Whiteboards in World Anvil Codex | World Anvil


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  Whiteboards let you place graphical items in a free-form whiteboard. These items include shapes and text (like arrows, lines, text boxes, and sticky notes), as well as World Anvil elements (like articles, maps, images, and more).   This screenshot shows an example of what you can do with a Whiteboard:

full whiteboard.png


How to create a new whiteboard

Whiteboards can be accessed from the Whiteboards option in the left sidebar. This will take you to the list of whiteboards you have created in your world (it will be empty if you haven't created one yet). From there, you can use the edit and delete buttons for each whiteboard, as well as the clipboard button, which will copy a BBCode tag in your clipboard that you can then paste anywhere on World Anvil.   After clicking the "New Whiteboard" button, you'll get the whiteboard creation screen, which looks like this:  

  There are three options you can configure before getting to the whiteboard itself:  
  • Whiteboard title (mandatory)
  • Status: either public of private. If it's private, you can fine-tune its visibility with the next setting.
  • Subscriber groups: select who will be able to view the whiteboard. Learn more about subscribers in the Guide to Subscribers.
  Then, click the Create Whiteboard button to get to the editing interface.  

How to edit a whiteboard

  • Layout: preferences menu in top left, styling menu in top right, bottom center to add and delete items.
  • An newly-created whiteboard looks like this:  

      Other than the quick buttons in the bottom right, which are visible in all World Anvil pages, Whiteboards has three interface elements:
  • Preferences menu: on the top left corner of the whiteboard, there's a menu button you can use to edit the whiteboard's preferences.
  • Styling menu and zoom: on the top right corner, the Style menu lets you change how the items in the whiteboard look. The zoom percentage lets you zoom in and out.
  • Bottom bar: this contains all the options to insert, edit, and delete items in the whiteboard.
  • The next sections will explain in detail everything you can do with Whiteboards.  

    Adding new items

    The bottom bar has eight buttons plus two extra buttons at the sides. The left-most button, with an ellipsis icon, will be explained in its own section. The bar looks like this:  

      From left to right, this is what each button is for:  
  • Cursor: this is selected by default and lets you select and move items in the whiteboard.
  • Pencil: with this selected, you can draw freehand lines.
  • Eraser: similarly to art software, this lets you erase any items added to the whiteboard.
  • Shape (a square by default): click it to draw the desired shape.
  • Plus: the central button will pop-up a search box in which you can look up anything in your world. Click any search result to insert a link in the whiteboard, which will include the item's main image (if it has any).
  • Arrow: arrows can be anchored to other items. If you drag them to items like shapes or embeds, you'll be able to move them later without losing the connection to the arrow.
  • Text: this is a text box with transparent background and borders.
  • Sticky note: similar to the previous one, but with a solid background (you can also set background images, as explained in the next section.
  • Finally, you can use the trash icon in the right corner of the bar to delete any selected items. Most of these buttons can also be activated with the numbrs in your keyboard: 1 is the mouse button, 2 os freehand drawing, and so on. Additionally, if you double click a tool, the tool will keep being selected until you select another one instead of going back to the default arrow tool.   This screenshot shows all the different objects you can add to a whiteboard:


    Editing added items

    When you click on an added item, it will be selected with a bounding box. In most cases, this displays a square handler at each corner that you can use to resize it and a circle handler at the top to rotate it. For arrows and lines, the circle handlers at each end are used both for resizing and rotation, and the handler in the middle can be used to curve it.  

      Right-clicking on an item will bring up an options menu. Most options, like copy, paste, and duplicate, are intuitive and won't be explained here. Instead, the following list explains the options that are more unique to Whiteboards. Note that not all options are available for all items:
  • Add Url (except embeds): this lets you link the item to any element of your world, which you can select in the search box that will pop up. Double-clicking the item will then open the linked element in a new tab. To change or delete the Url, right-click it again and use the "Change Url" option.
  • Lock / Unlock: a locked item can't be edited in any way. If you select a locked item, the selection box will have a dotted border instead of the usual solid one. To unlock an item, use the same option again.
  • Change Block (only embeds): this gives you several options to change how to embedded block is displayed, including its background image, title, and icon. Note that these changes won't change the linked element, only how it's displayed in the whiteboard.
  • Type (only embeds): it lets you change the embed to use a predefined shape from a list.
  • Change Background Image (only sticky notes): it will replace the solid background color for an image of your choice. The image needs to be uploaded to your world.
  • Note that some of the options have keyboard shortcuts too. They are specified within the menu itself, but they will only trigger if you haven't opened the menu.  

    Using the style menu

    With the "Style" menu at the top-right, you can both change the style of a selected item and predefine how new items will be styled. The options are self-explanatory, so they won't be detailed here. Note that the style menu will show different options depending on which items are selected. For example, the "align" option doesn't appear for article embeds, because they don't have free-form text, and border styles don't appear for sticky notes, because they are borderless.  

    Positioning and alignment

    On the left side of the bottom bar there's a button with an ellipsis icon with several options that will applie on the selected object. When you mouse over them, a small pop-over will tell you its function, which in most case are common actions. Here are the two that might not be as obvious:
  • Toggle Aspect Ratio Lock: the aspect ratio is the ratio between the length and the height of an object. If this option is enabled, resizing an object won't change its proportions.
  • Reset Angle: clicking this will reset the selected object to its default rotation.
  • How can I drag/pan the whiteboard?

    There are different ways to navigate the whiteboard:  
    • SCROLL WHEEL: Navigates UP and DOWN on the vertical axis.
    • SHIFT + SCROLL WHEEL: Navigates LEFT and RIGHT on the horizontal axis.
    • HOLD SPACE + LEFT MOUSE BUTTON: Enables paning of the whiteboard in any direction by moving the mouse. This does not work when the whiteboard is embedded in an article.
    • HOLD SCROLL WHEEL + LEFT MOUSE BUTTON: Enables paning of the whiteboard in any direction by moving the mouse. This only works while the curser is placed on the background of the whiteboard when clicking.

    Edit your preferences

    The top-left menu contains useful settings for the whiteboard. It's divided into Edit and Preferences: Edit has options for the edit space itself (such as copy/paste) while Preferences deals with the interface. The following list details the options that might not be obvious:
  • Edit title and visibility: to change these settings, click the whiteboard name next to the menu button. This will open a pop-up with the different settings you can change.
  • Change Background (Edit): changes the background of the whole whiteboard—you can pick a sollid color or any image uploaded to your world.
  • Dark Mode (Preferences): provides compatibility with the dark World Anvil theme. It makes the interface elements dark and turns the default black color of shapes light grey.
  • Focus Mode (Preferences): minimizes the interface elements. To bring them back up, click the top-left menu again.
  • Grid and Snaps (Preferences): displays a grid in the background and provides snaps to help you align items with more precision.
  • Handles (Preferences): handles are the way you control the shape and rotation of an object. These preferences let you choose where you see these three handlers:
  • Rotate Handles: this is the small circle that appears on top of most objects. You can drag it to rotate it.
  • Clone Handles: if this is enabled, a small arrow will appear on some elements. Clicking it will clone the element.
  • This image shows a whiteboard with the grid enabled in dark mode (note that the grid is very subtle—you might need to open the image in a new tab to see it):  

    whiteboard dark mode.png


    How to embed your whiteboard in an article

    Once you've created your whiteboard, you're ready to show it off! Like all elements in World Anvil, you can copy and paste the embed code into an article to show it off to the world.  
    1. Go to your Whiteboards list by clicking Whiteboards in the left menu
    2. click the Clipboard Icon next to the Whiteboard you want to embed. This copies the BBCode to your clipboard
    3. Now just paste the Whiteboard in whichever article you'd like, and it'll appear!




    How can I delete a whiteboard?
    In the list of whiteboards, you'll see a trash icon. Click it and confirm the deletion with the checkmark button. Note that deleting a whiteboard is not reversible!
    Where can I find the shareable link?
    The shareable and edit links are the same for Whiteboards. Simply copy the link and send it to the people you want to share it with—as long as the whiteboard is public or they have been added as subscribers, they will see it.
    Right-clicking an item with text doesn't bring up the Whiteboards right-click menu
    Make sure the text of the item is not selected. Click outside of the item to deselect it and right-click on it directly again.
    Can I edit the font size of a text?
    The font size is determined by the size of its container. So, to change it, resize the container (such as a text box or a sticky note).
    I don't see an option to edit the whiteboard's title or visibility! How can I do it?
    While you're editing the whiteboard, click the whiteboard title next to the top-left corner menu. This will open a pop-up with the whiteboard's settings.
    Can I share my whiteboard?
    Yes. In the whiteboards list, click the clipboard icon to copy the whiteboard's code. Then, paste it in any article to embed it. People with access to the article will be able to read it as long as the whiteboard is public.
    Can I collaborate in real time with other people?
    Not for now, but it's planned for a future update.

    Other guides


    Making quest boards or conspiracy boards   Plot your Adventures and One Shots with Whiteboards   Write a Choose Your Adventure story with Whiteboards   How to plot a novel using the Hero's Journey structure


    Please Login in order to comment!
    Apr 12, 2022 14:07 by Benjamin Christman

    When can we expect the Text tool to be fixed?

    Apr 12, 2022 16:03

    The text tool is working—what issue are you having exactly?

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    Apr 13, 2022 00:00 by Benjamin Christman

    When I try to place a text box, it switches to the select tool and doesn't let me type.

    Apr 13, 2022 09:25

    To place a text box, you need to click without dragging (so, click and immediately release). You'll see an indicator as if a blank character was highlighted. You're not the first one to be confused by this though, so I brought it up with the dev. It might become more intuitive in the future!

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    Apr 13, 2022 12:28 by Benjamin Christman

    I haven't been trying to click and drag. I click on the Text tool, move my cursor where I want the text and click once, just like in the tutorial video, and it immediately switches to the Select tool. All the other tools have been working as expected, but the Text tool keeps giving me issues.   I will add that it only gives me issues when I attempt to use my computer's mouse or touchpad, but works when I use a touchscreen device.

    Apr 18, 2022 09:22

    Which browser are you using? And do you have any extensions that could be conflicting with this? Try using whiteboards in incognito mode, so you can use it without any extensions enabled.

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    Apr 19, 2022 19:18 by Ara

    I've been having a similar issue with the text tool myself, only it was working at first and then suddenly stopped working. Now it only does as described above. I use Microsoft Edge and do not have any extensions on it. I have a temporary work around by copying text I've already made and then editing that since it still lets me edit the text that has been placed successfully.

    Apr 20, 2022 07:57

    We recommend using Chrome for World Anvil. Other browsers will work most of the time but there might be little incompatibilities.

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    May 17, 2022 11:42

    I have a problem where I can't change the text's size. Not sure whether it's a bug or a feature, but I would love to be able to have larger text.

    May 18, 2022 08:22

    You should be able to change the font size of a text box by resizing it. If you can't, could you report this as a bug? Make sure to include any details you feel are relevant. Thank you!

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    Jun 2, 2022 22:55

    Is it possible to alter the Font style of a Text Box?

    Jun 3, 2022 09:59

    Hi! You can change the font with the "styles" menu at the top right corner. If you mean italics, bold, and this sort of thing, I'm afraid that's not currently possible.

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    Jun 3, 2022 19:58

    Thankyou... just wanted to change the font to something more appealing.

    Jun 10, 2022 03:14 by Jesse White

    I was able to place images but now all of a sudden I can not place any images in any whiteboard. It show's them as options to load in but when selected nothing happens. Also cannot load a background image. Please help! Thanks!

    Jun 10, 2022 09:08

    Looks like this is a bug, and has already be reported to GitHub! You can follow the discussion here: https://github.com/worldanvil/worldanvil-bug-tracker/issues/1074.

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    Jun 10, 2022 17:54 by Jesse White

    Awesome! thanks so much!

    Jun 27, 2022 16:12

    I lost all of my work on both of my whiteboard and reported it, but my whiteboards were never fixed and no one ever responded about my issue. Has the saving function been corrected? I don't want to lose all my work again.

    Jun 28, 2022 10:51

    Hi! I'm really sorry you lost your work. I've looked through the GitHub issues and I've found yours. I'll get in touch with the Whiteboard's developer and either I or him will get back to you!

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    Jun 28, 2022 14:13

    Hi! The developer got back to me. Unfortunately the lost data can't be recovered, but he's working on it to make sure it doesn't happen again! When the issue is fixed, you'll see an update in the GitHub ticket.

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    Jun 28, 2022 15:59

    Ok, thanks so much!

    Jul 1, 2022 16:07

    First off, let me just say I love this whiteboard feature and have been looking forward to it being on WorldAnvil for a long time.   Unfortunately Just like Ondo, I spent a few hours working on a whiteboard only to have it disappear entirely last night. I understand that the data are not currently able to be recovered, but are there plans on the whiteboard roadmap for any sort of versioning? This would also be useful for things like community maps.

    Jul 2, 2022 09:36

    If by versioning you mean the ability to create "snapshots" in time so that you can roll back to them, that's not currently planned as far as I know. If you had this same issue, I recommend adding a comment to the bug tracker, including any other details that might be useful to you.

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    Jul 2, 2022 09:36

    Sorry, I meant "that might be useful to the devs", not "to you"!

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    Aug 20, 2022 13:34

    Hi, I'm thinking of using the whiteboard functionality, which seems very cool, as a "GM screen" (GM side of course)

  • Is there a way to make an interactive table i've created appear in the whiteboard?
  • Also, after putting an article in the whiteboard, is there a way to show it's content in the whiteboard? (permanently or temporarily by mousing over it). Thanks!
  • Aug 22, 2022 07:53

    Hi! These options aren't currently available, but feel free to suggest them as features to the devs! You can use the community features voting page for that.

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    Sep 4, 2022 12:59

    Hey all, Love the idea of the Whiteboards (and am using a plain one to plan a current one shot, the idea is perfect) However it seems that (for me at least) the issue with the Backgrounds and Images not showing has started happening again (issue popped up a few months ago in terms of issue tracking on github). I have tried clearing the cache and hard clearing the page but cannot get images to load at all (not as articles or backgrounds). Just logging the issue here so people are aware in case its not just a local problem.

    Sep 6, 2022 07:50

    Hi! Please reports bugs in the bug tracker on GitHub. Thanks!

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    Feb 14, 2024 09:15

    Hi! Might be an odd question, but is there a way to move the bottom bar (the one you add things to the board with) to a different location? I'm using a laptop with 14" screen and the proportions of the whiteboard seem to fit a much larger screen so I have to scroll up and down to get to the different bars... I tried reducing the view size in my browser, but I have to go down to 67% in order to get all the bars visible at once and that's just too small to work comfortably... Is there anything to do?

    Feb 15, 2024 07:00

    Hi! I'm afraid this is not currently an option. You can suggest this as a feature if you think it will have enough community support and would like the Team to discuss it!

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    Feb 18, 2024 05:41

    Okay, thanks! Guess we'll find out how many people use a smaller screen XD