Whiteboarding in Zoom

If you need to use a whiteboard for equations, diagrams, or other shared notes during a Zoom class session, there are several tools and tips that can help, from low tech to high tech. Here are five different ways you can create and use a whiteboard in Zoom.

There are three ways to use iPads to project content, documented here in Methods 2, 3, and 4 below.

Method 1: Zoom + Screensharing using computer only

This method uses Zoom's screensharing feature and your choice of app for whiteboarding.

  1. Open the software you want to use for whiteboard—for example, PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, LaTex, or ChemDraw.
  2. Start the Zoom session on your computer. Set it to record if you want students to be able to reference it later. (This can be set before the meeting in your Zoom preferences for the meeting, or you can click on “Record” in the bottom menu during the meeting.)
  3. Select “Share Screen” at the bottom of your Zoom session.
    1. Use Zoom's built-in whiteboard by selecting “Share Screen: Whiteboard.”
    2. To share your screen in a different app, select “Share Content.”
  4. If using Zoom's whiteboard, you're all set. If using another app, select the software application you use for whiteboarding from the options, then click “Share.” Only that application will be shared. You can now begin writing and drawing notes that your students will see.
  5. To stop sharing, select “Stop Share” from the top menu.

Method 2: Zoom + Screensharing using computer + iPad

You can use your iPad as an external device to project content into the Zoom meeting on your laptop or computer. This approach allows for the use of whiteboarding apps available only on iPad.

This method requires an iPad and a computer, and that Zoom is installed on both.

  1. Start the Zoom session from your computer.
  2. Open the Zoom app on your iPad.
  3. Click "Join" and enter the Meeting ID for your computer's Zoom session to join the iPad.
  4. Disable camera and mute your mic on your iPad in Zoom.
  5. Tap "Share Content: Whiteboard" to use the Zoom whiteboard. Tap "Share Content" and select the application you want to share if using another whiteboarding app.

Method 3: Zoom Screenshare + iPad using share.zoom.us

This method is similar to Method 2, except you use share.zoom.us in the iPad browser instead of the Zoom app on the iPad.
  1. Start the Zoom session on your computer. Set it to record if you want students to be able to access it later.
  2. On your iPad, go to https://share.zoom.us in your browser.
  3. Input the meeting ID (this is in the invite for the Zoom session or viewable by clicking the “info” icon in the top left corner of the running session.)
  4. Select “Share Screen.”
  5. Allow Zoom to start on the iPad when prompted.
  6. In the Screen Broadcast dialog, enter a name for your iPad and select “Start Broadcast.” The broadcast will start after a 3-2-1 countdown.
  7. Return to your iPad's home screen and open the whiteboarding app* you are using.
  8. To stop sharing, go back to Zoom on the iPad and select “Stop Broadcast.”

Method 4: Zoom + iPad + 3rd party app using a cable

Here is an alternative way to connect your iPad to a Zoom meeting for screensharing. In this method, you connect your iPad to the host computer using a cable instead of directly joining the meeting with the iPad.

  1. Connect your iPad to the computer you're using to host the Zoom session via a USB to Lightning cable.
  2. Start the Zoom session on your computer. Set it to record if you want students to be able to access it later.
  3. Open the whiteboarding app* you want to use.
  4. Select "Share: iPhone/iPad via Cable."

Your students should now be able to view the whiteboarding app from your iPad screen.

* Suggested iPad Apps for Whiteboarding

Method 5: Zoom + Overhead Camera

In this method, you will use an external webcam placed over a pen and paper whiteboard to show a live feed of your handwritten notes.

  1. Set up your workspace with your pen and paper whiteboard.
  2. Connect an external webcam to your computer and place it above your whiteboard workspace. For example, you can set it on top of a stack of books or a shelf nearby. A document camera with a stand like this one from Kodak is a good option that has its own elevation support.
    • You can also use your smartphone camera in a similar way. You would need to connect the smartphone to the host computer with a cable. Inexpensive gooseneck phone holders work well for placing the smartphone over the content. (See example video here.)
  3. Start your Zoom session. Set it to record if you want it documented for students to access later.
  4. Select ”Share Screen” and then choose “Content from Second Camera.” The external webcam should now be displayed for students.
  5. To stop sharing, select “Stop Sharing” from the top menu.