While a white background is a common starting experience in Microsoft’s applications, the specific capabilities of each tool both create and constrain what you can use it for. Word’s white background is for words, sentences, paragraphs and pages. Excel’s white background is for numbers and calculations and data modelling and charts. PowerPoint’s white background has traditionally been for words and sentences as well, albeit it in a different form and for a different purpose to Word’s whiteness and wordiness. In some spheres, PowerPoint is becoming more of a structured method of telling a story with photos and pictures and minimal words. Windows Explorer – for storing and sharing files. Etcetera.
What we’ve lacked for too long – constrained by not having the tool itself nor a wide distribution of touch-enabled and pen-enabled devices – is the equivalent of a whiteboard in a meeting room. The blank canvas on which you can write words, draw lines or pictures, put numbers in a table … the do anything blank canvas for beginning a new work or idea or project. Not for finishing it – there are other and better tools for that – but for starting … there’s nothing quite like a blank whiteboard or blank sheet of paper. Oh the possibilities. Oh the opportunity for … starting afresh, anew, differently, creatively.
Now that there are many more appropriate devices on the market – the iPad crowd with their Apple Pencils, the Microsoft Surface crowd with their Surface Pens, and various others – Microsoft’s release of its new Whiteboard application for Windows 10 (and soon iOS and other device platforms) makes a lot of sense. The context is ripe, so the content can now flow in new and different ways.
From the Microsoft 365 blog:
Microsoft Whiteboard is now generally available for Windows 10, coming soon to iOS, and preview on the web. Whether meeting in person or virtually, people need the ability to collaborate in real-time. The new Whiteboard application enables people to ideate, iterate, and work together both in person and remotely, across multiple devices. Using pen, touch, and keyboard, you can jot down notes, create tables and shapes, freeform drawings, and search and insert images from the web.
Welcome to Whiteboard. I got my copy for Windows 10 from the Microsoft Store. Given where it was announced, the collaboration capabilities will require an Office 365 subscription of some kind.
It’s time to let our pursuit of the perfect begin again with the mighty pen.