Microsoft announces major update for Whiteboard, focuses on collaboration and unification

Whiteboard is Microsoft's digital canvassing app which allows users to not only create visualize ideas and content, but also collaborate with others online. This is an important capability, especially in today's hybrid world. In June, the Redmond tech giant announced a redesign for its app to meet certain needs of hybrid environments, and today, it has revealed another bunch of updates that will be making their way to Whiteboard in the coming months.

Reactions in Microsoft Whiteboard

Starting off with some relatively new features in Whiteboard that are already available, we have a modern and performant UI that was announced in June, dozens of templates, multiple shades of sticky notes and note grids, reactions, the ability to insert, reposition, and align images and shapes, new inking tools, ink arrows and straight lines, intelligent ink, ink shortcuts, tactile ink signals for the new Surface Slim Pen 2, and formatting of backgrounds. Suffice to say, Whiteboard already offers a bunch of powerful utilities that creators can take advantage of.

Inserting documents in Microsoft Whiteboard screenshot

Coming over to the new features planned for the next month, Microsoft says that it is updating its iOS and Windows apps to provide a single unified experience across all platforms. As a part of this unification, the new feature-set will be shared across the entire experience, regardless of the device you're on.

While the Whiteboard app on Windows and iOS already supports consumer Microsoft accounts, the capability will be made available on Android and the web too. Another major update coming next month will be the ability to insert documents such as PowerPoint files in Whiteboard and annotate them in a collaborative manner on-the-fly.

A GIF showing laser pointer in Microsoft Whiteboard

Finally, we have a bunch of new features that are coming within this calendar year. Microsoft is rebuilding Whiteboard on top of OneDrive for Business so that it integrates better with Microsoft 365 for commercial customers. The company further says that OneDrive for Business storage will become the default for new whiteboards in "early 2022".

In the coming months, users have collaborative cursors, new share controls, laser pointers, and discovery and search features on Office.com to look forward to. Finally, organizations using OneDrive for Business will also be able to recover deleted whiteboards from the Recycle Bin. Microsoft has emphasized that even though organizations are unsure about the nature of work, the Redmond tech giant has "reimagined" its Whiteboard app around the idea of collaboration.

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