Using OneNote as a shared whiteboard in Teams

It is possible to use OneNote as a shared whiteboard in Teams:

  • Open a modern browser
  • Login to OneNote by first entering your email address and then logging in with your single sign-on
  • Click on "New Notebook" and give it a name
  • Click to create a new section and give it a name
  • If you want to use this "whiteboard" in Teams, click "Share" in the upper right corner
  • Click on "People you specify can edit"
  • You can now either specify people who should be able to collaborate with you, or choose that all people within Nexus365 (ie Oxford members) can collaborate if they have the link, or even anyone with the link (choose this last option if you have external participants. Links will generally be impossible to guess, so only people who get the link will be able to see it, though they could pass that link on, of course).
  • If you would like the other people to view the "whiteboard" but not be able to edit, untick the "Allow editing" tickbox.
  • Click "Apply"
  • Click "Copy Link"
  • You can now paste this link in your meeting chat or notes in Teams for others to see.
  • In Team and Chat channels you can instead or additionally add a tab with that notebook in read-only mode. It is also possible (though less straightforward) for meetings.
  • Everything you now do should appear in real-time on the screen for anyone who is watching the link. If they have editing rights they will be able to perform the same actions.
  • In order to organise/save your work you can organise it in several pages in the left sidebar which can further be grouped in sections.

Typing Mathematics

The most useful menu for sharing whiteboard-like activity is the "Draw" menu on the top. You can then select the "Add text" button and for example enter some LaTeX formulae (without dollar signs). Afterwards you can select a part of the text (or the whole text box) and click the "Maths" button to convert it to Mathematics.

Scribbling Mathematics

You can also use a stylus (or a mouse though that is less convenient) to scribble some mathematics and then use the "Select" tool to select all the scribbled elements and finally the "Maths" button to get it to recognise your formula. Your mileage there may vary. Microsoft provides some further guidance on this.

Symbolic solver

OneNote even has a symbolic solver integrated, and on the right it will offer to evaluate your expressions and then give you step-by-step solutions, if required. That is unlikely to be suitable for teaching, but you may find it interesting nonetheless.


You can use the Pen/Highlighter tools to scribble and the eraser to erase any content.

Exporting your notes to PDF

If you want to export your notes to PDF go to "File -> Print" and print to a PDF printer through any standard means within the browser and operating system you are using. Microsoft provide some further guidance on this.

PDF (and other) Annotation

If you wanted to scribble on a PDF, for example, you can go to "Insert -> File -> Insert File Printout" and add your PDF. You should then be able to do basic annotations of the PDF. Note you need to double click to add a textbox on the PDF.

Please contact us with feedback and comments about this page. Last updated on 02 Apr 2022 21:54.