White Boarding with Teams

When it comes to collaboration, nothing is more fun or productive than standing around a white boarding jotting down ideas and coming up with plans. I find white boarding sessions extremely useful, regardless of whether they're for a project or just for working through my thought processes.

With mobile working becoming more prevalent, the fact that we can't physically stand around a white board should not be a barrier to creativity, especially when the functionality is offered through Microsoft Teams. The functionality isn't anything new, in the grand scheme of things as it existed in previous versions of the communications client, but its only been integrated into Microsoft Teams more recently.

The common question I have around this, is where and how do I use it?

Using the White Board within Teams

The white board is all about collaboration, so in order for me start using it, I need to be working with someone, which means I need to be in a meeting. Once I'm in a meeting, or just a call with someone, I can use the sharing center to share content with the other participants.
When I select the sharing center, I have the ability to share all of the normal things such as screens, applications, presentations etc but what I can also do is to share a whiteboard. There are usually two potential applications which you can see here, inVision which is a premium tool, or Microsoft Whiteboard which is included with Teams.
Once I hope Microsoft Whiteboard, it will initiate a share with everyone on the call.
The app takes a few seconds to load, but then presents the white board to the participants to start interacting with.
Once the whiteboard is open, participants can then start to interact with the drawing, whether that's using a stylus on a touch screen or drawing something using a mouse. The thing that I really like about this, is that it even works in the mobile app, and I can then start to draw with my finger!
As a team, we can then share our ideas on a white board without physically being in the same location.

What happens then?

This part of the process really confused me to start off with. I had completed a white boarding session, and I had left the meeting, but I couldn't see the populated white board...anywhere! It wasn't in the teams conversation, it wasn't in files, so where had it gone? If I rejoined the meeting, I could open the white board again and see it, but that doesn't really work for me if I need to take the image to use it elsewhere.

Where I actually found the image, was in the local white boarding app on my Windows 10 desktop. After selecting the Windows Ink icon, I was able to select whether I used Microsoft Whiteboard or the new Snip & Sketch app.

When I opened the Whiteboard app, I could see that my Whiteboard Meeting is available in my whiteboards list.
In this app, I can export the drawing as an SVG, and I can also choose to share the drawing with other participants. I have raised a User Voice request to automatically place this into the relevant conversation or chat within Teams so that it is much more easily accessible. This can be found here:


Whiteboarding is one of those activity which most believe they can only do while being physically in the same office. With Microsoft Teams and the Whiteboard app which is part of Windows 10, you can do this completely remotely with each person using a pen, a mouse or even a finger to draw ideas onto the board.

This is done within a Teams meeting by going to the sharing center and selecting Microsoft Whiteboard. There is also the option to use inVision if you choose to use that, however Microsoft Whiteboard is part and parcel of your subscription.

Once you have finished your meeting, the white board is still available from the white board app within Windows 10. This is found by clicking the Windows Ink icon in the Windows system tray, and then selecting Whiteboard.

I personally think there is still some work to do here to fully integrate it with Microsoft Teams as I would like to see the whiteboard placed into the conversation or chat where the meeting was initiated from. Fingers crossed my suggestion on User Voice will be recognised and implemented so that it improves the way that this technology is used.

I hope you enjoyed this blog, and as always your feedback is most welcome.