The Best Online Whiteboards for Business (Which Category Are You?)
Tired of sharing blurry whiteboard photos?
Today, we’re taking a look at the best online whiteboards.
It’s way easier to migrate all of your brainstorming, mindmapping, or tutoring to a whiteboard app than you think it is.
Most of the apps in this guide are free to start, require little to no experience, and are ready to go in 5 minutes or less.
Ready to throw all those markers away (Just kidding…please recycle!)?
What is an Online Whiteboard?
An online whiteboard – or virtual whiteboard – is just like the traditional whiteboard you’re used to in school or at the office, except it’s 100% digital. That means anyone anywhere can write, collaborate, share, or interact in other ways (EX: Video call) at any time.
So basically, it’s the same as a traditional whiteboard, except it comes with tons of advantages for brainstorming, collaboration, mind-mapping, sharing, saving, and communication.
Online whiteboards are an indispensable tool for any team living the new normal. Everyone from students and teachers to remote employees and team leaders should be using one, especially in the #WorkFromHome era.
Before we get into our 5 favorites (Because, what’s the point of 15 choices if you only need 5?), here’s what to look for.
What to Look for in an Online Whiteboard
Some whiteboards are not worth your time. In fact, some cost a lot of money but aren’t much better than the physical one collecting dust in your empty office.
Here are a few things your virtual dry-erase lifesaver needs to have:
- Infinite Width Canvas: The coolest thing about digital space is it’s infinite…except for some reason a bunch of tools refuse to give you infinite space. An infinite width canvas means you can note, draw, marker, and comment ad infinitum rather than needing to start a whole new board. This is priority #1.
- Free Usage (To Some Extent): Only one of our favorite online whiteboards is 100% free. But the rest offer at least enough functionality in the free version to be an awesome whiteboard tool. If you’ve got to pay to get started, run for the hills.
- Collab on Collab on Collab: Features are great, but they don’t mean much if they aren’t for collaborating remotely. We only care about getting work done. Some apps come with powerful collaboration features like commenting, video conferencing, sharing, and even voting on the best ideas. The bad ones don’t come with any.
- Presentation: The best virtual whiteboards drastically increase productivity by streamlining communication and improving learning. They do this through allowing virtual presentations or at the very least video conferencing. That way, you can click a button and instantly discuss whichever sticking points are preventing you from getting the task done.
- Attachments: If you can’t attach AT LEAST images, it’s not worth your time (With one exception – see below). The best apps let you attach images, screenshots, sketches, and even full-on PDF documents. Talk about productivity hack!
Miro – The Best Online Whiteboard for Collaboration (Perfect for Remote Teams)
Miro is our favorite online whiteboard for everything from mind mapping and meetings to brainstorming and full-on team workshops. It’s the second most important thing in our lives next to our morning coffee.
Intuitive, smooth, free to get started_what’s not to like? Oh, and it integrated with Zoom in a single click! If you’re already using Zoom, it’s a no brainer.
Using Miro lets all of us collaborate in real-time, keep notes, organize tasks, and run full-on presentations smoothly and clearly with absolutely 0 issues. When we had to run for the hills during quarantine, Miro was a lifesaver.
And you never have to start from scratch. Miro’s templates save you hours of planning and make sure you always nail presentations. Now, whenever we’re about to have a meeting, we just choose a template, plug and place our notes, and BAM, we’ve got an awesome battle plan!
Looking for the best online whiteboard app? This is it.
Storm Board – The Best Online Whiteboard for Brainstorming
Miro is the best overall whiteboard, but nothing comes close to Storm Board for straight up brainstorming.
Whenever we need to capture ideas, organize and prioritize, and then quickly act on the best ones we use Storm Board.
Storm Board is an all-in-one digital workspace encompassing note taking, time management, settings, and brainstorming.
It’s an ongoing, 24/7 collaboration where you can add ideas (In simple “digital sticky notes”), videos, sketches, or even full documents at any time. Plus you can assign tasks, set goals, and even set deadlines. Summary: Storm Board is for GETTING-THINGS-DONE.
One cool thing is everyone else can comment, discuss, or even VOTE on which ideas they like best. Our team loves the mini political elections in each session (Sans vitriol and fake news, of course).
Bonus: Storm Board’s interface is insanely clean. Each sticky note actually houses its own white board, so it’s super simple to navigate and store ideas for retrieval later.
AWWApp – The Best On-The-Go Whiteboard for Teachers (0 Set-Up)
AWWApp is a touch-friendly, bare-bones online whiteboard that’s perfect for on-the-go teachers, private tutors, parents, or anyone that needs a quick and easy whiteboard that’s ready to go instantly.
Just go to AWWApp.com and your laptop or phone is instantly turned into a working white board, except this one lets you draw with pen or marker, type text, or even add images, PDFs (SCORE!), or screen shots. See below:
An AWWApp screenshot inside an AWWApp white board. AWWApp-ception!
Need to teach an ESL student how to spell “Mississippi”? Or practice some lesson ideas while you wait for a student at Starbucks? How about jotting down some quick meeting notes and saving them for later?
AWWApp is perfect. And it’s free to get started! You don’t even need an account.
Ipevo Annotator – The Best Online Whiteboard for Live Presentations
Ipevo annotator turns your screen into a whiteboard. Literally.
No matter what is on your screen, you’ll now have the power to draw, annotate, or markup whatever’s playing on it.
Say you’re sharing your screen. With Ipevo, you’ll be able to draw a circle or a line to intensify key information. And the notes are not tied to the file you’re working on. So you can just wipe the board clean and continue on writing.
It’s also a godsend for remote educators. You know those fill-in-the-blank tests that standardized education dinosaurs love? Yup, you know what we’re getting at – filling them out in real-time so the entire class can see!
Now for the downside – there’s no text. Everything is freehand. But this isn’t for brainstorming, it’s for marking up live presentations or screenshare videos. So that shouldn’t be a big deal.
Google Jam Boards – The Best Free Online Whiteboard
Google’s “jam board” is the only 100% FREE tool on this list. All the others are “free until you pay” type tools with the best features hidden behind a paywall.
Miro is great for remote collab. AWW is the perfect on-the-go tool. But neither of them let you doodle, save, and share in just a few clicks for free.
If you’re already using Docs, Slides, Sheets, or any of the other awesome Google tools, then Jams.Google.Com is a no brainer.
Draw, marker, and add images in a single click, and get Google’s patented shareable links.
Once you share, anyone can edit or comment. You can even use a laser pointer to point out key information.
Aside from price, the instant and functionally infinite storage is the best thing going for Google Jams!
Those are our 5 favorite whiteboard apps. We can honestly say without a digital dry erase board, we wouldn’t be able to get half of the work done that we’re currently doing. They make brainstorming, collaboration, and planning so much easier. Let us know which app works best for your situation!
And remember, if you want to make stunning PDFs to attach to your whiteboards, try Soda PDF for FREE today!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do you use a whiteboard online?
A: You use a whiteboard online by finding an online whiteboard, then using whichever built-in tools it has to start drawing, just like you would on a real-world whiteboard. Once you log-in, the software gives you tools like a virtual pen or marker, then you use your mouse to draw. Some even let you type text or attach images onto the boards!
Q: What is a virtual whiteboard?
A: A virtual whiteboard is a digital drawing space where you can take notes, add text, attach images, or draw shapes, kind of like a real-world one – except online!
Q: What is the best whiteboard app for iPad?
A: The best whiteboard app for iPad is definitely Ipevo!
Q: Is there a whiteboard app in Google Meet?
A: Unfortunately no, there is no whiteboard app built-in to Google Meet. However, there are plenty of integrations that let you collab. It just adds one extra step.
Q: Is there a whiteboard in Zoom?
A: Yes, Zoom Rooms for Touch is equipped with a white board, but it’s not that good. You’re definitely better off integrating Miro into Zoom and using it. It’s the best whiteboard app for planning, brainstorming, mindmapping, and team conferencing. It’s way more powerful than the default whiteboard.
Use PDFs to Get Organized & Stay Ahead
Whiteboards are a fantastic tool for mapping out your project, but how will you manage to stay on top of your or your team’s task?
Might we recommend using the portable document format, which can be used as a progress tracker as well as to build out your to-do list. PDFs serve many functions which is why we recommend using them for getting yourself organized post-whiteboard meeting.
And in order to customize a PDF to your needs, you’ll need a PDF editor that can adapt to your document goals. Introducing Soda PDF, the software solution packed with easy-to-use PDF tools for editing, merging, creating, converting, compressing, and splitting your documents or use our advanced security tools to password protect your PDFs.
Get a taste for Soda PDF today with a FREE download of our desktop application, or use one of our many online tools directly from your web browser!