Microsoft Whiteboard is Getting a Big Update

Posted on September 29, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft 365, Windows 10, Windows 11 with 14 Comments

In another nod to the hybrid work scenarios thrust upon us by the ongoing global pandemic, Microsoft announced a major update for its Whiteboard collaboration app.

“Microsoft Whiteboard continues to evolve rapidly bringing people together in a rich visual collaboration workspace that allows you and your team to ideate and create confidently together,” Microsoft’s Ian Mikutel writes. “Today we’re excited to announce new innovations in Whiteboard to equip you with an enhanced hybrid work and collaboration experience no matter where you are.”

The following new features are available immediately:

Fresh and modern UX update. Whiteboard now has a new user interface that it says will help make it easier for users to find new and existing functionality. The inking tools and content creation menus have been separated on the desktop and tablet versions of the app to reduce cognitive load, and a new app bar at the top of the canvas provides makes collaboration and board-specific features readily available. On mobile devices, the creation panel and board controls are now hidden to optimize onscreen real estate, and there are new larger and more colorful icons.

New templates. Microsoft has added over 40 new templates to Whiteboard for common scenarios like brainstorming, agile rituals, problem-solving, group projects, and more.

New sticky notes and note grids. Microsoft has also added 12 new sticky notes colors, plus a new sticky notes feature called note grids that help you create and build structure and form. You can add a title to each note grid too.

Reactions. Now, Whiteboard users can provide contextual feedback using a set of 8 reactions.

Add photos and other images. This seems like a pretty basic feature, but you can now photos and other images onto the canvas using a new Insert image feature.

Shapes. Speaking of basic, you can now create flowcharts and diagrams more easily with the new Shapes functionality, which includes basic shapes, lines, and arrows. You can also resize, rotate, and recolor shapes, and change the border fill.

New inking tools. For users with digital pens, Whiteboard now supports 15 new pen and highlighter color options with a range of thicknesses, an Ink Arrows feature that adds a single or double arrowhead to the end of your ink stroke automatically, the ability to draw straight lines by holding down the SHIFT key while you draw, and some Ink to shape intelligence that will automatically straighten certain shapes when drawn with a pen or the mouse. Whiteboard also supports the new haptic functionality in Surface Slim Pen 2 with unique vibrations for different tools.

There are many, many more new features, so check out the original post for the full list.

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Comments (14)

14 responses to “Microsoft Whiteboard is Getting a Big Update”

  1. blue77star

    I uninstalled all of the apps from Windows 11, I don't find them useful. I use Paint.NET, Photo Viewer and Movie Maker from Windows Essentials. MS. still did not make better apps. Mail and Calendar are useless next to Outlook or Thunderbird. It seems to me that MS is spending too much of time on these apps most people won't even use instead of fixing OS itself.

  2. spiderman2

    They're going to move from a native windows app, to an inferior (slow, heavy and touch&pen unfriendly) web based app ... time to look for alternatives

  3. StevenLayton

    Are these updates on the web App or IOS and Windows apps? Or both?

    • anoldamigauser

      The following features are live today and are available on web, Teams and Android. The new Whiteboard will also be coming to Windows and iOS next month.

      From Microsoft's blog post.

  4. bettyblue

    Still no native Mac client? My company won’t use it then.

    • james.h.robinson

      Can your company use the Web app?

      • bettyblue

        Sure as long as it’s feature complete. So far many of the web apps are not.

        I also read that you still CANT share with a outside participant which won’t fly at all.

  5. crmguru

    In my org we use whiteboarding daily, it is a critical tool for much of my work. We have Klaxoon for this work load. I am really excited to see these features come to the native Whiteboard app. I will definately be checking it out.

    ALOS: I used Outlook natively since v1, last year I made the leap to the PWA version. 100% better experience, faster speed on my machine, and more awesome features that the locally installed app does not have. I am excited to see these apps move to native Web UI, as the local footprint is tiny, and the features get rolled out much quicker.

  6. chriscarstens

    Any idea when this will be available?