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Microsoft announced a slew of product updates ahead of its Inspire developer conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. In addition to a free version of Microsoft Teams and enhancements to Workplace Analytics and Microsoft 365, it made broadly available its collaborative Whiteboard app to Windows 10 users and announced that iOS, Android, and web clients would launch in the future.

Whiteboard, for the uninitiated, lets you sketch, draw, erase, and attach sticky notes to a digital canvas. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though — there’s a search feature that surfaces relevant images on the web, a virtual ruler tool, and a host of other design-centric tools.

“Since releasing a preview of the app in December, more than 200,000 customers have helped us fine tune the feature set and end-user experience,” Microsoft said. “Based on their feedback we’ve added a number of new features, including text notes, the ability to add and manipulate images, enhancements to shape and table recognition, accessibility improvements, compliance with various global standards, and more.”

Microsoft Whiteboard

Whiteboard has gained a number of new features in the seven months since it launched in beta. A few include a “team together” tool that allows multiple participants — even those working remotely — to contribute to a sketch or slide, and assigns each an avatar to help keep track of their respective contributions. Also, slides now save automatically to the Microsoft cloud.

In addition, the latest version of Whiteboard supports geometric recognition, table conversion, automatic table shading, and other inking features on Windows 10, plus hardware styluses like the Surface Pen.

Whiteboard is free to use on Windows 10, but the collaboration features need at least one person in the group to have an Office 365 subscription, and the web version and iOS version will require an Office 365 commercial account.

Along with updates to Whiteboard, Microsoft rolled out improvements to its Workplace Analytics and MyAnalytics productivity tools, launched a free version of Teams (with a 10GB cap per team), and added live events with facial recognition and speech-to-text transcripts to Microsoft 365.


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