Cloud Computing & Web Services f Matt Grech hSeptember 14, 2016

The 10 Best Online Whiteboards with Realtime Collaboration

While some productivity and team collaboration tools seem to come and go, there are many tried and true examples that we just seem to can't let go. The standard blackboard, and more modern online whiteboards have been the go-to methods of brainstorming, planning, drawing, explaining and teaching for as long as many of us can remember. While most of our productivity tools have transformed into a digital version, these massive surfaces designed to be used, erased and reused time and time again have held their own as physical props we place around the office. There's no denying the benefit of a collaborative whiteboard as an effective method for laying out plans, ideas or explanations in a large, visible format - if something pops into your head you can just jot it down quickly, with the retail space to hold everything at once. Whiteboards are great for those times your team needs to crowd around the same space and collaborate, but with everything becoming digital, a traditional whiteboard doesn't make sense when half your team isn't even in the same office. Except, that's where the virtual online whiteboard with collaboration features comes in.



Launched and run directly in your web browser, Aww App is a virtual whiteboard for on-the-go and accessing the virtual whiteboard is as simple as directing your browser to the webpage. Logging in allows you to privatize the board so you can invite others to participate. The free model allows for access to the online whiteboard, and all participants you invite can freely draw and add - but limits your tools to basic ones only, and doesn't allow for board saving beyond image snap shots. A solid, basic and easy to use free version with the option to upgrade to a more robust paid plan, or even custom on-premises solution makes for a great contender for both personal and large scale team use.


RealTime Board

Realtime Board

Explained by RealTime Board themselves, their solution is a white board designed specifically for the best online experience. RealTime breaks past the physical limits of a traditional whiteboard and sprinkles in the collaborative nature that a flexible cloud network empowers. Instead of dumping you into a completely blank canvas, RealTime Board provides users with a selection of templates to help structure and organize your planning or brainstorming. Of course the option to start with the blank canvas is there, but the true power seems to be within the advanced organizational functions these templates provide - like a lean UX workshop, building a product roadmap, or even a Kanban board for project planning. Free hand drawing is possible and works great, but doesn't seem to be the largest focus.


Whiteboard Fox


Whiteboard Fox offers another quick and easy to use virtual whiteboard with zero setup required. Navigating your browser to is all it takes to begin with again a blank canvas, but one also broken down with a grid to aid in drawing and writing. Options are simple, and functions are left to the basic drawing, erasing, navigating and undo buttons. Text and pictures are supporting, and a unique "Copy All" button makes it easy to grab everything on the page and copy it to your clipboard. While the list features provided might not be as extensive as alternatives, the drawing felt super natural, responsive and incredibly accurate. Whiteboard Fox doesn't necessarily present anything new, but requires no setup, sharing is quick and simple and it certainly gets the job done.


Web Whiteboard


Similar to that of Whiteboard Fox, Web Whiteboard is designed for instant access and the ease of use, allowing users to jump online without logging in or downloading any apps, invite guests or coworkers, and quickly share ideas or draw visual explanations. With less of a focus on the longevity and direct replacement for office whiteboards, Web Whiteboard will only hold free whiteboards for 21 days, but this can be removed with upgraded plans. However, if all you need is a quick and easy to access tool to quickly draw out an idea, Web Whiteboard will handle all your needs. Web Whiteboard is great for those spur of the moment ideas and conversations that need an extra aid.




Moving a step beyond a blank canvas, Conceptboard pushes the virtual whiteboard beyond a digitalized version of the same physical tool. Labeled as a collaboration tool, Conceptboard is all about sharing ideas and tracking progress on mostly visual projects – think web, interface, or UX design. With a focus on visual projects, Conceptboard is an entire app that houses all your project, and allows for in depth management of the overall project, and specific tasks. Users can input images and files directly onto a board, where others can draw, write, pin notes and collaborate in a visual nature, for visual projects that require more than just a text based collaboration method, while still remaining content focused, and in real-time.




Breaking the mold slightly, Twiddla is a setup-free, web-based “meeting playground” as they like to put it. Both a sandbox mode for a public session to play around and familiarize yourself with the tools at hand, or private meetings to collaborate and get work done are available to all users. Twiddla makes it super easy to mark up more than just a blank whiteboard, but specific web pages, screen shots, images or files. One of the most powerful use cases is eliminating the need for a developer to mark up an MS Paint screen shot, email it to the designer and wait for an email response. Instead, just start a Twiddla meeting, invite your coworker with the no-login and no-setup nature of a web based white board, and start discussing changes.




With the free, no setup or login required nature of other alternatives, Groupboard goes a little bit further in providing a blank canvas. The same principles of sharing via a link with minimal setup time apply to Groupboard, utilizing web browsers to access the virtual whiteboards. However, Groupboard allows users to setup administrator controls, so you can moderate your white board space, and even ban users or keep the board private. This is especially helpful for any teams that want to keep their collaborative space a little bit more private, and helps prevent unwanted eyes from getting access to your space. Groupboard even offers more robust Designer and Groupworld applications for other collaborative use cases. Built in chat is great for quick communication right in the app itself as well.




As another web based, shareable, real-time, zoomable virtual white board that loads right in your web browser, Ziteboard will be familiar to anyone reading this list. Ziteboad is lightweight, html5 based, with real-time updates to your drawings, and doesn’t require any setup or logging in. Sharable board URLs will remain permanent and always bring you back to your old board. A slightly unique take, Ziteboard allows users to publish their boards to the web so others can view without editing or collaborating – so instead of letting guests in to the board or app, this acts more as a presentation mode. You can even sync screens with a mirror view so coworkers only see what your screen is currently looking at.




If the most authentic white board experience is what you are after, then look no further than Limnu. A virtual whiteboard accessible through any web browser, and with its own mobile apps, Limnu offers the most realistic take so far on the virtual white board experience. The tools users can play with are shared amongst the other contenders on the list, although administrator features help this option stand out amongst only a few others with a similar function. However, Limnu goes as far as almost perfectly replicating the strokes of an actual white board marker to truly replicate the experience in the digital world. Without a surefire way to test the responsiveness, Limnu felt to be the most responsive, quickest updating and most fluid experience of the virtual whiteboards we have tested.




With a strong focus on education and learning, Scribblar actually comes packed with a lot of unique features you won’t find in other platforms. While this does mean use cases might be more limited than the free, open nature of other alternatives, Scribblar does still manage to bring a lot to the table that many users can find a way to fully take advantage of. Unfortunately, Scribblar no longer has a free version, just a 14-day trial so users would need to be serious about adopting Scribblar as their whiteboard solution, but for education it is probably one of the most robust offerings. APIs and white label solutions are available, and you can even integrate Scribblar directly into your website.

Online Whiteboard Comparison Chart

AwwApp Realtime Board Whiteboard Fox Web Whiteboard Conceptboard Tiwddla Groupboard Scribblar Ziteboard Limnu
Free Plan Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Free Trial
Basic Plan Price $10/mo  $35/mo N/A N/A  $28.50/mo  $14/mo  $9.90/mo  $14/mo  $8/mo  $5/mo
Free Plan Board Limit One Board  3  Unlimited  Unlimited  50  1  1  N/A  3  15
Free Plan Guest Limit Unlimited, Draw Only  3 draw, unlimited view Unlimited Unlimited  Unlimited Unlimited  5  N/A Unlimited  Unlimited
Basic Plan Board Limit 10  Unlimited  N/A  N/A  Unlimited  1  2  5 Unlimited  300
Basic Plan Guest Limit Unlimited, View or Draw  Unlimited N/A N/A  Unlimited  Unlimited Unlimited  5  Unlimited Unlimited
Slack Integration DIY  Yes  DIY  DIY DIY  DIY  DIY  DIY  Yes  Yes
Undo Function Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  No  Yes  Yes  Yes
Duplication No  Yes  No  No  Yes  Yes  No  Yes  Yes  No
Multiple Ink Colors Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes
Multiple Pen Widths Yes  Yes  No  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes
Clear Entire Board Yes  No  Yes  No  No  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  No
Text Support Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes Yes  Yes
Post-It/Sticky Notes No  Yes  No  Yes  Yes  Yes  No  No  Yes  Yes
Built in Chat No  Yes  No  No  Yes  Yes, voice  Yes  Yes  No  No
Image Embed Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes
File Embed No  Yes  No  No  Yes  Yes  No Yes  Yes  No
Export Board No  Yes Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes  No  Yes  Yes  Yes
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