.

Hotjar offers paid plans, including Hotjar Plus and Hotjar Business, which provide additional features such as increased pageviews, advanced analysis, and team collaboration tools.

Hotjar alternatives:

  • Google Analytics: This platform provides in-depth website analytics with a free plan and paid options for advanced features and data.
  • Crazy Egg: This offers heatmaps, session recordings, and A/B testing with a free trial and paid plans for website optimization.
  • FullStory: This provides session replay, heatmaps, and advanced analytics with a free plan and premium business options.
  • Plerdy: A website and conversion optimization tool that offers features like heatmaps, session replays, and website analytics.
  • Smartlook: This user analytics and session recording tool allows businesses to track and analyze user interactions on their websites and mobile apps.

Moving on, unlock deeper insights into user behavior and product usage with Mixpanel.

Mixpanel

Mixpanel is an advanced analytics and user behavior tracking platform that empowers project managers and teams to gain deep insights into user interactions with their web and mobile applications. 

It provides detailed analytics, user segmentation, and event tracking, enabling data-driven decision-making for product development and optimization.

Features of Mixpanel’s Free plan:

  • Event tracking: Track user interactions and events within your application, such as clicks, sign-ups, and purchases.
  • Funnel analysis: Analyze user journeys by creating funnels to understand conversion rates and identify drop-off points.
  • Retention analysis: Measure user retention and engagement over time to assess the effectiveness of your product.
  • User segmentation: Segment users based on their behavior, demographics, and other attributes for targeted analysis.
  • Cohort analysis: Analyze user groups (cohorts) with similar characteristics to understand their behavior and trends (limited).

Pro tip: Leverage Mixpanel to determine which features are worth implementing and enhancing, then add them to your product backlog.

  • Data export: Export data for further analysis or integration with other tools.

Mixpanel offers paid plans, including Growth and Enterprise, which provide advanced features such as higher data limits, custom reports, and dedicated support. 

Mixpanel alternatives:

  • Pendo: This product analytics and user feedback platform helps businesses understand user behavior within their software products. It offers features like in-app messaging, product usage analytics, and user surveys.
  • Kissmetrics: This is a customer engagement and behavioral analytics tool that provides insights into user interactions with websites and products. It offers features like event tracking, cohort analysis, and A/B testing.
  • Heap: This is an event-based analytics platform that automatically captures user interactions on websites and mobile apps. It enables businesses to analyze user behavior, set up funnels, and create retention cohorts.
  • Glassbox: This is a digital experience analytics platform that offers session replays, heatmaps, and conversion funnels to help businesses visualize and understand user journeys on websites and mobile apps. It also provides compliance and privacy features.
  • Amplitude: A product analytics platform focusing on user behavior, cohort, and funnel analysis. It helps businesses make data-driven decisions to improve user experiences and product adoption.

Moving on, simplify appointment scheduling and time management using Calendly.

Calendly

Calendly is an online appointment scheduling and booking tool that simplifies setting up meetings, appointments, and events. 

It is an efficient solution for project managers and teams to streamline scheduling, reduce back-and-forth emails, and ensure that meetings are organized and productive.

Features of Calendly’s Free plan:

  • Custom scheduling links: Create personalized scheduling links that allow others to book appointments based on your availability.
  • Meeting types: Set up different meeting types and durations, each with its own availability settings (but for only one type in the Free plan).
  • Automatic time zone detection: Calendly detects the time zone of invitees and adjusts available time slots accordingly.
  • Calendar integrations: Sync with popular calendar apps like Google Calendar, Outlook, and iCloud to avoid double-booking.
  • Email notifications: Receive email notifications for new bookings and changes to your schedule.

Pro tip: Project management participants often waste considerable time with email. Curious? Check out our article to find out more.

  • Basic integrations: Integrate with productivity tools like Zoom, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams Intercom, and Slack for seamless meeting setup.

Calendly offers paid plans, including Standard, Team, and Enterprise, which provide additional features such as advanced scheduling customization, team scheduling, and reporting. 

Calendly alternatives:

  • Doodle: This is a scheduling tool that offers free and paid plans for scheduling meetings and polls for group availability.
  • YouCanBook.me: This online booking and scheduling tool allows users to create customizable booking pages, set availability, and integrate with various calendars.
  • HubSpot Meetings: HubSpot offers scheduling features within the CRM ecosystem, making it suitable for sales and marketing teams.

Moving on, Loom’s video messaging tool can revolutionize communication within your project teams.

Loom

Loom is a video messaging and screen recording tool that enables project managers and teams to communicate, collaborate, and share information through video messages and recordings. 

It’s a versatile tool for creating video content, explaining complex ideas, and enhancing remote communication.

Features of Loom’s Free plan:

  • Screen recording: Record your screen and webcam simultaneously to create video messages and tutorials.
  • Video messaging: Send messages via email or chat to provide context or instructions effectively.
  • Video storage: Store recorded videos in your Loom workspace for easy access and sharing.
  • Video sharing: Share videos with team members or external stakeholders by generating shareable links.
  • Viewer insights: Track viewer engagement with your videos, including views and reactions.
  • Mobile apps: Use Loom’s mobile apps for recording and sharing videos on the go.

Loom offers paid plans, including Loom Business and Loom Enterprise, which provide additional features such as video editing, AI features, custom branding, password protection, integrations, and advanced user management. 

Loom alternatives:

  • Vidyard: This video hosting and recording platform offers video creation, hosting, and analytics tools. It suits businesses looking to create and share video content, including sales and marketing videos.
  • ScreenRec: A screen recording and screenshot capture tool that allows users to record their screens and share recordings easily. It’s a lightweight option for creating and sharing video tutorials and demos.
  • Soapbox by Wistia: A video recording and editing tool for creating professional-looking videos. It offers features like screen recording, webcam recording, and customizable video templates.

Moving on, stay updated and informed with the latest industry trends using Feedly.

Feedly

Feedly is a content aggregation and RSS (Really Simple Syndication) reader platform that helps project managers and teams stay informed about industry news, trends, and updates. 

It allows users to curate and organize their news feeds, making it a valuable tool for keeping up with relevant information and sources.

Features of Feedly’s Free plan:

  • RSS feed reader: Subscribe to RSS feeds from websites, blogs, and publications to receive the latest updates in one place.
  • Content categorization: Organize your feeds into folders for easy navigation and reading.
  • Content discovery: Discover new content and sources related to your interests using Feedly’s discovery features.

Pro tip: Continuous learning is essential for career advancement. Think about obtaining one of the project management certifications from our article to enhance your competitiveness in the job market.

  • Keyword alerts: Set up keyword alerts to receive notifications when specific topics or keywords appear in your feeds.
  • Integration with productivity tools: Connect Feedly to productivity tools like Pocket and Evernote for seamless content saving and organization.
  • Web and mobile access: Access your feeds and read content on the web or through mobile apps.

Feedly offers paid plans, including Pro, Pro+, and Enterprise, which provide advanced features such as unlimited sources, faster updates, and team collaboration tools.

Feedly alternatives:

  • Flipboard: This content curation and personalized magazine app offers free access to news and articles from various sources.
  • Inoreader: This is an RSS feed reader with free and paid plans, offering advanced features for content organization and automation.
  • Pocket: This is a content-saving tool that allows users to save articles and videos for later reading or viewing. It offers a free plan and premium features.

Now that we’ve explored the top 21 free tools for project managers, let’s address a critical question: Are these free tools as effective as their paid options?

Are free software for project management less effective than paid ones?

One question that often arises when considering free project management tools is whether they are as effective as their paid counterparts. 

It’s a valid concern, as the allure of cost savings can sometimes overshadow the need for robust functionality and support. 

To address this, let’s take a closer look at the advantages of the project management tools free of charge:

  • Cost savings: The most obvious advantage is cost savings. Project management free software doesn’t require a financial investment, which makes it ideal for small businesses, startups, or projects with limited budgets.
  • Accessibility: Free tools are accessible to a wide range of users, allowing smaller teams and organizations to benefit from project management capabilities without the cost barrier.
  • Ease of adoption: Project management software, free of charge, often has a user-friendly interface with a shorter learning curve. This makes it accessible to teams without the need for extensive training.
  • Community support: Users of free tools can tap into online communities, forums, and user-generated content for support, tips, and problem-solving, creating a supportive user community.
  • Flexibility: Free project management tools can be used on a smaller scale or for projects with straightforward requirements, offering the flexibility to adapt to different project sizes and scopes.
  • Budget transparency: With free tools, there are no hidden costs or unexpected fees, which provides budget transparency and predictability.
  • Experimentation: Free project management software allows project managers to experiment with different solutions and find the right fit for their needs without committing to a financial investment.
  • Quick implementation: Free tools often have quicker implementation times, enabling teams to start managing projects sooner.
  • Vendor independence: Using free tools reduces reliance on a specific vendor or software provider, allowing for greater vendor independence.
  • No long-term commitment: There’s no obligation to enter into long-term contracts or subscriptions with free tools, which provides flexibility to switch to other tools as needs evolve.
  • Starter for small projects: Free tools are ideal for smaller projects, pilot initiatives, or personal project management, offering a straightforward and budget-friendly solution.

Ultimately, choosing a project management free tool or a paid one should align with your project goals and resources. Assessing your specific needs and considering the trade-offs between cost and functionality is essential.

But if you’re looking for a robust project and portfolio management solution that balances cost-effectiveness with advanced features, consider exploring PPM Express. With a 30-day free trial, you can assess how it handles all project and portfolio management aspects. 

Take advantage of this opportunity to experience the comprehensive capabilities of PPM Express firsthand and take your project management to the next level.

Top 21 Free Tools For Project Managers to Choose in 2024
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