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article imageMicrosoft launches new collaborative Whiteboard app

By James Walker     Dec 6, 2017 in Technology
Microsoft's launched a preview of its new Whiteboard app, a digital canvas aimed to facilitate creativity inside businesses. Aimed at team users, it's part of a growing collection of Microsoft tools that help collaborators create and collect their ideas.
Whiteboard was announced alongside the new Surface Pro earlier in the year. Microsoft launched the app this week in public preview form, releasing it to all Windows 10 users through the Microsoft Store. The company describes it as a "freeform digital canvas" to improve collaboration on joint projects.
As the name implies, Whiteboard's meant to be used in a similar way to a physical whiteboard on a wall. You can draw on it using Windows Ink, attach sticky notes, add images and create digital content. You can start off by drawing freeform shapes with a pen and then have the software automatically transform them into geometric shapes, structured tables or complex diagrams.
The Whiteboard canvas is limitless so ideas can grow and expand without friction. Edits made by anyone using the whiteboard are synchronised in real-time so you can watch as co-workers add content to the board. Everything is automatically saved to the cloud and can be shared with external users using Microsoft's existing OneDrive infrastructure.
Although it's now available to all Windows 10 users, Microsoft is clear that Whiteboard's focus is on teams. An individual could use the app to collect and organise designs. However, the software's most powerful when used within a creative organisation. It's designed to act as the focal point for a meeting or design discussion, allowing everyone involved to pitch, save and organise their ideas.
Microsoft Whiteboard
Microsoft Whiteboard
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"Microsoft Whiteboard Preview is built for anyone who engages in creative, freeform thinking before getting to their final output," said Microsoft. "It's designed for teams that need to ideate, iterate, and work together both in person and remotely, and across multiple devices."
The launch of Whiteboard Preview adds another collaboration-oriented product to Microsoft's portfolio of team creativity tools. It joins services such as Microsoft Teams that have a similar overall focus of helping groups organise their ideas and keep their information in the cloud. The app's likely to be particularly useful when combined with Microsoft's pricey Surface Hub display, which will see its own whiteboard app replaced with the new version.
If you want to try it out, you can download Whiteboard Preview from the Microsoft Store today. Microsoft warned that it may take up to 24 hours to appear on all devices and is only available in the English language. It is free to use as an individual but you'll need an Office 365 subscription to participate in group collaboration.
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