How to use Whiteboard in Teams meetings

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.
Update: check also article part II of using Whiteboard in Teams meetings.

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.

Sharing Whiteboard

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.

Update: check also article part II of using Whiteboard in Teams meetings.

15 thoughts on “How to use Whiteboard in Teams meetings

  1. Hi – good overview of whiteboard and appreciated. One question. Is there a sketch pad that works well with Teams Whiteboard? Some of our pc’s don’t have capability to draw using a finger and a mouse is just a bad idea. Please let me know and TIA. Best regards, Ernie

    Like

    1. There isn’t a specific sketch pad that I am aware about (it does not mean that there wouldn’t be..) but using iPad might help. Whiteboard app is available for iPad (iOS) and iPad works quite nicely for sketching. Android table it also a possiblity but currenly in Android you have to use web Whiteboard which is more limited compared to the app.

      Like

    1. Not via permissions. I would create a new Whiteboard (not connected to the meeting) and share the screen/display with whiteboard to attendees during the meeting. That way it would be one way. Just like doing that with guests or when sharing a Whiteboard in a Live Event.

      Like

  2. There should be a way to restrict attendees to write on or prevent them to erase what the Organizer has drawn on/from the whiteboard via permissions. MS kindly pay heed and do the needful please. This is Imperative.

    Like

    1. The way I did that is that I didn’t share attendees the actual whiteboard – instead I shared a screen where I had the Whiteboard app. I do agree with you – access control and guest access to the Whiteboard is very much needed.

      Like

  3. Hi! Thanks so much for the useful article! I use Microsoft Whiteboard , and I have been pleased with it.
    if you are using online whiteboards you’ll be writing a lot every day – I would recommend getting a proper graphics tablet for that purpose.
    I am using the XP-Pen Star G640: https://www.xp-pen.com/product/51.html Writing Tablet to interface with the Microsoft whiteboard. Pen tablets are not essential but they do make writing online much easier and faster than with your mouse or trackpad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the comment! That is a good tip!
      I would love to get a large touch screen along with Surface Pro but those are not cheap nor they fit in a small space.. 🙂 A screen that can be tilted almost all the way down (like Surface Studio) would be optimal for longer whiteboarding sessions.

      Like

  4. Hi, Thank you for this great post. I am a teacher and I really want to use the Whiteboard App with my students. I need to know what are the steps how to let my students to draw, write, post a note, or picture at the same time?

    Like

    1. Your students need to join the same whiteboard. If you set up a Teams meeting and students are within the same tenant as you are (I assume because they’d be using school accounts) and then join the Whiteboard in the meeting your students will have access to it. Using Teams it is possible to use pen + text + sticky notes. If your students install Whiteboard app from Windows Store (or Mac equivalent) then they can add pictures and do lots of other collaboration with the Whiteboard. Opening the app from Teams meeting is easy since Teams is displaying “Open in a app” when you are looking at the Whiteboard in teams.

      If your students are in a different organization/tenant (using guest accounts for example) then they can’t participate in that Whiteboard. It is possible to set things up via Microsoft Accounts (this is different than organizational / school account) but I would not recommend that due to more complexity. External access is on whiteboard’s roadmap for Q4 of this year that will make it more easier.

      Like

  5. Nice article – is there a way you would recommend to stop it looking like a 3 year-olds writing using a mouse to draw is a nightmare!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.