Are you aware that every Microsoft Teams meeting includes a Microsoft Whiteboard that you can use before, during and after the meeting?
When you create a meeting you can access the Whiteboard even before the meeting has started. All you need to do is to open the meeting chat and click on the Whiteboard tab, which has been added automatically by Teams.
Once you have opened the Whiteboard tab, you can start to sketch into it using built-in tools: Black, Red, Green and Blue pens and of course the eraser is there as well.
If you make a analogy to a real whiteboard in meeting rooms those have usually 1-4 pens and a eraser. Not all pens usually work.
It is good to remember that Whiteboard provides meeting participants a infinite digital canvas they can use to sketch. I haven’t really tested is the canvas infinite but so far it has expanded whenever I needed more digital paper.
You can zoom out and while you draw into it you can pan the canvas to have even more space to draw into. And every meeting participant can use it. Note: currently it is supported only inside your organization. If you have participants in the meeting that come from other organizations –> you better share a OneNote into the meeting, share it and use it as a digital whiteboard.
Collaboration in a meeting Whiteboard
When the other invited attendee joins their meeting chat they can open the Whiteboard and draw into the canvas. Whiteboard allows a great collaboration experience, where multiple persons can draw into the same canvas simultaneously. Just think about the traffic on a real whiteboard if five people would be drawing into it at the same time.
The other attendee (Patrick in my demo environment) cannot see the meeting Whiteboard in his list of meeting whiteboards until he joins the meeting or opens the Whiteboard in meeting chat.
The best and easiest way is to open the meeting chat and opening the Whiteboard from there. But you can also access it using other ways.
Once the Whiteboard has been opened even once, the attendee can access it easily. Are you aware that Office 365 menu now includes a Whiteboard application and you can use Whiteboard web version outside Teams?
For iOS users there is a Microsoft Whiteboard app available in the Apple Store. Android users can just open a web browser (Chrome) and navigate to https://whiteboard.microsoft.com/ and user web version, which works just like on the desktop. If you are a mouse user (ie no laptop with touch-screen) you might want to consider using a table to use Whiteboard.
Collaboration is as easy as drawing into a whiteboard. If you use Whiteboard App (see later in this post) you have even more options available.
When your meeting is in progress you can open the Share-tray and choose to include Whiteboard in the meeting. This way the focus will be on the whiteboard, just like it would be when drawing to a physical whiteboard.
In the Whiteboard you can see two menus that do following:
- Copy sharing link, you can use this to share Whiteboard info to others who are not in the meeting – for example to a channel in your organization
- Settings allows you to export whiteboard as a SVG image
More power: let’s go to 11 using Whiteboard app!
Windows store includes a Windows 10 Whiteboard application. You install & open the app and login with your organization Office 365 account. This allows you to access all your Whiteboards including all meeting whiteboards just like above. The Whiteboard app includes a huge amount of features that can be found in Surface Hub Whiteboard app. In fact, they have same features.
While the Whiteboard app inside Teams is simple: 4 pens + a eraser, Whiteboard app brings in some magic. No, not really magic but the power of AI and lots of other tools.
The great thing is that not every participant has to use Whiteboard app but of course it will make life a lot easier – especially if you are doing more planning in the whiteboard. Something that hasn’t been possible in the physical version.
- you don’t run out of space
- multiple collaborators at the same time
- you can invite people to participate even before, during or after the meeting – even when those people are never in the actual meeting. In Teams Whiteboard you invited others to join via sharing a link but in the app you can add people directly.
You can also use the same Invite-menu to create a sharing link, Post Whiteboard info directly into Teams or to OneNote.
There is also lots of options available behind Settings-menu. Including the option to Post to Teams or Export as PNG (or SVG).
Available tools in the Whiteboard App
Note-grid is a especially nice new addition to the list of tools. It allows to add post-it notes inside a grid, including a Add note button.
Several templates (in preview) include this note grid. Please note that if you use Whiteboard app templates these are not even visible in Teams/Web version of the Whiteboard. In case you know there will be people not using the App version – don’t use these.
There are also numerous features build in, such as
- Converting ink to readable text (ink beautification) – this is something I especially enjoy
- Converting image (of a physical whiteboard) to a object you can manipulate in the Whiteboard app
- Ink to shape / ink to table (in settings)
- Writing text or inking into notes
- Writing a list (no ink support)
- Inserting PowerPoint slides, PDF or Word pages into a Whiteboard
- Giving a vote (thumbs up) to image, post-it note, etc
- using a ruler
- using a camera to capture a image etc
Microsoft Whiteboard is a really cool application. You will make your meetings more interactive with it. And if you attend online – you can participate fully unlike when a physical whiteboard is used.