No matter what your relationship is with your teammates, students, clients, or others, you need to collaborate. Because of this, there are many tools on the market that can help you. Pitching in on a digital whiteboard is the perfect way to develop ideas and build up a project. In this post, we look at the best whiteboard apps around. Before that, let’s talk about why using a whiteboard app is a good idea.
Why You’d Want to Use a Whiteboard App
At first glance, you may not understand the benefits of using a digital whiteboard app. For the unaware, this is a “blank space” app where you can develop an idea, much like a physical whiteboard. Everyone pitches in to create and push a project forward.
There are many use cases for a whiteboard app, and you can get creative with its application. For example:
- To teach remote students and provide the layout as a downloadable file after a lesson.
- A whiteboard your remote team can use “asynchronously”. In other words, you don’t need everyone in the same room to collaborate.
- To create “living documents” for each project. This is where a whiteboard layout will keep evolving over the course of the project.
There are many other use cases for a whiteboard app, but the central theme is collaboration. If you want to collaborate, a whiteboard app is ideal.
The Best Whiteboard Apps
Over the next few sections, we examine the best whiteboard apps around in no particular order.
1. Miro (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android)
First off, Miro is a popular visual collaboration app that includes an online whiteboard.
It’s straightforward to use and lets you design a whiteboard with your own requirements. Add branded colors, different fonts, and much more to create a whiteboard that suits your team.
What’s more, you can use elements that help you brainstorm, plan, and iterate through projects and creative sessions with ease. For teachers, you can also use Miro to develop resources for students, which makes Miro a fantastic interactive tool.
Miro has a free tier but also offers premium pricing plans that include more features, starting at $8 per month per member. This lets you jump onboard with no risk and upgrade if you need to. With the free tier, you only get three editable boards, and premium tiers remove this restriction. What’s more, you can access private boards, Single Sign-On (SSO), and an almost unlimited number of anonymous board editors.
2. Whiteboard Fox (In-Browser)
In many cases, especially if you work in a fast-paced industry, you’ll want to set up and break down whiteboards quickly. Whiteboard Fox is a super-quick way to do so.
Whiteboard Fox takes its cue from video apps, such as Zoom, in that it’s quick to involve participants. You’ll set up a whiteboard, share the link, and let people “attend” the session.
Everyone will be able to view the whiteboard as long as they have a modern browser. What’s more, Whiteboard Fox is great on smaller screens, too, and syncing is fast and friction-free.
Whiteboard Fox is a free app, although there are premium tiers to choose from starting from $7 per month. In most cases, especially where you need a quick meeting to hash out an idea, the free app is perfect. Also, the free tier only lets you draw in seven different colors, and there’s a 14-day expiry time for whiteboards.
3. Witeboard (In-Browser)
In the same vein as Whiteboard Fox, Witeboard is a free, quick-setup app that gives you a bunch of tools to generate ideas and collaborate quickly.
In fact, it’s fast to set up, as you see a whiteboard straight away, without a setup screen. The options are simple, such as either a black or white board style and what looks like a meager set of tools. However, here’s where Witeboard’s trump card comes in.
The app offers shape detection so that you can draw and convert those squiggles to dedicated shapes. You can save the board as an image, too, so that every participant gets a copy after the session.
4. Zoom’s Built-In Whiteboard (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android)
In fact, it’s simple to generate a new whiteboard in Zoom.
- Click the Share Screen button in a meeting toolbar.
- From here, click the Whiteboard icon.
- Once you click Share, you’ll be able to use the annotation tools to collaborate on a new whiteboard.
It’s an extra string to the bow for Zoom, although it’s a functional edition rather than a game-changing one. Still, it’s an area the development team is looking to improve in the future, so look for this to become a key part of many online video meetings.
5. Explain Everything (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android)
The developers of Explain Everything consider it the “best digital whiteboard” in the world. It’s hard to argue, especially given the wealth of functionality available.
This app is great for learning-based whiteboards, as you can create interactive layouts with ease. You can include almost any media you imagine, and attendees can use all manner of devices such as iPad, Android, and any modern browser.
The key feature of Explain Everything is how well it does at creating explainer videos. This means you can piece together content within the whiteboard, and output a video for collaborators. Coupled with the infinite canvas, it’s a fantastic way to involve a class or team.
Explain Everything offers a free tier, with other premium plans starting from €24.99 per year per user. You can start for free and expand if you need to. The premium plans offer you the full experience – you can access a practically unlimited number of projects, slides, and recording. Compared to the free tier’s three projects/one slide maximum, it’s a solid deal.
6. Conceptboard (In-Browser)
Conceptboard is another infinite canvas whiteboard app that thrives when it comes to real-time collaboration.
While the app is good for asynchronous collaboration, it shines when everyone is on the same board. There are moderation tools to retain the session focus, and there is also role management functionality.
In addition, you can see users on the canvas, as each pointer is distinct and unique to the user. This can help remote collaboration sessions go more smoothly and help it be more creative.
Much like other apps, Conceptboard offers a very usable free tier, along with premium upgrades starting from $6 per user per month if you need it. While you don’t get access to premium team settings and the file storage is quite low, you do get live moderation functionality and an almost unlimited number of project boards.
7. Limnu (In-Browser)
This is because it offers a super simple approach to whiteboarding and provides cross-platform access. There are many security and moderation tools to keep a session flowing and plenty of ways to save your board for future distribution and use.
For work teams, the Slack integration will be handy if you use that platform. Something that doesn’t get a mention often is the smoothness of the drawing itself. Limnu is one of the best in this regard.
Limnu is also cost-effective. There’s a free tier, but the premium upgrade is only $5 per month. This is fantastic for such a well-thought-out app. It’s especially true when you consider how close each tier is. The free plan gives you 14-day access to whiteboards and offers you limited administrative controls. The premium plans essentially remove these restrictions and give you the full experience of the app.
8. MURAL (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android)
MURAL is another digital visual collaboration app that includes a whiteboard. It’s akin to a combination of several other apps on this list, which means it’s worth your attention.
For example, you can set up a board fast, and either work in real time or asynchronously. You’re able to use a template to start, which lets you organize your session from the off. We also like some of the interactive elements, such as the summoning functionality to bring everyone back after a break.
You also get the opportunity to vote on specific elements and offer reactions based on how the session is running.
MURALs free tier is not as value-driven as other tools, but the premium tiers offer competitive pricing at $9.99 per member per month. It might not work for you as a free app, but it’s certainly great value when you upgrade. You don’t get in-app chat and email support on the free plan, and you can only invite a restricted number of guests to your boards. Also, private boards can only be found on the premium plans.
9. Microsoft Whiteboard (Windows, iOS)
Most readers are no stranger to Microsoft. It’s a behemoth when it comes to most computer technology. It’s no surprise that a whiteboard app is also part of its offerings.
This combines a number of elements of Office 365, such as video calls, into one package. There’s flexibility in the package, too, as there are many elements not present in other solutions.
For example, you can use reactions, add images as “digital ink” representations, use sticky notes, and embed other Office documents. It’s clear that Microsoft Whiteboard works well as part of the whole 365 ecosystem, although it’s available for free on both Windows and iOS.
10. Google Jamboard (In-Browser)
Google is another “Big Tech” company that almost everyone on Earth either knows about and/or uses. However, much like many other Google products, Jamboard isn’t as well known. Even so, there’s a familiar interface and workflow, which makes it a breeze to use.
Because Jamboard looks like a Google product, it means it doesn’t look as great as other solutions. While the functionality should trump all here – and there is a full gamut of elements to use within sessions – the visuals will have an effect on the user.
As such, Google Jamboard is a whiteboard app that will be more suited to corporate environments rather than school classrooms or even more creative working environments.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I need to purchase a physical display to use any of these whiteboard apps?
Not at all! While a dedicated display will look professional and give you more scope to collaborate, you don’t need anything other than the app itself.
In fact, there are some apps on this list where a whiteboard isn’t necessary. We’re thinking of remote collaboration tools specifically, although this could also apply for users who work in the same building
2. Do whiteboard apps work for small teams as well as large ones?
Yes, although this does depend on the app in question. For example, a whiteboard could work for a two-person graphic design team to collaborate on a specific aspect of a project. You may find that a front-end and back-end developer use a whiteboard to pitch in with different ideas around a new design.
We should also mention the asynchronous aspect again. A whiteboard is an ideal way for a team to connect on a project if they work remote or at different times than others. There’s no reason to forgo a whiteboard app for small teams for any reason.
If you want to collaborate with your team, other students, or clients, a whiteboard app is essential. It can help everyone literally get on the same page and meet a common goal.
This post has looked at a bunch of the best whiteboard apps available, including how Zoom can be used. For more on the popular video conferencing app, check out the Zoom features that make for better remote meetings.