A closer look at Microsoft's upcoming Whiteboard app for Windows 10 (video)

Back in May, Microsoft unveiled a new app in the works called Whiteboard, a digital collaborative canvas with a few interesting tricks up its sleeve. The last time we played with Whiteboard, we mostly got to try out the collaborative element of the app, which allows you to share the same canvas with several other people and ink at the same time. The app has a few other features too, which we'll be showing you today.

Microsoft is pushing digital ink more and more with Windows 10 these days. The Creators Update and Fall Creators Update are updates dedicated to creators, and include several pen features and enhancements. The upcoming Whiteboard app isn't part of the OS, but it does include several Windows Ink related functions including different pens, a virtual ruler and more. The app will also show up in Windows Ink too once installed as a recent app, allowing you to get to it quickly and easily.

The apps UI is very simple. It's designed in such a way to be familiar and approachable from the get-go. Along the bottom is where most of the UI resides. At the bottom left, we have our navigation options, including the ability to undo and redo, zoom in and out and clear the canvas. At the bottom middle, we can see all of our pen options, which can be easily switched between by sampling tapping on a pen. And at the bottom right, we have our additional app features that we'll be diving into in this article.

The rest of the app is a blank white canvas that can be inked on. The app literally puts inking front and center; there's no faffing around with welcome screens and annoying popups. You launch the app, and are encouraged to begin inking right away. It positions itself much like a real whiteboard, where all you've got to work with is a blank space. This is the same thing here, and it's very clever. So, being an app that mimics whiteboards, this app is being targeted at teachers and students, so it has a few helpful enhancements for those markets.

Shape Recognition

For example, the app has something called Ink to Shape. This is a super smart "shape recognition" tech that attempts to figure out what shapes you're drawing and make them more accurate. In the Whiteboard app, you can draw a square, and that square might not be a perfect square. With Ink to Shape, the app will automatically correct the square for you, making the perfect square which you can then alter further. It's an instant process, with the recognition software applying the perfect shape immediately after you take your pen away from the screen.

The shape recognition works with lots of shapes, including squares, triangles, circles, oval, parallelogram and more. If you can think of a shape, the app will likely be able to recognize it. This shape recognition is great for people like teachers, who may be teaching angles to a group of students in a school. With the Whiteboard app, a teacher can quickly and easily draw out perfect shapes without spending any extra time with a ruler making sure each shape is perfect.

The reason I bring up angles as an example is because once the shape has been drawn, the app will also be able to display the angles of the particular shape you've drawn, and will allow you to manually adjust them too. For example, if I draw a square, I can also draw a mini right angle in any of the shapes corners, and that will make the app display the current angles. I can then manipulate those angles into any degree that I like.

Impressive Skills

Shape and angle recognition isn't the only clever thing this app can do either. It also has the ability to automatically draw out graphs when doing equations. All I need to do is enter in my equation, and the app will do the rest of the work. I don't have to waste time drawing out the table and plotting in all the equations. I simply enter the equation into the equations box, and the Whiteboard app will draw out the rest and allow me to insert it into my digital canvas. It's really very clever.

Finally, and this one is more for fun than anything, the app has built-in Bing image search. If I need to insert an image of something, I don't have to leave the app to do so. All I need to do is hit the search icon, write in what image I'm looking for, and then hit the insert button on that image. In about three seconds, I can have an image directly placed in my canvas for drawing on or annotating. It's super quick and convenient, and again saves time.

As I mentioned above, the app also supports digital collaboration. We've already done a hands on with this feature, which you can check out here.

So overall, the Whiteboard app is a fully featured digital canvas with a few useful tricks up its sleeve. I can see why it's being targeted at the education market too, as a lot of its features are incredibly useful for teachers who are presenting to a class of students. The Whiteboard app will be coming later this year to the Windows Store.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • Looks great!
  • From the nature of my job, I really need this app, and from the way I'm mobile I really need this on my 950. If this doesn't come to mobile, I'm done!
  • How's the drawing and inking on your 950?
  • try Inkodo from the store and you will get almost evrything :)
  • Thanks for the recommendation, downloading now.
  • Not coming to mobile.   
  • wooo hooo fanboy tears truth downvotes.
  • There are no W10M devices with Windows Ink support
  • Who wants to bet it will come to iOS and Android before Windows Store?
  • 😞
  • It is actually in the Windows Store already just locked to Surface Hub. Haven't pushed the button yet to make it available for all Windows 10 PC. Not sure if it will be immediately available on Mobile though.
  • Would be better of it's an update for Sketchpad, which is already in Windows Inm space
  • Maybe they'll replace it with this app
  • Our daughter tried it at the MS store on their 30 grand Surface Hub. Damn impressive.
  • Is it already out for testing?
  • it's available on Surface Hub.
  • And you were there to witness? And you didn't use it yourself???
  • Very keen to try this out.
  • Great
  • Looks like it is the evolution of the Surface Hub whiteboard app (we have a Surface hub at work, and it nothing else than amazing!)
  • It is. this takes the Surface Hub whiteboard app and updates it to include being usable on smaller devices and for real time collaboration with folks on those other devices
  • Is there something similar for creating mindmaps?
  • You can make a table by making a square/rectangle and drawing a column dividing line through it. Then you can add more rows and columns by tapping a Plus sign. The whiteboard can be shared in real time with people on other devices. Assign each person a pen color and it's ready to keep track of what reach person contributed
  • Pretty impresive, even more so sin ce it comes from Microsoft.
  • V. cool. Even if this app has a purchase price attached, I'm in. But maybe I'd hang back if the cost is an annual subscription for all members of collaborative groups. One never knows how MS is going to try to monetize good ideas.
  • you dont have to spend money as INKODO alreday is in the windows (mobile) store and works great! at least on my L950
  • MS is a publicly-held company. It's not totally open source. ;)  
  • Fantastic! Can be swiped to the right or left, kinda big long white canvas! ☺
  • the canvas is infinite
  • Aost everything.entioned is available on different apps (fluid math, etc), but not collectively. Nice to see you will be able to get them all centralized.
  • WOW !! fantastic app. Lots of.. lots of potential in classroom or office.
  • So glad to see a Paint program replacement
  • It looks like the main app running on Surface Hub (I don't know if it's the same whiteboard app ?)
  • It is.  They're just opening it up do the broader device ecosystem.
  • it is the same app- updated and extended to other deivces and allows real time collaboraton between devices. you input on your screen and it shows up on the "main" whiteboard
  • Interesting article.I wonder what MS wrote the UI in? No mention of UWP or whether it does 3D.
  • Great demo guide Zac! this is something that's been missing since MSN messenger and a feature that's likely to be used a lot.