Tools for Learning Activities: MS Whiteboard

The information in this article is correct at the time of writing, please check our TEL Blog for the latest information on Technology at the University of Reading.

The TEL video below gives outlines MS Whiteboard key functions, please see Microsoft support materials for most recent updated MS Whiteboard features and their dedicated YouTube channel for updated MS Whiteboard demonstrations. 

Whiteboard is a Microsoft Office application that can be used for collaborative and individual work, with options for blank-sheet style collaboration and document mark-up.

MS Whiteboard can be opened in a limited browser version, via either or by sharing a Whiteboard in a MS Teams meeting, or using the app.


  • Free (university subscription)
  • Online (limited, browser-based)
  • Teams Meeting (limited)
  • App (Desktop, Android, iOS)

Key features

  • Collaborative working in real-time
  • Freehand drawing tools (4-colour pen & eraser)
  • Insert basic text & Sticky Notes
  • Integration with Teams
  • Autosaves progress
  • Add, move & delete text or sticky notes
  • Export as an image (PNG)

App only

  • Additional colour choices for pen tool
  • Insert files for markup (insert whole documents or individual pages from PDF, Word, PowerPoint documents)
  • Insert local, web, or camera images
  • Insert tables
  • Smart inking & drawing tools
  • Alternative grid-backgrounds
  • Premade templates for group work
  • Accessibility features
  • Can be shared via email, to Teams & OneNote, or as an image (PNG or SVG)


  • Integrates with Office products
  • Simple interface
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Saves automatically to the cloud
  • Easy ad-hoc activity

Considerations and limitations

  • Requires some practice and clear managing of expectations
  • Annotations are anonymous – requires trust in students 
  • Better with small groups
  • App version does not integrate with Teams meetings
  • Cannot be locked from editing after a session

Copyright information and liabilities

Page last updated on January 25, 2023 by taralehane

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