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Whiteboarding and Brainstorming in Microsoft Teams

Published May 04 2020 08:00 AM 110K Views

Most projects have a cycle – from initial idea or problem, to solution design, implementation, and completion. In the solution design phase, getting to the best outcome requires keeping an open mind, getting feedback as broadly as you can, and then systematically evaluating and iterating towards the best solution. Towards this end, bringing stakeholders together into a room to brainstorm, sketch ideas, or do sticky-note exercises to gather feedback can be useful for getting a bigger picture. In a remote working environment, many software tools can provide similar support, with the additional benefits of being digital – and that includes being connected with conversations and closely available within Microsoft Teams. As you tackle projects in a remote working environment, experiment with different tools to collect and operationalize ideas, brainstorming, and feedback.


Start up a quick whiteboard

Sometimes teams need a space to go back and forth and share ideas – and you need a free-form space to draw and ideate. A digital whiteboard can deliver that experience, coupled with the ability to save and share your drawings forever. Microsoft Whiteboard can provide whiteboard services within meetings. Additional applications can provide specialized whiteboard features and spaces for idea visualization.


InVision offers platform for design and development teams to collect ideas, prototype digital experiences, streamline handoffs, and share feedback – including a free whiteboarding experience in Teams known as Freehand. With Freehand, you can replicate the feel of a marker on a whiteboard for fast ideation or create something more polished with simple shape selection, color, and alignment tools – all of which make it easy for anyone to contribute, no matter their drawing talent. Everything in Freehand is shared in real-time, meaning multiple team members can draw and add images simultaneously. This makes it a great space to bring the team together, even when you are far apart.

Freehand by InVision helps with whiteboard and brainstormingFreehand by InVision helps with whiteboard and brainstorming


MURAL is another whiteboarding application integrated within Microsoft Teams that enables visual collaboration through digital sticky notes, drawings, and diagrams. You can create new murals or bring existing ones into your Teams workspace as a Tab, where they appear alongside your team’s Conversations and Files. Then, you can contribute and edit directly inside of the Channel to enable seamless collaboration. All activity in your murals and rooms is passed along through notifications. Using Messaging Extensions, you can quickly find the MURAL templates you need to run your design sprints, agile sprints, and sprint planning sessions.



Finally, Klaxoon provides a full suite of collaborative tools to make meetings, workshops, project reviews or training sessions more engaging and efficient. Their Brainstorm activity offers a two-dimensional space for teams to add collaboration tools and artifacts. Within this Klaxoon space, you can add and connect images, text, drawing and media – but also live polls, word clouds, and visualizations in one collaborative location. Ideas become flexible notes you can move around – and when it is time to further categorize ideas, Klaxoon can change its view to allow for seamless categorizing and bucketing. Templates are also available to help users get started more easily.




Visualizing the Idea

Just as there is tremendous diversity in communication styles, there are lots of ways to organize and collaborate on brainstorms. One such tool is mind maps – designing networks of ideas in a more spatial manner. MindMeister has long focused on providing a way to create mind-maps: interconnected diagrams and hierarchies of ideas, pulled together onto one canvas. Thoughts around a topic can be quickly broken down into a set of categories, and tasks for executing on those ideas can also be surfaced. MindMeister can also be used natively within Microsoft Teams through its app.

A MindMeister hierarchy of conceptsA MindMeister hierarchy of concepts


No matter your collaboration style – whether it’s free form drawing connecting to broader prototypes, using sticky notes to group ideas, or creating a visual hierarchy in the form of a mind-map, you can connect these styles to broader collaboration through Microsoft Teams.


Learn more!

If you would like to learn how to better use apps in Teams to enhance remote work, see our remote work Teams apps site with more use cases and ideas, and take advantage of the free virtual training events each week.


For Teams end-users:

For Teams Admins:

  • Join our Chalk Talk series, where members of Teams engineering walk through the security, deployment, and management of third-party integrations.


Occasional Contributor

Well, Whiteboard doesnt seem to work for days so it is pretty obvious why other solutions are highlighted...

Occasional Visitor

Is it there an app that allows one to draw on any document or window that is being displayed/shared?  For example: If I’m sharing a window of an Autocad drawing - can I or others in the meeting sketch a circle around an area of interest, or pencil in a note, then save the screen as a .jpg or other file?

Occasional Contributor

I would much rather use Microsoft's own Whiteboard app. @Mike Ammerlaan can you tell us about the plans to better integrate it into the Teams platform? I know right now you can Whiteboard in a meeting, and I'm sure you could kludge a whieboard into a tab via "website" assuming you don't get the dreaded "you can't get there from here". 

New Contributor

Very recently, users in our company suggested tools like Klaxoon, Mindmester and others for brainstorming purposes. Being a M365-believer, I immediately suggested Microsoft Whiteboard as an alternative for the 'Ghost IT'-tools that were mentioned. To my surprise, when digging a bit deeper into Mindmeister, I couldn't deny that it has a pretty good integration with Microsoft Teams. Not sure how 'safe' it is to let users sign in with their M365-account in terms of sending data to that 3rd party app and sharing your email address with allied partners...

Sometimes, the 'freedom' that Microsoft  provides, may be a bit confusing for IT departments. Are there others who are experiencing that? Any recommendations how to deal with it?

New Contributor

@CtrlSol  Yes, there's a great app called Zoom that has an annotation feature.


Sorry, couldn't resist.  It was a big swing and miss whomever decided at Microsoft that they could go to market and cut corners by dropping all the edge cases, like annotation, lobbies for everyone, etc etc.


Annotation should be inside of Teams meetings and not a separate product.

Senior Member

@Pieter365    I agree.  If data is on the MS 365 platform then there is a contract in place etc, though Microsoft have had a past habit of sometimes releasing features in US data residency first irrespective of your organisational agreement on that.  (Planner was one so it took us a while to turn it on).   I am GDPR qualified (for my sins)  however there is no *quick* way to assess apps in the way an organisation's information security team would conduct an assessment on a third-party supplier.  Guess it's all about the risk of the data. We've developed simple risk classification that we intend to reduce again (looks dated even now but in the interest of sharing! ) and will encouage Team Owners to think about their data and have a conversation with us. The support overhead is a concern....but then so is shadow IT. Answers on a postcard anyone? 

Occasional Visitor



Could you confirm where is the Teams Data stored? Particularly the whiteboard which is used during meeting. Would like to know where is the data stored.




Respected Contributor


Where is Whiteboard data stored?

Whiteboard stores newly created boards in different locations depending on the country, go to Microsoft 365 data locations for details. Migrating previously created whiteboards is currently planned for later in 2020. Support for additional regional datacenters is on the roadmap. see for more details, 

Bing makes it very easy to find this type of information


Regular Visitor

is there a Text option for Whiteboard during Teams meeting, i can only see pens @Mike Ammerlaan . thank you!

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‎Jan 26 2021 12:12 PM
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