There are a number of online corkboard / whiteboard / pinboards that one can use to post notes and files, and even draw and then share those with others. Some can be done in realtime, and others require saving and sharing. One of the most popular is Padlet and for good reason. It is simple to use and handles multimedia files with ease. While fantastic, Padlet is not without some minor bumps. For one, you can’t change the colour, size, or font of the post-it notes, it doesn’t always play nice with links, and to download a file, you have to view it and then scroll down to the source link button. You can create as large a pad as you would like, but there is no map feature to see where you are and to easily navigate to that spot. Lastly, there isn’t a history function such as you would find in a wiki to scroll back to see what people have done to the board over time.
To address these things, I have turned to GroupZap. GroupZap is an online post-it board that allows users to collaborate with others in realtime and to do all of the things I just mentioned that Padlet doesn’t do. This post is meant to be a fairly comprehensive guide to all things GroupZap.
I’ve broken the instructions into sections to make it easier to find answers to what you need to do, but you can also read it in order from creation to sharing.
Creating a new board:
- Type in your email address (note: you can use a fake email address as well). You may also give your board a name in the ‘Topic’ field. Click on ‘Go to Whiteboard’ when you are finished.
- Click on ‘Let’s GroupZap!’
Adding items to your whiteboard:
Once you have created a GroupZap board, you can then start adding things to the board quite easily. Most of the functions are drag-and-drop, although you can also click and add items as well.
- To add a simple coloured note to the page, simply drag a note over from the ‘Stuff to Add’ column on the right side of the screen.
- To add a file from your computer, simply open a file window on your computer, find the file you would like to add, and drag it onto the GroupZap board. GroupZap will only support files up to 100MB.
- You can also add a note by simply clicking on the note you would like to add and it will appear in the middle of the board.
- You can also adda file by scrolling down the ‘Stuff to Add list’ and clicking on the ‘Choose File’ button.
- Lastly, you can add a file from a weblink by scrolling down the ‘Stuff to Add list’ and add the link to the URL box and click on ‘Add’.
Arranging and resizing the items on your board:
Once you have added items to your board, you can resize, rotate, modify, arrange, delete, and move them.
- To move an item, simply click and drag it to where you would like to place it.
- To rotate and resize the item, simply hold down the shift key and click and move the mouse up and down to rotate and left and right to resize it.
- To edit the content of a note, double-click on the note and click on the ‘Edit’ icon (pencil).
- To move a note in front of another item or behind it, double click on the item and then click on ‘Front’ or ‘Back’.
- To delete an item, double click on it and choose ‘Delete’. If you accidentally delete something, you will find an ‘Undelete’ panel at the top of the ‘Stuff to Add’ list on the right side of the page. Simply click and drag the item back onto the board.
- To lock an item in place and prevent it from being rotated, resized, or deleted, double-click on the item, choose ‘Edit’ and then click on the lock symbol before clicking ‘OK’.
Editing the content of the item:
- To add a note to a file, double click on it, choose ‘Edit’ and then add your text to the ‘Note’ field and click on ‘OK’.
- To add a link and/or note to a coloured note, double click on it, choose ‘Edit’, click on the link icon (chain) and add your note and/or URL before click on ‘OK’.
Clicking on links, and downloading files:
- To click on links of a note, double click on the note, choose ‘Edit’ and then click on the link icon (chain). Click on the arrow next to the URL and the link will open in a new window or tab.
- To download a file, such as an image or PDF, double click on the item and click on ‘Download’ button.
Adding boxes, lines, and arrows:
- Scroll down the ‘Stuff to Add’ column until you see the lines and boxes. Drag an item on the board. Click and drag the dots on the item to manipulate them.
Adding a different background:
- At the top of the page, click on ‘Your Whiteboard’, click on ‘Administer’, and then choose your ‘Custom Background’, before clicking on ‘Update’ and ‘Whiteboard’.
Sharing with others:
- At the top of the page, click on ‘Invite’ and ‘Send Link’. Choose the type of link you want by clicking on ‘Editing’ and choosing either ‘Viewing only’, ‘Administrators’, or leave it as ‘Editing’. Copy the link from beside it and share with whomever you would like.
Adding a password:
- At the top of the page, click on ‘Invite’ and ‘Security’.
- Check off ‘Read-only’ to stop editing on the page.
- Under ‘Access’, choose ‘Anonymously’ so those visiting the page won’t have to share who is editing.
- Under ‘Board Password’, add a password and confirm if you want to make the page private.
Export and embed your board:
- Once you are finished, you can share an image or PDF of your board by clicking on ‘Export’ at the top of the page and then ‘PDF’ or ‘PNG’.
- You can also export a CSV file of all notes and links by clicking on ‘Export’ at the top of the page and then ‘CSV’.
- You can embed the board by clicking on ‘Export’ at the top of the page and then ‘Share/Embed’. Copy the ‘Embed’ code and ‘Whiteboard’. Paste the embed code into your website.