Using Microsoft Whiteboard in meeting is easy and I have written a couple of blogs about that earlier: https://myteamsday.com/2019/11/19/how-to-use-whiteboard-in-teams-meetings/ and https://myteamsday.com/2020/03/21/how-to-whiteboard-in-teams-meetings-efficiently-ii/
20.1.2021: it is now possible to add Microsoft Whiteboard to a channel as a tab. Read my blog post how to.
If you want to start using Whiteboard with your team in channels you can do so. In this blog I explain how you can start using that but also what needs to be noted / watched out. The old restriction also applies “you can not share your whiteboard to external users”.
Create a new Whiteboard and share it to your team
You start by creating a new Whiteboard using Microsoft Whiteboard App. From Settings you can find “Post to Teams”.
When you click it you can choose the appropriate team and channel:
Choose the appropriate team and channel. In this case it is Project 2077 and Planning.
When ready click Post. You can not change the text or anything. You get the see the post in that channel. You can edit it now to make it look better.
If I now click the link (I am using web Teams during writing this blog) I get to choose how I open the Whiteboard:
Looking via web Whiteboard I can see the whiteboard ok. This just confirms me that the link works.
Once you have shared the whiteboard to others you can see that Whiteboard is showing multiple participants without any specific image.
If you click on persons you can end up with empty list. Don’t worry. I explain this later in the blog why this is empty.
If you want you can add more people to work with Whiteboard with “Add a participant”.
However, I now progress to choose another team member as open the Whiteboard as Amy. And yes – I can open the Whiteboard as usual.
And if I open the Whiteboard app as Amy I can find this Whiteboard from it’s active list as well.
Every team member can now open the Whiteboard. And once they have opened it they are added to Whiteboard Roster.
Add Whiteboard as a tab
Update 20.1.2021: You can use a Teams Whiteboard Application to add Whiteboard to a team channel as a tab! Read here how!
If you want to add a existing Whiteboard to the team channel this chapter is still valid. The new updated feature is always creating a new Whiteboard.
Using that sharing link it is a good idea to add Whiteboard as a tab to the team, so it can be found easily afterwards & by new team members as well.
When the tab is opened there is a change to open the Whiteboard either in web or app:
While using web version of the Whiteboard isn’t perfect it is still quite handy to just view (most of) it’s contents. If someone has used templates and/or note grid those are some examples of content that are not shown in web Whiteboard. Most likely this will change in the future as web version gets better.
What about new team members?
What happens with new team members that are added to the team after Whiteboard was shared there? It just works!
The reason why it works and why the Roster is empty in the beginning is that the “Post to Teams” doesn’t actually has nothing to with adding permissions. Instead it is a sharing link that everyone who uses that link (and is from the same organization as you) can open it and they are added added automatically to Whiteboard roster (participants). This is actually a great idea – you don’t worry about persons but instead sharing link makes this usable through your organization.
That is also the reason why Whiteboard is not visible to other team member’s listed Whiteboards until they have visited it at least once.
I have also found that the Roster doesn’t always update very quickly. Sometimes you need to click “add a participant” for it to refresh.
What about guests?
Well, Whiteboard is not shareable to people in other organizations.
If you need to share Whiteboard to team’s guests you better export the Whiteboard as png (a snapshot) and let them comment that. However in those cases I recommend using OneNote instead of Whiteboard to enable seamless collaboration without manual steps.
Sharing meeting whiteboard
Since Whiteboard is automatically part of every meeting you can also take meeting whiteboard and share it with you team for further processing. First, it is good to notice that Teams Whiteboard is again showing “Open in app” link to Whiteboard. 😊
It is really easy to get the sharing link from Teams Whiteboard. Just click “person+” icon:
Now that I have the Whiteboard link in clipboard –> I can share this to teams. Add it as a tab to the appropriate team channel.
Now every team member can participate in that meeting Whiteboard – and discover it later easily. You don’t have to worry about adding all team members separately or keep the roster up to date.
Summary and watch-outs
- Create a new Whiteboard with default content.
- Post to Teams / grab a sharing link
- Add Whiteboard as tab to a team and let team know what this Whiteboard is and what are you using it for.
- Guests can not access Whiteboard
- Instruct them open it at least once so they get it into their Whiteboard app. They should also rename the board to their liking (give a board name they should use so everyone is speaking about the same Whiteboard).
- Manage rest of the roster manually
- Work together on the same digital whiteboard that has infinite canvas. It supports full co-authoring so you can edit Whiteboard at the same time with others and see what they are doing.
- It is always best to use Whiteboard app.
What sharing link also allows is to use the same Whiteboard across multiple teams and since you work with sharing link you don’t need to add new Whiteboard collaborators to team. You can also share it easily to meetings. However, you need to manually remove users you don’t want to have access to Whiteboard afterwards.
You can also limit some persons only to view Whiteboard instead of editing it.
It is also good to take some snapshots (export) of the Whiteboard to png-files now and then. Only the creator of Whiteboard (you) can delete it but there is no known way to recover a deleted whiteboard.
There is still work to be done with permission management as well:
Others can only leave the Whiteboard – and thus be removed from the roster. They can always add themselves again as participants using the sharing link. If you remove someone from accessing Whiteboard they can add themselves back using a sharing link.
Whiteboard data is stored in Azure. Several European countries have their data stored in European data center. Rest of the Whiteboard are stored in US data center. https://support.office.com/en-us/article/important-updates-to-microsoft-whiteboard-66f02bc5-556c-4dc1-8dce-562f8b03473d?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US
Work together on the same digital whiteboard that has infinite canvas. It supports full co-authoring allowing you to edit Whiteboard at the same time with others and also see what others are doing.