You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers.
Share your board quickly and effectively, using these How-To’s and Tips.
Ready to give our app a try? Here’s what you need to get started.
What does this app actually do?
In short, our app allows you to effectively share any traditional surface online, in real time.
The app does this by identifying handwritten content, while making any obstacles in front of that content (such as people) appear “see through.” Anything you write on a whiteboard, blackboard, flip-chart, or even a piece of paper becomes legible and unobstructed to remote viewers. Those viewers can add content of their own, digitally laid over your shared surface. And everyone can easily save the combined contents (real and digital) or upload them to other apps.
The ability to address an in-person audience as well as remote participants simultaneously means ShareTheBoard excels in the “hybrid” working/learning scenario.
Best of all, our app does all of this without requiring expensive hardware, such as specialized cameras or digital “e-boards.” Using just your laptop (and soon, your smartphone), you can turn any writing surface into a smart, digital tool.
What will I need besides the app?
If you’re running the app on a laptop with a built-in camera, you don’t need anything else (besides a Web browser). If you don’t have a built-in camera or just want a better picture, simply attach any external camera to your computer. Other than that, you just need any writing surface (a whiteboard, a blackboard, a flip chart, electrostatic sheets, or even a sheet of paper) and something to write with (markers, pencils, pens – anything!).
Do I need a special camera?
The short answer is “no” – a built-in laptop camera will work just fine, provided your writing surface isn’t too far away or your lighting isn’t too dim. If you’re working in tougher conditions (e.g., bad lighting or small/distant board), consider using a better camera. Full HD (1080p) cameras work quite well, even in difficult conditions. You can try an even stronger camera though keep in mind that the higher the resolution, the greater the strain on your computer’s processor.
What video conference tools does this support?
You can use ShareTheBoard with any video conferencing tool, simply be leveraging its “screen share” capability. Open ShareTheBoard in one tab, then share this tab in your video conferencing tool of choice.
To give your viewers the ability to add digital content to your shared surface or to save board contents at any time, invite them to a stream of your board. Copy the unique URL for your meeting and share it with your viewers.
The PRO version will also feature integration options with leading video conferencing solutions (details coming soon).
How much does the app cost?
The 30-day Trial of the Starter Version is completely free. Register now
The Starter Version is priced at $5/mo, billed annually (or $6/mo, billed monthly). Buy the Starter Version now
The PRO Version is priced at $10/mo., billed annually. If you can’t wait for its advanced features, consider joining the waiting list. Join PRO Version Waiting List
Discounts are available for both the Starter and PRO Versions:
- For contributing data to help improve the app ($1/mo. discount)
- For educators/students ($1/mo. discount, billed annually)
Do you offer education discounts?
What’s with the waiting list for the PRO version?
The PRO version will be available soon but we’re not yet able to specify a launch date. Interested organizations will be invited on a first-come-first-served basis to use this version, as soon as it becomes available.
If you’d like to be one of the first to use the PRO version, get updates on its progress, and enjoy a surprise gift when it launches, join the waiting list now:
Setting up your board
So you’ve got the app installed. Now what?
How should I set up my work area?
First, make sure you have comfortable access to a writing surface. Our app allows you to work on almost anything – a whiteboard, a blackboard, a flipchart, you name it. If you already have one of these in your room, your job is almost done! If not, try to pick a spot that will allow you to write comfortably, while keeping your laptop (or camera) close.
How close? This depends on how large your selected surface is. When you look at the board through your laptop, try to have it take up at least 20% of your screen. If it doesn’t, consider moving your laptop closer or using a better camera. You don’t want to get too close either… If your board takes up more than 75% of your screen, you may be too close – unless you’re writing on a very large surface.
Finally, try to pick a spot with good lighting. Natural light works really well, as does “cold” light. Dim or “warm” light usually offers the most difficult conditions. If you’re working with those, you’ll probably want to use a stronger camera than your built-in laptop cam.
What kind of camera should I use?
In good conditions, any built-in laptop camera will work. What does “good conditions” mean? It means having a large or close writing surface (try to have it take up at least 20% of your screen) and good lighting (natural light or cold light).
If you find it difficult to ensure such conditions, consider using an external camera. Almost any kind of external camera will work and a Full HD (1080p) resolution should be enough to handle bad lighting or a small/distant board.
If you have a stronger camera that’s even better – provided you have an equally strong computer (processor). The greater the resolution, the greater the strain on your processor.
How do I select my camera in the app?
Your built-in camera and any available/compatible external cameras should be visible on a drop-down menu visible after clicking “Camera and Image Settings” during onboarding (the “Set up your board” step). If you don’t see the camera you’re looking for, try the following:
- Check the connection for any external camera or even disconnect and reconnect the camera, to be sure. Then click “refresh” and check the drop-down menu again.
- Make sure the app has permission to use your camera.
- In your browser you should see a small popup when you first open the Web app, requesting access to your camera. Click Allow.
- If you missed this popup, go to your browser’s settings and look for “Site Settings” (usually under Privacy and Security). This should lead you to a list/menu of Permissions, including one for Camera access. Make sure that the site “app.sharetheboard.com” has access to your camera.
- Make sure that your camera isn’t being used by another application. Depending on your computer, it’s possible that a built-in camera may only be used by one application at a time. If, for example, you’re using a video conferencing app at the same time, you may be using your camera there. Simply deactivate the camera in the other application, click “refresh” and check the drop-down menu on our app again. Keep in mind that if you’re sharing your screen to show this app, your viewers will still see you.
There may be other, less common reasons why your camera may not appear to work properly with our app (e.g., related to automatic OS updates or driver versions). If you continue to have trouble, please contact us and we’ll do our best to help.
What is the ideal distance between my board and my camera?
If your board takes up less than 20% of your screen, your laptop may be too far away. Consider moving your laptop closer or using a higher-resolution camera.
If your board takes up more than 75% of your screen, your laptop/camera may be too close to the board (unless it’s a particularly large writing surface).
The best approach is to point your camera at the board, then stand beside your board and look at the app (to see what your remote viewers will see). For example, if you’re so close that you can only see the board and just one of your hands, this may be awkward for your viewers. If your board isn’t very large, however, and you’d still like for your viewers to see more of you, you can use the zoom out feature after identifying your board (see the questions on zooming and centering).
Can I use a mobile device to capture the whiteboard?
Viewers (remote participants in a meeting) can already use their mobile devices to view a shared board.
For presenters, a mobile version will be ready later this year (2022). That said, a laptop will likely work better when sharing a larger surface (such as a whiteboard), for two simple reasons:
- It’s much easier to point your laptop camera (or any external camera) at an appropriate angle and with the necessary stability.
- Looking back at your laptop allows you to clearly see any digital content added by your remote participants.
In most cases, a mobile device might be more useful for sharing a nearby surface (e.g., a notebook or a portion of a whiteboard immediately in front of a presenter) or for sharing a whiteboard from the perspective of a viewer (in the same room as the presenter). If you’d like to be the first to know when our mobile version launches, sign up for product updates on our contact form:
How do I identify my board in the app?
As soon as you click “Start new meeting” on your dashboard, a new tab will open with our one-step onboarding process. In this step, you’ll tell our app where to focus by identifying the surface you’d like to share. So, for starters:
- You’ll need a real whiteboard (or blackboard or flip chart or other surface)
- After you “Start new meeting,” you’ll point your camera at your whiteboard. The image/feed from your camera will be visible in the app.
- Now, adjust the transparent work area to match the shape of the board/surface you’d like to share. You can drag the corners or sides of the work area, or move the entire area at once, using the center circle.
- You can, of course, identify a work area that is smaller than your board – this is sometimes useful when working in front of a very large surface.
- Don’t worry about the angle at which you see your board – our app can help “straighten” your selected surface (more on that in the questions about centering and zooming).
How do I center or zoom in on my board?
After you’ve identified your board, you may want to center your selected work area on your screen. This feature is particularly useful if you’re viewing your board at a difficult angle. Clicking “Centering: ON” will correct that angle and maximize your work area on your screen.
You do not have to use this feature to start your session. If you choose not to turn Centering on, your viewers will see the entire image/feed from your camera while the app still focuses on your selected work area (that is, it’ll attempt to amplify content and “ignore obstacles” only in that area). If you’re writing on a particularly large surface and/or your camera is closely placed to your board, this may work well for your viewers.
If you do choose to turn Centering on, you’ll also have the option to zoom out, at least partially (the level of zoom-out available depends on how close your work area is to the edge of your camera’s visible image). Doing so may be particularly useful if you’re working with a smaller board. Zooming out would allow your viewers to see the area around the board which may offer a more natural experience. Keep in mind that the app’s content-recognition and obstacle-avoidance will still be focused on your selected work area only.
The best approach is to simply play with this feature! Stand beside your board while looking at your laptop to see what your remote viewers will see. Then, adjust these settings until you’re satisfied with what you see! And keep in mind that you’ll be able to adjust these settings after you’ve started your session, if needed.
Can I change my settings in the middle of a session?
Yes. Changing any settings – your selected camera, your identified work area or your center/zoom settings – is easily done in the middle of a session. Simply click settings and follow the prompts. For more information on these, see the appropriate question for each.
Using the app
Ready to start sharing your board? These tips and tricks will help you get the most out of your presentation.
What do I do after I’ve begun my session?
Start by taking a look at your screen. If you’re unhappy with how your selected board looks or if the image surrounding the board seems unnatural (e.g., if you find that presenters are “cut off” awkwardly), adjust your settings accordingly. If you’re satisfied, all that’s left is to share your board with remote viewers and begin white-boarding!
How do I share my board with remote viewers?
You have a few options here:
1. The fastest way is to share your board via a video conferencing tool. Open your platform of choice (e.g., Zoom, Skype, Meet, Webex) and invite your remote viewers. Then, simply share the tab in which ShareTheBoard is open.
Tip: consider turning off the camera in your video conferencing tool. By sharing the tab with ShareTheBoard, your remote viewers will still be able to to see you. Turning the camera off will mean less strain on your computer (also, keeping your camera on in the video conferencing platform may make the camera unavailable).
2. Invite users to a stream of your board: Simply click the invite link or QR toggle buttons in the lower-right corner and share the link with your colleagues. Viewers will see your board contents directly in their browsers and will be able to save those contents at any time. They’ll even have the ability to add content and comments directly to your board.
Note: the streaming feature shares your board contents only. It does not share video or audio. You’ll want to keep your video conferencing platform open for communication purposes.
3. The PRO version will also feature some integration options with leading video conferencing providers.
If you’re interested in being the first to take advantage of these features, join the PRO version waiting list.
The content identified by the app is illegible - what can I do about that?
Our goal is to make an app that will work with just about any laptop in any room. That said, sometimes the working conditions in a given room make it difficult for laptop cameras to share a sufficiently clear image. If the content on your board isn’t very legible, try one of these:
- Make sure you’ve identified your board correctly. If you’ve included an area outside of your board, the app may be trying to interpret objects and obstacles as content. For more information, see How do I identify my board in the app? in our FAQ.
- Adjust the distance between your board and your camera. If you’re working with a particularly small or distant board, the app may have a difficult time identifying your written content. For more information, see What is the ideal distance between my board and my camera? in our FAQ.
- Adjust your lighting. If you’re working with dim or warm lighting, your built-in laptop camera may have a hard time seeing your written content. For best results, try abundant natural light or “cold” light. For more information, see How do I set up my work area? in our FAQ.
- Make sure your writing utensil is working well. If you’re writing on a whiteboard, for example, be sure to use new markers; using old/dry markers may not produce the best results.
- Try a better camera. Most built-in laptop cameras are stuck at or even below 1 megapixel. If you’re unable to adjust any of the above or continue to have illegible content, try using an external camera. A Full HD should be more than enough to handle even fairly difficult conditions. For more information, see What kind of camera should I use? in our FAQ.
If you’ve tried all of these suggestions and you still find that the content isn’t sufficiently legible, please contact us and we’ll do our best to help.
Finally, the PRO version will feature new content enhancement capabilities that will improve the clarity and legibility of your written content, even in difficult conditions. If you’d like to be the first to use these features, sign up for the waiting list:
The app doesn’t always “see through” me - am I doing something wrong?
One of our app’s best features is its ability to ignore obstacles, such as people standing in front of the board. The effect is that your written content appears to be visible “through” anyone who may be in the way. If you find that some of your content is not sufficiently visible, try one of these:
- We know it’s a shocker but the app can’t actually see through you. 🙂 It must be able to see what’s written on the board, if only for a second. Most people move around naturally when writing on a board or move out of the way briefly for people to see what’s been written. We find that such natural movements are sufficient to allow the app to see all written content. It may be, however, that part of the content is blocked a bit longer/more often than others. Try moving out of the way for just a second or two to see if the app correctly identifies your written content.
- Take a look at how you’ve set up your work area. If your selected board is so small or if your camera is so close that you can only see a small part of the presenter’s body (like a part of a hand), the app may have a harder time identifying you as an obstacle to be avoided. Try moving your camera back a bit to give the app a bit more image to work with; of course you can still focus the app on just your board and even adjust the zoom accordingly.
- Limit the amount of objects in front of the board. Our app uses artificial intelligence to identify people standing before the board. If a presenter is also holding a marker or eraser, these will typically also be “ignored” as obstacles. If something less typical is in front of the board, however (e.g., if you’re holding a beach ball), our app may try to interpret this object as content.
- Consider using a better camera (or better lighting). Built-in laptop cameras may sometimes negatively impact our app’s ability to identify and ignore obstacles, especially in difficult conditions (e.g., distant/small board, dim/warm lighting).
- Keep an eye on your laptop’s performance. Older laptops may work a bit slower, especially when simultaneously running other applications (e.g., video conferencing apps). If your computer appears to be having a hard time, consider closing other applications.
If you’ve tried all of the above and you still are having trouble with the obstacle avoidance feature, please contact us and we’ll do our best to help.
Finally, the PRO version will boast improvements to this capability as well as a few completely new features. If you’d like to be the first to use them, sign up on our Waiting List.
How do I save my board content?
Saving your board content is super-easy. During your session, simply click “Save content” – that’s it. This will allow you to save all of the content on your board as an image.
Also, thanks to content streaming, your viewers can now save your board contents as well – with one click!
Finally, we’re working on new saving features for our PRO version – but we don’t want to give away the surprise. Want to be the first to use these great capabilities? Join the waiting list: