All About Computational Whiteboard

CoCalc is ever present on the frontier of cloud-based collaborative technologies. We hope to unify the communities of science, engineering and mathematics by creating an engaging atmosphere where contributors can combine their collective research/teaching efforts and adjust computational resources on demand.

Our newest feature, Computational Whiteboard, allows collaborators within a project to work together on an infinite canvas while running code, creating and interpreting graphs, presenting/demonstrating information, strategizing, holding discussions, and much more.

Computational Whiteboard users are able to communicate and view contributions to the creative space in real-time, and with our integrated TimeTravel feature, browse previous snapshots of their work (to copy/paste bits of past code) when something goes awry.

A fully featured online collaborative whiteboard for computation, mathematics and project planning.

CoCalc’s collaborative mathematical whiteboards support an infinite canvas with a Rich-Text /Markdown editor with mathematical LaTeX expressions, sticky notes, sketching with pens, Jupyter code cells with support for tab completion and interactive widget, chat conversations with collaborators, hundreds of icons, frames to group objects, and stopwatches and countdown timers to organize and track work.

Whiteboard is perfect for hosting active learning sessions or workshops where students can learn together while coding! All without the hassles of installation or worries of messing up anyone’s computer.

General Features

Handwritten Notes

Handwrite notes for class, all of the day’s ideas and formulas (or even sketch in a variety of colors) with CoCalc’s Whiteboard. Our Whiteboard features an infinite canvas where you can navigate and zoom in/out with ease via the map and plus/minus icons at the bottom right corner of the window.

Compatible with iPencil and equivalent products for use with your favorite tablet devices. Perfect for holding lectures, creating/distributing course notes, and hosting active coding sessions.

Our Computational Whiteboard introduces a new way to program (and efficiently communicate underlying mathematical concepts) in real-time with those you choose to collaborate with.

Pen, Highlighter, and Eraser

Write with precision by using a Wacom product, your tablet’s pen, or your cursor! Easily switch between various modes (Pen, Highlighter, and Eraser) by clicking on the respective icons via the pen tab shown below. Highlight your handwritten notes (or text) to draw more attention to a topic and better organize, and when you make a mistake, conveniently “white-it-out” with Eraser.

Collaborators can engage with each other inside of the Whiteboard in real-time, and when there are multiple contributors to the collaborative space, TimeTravel allows you to view the order in which things were written on the canvas, and by whom. This record is accessible via a browsable history slider that supports copy/paste for quickly needed recoveries.

Colors and Size

Make note-taking fun! Use a host of colors, and choose the various way in which you select them with “color picker”. Assign each circle on your “palette” with your favorite custom colors! You can also specify the size of the “pen tip” by pixels px, and define the level of opacity for further customization.

Some notable “pickers” to select from via a full color spectrum (at least without a color code) are Photoshop, Chrome, and Sketch. Quickly choose from preset color selections using Circle, Twitter, Github, Swatches, or Blocks. Swatches contains a more extensive array of colors than the others noted for quick selection.

Rich Text Editor

Create text boxes and add text-based content using a Rich Text (WYSIWYG) Editor. This allows the user to have the a dynamic understanding of what the document will look like when it is finished, even while editing it.

Like Word, our Rich Text Editor uses button-style formatting, and does not require any command lines for defining the document’s format.

With the Rich Text “editing bar”, you can easily perform basic text-based functions such as bold, italicize, underline, strikethrough, code, as well as use various fonts and text sizes, heading sizes, colors, and create lists by simply clicking the icons.

If you are just beginning to learn Markdown/LaTeX, or simply appreciate the feel of a “Microsoft Office-style” editor, you might find great use out of CoCalc’s Rich Text Editor!


Use LaTeX in both text boxes and sticky notes within our Computational Whiteboard. Easily communicate mathematical concepts while holding discussions with colleagues (or students).

Whiteboard’s integration with LaTeX allows users to properly relay the algorithms, equations, and methodologies required for implementing whatever code-based solution they might have in mind.

It is also quite convenient for presentations, course notes, and hosting live lectures (or active learning sessions)!


Markdown is a popular markup language for formatting plain text, and it has a ton of different use cases! Quickly create resumes, reports, websites, presentations, and documentation for whatever need arises. Every text cell (and sticky note) is fully Markdown compatible.

Annotate code, add images, format plain text via your favorite Markdown commands, and use LaTeX formulas.

However, when the need arises you can easily switch between Markdown, our (WYSIWYG)-style Rich Text Editor, and LaTeX formatting with the click of a button!

Sticky Notes

Post sticky notes directly on the Computational Whiteboard and write freely using Rich Text, Markdown, or LaTeX.

Finally, we are able to communicate about the mathematics involved with code-based implementations (within the realm of programming) in popular languages such as R, Python, Julia, Sage and more.

Organize your ongoing projects in Whiteboard by using different colored sticky notes, then post them for students or colleagues to view in real-time.

Color, Size, Font

Make post it notes to students/colleagues more unique and capture their attention with various fonts, text sizes, and colors of sticky notes. It truly makes receiving that essential feedback more interesting/personalized and makes it a breeze to differentiate various topics.

Jupyter Notebook Cells

You guessed it, finally you can use Jupyter Notebook cells to code in any of CoCalc’s dozen available kernels within the Computational Whiteboard workspace.

Our library of pre-installed software is massive, and comes at no hassle to you. Reach out if you ever would like us to import a new package!

(Coming Soon) Specify the order in which multiple code cells run by using Edges, (directional arrows), between Jupyter cells. This effectively makes the execution order of the a directed graph!

Moreover, when you are done with the Computational Whiteboard environment and want to clean things up a bit, export your Whiteboard’s Jupyter cells to the standard CoCalc Jupyter Notebook file environment.

CoCalc’s Computational Whiteboard is an excellent choice for group learning. Simultaneously view progress between members of your class (or colleagues) as you interact with plots and interactive widgets.

Run Cells with Edges (Directional Arrows)

Frames are perfect for splitting up your Whiteboard into multiple sections. Take full advantage of this feature by dividing your Whiteboard’s creative space to discuss various topics of interest, host active learning sessions with students (or colleagues), code various components of your program, and simply better organize your content.

Chat and Video Chat

In order to effectively collaborate, we must be able to efficiently communicate. We are committed to making our users experience as seamless as possible when connecting with other collaborators.

CoCalc users can view changes made by collaborators in real time, while concurrently holding discussions via instant messenger and video chat.

Our instant messenger, simply named “Chat”, is great for talking about issues with implementations and receiving mathematically oriented-feedback. “Video Chat” is also an option when a quick call between collaborators is required!

Hosting internal meetings, giving demonstrations, or facilitating active learning sessions during courses has never been easier with CoCalc, and we hope that it helps push your productivity to the next level!

Organizing your Whiteboard

  • Use frames and edges to organize the Computational Whiteboard into sections where you can discuss or work on related topics.
  • Split your editor to view several parts of your workspace at the same time. (Or use other features, like Search and TimeTravel.)
  • Easily navigate around your workspace with the overview map, which has two nifty preview modes, (or simply hide it to get it out of the way).
  • Pages allow you to create distinct workspaces, whether that be for working in groups, or splitting your own workflow by topic.

Frames and Edges

Frames are perfect for splitting up your Whiteboard into multiple sections. Take full advantage of this feature by dividing your Whiteboard’s creative space to discuss various topics of interest, host active learning sessions with students (or colleagues), code various components of your program, and simply better organize your content.

Split Editor

Split your editor (vertically or horizontally) to make the most of your screen space! Simultaneously view multiple locations on your Whiteboard, or use other features like TimeTravel, Search, Pages, and Terminal alongside your Whiteboard’s canvas.

Navigational Map

To get a sense of location while perusing around your Whiteboard, use the Navigational Map in the bottom right corner. Click a location on the “mini-board” to move to that exact spot! Adjust the map size at will, and if the map takes up too much real estate, hide it. Quickly expand your view to the entire whiteboard using the icon depicting outward facing arrows. To zoom in/out, use the +/- icons, (or there is a slide bar).


Separate your workflow into different creative spaces using Pages! Click the “page” icon in the toolbar and use “add page” to create another infinite canvas where you can perform computations or other tasks. Perfect for organizing groups within if you don’t want them separated by frames on the same page.


Our signature TimeTravel feature records all changes made to the Whiteboard. It’s easy to view who contributed what code (or text) in chronological order via the browsable history slider. Just in case something is broken or gets deleted, you can copy/paste from any point in history, and you can even publish your whiteboard to the share server. TimeTravel is useful for getting “in the mindset” of your students or colleagues while you actively solve problems together and leave feedback.


Use the Search feature by making hashtags in text boxes and sticky notes around the Whiteboard, then type them into the search bar and find all related topics conveniently located in the same place, (accessible via linear scrolling). You may also notice without looking anything up, Search provides a linear depiction of the objects in your workspace, (note that they are ordered top-down from left-to-right).


Keep track of time spent on various tasks while working within your whiteboard with a Stopwatch or Timer. Click the clock icon in the vertical toolbar to access various presets (or easily customize). Change the countdown time, size, font or color by double clicking the presets.


The Icon symbol allows users to choose from tons of sticker-like images via the icon library to paste on their Whiteboard. They are honestly just fun! Pick the color and size for your icons by double clicking (or paste first and edit afterwards).

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