In the era of remote work and virtual learning, the demand for innovative and interactive online whiteboarding tools has skyrocketed. This article delves into the world of digital whiteboards, showcasing powerful platforms that facilitate planning, brainstorming, and real-time collaboration for students, teachers, and professionals alike.
Online whiteboards have emerged as a crucial resource for educators navigating remote learning environments. These versatile tools offer a digital alternative to the traditional blackboard, with features that enable users to draw, write, and visualize ideas in various colors and line thicknesses. Compatible with an array of devices, including tablets and smartphones, online whiteboards are easily incorporated into video conferences, making them indispensable for virtual classrooms.
In this article, we will explore the top online whiteboarding tools on the market. Our comprehensive analysis will assist you in identifying the ideal solution for your needs, whether you're an educator, a professional, or simply seeking a dynamic and collaborative platform to bring your ideas to life.
FigJam - best overall
FigJam is a collaborative whiteboarding tool created by Figma, a popular design platform known for its user-friendly interface and real-time collaboration features. It's designed to help teams brainstorm, ideate, and collaborate on their projects effectively, whether they're in the same room or working remotely.
Here's a breakdown of what makes this tool stand out:
- Canvas. The intuitive interface makes drawing, writing, and adding objects easy, fostering a creative environment for brainstorming sessions.
- Toolbar. From drawing tools and text options to pre-made components like sticky notes and connectors, FigJam's toolbar simplifies the creative process.
- Collaboration. FigJam excels in real-time collaboration, enabling teams to work together seamlessly, whether they're in the same room or miles apart.
- Comments & Feedback. The platform's comment feature ensures that communication is never lost in translation. Team members can provide feedback directly on the canvas, tag colleagues, and resolve issues as they arise.
- Version History. FigJam's version history feature is a game-changer for tracking the evolution of ideas. It's easy to revert to previous versions or compare changes over time, making it the perfect tool for refining and iterating on concepts.
- Integration & Sharing. FigJam's seamless integration with Figma's design platform is a major selling point. Importing designs or components from Figma projects is a breeze, and the easy-to-use sharing options make it simple to grant view-only or editable access to others.
As a design enthusiast, I've had the opportunity to explore various online whiteboarding tools, and FigJam has left a lasting impression on me.
FigJam pricing: The Starter (free) plan includes 3 Figma and 3 FigJam files, unlimited personal files, unlimited collaborators, plugins, templates, mobile app, music player, and ready-made templates. The Pro plan is priced at $3 per editor/month billed annually or $5 month-to-month. This plan offers unlimited FigJam files, open sessions, sharing permissions, team libraries, audio conversations, voting, and is free for students and educators.
Mural - for busy teams
Mural is a highly versatile and feature-rich online whiteboarding tool that is perfect for collaborative brainstorming and planning tasks. With hundreds of templates for generating ideas and project planning, Mural is not for minimalists. However, it also offers a simple whiteboard option that can be used for personal tasks, and standard tools such as tables, text, images, shapes, icons, and drawing tools are available.
Here are some of the key features:
- Templates. Mural offers hundreds of templates for generating ideas, analyzing problems, and developing projects.
- Tools. Mural provides standard tools such as tables, images, shapes, icons, text, and drawing to create content on the board.
- Facilitation functions. The facilitator can give rights to other users, set timers, arrange voting, and fix objects on the board.
- Canvas options. Mural offers an infinite and resizable canvas with multiple areas for whiteboards, similar to Photoshop whiteboards, that can be rearranged and modified as needed.
- Team tool. Mural allows users to create multiple "rooms" for their boards, each with different permissions to restrict access.
- Integration: Mural integrates with Zapier, allowing users to create new tasks in their project management tools or create new Mural sticks based on submitted forms.
In summary, Mural is a powerful online whiteboarding tool that offers numerous features and templates to aid collaborative planning and brainstorming. With its team collaboration functionality, it is a perfect tool for remote teams looking to work together on projects and share ideas.
Mural pricing: The free plan includes three murals and unlimited members, all visual collaboration and facilitation features, a full template library, infinite and resizable canvas options, and quick diagramming features. The Team+ plan costs $9.99 per member per month billed annually or $12 per member per month billed monthly. It includes unlimited murals in your workspace and unlimited visitor access (viewing and editing).
Whimsical - clean and focused interface
Whimsical is another popular visual collaboration tool that offers a range of features for creating flowcharts, wireframes, mind maps, and sticky notes boards.
It is designed to be fast and user-friendly, allowing teams to communicate and collaborate visually with ease.
Some key features of Whimsical include:
- Intuitive interface. Whimsical boasts a clean and straightforward interface, making it easy for users to create and edit visual elements without a steep learning curve.
- Multiple visual tools. Whimsical supports various visual tools, including flowcharts for mapping out processes, wireframes for designing user interfaces, mind maps for brainstorming and organizing ideas, and sticky notes boards for gathering and clustering feedback.
- Collaboration. Real-time collaboration is a core feature in Whimsical, allowing team members to work together simultaneously on a shared canvas. Users can also leave comments for feedback and discussion.
- Templates. Whimsical offers a collection of templates to help users get started quickly with different types of visualizations, such as user flow diagrams, product roadmaps, and meeting agendas.
- Sharing and exporting. Users can easily share their Whimsical boards with others using shareable links, and they can control access permissions for viewing or editing. Whimsical also supports exporting boards in various formats, such as PNG, JPEG, PDF, and SVG.
- Integrations. While Whimsical doesn't have as many integrations as some other visual collaboration tools, it does integrate with Slack, GitHub, and Notion, and you can even fetch designs from Figma and embed them directly into your Whimsical canvas.
Whimsical is an excellent choice for teams looking for a fast, easy-to-use tool to create and collaborate on a variety of visualizations.
Whimsical pricing: Starter ($0): The free plan offers limited items for getting started, unlimited members, up to 10 guests per file or folder, real-time collaboration, and two-factor authentication. Pro ($10 per editor/month billed annually or $12 billed monthly): This plan includes everything in the Starter plan, plus unlimited items per workspace, 10+ free guests per file or folder, priority support, and unlimited free viewers.
Nodebook - a whiteboard for information
Nodebook is a powerful digital whiteboarding tool that allows you to create beautiful graphs with all your papers, files, notes, and links. It's perfect for anyone who wants to keep an easy overview of their own thoughts and ideas, and it's ideal for those who want to collaborate with others in real-time.
As someone who works remotely, I've tried many whiteboarding tools, but Nodebook is one of the best I've come across.
One of the great things about Nodebook is that it offers both public and private collections. This means that you have complete control over the visibility of your work and can share your collections with guests without them needing to sign up.
Live collaboration is another key feature of Nodebook. All changes made to a collection are automatically synced up with the servers and updated live on other people's screens, making it easy to work together in real-time. You can also manage your profile, work privately or publicly, and contribute to the whole community to build your reputation.
Nodebook pricing: It is completely free to use and you can donate to the project to support its development.
DoodleBoard - creative and great for kids
DoodleBoard is an all-in-one whiteboard with a variety of templates to choose from.
Whether you need to create a wireframe kit or a business model canvas, DoodleBoard has got you covered. With basic shapes, figures, and elements, you can transform your complex idea into a visual form of thinking that can be easily understood by others. You can even connect concepts with arrows and links, enriching your thinking even further.
But what makes DoodleBoard stand out from other apps is that it's tailored specifically for visual thinking. Drawing is a skill that not everyone possesses, and most apps are not equipped to handle this kind of thinking. However, with DoodleBoard, you can take your visual thinking to the next level, even if you're not an artist.
DoodleBoard also understands the challenges of visual thinking and has developed the app as a solution to these pain points. With its easy-to-use interface and a variety of templates, you can create visual aids for any situation, whether it's a team decision matrix or an Ishikawa diagram.
DoodleBoard pricing: The project itself is currently in beta testing and is available for free to everyone. They do have plans to introduce a premium model in the future, but for the time being, the creators of this project are mostly looking for feedback.
Excalidraw - great for personal projects
Excalidraw is an open-source, lightweight, and user-friendly whiteboarding tool that allows users to create hand-drawn-like diagrams, sketches, and illustrations. It is designed to be simple and intuitive, making it easy for users to quickly create and share visual ideas with others.
Some key features of Excalidraw include:
- Hand-drawn style. Excalidraw offers a unique hand-drawn appearance for its elements, providing a more informal and personal touch to the visuals, and making brainstorming sessions and collaborative work more engaging.
- Easy-to-use interface. The tool features a minimalistic interface allowing users to create shapes, lines, text, and other elements without prior experience or a learning curve.
- Collaboration. Excalidraw supports real-time collaboration, allowing multiple users to work on the same drawing simultaneously. Users can easily share a link to invite others to join and collaborate on the drawing.
- Privacy. Excalidraw places a strong emphasis on privacy. All data and drawings created in the tool are stored locally on the user's device by default, ensuring that sensitive information remains private.
- Export options. Excalidraw allows users to export their drawings in various formats, such as PNG, JPEG, and SVG, making sharing or integrating visuals into other documents or presentations easy.
- Open-source. Excalidraw is an open-source project, meaning anyone can access its source code, contribute to its development, or build upon the tool to create customized versions.
Excalidraw is a great choice if you're looking for a simple and intuitive whiteboarding tool with a hand-drawn feel. Its ease of use, real-time collaboration features, and focus on privacy make it a versatile option for both individuals and teams.
Scribble Together - the best for iOS users
Scribble Together is a real-time collaborative whiteboard app designed for remote teams and individuals to work together on ideas, brainstorm, sketch, and plan projects. It's available on various platforms, including iOS, Android, and web browsers, making it accessible for a wide range of users and devices.
Some key features of Scribble Together include:
- Real-time collaboration. Scribble Together supports real-time collaboration, allowing multiple users to collaborate on a whiteboard simultaneously, with changes being synced instantly across devices.
- Easy-to-use interface. The tool features a simple and intuitive interface, making it easy for users to draw, write, erase, and add images without a steep learning curve.
- Cross-platform compatibility. Scribble Together is available on iOS, Android, and web browsers, which means that users can collaborate using their preferred devices and platforms.
- Handwriting recognition. Scribble Together offers handwriting recognition, which can automatically convert handwritten notes into typed text, making it easier to read and share.
- Infinite canvas. The app provides an infinite canvas, allowing users to expand their workspace as needed for complex projects or brainstorming sessions.
- Export options. Users can export their whiteboards as images or PDFs, making sharing or integrating visuals into other documents or presentations easy.
- Templates. Scribble Together offers a variety of templates to help users get started with different types of visualizations and brainstorming activities.
Scribble Together is a useful tool for remote teams and individuals looking for an easy-to-use and accessible whiteboarding app to collaborate, brainstorm, and share ideas. Its real-time collaboration features, cross-platform compatibility, and infinite canvas make it an appealing choice for various use cases.
Scribble Together pricing:
- Free ($0 per year): This plan includes a personal notebook for iOS (offline only), a solo notebook on iOS, unlimited whiteboards, compatibility with Apple Pencil, PDF support, an infinite canvas, and the ability to join as a guest.
- Member ($4.16 per month): This plan includes everything in the Free plan, plus the ability to invite guests to scribble with you (guests can join for free without signing up and with no limit to the number of guests), create boards via the web, access boards across devices, and have a synced, sharable notebook across devices.
OrgPad - a digital home for your ideas
OrgPad is a visual collaboration tool that helps users organize and structure their thoughts, ideas, and projects using a unique node-based system. It's designed to be flexible and user-friendly, allowing users to create interconnected "org charts" or node-based diagrams that can be easily adjusted and restructured.
Some key features of OrgPad include:
- Node-based system. OrgPad's primary feature is its node-based system, which allows users to create visual elements (nodes) and connect them with lines to represent relationships, hierarchies, or workflows.
- Flexible organization. Users can easily rearrange nodes, create new connections, or restructure their diagrams, making it simple to adapt and refine ideas as they evolve.
- Collaboration. OrgPad supports real-time collaboration, enabling multiple users to collaborate on the same project simultaneously, share their ideas, and provide feedback.
- Templates. The tool offers a variety of templates to help users get started with different types of visualizations and brainstorming activities.
- Export options. Users can export their OrgPad diagrams in various formats, such as PNG or PDF, making it easy to share their work or integrate visuals into other documents or presentations.
- Integration. OrgPad can be integrated with other tools and platforms like Google Drive to streamline the collaborative process and improve productivity.
OrgPad is an excellent choice for individuals and teams looking for a flexible and intuitive visual collaboration tool to organize and structure their thoughts and ideas. Its node-based system, real-time collaboration features, and integration capabilities make it a versatile option for various use cases and industries.
OrgPad pricing: The free plan goes up to 3 documents and 100MB of storage. The Standard ($5.99) plan includes unlimited documents, 5GB of storage, and up to 5 members that you can invite to your team.
Lucidspark - bring your ideas to life
Lucidspark is a cloud-based visual collaboration tool developed by Lucid Software, the company behind the popular diagramming tool Lucidchart. Lucidspark provides teams with a flexible, virtual whiteboard that facilitates brainstorming, ideation, and planning in real time, regardless of the team members' locations.
Some key features of Lucidspark include:
- Real-time collaboration. Lucidspark supports real-time collaboration, allowing multiple users to work together simultaneously on the same whiteboard. Team members can see each other's updates and changes, leave comments, and provide feedback.
- Infinite canvas. The tool offers an infinite canvas, giving users ample space to create, explore, and organize their ideas without running out of room.
- Pre-built templates. Lucidspark includes a variety of pre-built templates for different purposes, such as brainstorming, project planning, or meeting agendas, helping users quickly start their whiteboarding sessions.
- Sticky notes and voting. The platform enables users to create sticky notes to capture ideas and allows team members to vote on the most valuable or relevant notes, facilitating decision-making.
- Timers and facilitation tools. Lucidspark offers built-in timers and facilitation tools that help keep meetings and workshops on track and focused.
- Integrations. The tool integrates with various popular platforms, including Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Drive, streamlining collaboration and improving productivity.
- Export options. Users can export their whiteboards as images or as a Lucidchart diagram, making sharing or incorporating visuals into other documents or presentations easy.
Lucidspark is an excellent option for teams looking for a versatile, user-friendly whiteboarding tool that supports real-time collaboration and ideation.
Lucidspark pricing: Free ($0.00): This plan includes 3 editable Lucidspark boards, unlimited shapes per board, freehand drawing, and emoji reactions. Individual ($7.95 per month): In addition to the Free plan features, this plan offers unlimited editable boards, 1 GB of storage, presentation mode, and the Gather and Sort features.
Miro - ideas collaboration for teams
Miro is a popular online collaborative whiteboard platform designed to help teams work together more effectively. It provides a digital canvas where users can brainstorm, plan, design, and discuss ideas in real-time, regardless of their physical location. Miro is suitable for various use cases, including project management, product development, design thinking, and Agile workflows.
Some key features of Miro include:
- Real-time collaboration. Miro supports real-time collaboration, allowing multiple users to work together simultaneously on the same whiteboard and share ideas, leave comments, and provide feedback.
- Infinite canvas. Miro offers an infinite canvas, giving users the flexibility to create and organize their ideas without running out of space.
- Templates and frameworks. The platform includes a variety of pre-built templates and frameworks for different purposes, such as user story mapping, Kanban boards, and mind maps, helping users quickly start their whiteboarding sessions.
- Integrations. Miro integrates with various popular platforms, including Slack, Microsoft Teams, Trello, and Google Drive, streamlining collaboration and improving productivity.
- Presentation mode. Users can present their whiteboards to teammates or stakeholders directly within the platform, making sharing ideas and getting feedback easy.
- Export options. Miro allows users to export their whiteboards as images, PDFs, or CSV files, making it simple to share or incorporate visuals into other documents or presentations.
In conclusion, Miro stands out as a comprehensive and adaptable whiteboarding tool that fosters collaboration, creativity, and efficient communication among team members. Its extensive array of features, customizable templates, and seamless integration with popular platforms cater to a diverse range of industries and workflows.
- Free ($0): This plan includes unlimited team members, a single workspace with 3 editable boards, access to 1000+ Miro and community-made templates, and 100+ apps and integrations such as Zoom, Slack, Google Drive, and Sketch. Users can also bring individuals to a specific area of the board or follow what they do.
- Starter ($8 per member/month, billed annually): In addition to the Free features, this plan offers a single workspace with unlimited boards, 1-click collaborator access with unlimited visitors on public boards (no sign-in required), unlimited project folders, board version history, built-in timer, voting, video chat, estimation app, custom templates, private boards, and high-quality resolution board exports. It is available starting from one member.
As you consider these tools, keep in mind the importance of features such as real-time collaboration, infinite canvas, customizable templates, seamless integrations, and export options. By understanding the unique offerings of each tool, you can now confidently choose the solution that best fits your team's needs and enhances overall productivity and collaboration.