How to Draw and Collaborate on Virtual Whiteboards in MS Teams

Microsoft Teams includes a powerful virtual whiteboard feature that allows meeting participants to draw, sketch, and collaborate in real-time. This whiteboard integration makes it easy to visualize ideas, brainstorm concepts, take notes, and work creatively in Teams meetings.

Introduction to the MS Teams Whiteboard

The Whiteboard in Microsoft Teams is powered by the Microsoft Whiteboard app. It provides a free-form, infinite digital canvas that lives in the cloud. When the meeting organizer shares their screen and launches the Whiteboard, all participants gain access to the same interactive space.

Some key things you can do with the Teams Whiteboard include:

  • Brainstorm ideas: Add sticky notes, freeform text, shapes, connectors to map out thoughts
  • Take notes: Type notes or write with a pen/highlighter tools
  • Draw concepts: Use pens, highlighters, shapes, arrows to visualize ideas
  • Collaborate in real-time: All participants can edit/contribute simultaneously

The Whiteboard is optimized for use with touchscreens and styluses, allowing you to write and draw naturally. It also works seamlessly with a mouse/trackpad.

Sharing a Whiteboard in a Teams Meeting

Sharing a whiteboard is simple. As the meeting organizer:

  1. Click on the Share icon in your meeting controls
  2. Select Microsoft Whiteboard
  3. Choose to either start a new whiteboard or select an existing board from your library
  4. The whiteboard will open directly within the meeting window

All participants will instantly have access to the shared whiteboard and tools.

By default, only the meeting organizer can edit the whiteboard. However, you can enable full collaboration by selecting the pencil icon > Collaborate from the Whiteboard toolbar. This allows all participants to simultaneously add sticky notes, draw, type text, etc.

Using Whiteboard Tools and Features

The Microsoft Whiteboard provides an array of tools for drawing, writing, sketching, and collaborating:

Pens and Highlighters

Select a pen or highlighter to draw or write freeform on the canvas. Adjust the color and thickness.

Shapes and Connectors

Add predefined shapes and arrow connectors to your drawings. Scale, rotate, copy and arrange objects.

Sticky Notes

Add colorful sticky notes with formatting and checkboxes. Move them around and resize easily.

Text Boxes

Type text directly on the canvas with a variety of fonts, colors and alignments. Great for titles, labels, captions.

Rulers

Enable rulers on the canvas to draw straight lines or align objects. Rulers can be horizontal, vertical or isometric.

Laser Pointer

Use the virtual laser pointer to highlight areas of the whiteboard during presentations.

Follow Participants

As the presenter, click the user icon next to a participant’s name to snap your view to their location on the board. Useful for providing guidance.

Undo/Redo

Easily undo and redo edits on the whiteboard. Great for experimentation.

Export/Import

At any time, you can export the whiteboard as a PNG image or PDF file. You can also import these files to add content to your whiteboard.

This covers the main features, but there are many additional tools to explore!

Collaborating on the Whiteboard

The Microsoft Whiteboard makes collaborating with your team easy.

To enable full collaboration:

  1. Select the pencil icon from the Whiteboard toolbar
  2. Choose Collaborate

This allows all participants to edit, draw, add sticky notes, and contribute simultaneously, enabling real-time brainstorming.

You’ll see cursors and indicators showing where other users are working. Their name tags will dynamically move around the board as they edit content.

Use the built-in laser pointer to highlight areas or guide other users around the board. The “Follow Participant” feature also lets you view someone’s workspace from their perspective.

If needed, restrict editing privileges again by choosing “Only I can edit” from the collaborate menu.

Accessing Saved Whiteboards

Whiteboards started in Microsoft Teams meetings are automatically saved in the meeting chat’s tab. You can click Whiteboard in the chat tab bar to reopen the canvas and continue collaborating after the meeting ends.

Saved whiteboards are also accessible through the Microsoft Whiteboard app and remain fully editable by anyone you have shared them with. This makes it easy to use whiteboards for ongoing projects.

So in summary, the Microsoft Teams whiteboard integration makes collaborating on a virtual canvas simple and intuitive for distributed teams. With a bit of practice, it can become an indispensable tool for visualizing concepts in online meetings.

Author Bio

Mary Johnson has over 5 years experience using Microsoft Teams for collaboration in corporate learning and development roles. She is an expert on utilizing tools like Whiteboard to engage remote teams.