Microsoft Teams Help & Support

Getting Started with Microsoft Whiteboard

This guide provides information for staff on how to use Microsoft Whiteboard for teaching and learning during a synchronous session within Microsoft Teams.

What is Microsoft Whiteboard?

Microsoft Whiteboard is a digital canvas that allows staff and students to create real-time collaborative workspaces. Whiteboard supports freeform drawing, images, documents, and text.

Whiteboard is available both inside of Microsoft Teams, and outside of it, and can be accessed on a range of desktop and mobile devices as well as in a web browser. However, the experience will vary depending on a user’s device and this should be considered when planning use of the tool in teaching.

In order to access the full functionality of Microsoft Whiteboard, it is recommended that you use either the Windows 10 Application (usually comes pre-installed) or the iOS application for iPhone and iPad (‎click here to access the Apple App Store link).

Overview of Features

Inking tools – as part of the standard Whiteboard experience, staff and students can use a range of digital stationery including coloured pens, highlighters, rubbers, and a ruler.

A screenshot of the Microsoft Whiteboard inking tools, a range of pens are stacked left to right, followed by a highlighter, eraser, ruler and undo and redo buttons.

Content tools – as part of content tools users can add resizable text boxes, sticky notes, insert images, make use of a range of templates and lists based on pre-set themes, and insert documents from programmes such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, and any PDF files.

A screenshot of the Microsoft Whiteboard content tools, the tool icons from left to right are the writing tools, text tools, sticky note, insert image, add content, undo and redo.

Additional Features include:

  • Ability to like and react to different content.
  • Format the Whiteboard colour.
  • Format the Whiteboard style (blank, dot, square, graph, hybrid, triangle, wide-rule, and narrow-rule).
  • Lock documents as background for annotation around a document.

Experience on different devices

The Microsoft Whiteboard can be used both inside and outside of a Teams meeting, and on a range of different devices. It is important therefore to note that the experience and functionality can differ based on where and how a student or academic is accessing the collaboration space.

Note: For best practice we advise against the use of templates, document annotation, or features within the ‘additional features section’ above when asking groups of students to collaborate.

Some features that are only available when using the Microsoft Whiteboard application for Windows 10 are the ability to insert documents from Word or PDFs for collaborative annotation, the ability to insert local, web, or camera images as well as the use of tables, and templates for group work.

Microsoft Whiteboard for Delivery of Teaching

There are two principal ways that academic staff may choose to employ Microsoft Whiteboard in their synchronous teaching delivery, and this will depend on desired outcome and the device that they are using.

Within Microsoft Teams Meeting

  • To begin using the Microsoft Whiteboard in the main meeting room, open the ‘Share Tray’ and click the Microsoft Whiteboard icon.
  • As the organiser you will be given 15 seconds to decide how the Whiteboard is being shared to the attendees, either in presentation mode, which means that only you can engage with the canvas, or in collaboration mode, meaning everyone can edit the board.  
A screenshot of the Microsoft Teams Share Tray and the Microsoft Whiteboard icon.
A screenshot of the Microsoft Teams interface. A dialogue box asks the question - Do you want to present or collaborate? There are two options, only you can edit, and everyone can edit.

When sharing a Microsoft Whiteboard you have two options for collaboration:

  1. Only you as the meeting organiser can present the whiteboard (option 1 on above image).
  2. Everyone in the meeting or on the call can have full control of the whiteboard (option 2 on above image).

Note: If choosing option 2, this means that anyone can write, draw, or clear the entire whiteboard at any time. Please use this option with care.

After the meeting or call has ended, all attendees will retain access to the whiteboard. If option 2 has been chosen above, they will also continue to be able to write, draw, or clear the whiteboard at any time after the session. For this reason, we suggest taking a screenshot of your whiteboard.

Note: If you are using a Team or channel, rather than a calendar invite for your meeting, you will only have access to one whiteboard and will need to clear it at the beginning of each session.  

Windows 10 Application (With Screenshare)

As the academic, you may want to make use of the additional features available in the Microsoft Whiteboard application for Windows 10, for example the ability to annotate on PDF documents to demonstrate the correct procedure for solving an equation. Whilst this is not necessarily a feature that students will be able to engage with themselves, dependent on device, it may be beneficial for your teaching delivery.

In order to do this you will need to open the Microsoft Whiteboard on your device, rather than sharing your Whiteboard in Teams, as the latter has limited functionality.

  1. Launch the Microsoft Whiteboard application on your Windows 10 device, you will be presenter with the option to create a new whiteboard and open any previous whiteboards you have collaborated on. Click ‘Create New Whiteboard’.
A screenshot of the button to create a new Whiteboard.
  1. Set up your Whiteboard as required.
A screenshot of the Microsoft Whiteboard Desktop Application. The add content menu is expanded, listing content types that can be added to the Whiteboard space.
  1. Return to your Microsoft Teams call and share your screen in the usual way, ensuring that you share your entire screen so that your use of Whiteboard can be seen.
  2. Whilst screensharing use your Whiteboard in the desktop application as needed.