Whiteboard Basics


Getting started with Microsoft Whiteboard

Whiteboard makes it easy to collaborate in the hybrid workplace or classroom. Brainstorm, plan, and share with others on a digital canvas, all in real time.

Here are just some of the things you can do in Whiteboard:

  • Running effective meetings
  • Brainstorming
  • Learning and coaching
  • Project management
  • Problem solving
  • Continuous improvement
  • Incident management

Where can I use Whiteboard? 

Whiteboard is available on the following platforms:

How do I create a new Whiteboard? 

After you've downloaded Whiteboard to your device or opened the web version in your browser, sign in with your Microsoft account.

When you launch the Whiteboard web experience or any of the standalone Whiteboard apps, you’ll start with the board picker: 

Here, you can find all the whiteboards that you’ve previously created or accessed. To create a new board, select the Create new Whiteboard tile. 

What are the basic areas of Whiteboard? 

Here's an example of a freshly created whiteboard that’s ready for your ideas:  

Left side: Here, you will find the ability to select pointer or inking mode, as well as expand or collapse the Create panel. The Create panel lets you add items to your board, such as sticky notes, text, images, shapes, and more. 

Top center: This is where you will find the different ink options available. There are three pens that you can choose from, you can customize their color and thickness, and choose whether the pen draws arrows. You can also find the highlighter, eraser, and lasso tools here. Use the latter to select multiple items on the board.

Top left: Here, you can select Home to go back to the board picker, undo or redo your last action, or change the name of your current board. 

Top right: Use the Share link here to get a link that you can share with others to collaborate on your current board. In Settings, you can do things like export the board to an image, format the board’s background, and access Help. 



How do I collaborate with others on Whiteboard? 

Collaboration is the heart of Whiteboard, and here’s how to do it: 

In Microsoft Teams: While in a Teams meeting, you can share a whiteboard from the Share tray, or you can also prepare your board ahead of time and then present it. In a Teams channel or chat, you can add a whiteboard by selecting the + button at the top of the screen, and then searching for Whiteboard. For more information, see How to use Whiteboard in Microsoft Teams. 

In standalone Whiteboard apps: Select the Share button at the top right, where you can generate a Share link. Send this link to your participants. You can collaborate outside of a meeting, or share your screen during a meeting.

How do I interact with Whiteboard? 

You can use Whiteboard on almost every device — whether you use a mouse and keyboard, screen reader, touchscreen, or a pen.

For example, you can use your Surface Pen to fully unlock drawing and erasing on your Surface device, a stylus or your finger to interact on a touchscreen, or your mouse and keyboard.


How to run a lesson with Microsoft Whiteboard

Key features:

  • Get started quickly by using the Lesson Plan template
  • Prepare your board ahead of time with diagrams, shapes, and images to make the lesson more visually engaging
  • Use ink to express ideas creatively
  • Follow a non-linear discussion flow by seamlessly panning from one side of the board to another
  • Annotate the board with colorful sticky notes

Prepare the board

  1. Open Whiteboard and create a new board. 
  2. In the Create panel, select Templates > Learning > Lesson Plan, and then insert it on the board. 
  3. Customize the template to fit your goals for the lesson. 
  4. Add any additional content to the board that you’ll need for the lesson, such as images, diagrams, text, and so on. 
  5. Remember — the Whiteboard canvas is infinite! Add everything you’ll need for a successful lesson.

During class

  1. Once the class has started, share your screen with the whiteboard opened.
  2. Introduce the goal of the lesson.
  3. Set rules on participation. For example, if using Microsoft Teams, you could let students know to use the “Raise Hand” feature before speaking.
  4. Run the class as you normally would.
  5. Keep an eye on the clock to make sure the lesson will end on time.
  6. If you’d like the students to participate and collaborate on the whiteboard, send them a share link from the Whiteboard app, or share your board from the Share tray in Teams.

After the session

  1. If you would like to share the contents of your board, export it as a PNG image from the Settings  menu. 
  2. Send the PNG image file to the class for their notes. 
  3. Reuse the same board for subsequent classes if the subjects build off of each other by adding additional content for the next class. 
  4. Once a topic is complete, create a new whiteboard to explore additional topics.

See also

Check out our other Whiteboard guides to learn more! 

How to run a group project with Microsoft Whiteboard

Whiteboard offers a great way for students to work together on group projects, especially when using it together with Microsoft Teams. 

To get started, create a group chat in Teams. From there, students can add a Whiteboard tab to their chat to ideate and progress on their project. Whiteboard is a great place to brainstorm, capture ideas, draw insights, and track action items. 

Key features:

  • Use the Brainstorming templates to get started
  • Inking helps to get the creative juices flowing
  • Insert images from your computer to add rich visuals
  • Organize your thoughts with colorful sticky notes
  • Collaborate on any device using the input method of your choice — keyboard, mouse, touchscreen, or pen
  • Participate as little or as much as you want with a spectrum of tools — including reactions, sticky notes, text boxes, and ink

Set up groups in Microsoft Teams 

  1. To keep group work private, use group chats rather than a team or a channel within Teams.
  2. Either create group chats for each group (with yourself included in each), or instruct your students to do so.
  3. To add a whiteboard to the chat, select the + button at the top of the screen in the chat window, search for Whiteboard, select it, and then click Save.
  4. The Whiteboard associated with the group chat can now be accessed from the chat directly, or from the Whiteboard app.

During the project

  1. Provide instructions to your students about how they should use the whiteboard for the project. For example, clarify if the whiteboard will be turned in as a part of the project, or if it’s simply available as a workspace during the project. 
  2. Inform your students of the Whiteboard features they can use, such as Brainstorming templates, shapes, image insertion, inking capabilities, and so on. 
  3. Encourage your students to use the whiteboard during meetings to interact and brainstorm together in real-time.
  4. If your students have questions, they can invite you to the whiteboard by either adding you to the chat, or by sending you a Whiteboard share link.

After the session

  • If the Whiteboard is supposed to be turned in, have your students invite you to the board. Alternately, have them create a PNG image of their board from the Settings menu and then send it to you.


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