How to choose the best online digital whiteboard in 2022?

Reviewing top 8 apps- UPDATED

Digital Whiteboard Review: Miro, Mural, FigJam, Lucidspark, Jamboard, Creately

Digital whiteboard tools keep getting better and better, and the past few years have seen more and more products come on the market. The competition goes well beyond Miro vs. Mural (through I will cover both of them).

How do you decide which whiteboard tool is right for your team?

A collaborative workspace is critical for distributed and hybrid teams, and I want you to find the right one for your team. This article will walk you through a summary of 8 popular whiteboard tools to help you identify which is best for you.

[UPDATE - After my initial review my community on LinkedIn introduced me to new tools I hadn't tried before. Two of them are now in this updated review.]

What I’m evaluating

You want to find a tool that matches your needs. I’m going to review these digital whiteboards based on the value they provide at the free and lower-tier pricing levels. I’ll look at them through the lens of working on a small team as well as working as a freelancer or consultant. 

These are some of the factors I’m looking at as I evaluate the value they provide:

  1. What digital whiteboard features do they offer?
  2. How intuitive/enjoyable is the tool?
  3. What integrations are available?
  4. What do you get for free or at a reasonable level?

I’m reviewing the following tools:

  1. Miro
  2. Mural
  3. FigJam
  4. Lucid Spark
  5. Google Jamboard
  6. Creately
  8. PencilSpaces

What are the core features of a digital whiteboard?

Some essential features feel like table stakes for digital whiteboards.

  • Sticky notes
  • Shapes (circle, square, triangle…) 
  • Connector(lines, arrows)
  • Typed text 
  • Hand drawn annotations
  • Comments

If your going to collaborate online, these are the critical features you need to simulate a whiteboard-like space. I’m going to review these digital whiteboards assuming they have these basic features, and I’m not going to comment on them unless they’re missing or implemented uniquely.


I’ve been using digital whiteboards for the past four years and have seen the different products evolve over time. Overall each tool brings both the essentials and a little something extra. Some feel more basic, others like a more mature product. 

Miro got my best overall evaluation. Fullest feature set. Enormous template library and community. You can tell they’ve been around the longest. 

You can see the other superlatives I gave out.

  • Best overall: Miro
  • Best value: Mural
  • Best for UX: FigJam
  • Best for hybrid team: Google Jamboard
  • More than a whiteboard: Creately
  • Best Free:
  • Best for instructors: PencilSpaces

I didn’t know what to call that last category exactly, but Creately needed a superlative because it has some unique and powerful characteristics that really make it an exceptional tool.

As I evaluated these eight digital whiteboard options, I found some more fun to use. I know that is a very subjective measurement, but creative thinking is a form of play for me. I believe this is true for many creatives, so as you try different tools take note if it feels more like work or play.

Multiply Lightbulb Moments


Miro Logo

I’ve used Miro since 2018, when it was still Realtime Board. I was leading a distributed team, and we were planning an onboarding event for a network of distributed teams. I lamented not being able to “just walk to the whiteboard” and begin ideating and co-creating with my teammate. I started looking for tools, found Realtime Board and was hooked.


Mire has all the essential features and many more:

Miro Features
  • Image, icon, emoji support
  • Tables
  • Kanban boards
  • Mindmaps
  • Frames
  • Charts
  • Cards
  • Templates
  • Sticky capture
  • Website capture
  • Tagging

Because Miro had the most extensive feature set of all the whiteboards reviewed, it also has the most comprehensive review. I wanted to take a little deeper dive into some of the unique features of Miro that differentiate it from the others.


At first glance, a card looks a little like sticky notes, but they can contain so much more information, which is revealed when you click on the card. You use cards to represent elements like a task you to complete or a lesson you need to teach.

Cards combined with the kanban board enable you to set up simple, agile workflows. This way, you can manage a small project inside Miro, keeping both your creative ideation and your execution in the same space.

Miro Cards


Welcome to the Miroverse.  The Miro community has created an enormous quantity of templates. You don’t need to create anything from scratch; instead, you can search through the templates and even submit templates you created. 

Sticky capture

I still enjoy facilitating in person, but what do you do at the end? Do you take photos on your phone to maybe look at again? Sticky capture lets you take that photo, and Miro converts it into a digital board. The huge win is seamlessly moving between distributed and in-person collaboration. 

It doesn’t have to be a live photo either. If someone else took a picture or you have a photo of a whiteboard from last year, you can convert that too.

Website capture

Website capture is another very unique feature. You can grab the entire vertical spread of a website. This feature can be helpful during critique sessions or gathering design inspiration. The one issue I’ve had at times is it does not import a section because it is overlaid with a cookie message.


Tagging is surprisingly unique among many of the whiteboards reviewed here. I don’t use it on every board, but it comes in handy for workflow, affinity diagraming or project management.


You can paste content from just about anywhere, including links, photos, text. You can add icons or emojis and search google images from within Miro. Miro makes it easy to cut and paste from one board to another. Exporting is enabled at a lower resolution for free and higher resolution via a paid account.


Frames help to organize and navigate an otherwise infinite board. Features like ‘follow the facilitator’ also help team members not get lost when learning the tool. 

Paid only features

Miro limits the free accounts to only three boards and also keeps a few of the features behind the paywall. Some of these paid-only features are excellent facilitation features that are available for free on other whiteboard platforms. Not making timers and voting free is one of my only critiques of Miro.

Here is a quick overview of some of the paid-only features:

  • Video: You can host a zoom-like video call from within Miro
  • Timers: Set a timer for individual or group activities.
  • Breakout frames: Facilitating multiple smaller groups at the same time? Assign them to breakout frames to have a shared space to work.
  • Voting: Helps teams give feedback and make decisions.
  • Saved templates: You can create your own reusable templates
  • Hidden items: Keep parts of the board invisible to others until just the right time.

You still get a lot for free with Miro, but paying brings Miro’s facilitation A-game.

This video gives a good feel for how many of these features come together in Miro.


Miro has a lot of integrations available. Many are two-way, meaning they bring external information into Miro and bring Miro content into another tool. A nice feature differentiating Miro from others is its integrations don’t require a third party like Zappier.

Google Drive integration allows you to embed docs and even edit them within the board. It is changing my blogging workflow.

Quick Freebee

You can find a scaled-down version of Miro at It doesn’t require anyone to log in, making it a good option when you just need a space to collaborate online briefly.


  • Free:  3 boards
  • Small Team: $8/member/month (minimum 2 members)
  • Freelancer: $12/member/month (minimum 1 member)

See all of Miro's pricing options.


If you’re working on your own or with a small team, you can do everything you need for free. It’s intuitive and easy. The library speeds up the setup and inspires new ideas for using the board.

I give Miro the best overall digital whiteboard and 5 stars.

5 stars


Mural Logo

Mural is another top-rated whiteboarding tool. Mural calls its whiteboards “murals,” so I’ll try to be consistent with capitalization to keep the confusion to a minimum in this review.


Mural has all the essentials feature and some excellent additional free features. They’ve made more available for a facilitator to get started with online whiteboard workshops. 

Here are the features we’ll look closer at

  • Template Library
  • Frameworks
  • Content Library
  • Export
  • Facilitator Tools

Template Library

Mural has a solid library of templates you can use when starting a new mural. You can search through them by category. If you find a template you like but isn’t what you need a the moment, you can save it for later to easily find it again. You can also turn your own murals into templates for yourself or others to use.

Mural Frameworks


Mural frameworks are like lightweight templates. They are very simple layouts to help you organize the content on your mural, and they help get a spontaneous activity going with minimal setup.

Content Library

The content library is a unique Mural feature that I think is pretty cool. It allows you to save groups, frameworks or other things you’ve created, and you can then reuse them like you would use a component in Figma or most Adobe apps. The content library is a great free feature to keep you from recreating the same elements repeatedly.


Mural doesn’t place any limitations on what you can export or at what resolution, and this is available even on a free account.

Facilitator Tools

Mural really shines with the facilitation tools it includes for free. Timer, voting, hiding elements, creating instructions, summon, and super lock are some great facilitation tools. Celebrate ads a bit of fun to the facilitation.


Mural offers a lot of integrations; however, many seem to only be available via zappier.

Quick Talk

If you’re working with someone on a mural and want to talk through part of it, there is no need to schedule a separate call. You can initiate a voice call right from Mural. 

Mural Scan

Mural Scan is still in beta but is another powerful tool. Like Miro’s “sticky capture,” it lets you import a photo of a real-life whiteboard. 


These were missing during my original review but not long after Mural released tags as a new feature. I was really glad to see this because tags are great when trying to identify affinity across lots of data points.

Missing Features

Features like reactions seem odd to be missing among Mural’s features. Mural also doesn’t have an element like cards, able to contain a second level of data.

This shows how collaboration can look in Mural


  • Free:  5 boards, unlimited people
  • Small Team: $9/month/user Team+ 
  • Freelancer: $9/month/user Team+ 

See all of Mural's pricing options.


Overall, Mural is also very intuitive and feature-rich. Including many facilitation features for free is a big win, and I would say Mural has one of the best free offerings.

I give Mural the best value whiteboard and 4.5 stars.

4.5 stars


FigJam logo

FigJam is unique because it pairs with the popular prototyping tool Figma. They come packaged together, which can be a big win if you’re working in UX/UI (User Experience/User Interface). 


FigJam has all the basics plus stickers, templates, widgets and plugins.  At first, it’s hard to tell if I want to use a template, widget or plugin for something. Here’s how they’re different:

  • Templates are prebuilt canvases using basic FigJam objects.
  • Widgets are custom interactive objects.
  • Plugins add an ability like being import photos from Unsplash or converting text to sticky notes.

Code block is a unique feature that allows you to embed code with syntax highlighting, but it also shows a more developer-oriented approach from Figma.

FigJam has  fewer features out of the box, but you can add some of that functionality via plugins and widgets.

You can see their features in action in this video.


  • Free: 3 Figma and 3 FigJam files
  • Small Team: $3 per editor/month
  • Freelancer: $3 per editor/month

You can see all of FigJam's pricing options.


If you’re designing or building apps, you’re probably already using Figma, and FigJam means you don’t need another tool for whiteboarding. If you’re just looking for a digital whiteboard for collaboration, FigJam is affordable with basic features.

I give FigJam the Best UX Whiteboard because of its integration with Figma and 4 stars.

4 stars

You want your life to have meaning and impact.

What if your everyday work and life not only felt natural and intuitive but also aligned with your priorities and positively impacted those around you?


LucidSpark logo


LucidSpark has all the basics. Along with extras like tags and reactions. But most of the facilitation features require a team subscription. It's not a good option for a freelance consultant because of a minimum of 3 members. They've created their own comparison with Miro is you're interested.

Organize Features

  • Magic sort groups sticky notes with similar themes, which could be a powerful time-saver. 
  • Sort organizes sticky notes by category.
  • Gather groups and arranges selected sticky notes. 

These require a paid account, but they are good features to tame the chaos that eventually comes to whiteboard sessions.


Cards are a pretty developed feature in LucidSpark. The primary function of cards appears to be outlining backlog items to then exporting them to another application like Jira, Smartsheet or Azure DevOps.

Here's what Lucid space looks like in action:


It has good integration with google drive to bring charts into docs. Integrations seem to import LucidSpark content into other apps rather than other apps' content into LucidSpark.


  • Free:  3 editable boards
  • Small Team:  $27 / month ($9/user/month - min 3 users)
  • Freelancer:  $27 / month ($9/user/month - min 3 users)

You can see all of LucidSpark's pricing options.


LucidSpark works well as a digital whiteboard, but the biggest drawback is keeping most of its features at the second pay level. Because of this I only give it 3 stars.

3 stars

Google Jamboard

Google Jamboard logo

Google Jamboard is as accessible as Gmail because it's part of the Google workspace.


Google Jamboard includes all the basic features like drawing, notes, text, shapes and images, and it integrates naturally with other Google Workspace apps. 

If you want to go big, Jamboard integrates with a touchscreen IRL Jamboard that you can pick up for a cool $5k. While this probably isn't reasonable for your average WFH professional, it does make an intriguing offer for hybrid teams. If half the team is onsite and the other half distributed, a whiteboard that is both digital and in-real-life bridges that gap uniquely.

You can see in the video that the big selling points are the interactive board and Google Workspace integration.


  • Free:  free
  • Small Team: free
  • Freelancer: free
  • Giant touch screen: $5,000


It’s a basic digital whiteboard that’s free and already available to most people, making it a good option for simple ad hoc collaboration. 

I originally gave it the best free whiteboard, but has now taken that title. But since it’s still the only one to offer a physical whiteboard option, I’m still giving it “Best IRL Upgrade.”

I had trouble figuring out how to rate Jamboard because it's a really different experience with or without the giant touch screen. On one hand, it’s a basic digital whiteboard that’s free and already available to most people, making it a good option for simple ad hoc collaboration. On the other hand, it's a possible game-changer for all the new hybrid teams out there. So I'm giving it two ratings.

Without Screen

I give Jamboard 3.5 stars because of its limited feature set.

3 stars

With Screen

I give it the Best Hybrid Team Whiteboard, but 4.5 stars for providing a collaboration option where I can still draw with my hands.

4.5 stars


Creately Logo

Creately describes itself as “the all-in-one visual work management platform,” and the title indeed fits.


The database integration is what makes Creately stand out from the crowd. With a bit of work, you could use it to build a custom project management system or CRM. All the DB features require a team subscription, but it is very affordable at less than $5 a user/month. 

You kind of have to see it to get a feel for how all the features work together.

The feature set feels geared much more for a corporate rather than consultant/freelance context.


  • Free:  3 canvases but not DB features
  • Small Team: $4.80/user/month 
  • Freelancer: n/a

You can see all of Creately's pricing options.


Creately feels more business than play. When you start looking at how much detail you can add, they deliver on having the big picture and details all in one place. It’s an intriguing solution for using one tool to build out your entire workflow. 

I give Creately the award of “More Than a Whiteboard” and 4 Stars

4 stars

When I first wrote this review I wasn’t familiar with but after I checked it out I was pleasantly surprised. takes a fresh approach by offering all its features with unlimited team members and unlimited board… for FREE. 

That’s right free and unlimited. Ok, now I sound like a cell phone commercial. But seriously, after looking at the pricing of so many other online whiteboards, this is really refreshing.


They have all the basic features like text, shapes, sticky notes and comments. 

The template library has options for all the common facilitation exercises, so you don’t have to build boards from scratch.

Some advanced features that surprised me to be offered for free include voting, timers, presentation mode and built-in video or audio calls.

You can create both public and private boards. So whether you're collaborating on that big software project or planning your weekly groceries, they’ve got you covered. has very tight integrations with Jira and Confluence. Updates sync two way, which is critical for really making it work with your team. If Jira is where your team is already working, might be the best option for you. 

You can learn more about their feature set in this video.


Free with unlimited team members and boards. 

If you want to use it at an enterprise level, you can reach out to them for a custom quote. 


I really was surprised to discover how much functionality offers for free. This is why it should be no surprise that they took over as best free whiteboard.

I give 4.0 stars because of its template library and free advanced features. 

4 stars


PencilSpaces is primarily focused on helping online students and teachers interact as they learn. I can see it being used either for online classes or tutoring. I could also see it being used in class as an alternative to kids coming up to write on the board.


They use the word “space” to refer to their online whiteboard. The space has a clean and simple UI, which feels nice.

They include some of the basics like drawing shapes and adding images and text. 

It is missing the ability to place comments on the board but students can also just write on board. And it does include a group chat feature.

There are a few nice teaching-specific features like highlighting, adding equations, a built-in calculator, and a periodic table.

PencilSpaces has one button to lock and unlock the whole board, but you can’t lock individual items.

They offer an in-app video calling ability so no need for a second zoom call. This is really helpful for keeping kids focused.

You can learn more about PencilSpaces in this tutorial.


PencilSpaces is free. So if you’re an online teacher or tutor, check it out.


Overall I like what they’re doing with the product. Online learning has been a struggle for many so it’s a good space to push into.

I give PencilSpaces the award of Best for instructors and 3.5 stars because its feature set is still pretty basic but what they have works well.

3 stars

We covered a lot. I hope it helped you identify a good option for your team. If you have any questions or want to connect, reach out on LinkedIn.

Here’s a quick list of the six boards I reviewed:

Best overall

5 stars

Best Value

4.5 stars

Best for UX

4 stars


3 stars

Google Jamboard
(without screen)

3 stars

Best for Hybrid Teams (with screen)

4.5 stars

More Than a Whiteboard

4 stars
Best Budget Board

4 stars

Best for Instructors

3 stars

Action Plan

Ready to start collaborating?

Give one of these whiteboards a try. Let me know which one you liked best.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Design Thinking?

What is design thinking?

Design thinking is a problem-solving approach that involves a deep understanding of user needs and experiences to create innovative solutions. It is a human-centered methodology that seeks to empathize with users, define their problems, ideate potential solutions, prototype and test those solutions, and iterate based on feedback.

Design thinking emphasizes creativity, collaboration, and experimentation, and it can be applied to a wide range of challenges, from product design and development to service design and organizational change. It involves creating a culture of continuous learning and improvement, where failure is seen as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Some key principles of design thinking include:

  1. Empathy: Design thinking starts with empathy for the user, seeking to understand their needs, motivations, and pain points through observation, interviews, and other research methods.
  2. Iteration: Design thinking is an iterative process, involving the creation and testing of prototypes to refine and improve solutions.
  3. Collaboration: Design thinking is a collaborative approach that involves bringing together diverse perspectives and skills to ideate and create solutions.
  4. Visualization: Design thinking often involves visualizing ideas and concepts through sketches, diagrams, and other visual representations.
  5. User-Centeredness: Design thinking prioritizes the needs and experiences of users, creating solutions that are tailored to their specific needs and preferences.

Overall, design thinking is a powerful approach to problem-solving that emphasizes creativity, collaboration, and user-centeredness. It can help organizations develop innovative solutions to complex challenges while creating a culture of continuous improvement.

Learn more about design thinking.

What are the five steps of design thinking?

Design thinking typically involves the following five iterative steps:

  1. Empathize: This stage involves understanding the user's needs, desires, and challenges. Designers use empathy to put themselves in the user's shoes to gain a deep understanding of their experiences.
  2. Define: In this stage, designers synthesize their research findings and define the problem statement, which serves as a guiding principle throughout the rest of the process to ensure that solutions are focused on addressing the problem.
  3. Ideate: During the ideation phase, designers generate a wide range of ideas and potential solutions to the problem statement. Brainstorming, sketching, and other creative techniques are commonly used to help facilitate the generation of novel ideas.
  4. Prototype: In this phase, designers create a prototype of the best solution or solutions that emerged from the ideation stage. Prototypes can take many different forms, but they are typically visual representations that allow users to interact with the potential solution and provide feedback.
  5. Test: Finally, the designer tests the prototype with users, gathers feedback, and observes how the user interacts with the prototype. This feedback is then used to refine the prototype further, leading to an improved solution or even new ideas and further iterations of the design thinking process.

Overall, design thinking provides a structured approach to problem-solving that emphasizes creativity, collaboration, and user-centeredness. It enables designers to develop innovative solutions that meet the needs of the users while also providing value to the organization.

Learn more about design thinking.

What are some of the best design thinking exercises?

There are many design thinking exercises that teams can use to generate creativity and innovation. Here are some examples:

  1. Empathy mapping: In this exercise, team members map out the user's experience and emotions to better understand their needs and pain points.
  2. Idea generation: One classic idea generation exercise is brainstorming, which involves generating as many ideas as possible without judgment or critique. Another popular exercise is "Crazy 8s," in which team members sketch eight ideas in eight minutes.
  3. Prototyping: Prototyping exercises include creating low-fidelity prototypes using materials like paper, cardboard, or clay to help teams visualize and test their ideas.
  4. Role-playing: Role-playing exercises help teams empathize with users by acting out different scenarios and personas.
  5. Collaborative sketching: This exercise involves having team members collaborate on a single sketch or drawing, each taking turns adding to the design.
  6. Mind-mapping: Mind-mapping exercises help to organize thoughts and ideas by visually representing the relationships between them.
  7. SCAMPER: This acronym stands for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, and Reverse. This exercise is helpful in generating new ideas by encouraging teams to brainstorm ways to modify or adapt existing products or processes.

Overall, these exercises help teams to generate and test ideas, refine solutions, and work collaboratively towards creating innovative solutions that meet the needs of users.

Learn more about design thinking.

How to use Design Thinking

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