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    How to use the whiteboard in Microsoft Teams

    Who I am
    Aina Prat Blasi
    @ainapratblasi

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    In response to Slack's growing popularity, Microsoft has finally announced Microsoft Teams for Organizations. Additionally, the software giant continues to add new features to Teams. While it competes closely with Slack, Zoom, and others, Microsoft highlights collaboration as a specific component of the Teams app. When it comes to collaboration, Microsoft Teams allows users to create a whiteboard, share it, and chat while collaborating.


    Microsoft has added custom background for video calls, pop-up chats and meeting windows, the Outlook plug-in, and more to Teams. Among them, Whiteboard is one of the best features for collaborating efficiently with team members. Microsoft Teams already allows the admin to share their screen with team members. But if you want to exchange ideas with attendees, you can opt for the Whiteboard feature during the videos.



    The Whiteboard feature is only available for desktop apps. In this post, we'll walk you through how to access the whiteboard in Microsoft Teams, the features it offers, and other tips and tricks related to video calling in the Teams software. Let's begin.

    How to access the whiteboard in Microsoft Teams

    As mentioned above, Whiteboard in Microsoft Teams is only available for desktop apps and not mobile apps. While using Microsoft Teams on Windows or Mac, Whiteboard cannot be used even in direct chat with a team member. It's only available in team channels. Follow the steps below to use it.


    Step 1: From the Microsoft Teams app, click the Teams tab in the sidebar. From there, select a team and go to the relevant channel.

    Step 2: to add a new channel, press the three-dot menu next to the team name and create a channel. Add members to it.



    Step 3: in the bottom menu of the channel, you will see the Meet now option. Tap it and it will initiate a group video call between team members. Before starting the video call, you can also add a relevant topic.


    Step 4: On the video call screen, you will notice a toolbar that allows you to access features such as mute, background effects, chat function and screen sharing.

    Step 5: select the screen sharing option and it will ask you to select from current desktop, open windows, PowerPoint slides, browse files from PC / Mac, other Teams channel or OneDrive.

    Step 6: Eventually, you'll see the Whiteboard section, which offers two options: Microsoft Whiteboard and Invision Freehand. Choose Microsoft Whiteboard and it will open the whiteboard for you.


    InVision is a dedicated UI / UX design tool that designers use to design the user interface, and their Freehand tool is similar to Microsoft Whiteboard.

    The features of drawing on the whiteboard

    Microsoft offers a number of drawing options when using the whiteboard. You can use the standard pen tool in red, black, blue and green to demonstrate strategy.

    You can also use the eraser tool, which allows you to remove the irrelevant part from the whiteboard. The move tool is my favorite. You can use it to move the board or keep it in a fixed section.

    Since trackpads on Windows laptops can be a mixed bag, I recommend using a mouse to draw or scribble using the Pen tool.


    After you've finished brainstorming, you may want to save the image and rough ideas as an image on your PC or Mac. For this, tap the Settings icon in the top right corner and select Export Image as SVG.


    Share whiteboard and chat

    While sharing your screen, you can also ask others to join the stream. Tap the Share button above and it will generate a sharing link. Share it with others to allow them to join the session.


    You can also use chat, mute and invite other group members to the whiteboard. Microsoft has added all the practical options in Teams Whiteboard to make sure the admin doesn't have to leave the stream to activate it.

    Mute lets you mute the audio from your side. The chat function is my favorite. Opens the side window inside the whiteboard and allows you to chat with team members. It is the best way to communicate live with team members and they can talk to each other while sharing the whiteboard screen. After the call ends, you can see all chat history with the meeting name in the channel.

    From the member's tab, you can see current users in the meeting, suggested users, and even lets you invite members from other channels.

    Conclusion

    Microsoft Whiteboard isn't perfect either. It is not possible to add predefined text and shapes such as circles, arrows, lines, squares or others to the whiteboard. There is also no support for inserting the image. Hope future updates bring these options.


    Further Reading:

    • How to install and use Microsoft Teams on Fire Stick
    • 8 solutions for when Microsoft Teams screen sharing isn't working
    • What is Microsoft Teams?
    • How to use the whiteboard in Zoom and other tricks
    • How to block contact in Microsoft Teams
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