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?
Our app identifies and digitizes handwritten content in real-time. This means that anything you write on a whiteboard, blackboard, flip-chart, or even a piece of paper can be shared with remote viewers, effectively: the content is much more legible and can be saved digitally with just one click.
Our app allows you to zoom in on your selected work surface and correct the angle from which it’s viewed. Our app is also smart enough to identify obstacles in front of content (such as people) and ignore them, making them appear “see through” to your remote viewers.
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, you can turn any writing surface into a smart, digital tool.
What are the system requirements for running this app?
Windows users will need to run Windows 10 and Mac users should use 10.15 (Catalina). Your system should have at least 4GB RAM (6GB or more would be better).
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! 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 few sheets of paper taped to the wall) 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.
Can anyone access the app?
How much does the app cost?
The Beta Tester version is available for free. All we ask for is your feedback. Get the Beta
For a limited time, we’re taking pre-orders for the Starter Version of our app. During this phase, you can name your own price! Pre-order the Starter Version
Finally, if you’re looking for more advanced features, consider joining the waiting list for the PRO Version. Join PRO Version Waiting List
What’s the difference between versions? See for yourself! Compare all versions
What’s the difference between the Beta and paid versions?
The Beta Tester version is very useful, as it performs many of the same core functions as the paid versions (identifying and digitizing handwritten content, ignoring obstacles, etc.). Its biggest limitation, however, is related to how digitized content is ultimately shared with remote viewers: the Beta Tester version requires you to share your screen using video conferencing apps to allow others to see your board.
The paid versions address this issue by allowing presenters to stream their boards online. Rather than sharing your screen, you’ll simply “broadcast” your board and viewers will be able to see it directly in their browsers, by visiting a unique meeting link. This will not only make sharing your board easier, it’ll also ensure that the contents of your board remain legible, even if you or your viewers have a slow internet connection. Both paid versions also improve upon the app’s ability to identify and enhance handwritten content.
The PRO version will also feature built-in video conferencing capabilities, integrations with productivity tools (such as Slack or Trello), and will allow remote viewers to add notes and digital content directly to your board.
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:
What is this app actually called?
Good question! We’re sticking with the descriptive ShareTheBoard name for now but we’re entertaining different options for a new app/brand name as we get closer to launching our Starter and PRO versions. If you have a suggestion, please share it!
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 (i.e., connected) external cameras should be visible on the drop-down menu in the “Select your camera” step on the app. 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.
- Windows: Settings > Privacy > Microphone AND Camera > Camera > Allow apps to access your camera (check to make sure the application is on the list)
- MacOS: System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Camera and make sure that “sharetheboard.com” is selected (you may need to restart the application)
- Make sure that your camera isn’t being used by another application. 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 again.
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).
How do I identify my board in the app?
This step has a tendency to trip folks up a bit… Some users expect a “digital board” to appear in the app or assume their entire screen needs to be identified as the board to be shared. So, just to clarify:
- You’ll need a real whiteboard (or blackboard or flip chart or other surface)
- After you turn on the app, you’ll point your camera at your whiteboard. The image/feed from your camera will be visible in the app.
- Locate your whiteboard in the image/feed from your camera and click on its four corners. Don’t click on the four corners of the entire feed unless your board takes up the whole image (in which case, you may be too close, unless you’re working on a very large surface).
- 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 (see beginning of video in How do I center or zoom in on my board?).
- 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 by clicking on its four corners, our app gives you the option 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 “center and zoom” 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 “center and zoom”, your viewers will see the entire image/feed from your camera while the app 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 “center and zoom”, 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.
NOTE: Keep in mind, that selecting a different camera mid-session will also require you to reset your work area (and center/zoom settings).
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?
The Beta Tester version only allows you to share your board via an external video conferencing platform. Open your platform of choice (e.g., Zoom, Teams, Meet, Webex) and invite your remote viewers. Then, simply share your screen using that platform; or, if you have the option, select to share the specific app/window of the Share the Board app.
Tip: turn off the camera in your video conferencing platform. If you’re sharing your screen, your remote viewers will still be able to to see you. Also, keeping your camera on in the video conferencing platform may make the camera unavailable for our app to use.
The Starter and PRO versions will feature a live-streaming capability which will allow you to publish your board in real-time. If you’re interested in being the first to take advantage of these features, pre-order the Starter version or 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 Starter and PRO versions will feature new content enhancement capabilities that will improve the clarity and legibility of your written content. If you’d like to be the first to use them, pre-order or 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 Starter and PRO versions 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, pre-order or 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” and follow the prompts. This will allow you to save all of the content on your board as an image.
The Beta Tester version allows you to save your board contents as a PNG file. The Starter version will also allow you to save content as a PDF. If all goes well, the PRO version may even allow you to save content online… in an editable format! Want to be the first to use these great capabilities? Pre-order or join the waiting lists now.