Microsoft Whiteboard App Update Adds New Collaboration Features

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft Corp., speaks at Microsoft’s annual shareholders meeting in Bellevue, Washington, on November 30, 2016.

Jason Redmond | AFP | fake images

Microsoft on Thursday announced enhancements to its Whiteboard app that will make it easier for multiple people to scribble, leave sticky notes and paste images onto a virtual canvas.

It bolsters a component of Microsoft’s Office software that has faced increasing competition during the Covid-19 pandemic. Most corporate workers were forced to work from home as the virus spread, preventing people from exchanging ideas with physical whiteboards and whiteboards in the office.

Demand for Whiteboard has accelerated since the start of the pandemic. This led Microsoft to add features more quickly, said Nicole Herskowitz, general manager of the Microsoft Teams communication application. Microsoft introduced Whiteboard in 2017 and offered a way for people to use it from within Teams in 2019.

The new cursors in Whiteboard show more clearly what different participants are doing, and people can leave comments on specific objects by adding thumbs-up, heart, and star stickers. A laser pointer allows presenters to highlight components during meetings. Users can also bring their data stored in blocks called Fluid Components to Whiteboard, which can also be accessed from other Office applications. New templates for kanban dashboards and competitive analysis are available to help people achieve more in the app.

People can use the updated version of Microsoft Whiteboard while making Microsoft Teams video calls.

Microsoft

The pandemic made software whiteboards more critical. Okta, which sells software that companies use to provide access to many corporate applications, said in February that between November 2019 and October 2020, Miro’s whiteboard program was the second fastest growing application among its customers, behind only from Amazon Business. Miro claims to have 20 million users on its website and its software allows multiple users simultaneously.

The third fastest growing app was San Francisco-based Figma, which people use to collaborate on app design updates. In April, Figma introduced FigJam, a whiteboard tool that is integrated with its main application.

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