Use Microsoft Whiteboard for live Teams collaboration when working remotely
Teams Collaboration and Whiteboarding
“Whiteboard has added a more human connection and better productivity to our meetings.”
Microsoft Whiteboard is a free utility from Microsoft available to Windows and iOS. We’ve recently started using Whiteboard for some of our internal meetings and have really enjoyed it. Whiteboard has added a more human connection and better productivity to our meetings.
Microsoft Whiteboard is a simple drawing application designed for use by multiple people all at once. It’s a great replacement for the physical whiteboard at your office that is probably covered in dust by now. Right now, Whiteboards can only be used within your own organisation and cannot be shared externally.
Getting Started with Microsoft Whiteboard
You must install the Microsoft whiteboard app from the web or through the Microsoft Store on Windows or App Store on iOS. When you open it, the interface is extremely minimal so ramping up on usage isn’t very difficult.
Create a new Whiteboard to get going.
Turn on Ink to Shape
This is optional but I recommend turning on Ink to Shape in your whiteboard after it is created. You can do this by clicking the ‘hamburger’ menu (three horizontal lines) then turning on the toggle for Ink to Shape.
This setting will automatically adjust your drawings to the shapes they are intended to represent. This is done with some fancy AI, but all you need to do to leverage it is flip the switch.
As a note, this toggle doesn’t fix every shape. Here’s some side by side shapes drawn by me as an example.
Clearing the Canvas
One useful feature is to be able to start over. Do this by right clicking the whiteboard itself, then click the ellipsis (three dots) and choose clear canvas. Personally, I’d like to see this menu simplified.
Hopefully as this product develops, some of these buried menu features will get surfaced. For now, you’ll have to work through several menu layers.
Make use of touch screens
Microsoft Whiteboard really shines with touch screen laptops and tablets. If someone doesn’t have a touch screen on their laptop, you might encourage them to join the meeting with their iPad so that they can draw on the screen – just be careful to mute the mic and speakers on the iPad before joining or you instantly go into feedback loop hell.
The note grid and other useful items
Microsoft Whiteboard has several useful items that can be inserted into the whiteboard. The list of items is growing, but here are some of my best.
Live images from your camera
PDFs, Word Docs, and PowerPoint decks
Of these, note grids are my top choice. Note grids provide an excellent way to facilitate live brainstorming, which is something that’s very difficult to emulate without physical interaction. Microsoft Whiteboard’s note grid allows for digital brainstorming with multiple team members.
To set up a note grid, choose the Insert Menu Item plus sign from the bottom menu, then choose Note grid. When the grid is created, simply click Add note until you have enough notes for each team member. Lastly, I recommend changing colours for each note so everyone can find theirs easily.
After notes are filled out, you can vote on cards that are preferred by clicking on the card and then choosing the thumbs up icon.
Add Microsoft Whiteboard to your Teams Meeting
To make use of live collaboration in Teams with Microsoft Whiteboard, all you need to do is share your whiteboard.
Create the whiteboard for the meeting, then with your Teams meeting started, choose to Share and select Microsoft Whiteboard app. Make sure you do not share your desktop – that won’t allow everyone to live edit along with you.
If team members belong to your company, they can draw even if they do not have Whiteboard installed. However, if members are external or they want full functionality, they will need to install Microsoft Whiteboard as well.
Want to learn more about Teams and Digital Collaboration?
If you would like to learn more about using Microsoft Teams effectively and other tips and tricks to make digital collaboration easier and more effective, contact us.
Shane is our Vice President of Products and Innovation our managed service line of business as well as our enterprise Intune migration program. Shane is a graduate of Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management with a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA). Prior to joining Mobile Mentor, Shane spent 9 years at AIG’s Life Insurance division focused on development, automation engineering and quality assurance leadership. In 2007, Shane obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Information Technology from Colorado Technical University. Prior to undergrad, Shane had a distinguished career with the US Army as a Blackhawk helicopter crew chief.