Image: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic.

Jamboard provides people who use Google Workspace a collaborative space to draw, as well as add images, notes, shapes and text. If you’ve used Jamboard from your browser or the Jamboard Android or iOS app, you likely know that it also works well as a collaborative brainstorming tool for teams that use Google Meet.

But sometimes people who use Jamboard miss some of the drawing app’s useful features. For example, you may use your device’s camera to add an image to a board. Then once you’ve added an image, you may place a note in front of — or, if you prefer, behind — the image or any other item, then add any appropriate annotation, as desired. And when sharing a Jamboard with colleagues, you might use the laser pointer feature to indicate the precise portion of the page you want to discuss.

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To explore the following Jamboard features, I recommend you use Chrome on your laptop or desktop computer while connected to the internet.

Create a Jamboard with

When you have an internet connection, open a browser such as Chrome on your computer, then type and press enter, as shown in Figure A.

This takes you to the Jamboard app online and creates a new, blank Jamboard.

Figure A

Image: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic. Type in Chrome to quickly create a new, blank Jamboard.

Choose from six sources to insert an image

Select the Add image icon, then choose from six potential sources to add an image to your Jamboard, as shown in Figure B. The image sources include:

  • Upload, to add an image from your device
  • By URL, to add an image from a known web link
  • Camera, to capture an image with your device’s camera
  • Google image search, to search from an image from the web
  • Google Drive, to select a stored from Google Drive
  • Google Photos, to select any image from Photos

Figure B

Image: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic. Insert an image to a Jamboard from six different sources, including your device’s camera.

Move a Jamboard object forward or back

Jamboard lets you move an object forward or backward so that an item appears to be in front or behind another object. This lets you do things like put text in front of an image or stack images, text or notes.

To modify the layer of an object, tap or click on an item on your board, select the three dot menu and then choose Order, as shown in Figure C. This offers four options that you may select:

  • Bring to front
  • Bring forward
  • Send backward
  • Send to back

Figure C

Image: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic. Tap or click on an image, sticky note or typed text, select the three dot menu, then Order. You may then move the item forward or backward, in relation to other displayed objects as desired.


Duplicate objects or boards

You may select and duplicate any sticky note, image, shape or text box on a Jamboard.

  1. Choose the Select tool (the upward pointing arrow).
  2. Click on the item you want to duplicate.
  3. Select the three-dot menu that displays, then choose Duplicate, as shown in Figure D (bottom).
  4. The duplicated item displays in front of — and slightly offset from — your chosen object, and is automatically selected, so you may move it to a desired location on your Jamboard.

You also may select and duplicate a board.

  1. Navigate (with the right and left arrows near the top of the screen) to the board you want to duplicate.
  1. Click to expand the frame bar, near the center-top of the display.
  2. Select the three-dot menu that displays, then choose Duplicate, as shown in Figure D (top).
  3. The duplicated board displays as a new board inserted to the right of your existing board.

Figure D

Image: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic. You may duplicate an image, text box or sticky note on a board (bottom). You also may duplicate an entire board (top).

Direct attention with the laser pointer

When you present to people physically nearby, you might move, point or look to direct attention. In a conventional meeting, when presenting to people who are all gathered in one physical space, each of these actions can convey meaning and clarify content.

The same techniques can work when you present to an online audience. Select the laser pointer in Jamboard, then click and mark anywhere on your Jamboard to signal the desired item of attention. A red line briefly displays, then disappears.

Figure E shows the words circled with the laser pointer in an inserted image, indicated by the red line. To turn off the laser pointer, select any of the other Jamboard control tools.

Figure E

Image: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic. Activate the laser pointer icon (in the red circle in the left-side Jamboard menu), then click, hold and move your cursor to draw a red line on your board. The line displays briefly, then disappears.

What’s your experience with Jamboard?

How do you use Jamboard? Is it something you reach for during Google Meet conferences to illustrate your ideas? Or is it more of a group brainstorming tool that helps you and your collaborators capture and converse about topics, much as you might around a conference room board? How often do you use tools like the camera capture option or the laser pointer?

Let me know what role Jamboard plays in your thinking or collaboration efforts either with a comment below or on Twitter (@awolber).