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The 4 best online whiteboards for collaboration in 2024

By Harry Guinness · June 18, 2024
Hero image with the logos of the best online whiteboards

Office work has changed permanently since 2020, whether you're now fully remote, hybrid, or just having to collaborate more with your coworkers on conference calls. Of course, the kind of work that needs to get done hasn't changed quite as much. To that end, online whiteboards are a key tool when you need fast, easy, visual collaboration regardless of what city, country, or continent your colleagues are in.

This year, I tested dozens of online whiteboards to find the best ones for a variety of needs. I've been working remotely for my entire tech writing career—more than a decade now—so I have a lot of experience testing apps and actually using online collaborative tools. I'd be happy to work with a team using any of these picks.

The 4 best online whiteboards

  • Miro for turning ideas into tasks

  • Stormboard for creating multiple whiteboards in a single brainstorming session

  • Mural for big remote team meetings

  • FigJam for collaborating on designs

What makes the best online whiteboard?

How we evaluate and test apps

Our best apps roundups are written by humans who've spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. Unless explicitly stated, we spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it's intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We're never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog.

Almost any sketch or design app can technically be used as a digital whiteboard if you need to bat around a few ideas with your team. If you're sharing your screen over a conference call, you could even use MS Paint. But that doesn't mean a drawing app is the best tool for the job.

Instead, I was looking for proper online whiteboards that your team can use to freely ideate, brainstorm, workshop, and otherwise collaborate however they want wherever they are. To really enable this kind of dynamic workflow, there are a few key features that I felt a great online whiteboard had to have:

  • Unlimited canvas. While physical whiteboards might have size restrictions, going digital shouldn't come with limits. I was looking for whiteboarding tools that have an unlimited, ever-expanding canvas, so whatever way your visualizations go, they can accommodate them. And with such a large canvas, navigating it needed to be easy. You should be able to zoom and scroll around at will.

  • Collaboration features. Using a whiteboard—whether physical or digital—is often a collaborative act. I required all the apps on this list to allow multiple users to collaborate in real time. Some apps allow private collaboration between team members, while others allow you to share a link or code so that even non-users can comment or add notes. The specifics didn't matter as much as the feature working as it was meant to.

  • Ability to attach files. Your digital whiteboard shouldn't limit the kinds of things you can add to it. You can stick a photo or doodle on a real whiteboard, so I felt you should be able to attach links, images, and other files to your web whiteboard as needed for easy reference.

  • Presentation options. Because whiteboards are so often used for both ideation and presentation, I looked for features that allowed you to present using your whiteboard. This could be sharing your whiteboard online, exporting it, or a dedicated presentation mode. The more advanced the app, though, the more advanced I wanted the presentation features to be.

  • Accessible everywhere. Whether you're working on your own ideas or collaborating on a shared whiteboard with a team, chances are high that you'd like to have access to the whiteboard even if you're not seated at your desk. This meant it had to be accessible through the web and ideally on mobile devices.

While most whiteboard apps are starting to implement AI-powered features, they aren't yet a major factor for inclusion. Over the next year or so, as these features become more mature and deeply integrated in each app, they might become more of a factor. But for now, I'm still considering them a nice-to-have.

To find the best online whiteboards, I started out with a list of every relevant app that I could find and then compared each one against the criteria above. If an app looked like it could meet them, I tested it to see how it was to use. The specifics of the testing depended on the app, but it generally involved signing up for an account and creating a few different whiteboards to see how everything worked, as well as testing any unique or headline features. Quite a few apps failed out at this step for just being unpleasant to use. The differences between a top-tier web app and one that's badly coded are impossible not to notice.

I then went back and re-tested the top contenders. I also compared the apps to each other: where two (or more) apps offered a very similar feature set, I went with the one that had a better overall user experience or pricing options, or was the more mature product. I've been keeping this list updated for a few years now, so every app on it has been reviewed multiple times.

At the end of all the testing, I was left with my four favorite apps—and a few alternate picks that didn't quite make the list for one reason or another. Here they are. 

The best online whiteboards at a glance

Best for

Standout features

Pricing

Miro

Turning ideas into tasks

Integration with various apps, customizable templates, collaboration

Free for 3 editable boards; Starter plan from $10/user/month

Stormboard

Creating multiple boards in a brainstorming session

Sticky note-style ideation, collaborative whiteboards

Free for 5 Storms; Business plan from $10/user/month

Mural

Big remote team meetings

Multiple whiteboard areas, guidelines for templates, customizable permissions

Free for 3 murals; Team+ plan from $12/user/month

FigJam

Collaborating on designs

Great integration with Figma plus all the core whiteboard features you need

Free for 3 FigJam files and unlimited collaborators; Professional plan from $5/user/month


Best online whiteboard for turning ideas into tasks

Miro (Web, macOS, Windows, iOS, Android)

Miro, our pick for the best online whiteboard for for turning ideas into tasks

Miro pros:

  • Powerful

  • Lots of integrations

Miro cons:

  • Using it is a tad less intuitive than some of the other apps

Miro is available on any device—and on the web. To get started, choose from a long list of templates (e.g., UX design, customer mapping, and retrospective), or just start with a standard blank whiteboard. And you're not limited to one template: you can add as many as you want to a board, zooming and scrolling with your mouse, trackpad, or touchscreen to navigate through the various templates on the board. Then add shapes, text, and sticky notes (drag-and-drop) as needed.

If you find yourself looking for more features, go to the Miro marketplace, which houses a list of apps you can integrate, allowing you to do things like update Miro cards within your Airtable base or send tasks straight to GitHub.

Miro is built for more than just brainstorming. It has all the features you need to move from ideation to implementation. You can monitor what changes have been made, assign tasks, and carry on conversations with team members from within the interface. There are multiple ways to organize and present information. And, of course, it's got AI features in beta: you can do things like generate diagrams and images from a prompt, automatically create sticky notes, and otherwise bounce ideas off an AI chatbot.

You can do even more with Miro by using Miro's Zapier integrations. Automatically create a card on a board in Miro whenever you have a new task, entry in a spreadsheet, or form submission. Here are some examples.

Create Miro widgets with new Trello cards

Create Miro widgets with new Trello cards
  • Trello logo
  • Miro logo
Trello + Miro

Add Miro cards from new rows on Google Sheets

Add Miro cards from new rows on Google Sheets
  • Google Sheets logo
  • Miro logo
Google Sheets + Miro

Create Miro boards for new Zoom meetings

Create Miro boards for new Zoom meetings
  • Zoom logo
  • Miro logo
Zoom + Miro

Miro pricing: Free for 3 editable boards; from $10/user/month for the Starter plan that includes unlimited boards and features like timers and voting.

Best online whiteboard for creating multiple boards in a single brainstorming session

Stormboard (Web, iOS, Android)

Stormboard, our pick for the best online whiteboard for creating multiple boards in a single brainstorming session

Stormboard pros:

  • Solid free plan

  • Lots of clever touches like substorms and StormAI

Stormboard cons:

  • User interface is a bit more basic than some other apps

Stormboard is a sticky note-style ideation tool that handles the basics really well. It's simple for anyone to drop notes or index cards with text, pictures, and even videos onto different sections of the board. But each digital sticky note can also house its own whiteboard, opening up a world of opportunity for big picture brainstorming and collaboration. As soon as you create a new Storm (brainstorming board), you can start adding your ideas. Any sticky note can then turn into a collaborative whiteboard that all collaborators can view and edit in real time.

Using Stormboard solves one of the major problems in any brainstorming or collaborative meeting: how to save each iteration so that it's easy to review and revise moving forward. To organize, drag each whiteboard note around the board with your mouse. Board collaborators can then vote on each board, carry on a text chat conversation, and even assign tasks.

Stormboard also has a couple of handy AI features. StormAI can help you brainstorm or summarize the key takeaways of something, but my favorite feature is that it can automatically group sticky notes based on the themes or sentiment it detects.

Because Stormboard integrates with Zapier, you can even automate your whiteboarding, creating new Storms or ideas based on activity in other apps. Or you can automatically send your ideas, comments, and tasks from Stormboard to other apps. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Create Stormboard ideas for new Trello cards

Create Stormboard ideas for new Trello cards
  • Trello logo
  • Stormboard logo
Trello + Stormboard

Create rows in Google Sheets for new Stormboard ideas

Create rows in Google Sheets for new Stormboard ideas
  • Stormboard logo
  • Google Sheets logo
Stormboard + Google Sheets

Create Stormboard ideas from new inbound emails

Create Stormboard ideas from new inbound emails
  • Email by Zapier logo
  • Stormboard logo
Email by Zapier + Stormboard

Stormboard pricing: Free for the Personal account that includes 5 open Storms and 5 collaborators per Storm; from $10/user/month for the Business plan that includes unlimited open Storms.

Best online whiteboard for big remote team meetings

Mural (Web, Windows, macOS, iOS, Android)

MURAL, our pick for the best online whiteboard for remote, multi-member team meetings

Mural pros:

  • Easy to use

  • Great templates

Mural cons:

  • Less creative freedom than some of the other apps

The Mural canvas can house multiple whiteboard areas, similar to Photoshop artboards, that you can rearrange and resize as needed. On each whiteboard, you can go with the standard blank white background, or choose from a variety of templates to add pre-built grids and content boxes for some additional structure. Many of the templates come with detailed instructions and facilitator guidelines, which makes getting started with Mural really quick and the user interface a joy to use.

Mural is particularly strong as a team tool, letting you create multiple "rooms" for your whiteboards, each with different permissions to limit access. You might have one room for your design team, one for your marketing team, and so on. You could also create rooms that correspond to various projects.

Remote teams who use Mural for meetings will love the digital version of some office staples, from timers (which you can use for focused ideation sprints) to chat boxes. It can be tough to share candid feedback in remote team meetings. That's why I liked Mural's timed voting session and private mode. Both allow you to get honest, anonymous input from everyone. And like the other apps on this list, Mural is rolling out AI features, but they're limited to enterprise customers for the time being.

Mural also integrates with Zapier, letting you do things like automatically create new tasks in your project management tool based on your whiteboards or create new Mural stickies based on form submissions.

Create Mural stickies from new or updated Google Sheets rows

Create Mural stickies from new or updated Google Sheets rows
  • Google Sheets logo
  • Mural logo
Google Sheets + Mural

Create stickies in Mural for new Jotform submissions

Create stickies in Mural for new Jotform submissions
  • Jotform logo
  • Mural logo
Jotform + Mural

Add new Mural stickies to Google Sheets rows automatically

Add new Mural stickies to Google Sheets rows automatically
  • Mural logo
  • Google Sheets logo
Mural + Google Sheets

Mural pricing: Free for 3 murals with unlimited members, from $12/user/month for the Team+ plan.

Best online whiteboard for collaborating on designs

FigJam (Web, iOS, Android)

FigJam, our pick for the best online whiteboard for collaborating on designs

FigJam pros:

  • Great integration with Figma

  • All the basics you need otherwise

FigJam cons:

  • A little awkward to use without embracing Figma

Figma is one of Zapier's favorite design apps. It's super flexible and incredibly popular for good reasons. And while FigJam is a nice online whiteboard, its direct integrations with Figma are what really set it apart.

In theory, you can use FigJam without using Figma, but that seems like it would be unnecessarily awkward. The two apps share the same file browser, and you can access your organization's component libraries in both. You can also copy and paste objects between the two apps, and make changes in one app that carry across to the other. If you want to access your FigJam files on a mobile device, you have to use the Figma app. Even upgrading to a paid FigJam plan involves unticking a box to also upgrade to a paid Figma plan. Basically, FigJam is the best whiteboard for designers using Figma to get feedback from their other team members.

With that said, FigJam is still a great online whiteboard on its own. It's got a nice and intuitive interface, a decent selection of templates, and all the features, voting, and sticky notes that you need to run a good collaborative design meeting. 

FigJam also has one of the more powerful AI implementations. It's capable of creating entire whiteboard templates from a single prompt, organizing your sticky notes, generating brainstorming ideas, and a lot more. 

FigJam pricing: Free for 3 FigJam files and unlimited collaborators, from $5/user/month for the Professional plan, with shared team libraries, voting, and more. Figma starts at $5/user/month.

Other great virtual whiteboards to consider

While these four apps are some of the best online whiteboards available, there are other great apps I didn't include (for various reasons) that could make sense for you to check out. 

  • First up, most online conferencing software and office suites have a whiteboard built in. Zoom has Zoom Whiteboard, Microsoft Teams has Microsoft Whiteboard (which is also a standalone app), and Webex has, you guessed it, a feature called Whiteboard. If you're visiting this article, I've assumed that you either don't want to use these built-in tools, you aren't locked into a tool like Microsoft Whiteboard, or you need a dedicated online whiteboard tool that offers more advanced or specific features—so I didn't really consider them. But if you need something quick and you already use Zoom or Teams, give them a look. 

  • LucidSpark and Draft.io are both decent tools—they mostly didn't make the list because of pricing. LucidSpark locks a lot of features into a Team plan that requires at least three users at $11/month, and Draft.io is based in France and only available in euros. While these certainly won't be dealbreakers for everyone, they complicate things enough that I'd recommend Mural, Miro, and the other apps on this list first. 

  • Otherwise, you really can do a lot just by sharing your screen and using any notes or drawing app you love. While it won't let you collaborate in the same way, if you just need something in a pinch, it'll work.

Which virtual whiteboard should I use?

Because almost any app can be used as a whiteboard app, the best whiteboard app comes down to the features your team wants the most. If you don't need anything specific, but your team uses Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Webex, then the best option is probably the one that's built into the software you already use every day. 

On the other hand, if you're looking for dedicated online whiteboard software that offers more integrations, advanced features, and customization, then one of the picks above is probably a better fit. They all—in their own ways—offer a great collaborative whiteboard experience.

Related reading:

  • Miro vs. Mural: Which should you use?

  • The best brainstorming tools

  • The best team collaboration tools

This piece was originally published in March 2019 by Maria Myre. The most recent update was in June 2024.

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