Microsoft previewed White Board last May, alongside the new Surface Pro, eventually rolling it out in public beta in December. The collaboration app just went live to all Windows users, as part of the deluge of announcements tied to the upcoming Inspire conference.
Whiteboard is kind of digital sibling to Microsoft’s large Surface Hub display. The company describes it as an “infinite canvas,” in a phrase cribbed from comics theorist, Scott McCloud. With the drawing app, users can sketch out notes and images with a finger, keyboard or compatible pen.
The app lets teams collaborate remotely, automatically uploading the final project to the cloud. The company says it’s also added a bunch of new features based on feedback during the beta, including, “text notes, the ability to add and manipulate images, enhancements to shape and table recognition, accessibility improvements, compliance with various global standards, and more.”
There are several other whiteboard apps out there, but with this, Microsoft can offer it to Office users, integrate it into its Teams group chat app and sync your data across devices when it later arrives on the web, iOS, and Android.
So while Whiteboard isn’t impressive enough on its own to convince you to switch from similar apps, it might be the easiest one for you to get into, if you’ve already bought into the Office ecosystem.
There’s no technical limitation on how many people can collaborate on Whiteboard, but Microsoft is strangely limiting the web and iOS versions to an Office 365 commercial account at the moment. Whiteboard participants don’t need to use a stylus to draw or annotate, keyboard input and touchscreens are also supported so all modern devices will be able to make use of the app. Microsoft is also planning to integrate Whiteboard into its Microsoft Teams chat app, and bring the app to its Surface Hub device.
Whiteboard is based on Microsoft’s acquisition of Intentional Software last year, and the software maker has been working to integrate this software into Microsoft’s products. Intentional Software was founded by Charles Simonyi, who was a former chief software architect at Microsoft. Simonyi left Microsoft in 2002 after helping create Office apps like Excel and Word.
You can give it a go by installing the app for free from the Microsoft Store.
In addition to Windows availability, it will also be arriving on iOS and as a browser based version some time in the near future.