Introducing Microsoft Whiteboard

If you’re missing a whiteboard, check out Microsoft Whiteboard, a collaborative digital canvas that is available to download from the UWE software centre (there is an online version but it does not have all the functionality).

Microsoft Whiteboard re-creates the familiar feel of enamelled steel board, marker pens and post-its but with a host of additional features.

The requirements are a PC with a keyboard and a mouse (preferably with a scroll wheel). An electronic pen or tablet PC will make it easier to write freehand text compared to using a mouse.

The aim of this post is to get you started with using whiteboards, sharing whiteboards with students and some ideas for how they could be used in your physical or virtual classroom.

Learning and Teaching Ideas

In the slideshow below there are a variety of whiteboard activities to take away, adapt and use. The slideshow was created using Xerte. Open the slideshow in a new window to view it full size.

Creating a new whiteboard

Click on the blue tile ‘Create a New Whiteboard’.

image of tile to click on to create a new whiteboard


Key Settings

image of whiteboard menu

  • Active pen can be switched off (as above) if a mouse is being used.
  • Ink to shape is used to neaten up freehand shapes.
  • Ink to table is used to create tables by drawing a square initially and then bisecting it to create columns and rows.
  • Object snapping helps to align content.
  • Export creates an image of the page at any point that may be saved.

Further support may be found at the Microsoft help page.

Inviting other people to collaborate on the whiteboard

Clicking on the blue person button found in the menu on the top right of the screen displays the sharing menu.

image sharing menu


The whiteboard may be shared with an individual, via Teams/OneNote or by creating a sharing link.

image of invite options menu



Using a sharing link is particularly useful as it enables the whiteboard to be shared via the platform being used with participants. For example: Blackboard, Blackboard Collaborate chat or email.

image of sharing link menu




The web sharing link may be switched on and off to control when participants can access the whiteboard.

Adding, displaying and editing content on the whiteboard

The menu at the bottom of the screen is used to add appropriate content and tools to the whiteboard including:

  • Drawing tools (pens, highlighters, eraser, ruler, lasso)
  • Text
  • Notes (virtual post-its)
  • Images (from a library, Bing or camera)
  • Objects (Note grid, lists, templates, stickers, PDFs, Word and PowerPoint documents)
  • Undo/redo


image of white board menu



All documents inserted onto the whiteboard are converted into flat images and can no longer be edited.

The scroll button on the mouse is used to zoom in and out of the whiteboard. The size of the whiteboard means that multiple groups can work in different areas of the same whiteboard simultaneously.

Clicking on an object reveals a menu above the object with the available options. The circle to the bottom right of the object is used to resize and rotate the object.

Practical tips

If you have prepared a whiteboard with content and would like to reuse it you can:

  • Unlock all images from background
  • Use Ctrl-A to select all objects
  • Ctrl-C to copy all objects
  • Ctrl-V to paste all objects onto a new whiteboard
  • Repeat for as many copies as you need
  • Each whiteboard may then be shared with a different group

Make sure you do this before using the whiteboard with a class.

Locking an image to the background means it cannot be accidentally deleted or modified during an activity by users.

By exporting and saving a whiteboard as an image it can then be added to a new whiteboard (and locked to the background) as an alternative way of reusing a prepared whiteboard. However, the objects become fixed and are not able to be edited.

Getting help

Those are the basics – it is quite straightforward to pick up by trying it out. Additional support can be found by exploring the Microsoft Whiteboard help page. Or you can contact the LIU by emailing

Image courtesy of Pexels.