One major advantage of in-person brainstorming sessions is that you can easily grab a pen and sketch your ideas on a whiteboard. If you work in a remote team that holds most of its meetings and brainstorming sessions virtually, you can achieve similar results using Microsoft Teams Whiteboard.
Whiteboard provides an intuitive way of exploring ideas and presenting information in an easy-to-understand format, making your virtual meetings a lot more productive.
Below, we’ll look at what exactly Whiteboard is and how to use it to improve your virtual meetings.
Microsoft Teams Whiteboard is a freeform digital canvas within Microsoft Teams that makes it easy for teams to collaborate and share ideas.
Whiteboard allows you to jot down notes, sketch drawings, and draw connections between ideas and concepts the same way you’d do on a physical whiteboard. Besides freeform sketching, Whiteboard also allows you to insert documents and images to the canvas, add links and reaction icons, and so much more.
You can also share the Whiteboard canvas with your colleagues during an online meeting, allowing them to contribute their ideas in real-time.
Whiteboard has native integration with Microsoft Teams, allowing you to launch the digital Canvas directly in Teams without leaving a call. The app is accessible to anyone with a Microsoft account, though you’ll need a Microsoft 365 subscription to take advantage of its full potential.
Here are the step-by-step instructions you should follow to enable and launch Whiteboard in Microsoft Teams:
Open Teams and click on the “Calendar” tab on the left-hand side of your screen.
Click on “Meet Now” to start a new meeting. Whiteboard is only accessible on Teams during a meeting, which is why you have to create a new meeting. Alternatively, if you have a meeting scheduled in your calendar that’s about to start, select and join the meeting.
Click on “Start meeting” after naming your meeting.
Select your video and audio settings, then click on “Join now” to enter the meeting room.
Click on the “Share” icon to open the sharing tray.
Click on “Microsoft Whiteboard” to launch the digital canvas. After selecting Whiteboard, a prompt will pop up asking you to choose whether you want to present or collaborate. Choosing “present” means that only you will be able to edit the Whiteboard while choosing “collaborate” allows everyone in the meeting to edit the Whiteboard.
Once you’ve chosen between presenting and collaborating, a drawing canvas will appear on the screen of everyone in the meeting. You are now ready to start drawing and sketching your ideas.
How to Share Microsoft Whiteboard
Sharing Microsoft Whiteboard with your colleagues is pretty straightforward. If you launch Whiteboard within Teams, it will be automatically shared with all the meeting participants.
If you created a Whiteboard outside of a Teams meeting, sharing it is equally easy. Simply click on the “share” icon at the top right corner of your Whiteboard screen, create a link to the Whiteboard by toggling the “share link” button, then copy and share the link via email, text, or any other preferred communication channel.
Left selection pane: The left selection pane allows you to choose between the select pointer, ink mode, and create mode. \
Create panel: Clicking on the create button on the left selection pane brings up the Create panel, which allows you to add elements like text, sticky notes, reactions, shapes, documents, and images to your whiteboard.
Ink mode panel: The ink mode panel lets you choose between different drawing tools, including different colored pens, an eraser, a highlighter, a ruler, and a lasso selection tool. You can customize the color and line thickness of the pen tool and choose between drawing lines and arrows.
Settings menu: The settings menu gives you options like exporting your Whiteboard as an image, formatting the Whiteboard background, toggling shape enhancement settings on and off, and watching the Whiteboard onboarding tour.
To start drawing your sketches on Microsoft Whiteboard, choose a pen on the ink mode panel at the top of your screen and select your preferred color and line thickness. After selecting a pen, simply click anywhere on the digital canvas and start drawing by moving the cursor with your mouse.
If you’re using Microsoft Whiteboard on a touchscreen device, such as a smartphone or a tablet, simply drag your finger or stylus across the canvas to draw. Since Whiteboard supports freeform drawing, you can draw just about anything the same way you’d do it on paper.
Sometimes, you might want to review and edit a whiteboard after a meeting is over. To access the board, simply open the Whiteboard app on your device and navigate to Board Gallery. Here, you’ll see all your saved whiteboards. Find the whiteboard you want to review and click on it to continue editing.
To delete something you’ve drawn on your Whiteboard, pick the selection tool, click on the element you want to delete, then click on the delete icon on the floating menu. Alternatively, select the element you want to delete and hit the delete button on your keyboard.
To delete the entire whiteboard, click on the home button to view all your whiteboards, find the whiteboard you want to delete, click on the three buttons next to the board name, then click on Delete.
While it’s possible to share your Whiteboard with the meeting participants after a meeting, you should note that the board only contains sketches, rough ideas, and short notes. These might not be enough for participants to remember everything discussed and every decision made during the meeting.
A better way to ensure that the participants don’t forget anything is to use a meeting assistant like Airgram to record and transcribe the meeting or brainstorming session and jot down your thoughts.
As the participants review the Whiteboard after the meeting, they can refer to the transcripts on Airgram to confirm the other participants’ thoughts and opinions and the key decisions made during the brainstorming session.