How to Turn Your Dry Erase Board into an Interactive Whiteboard

Teachers and Education Specialists are finding the immense value and potential in simple classroom whiteboards. Many classrooms and corporate settings are moving back to porcelain steel whiteboards as older versions of the SMART board become obsolete. Now that “Zoom Classrooms” exist, interactive whiteboards, like the SMART board and the Promethean, have lost their differentiation advantage: screencasting and digital drawing and writing with physical styluses. Maybe you’re thinking about investing in this technology, now that post-covid school or workplace collaboration is foreseeable. *Record Scratch*  PSA: We’d like to remind teachers, managers or other decision makers that require ease of collaboration, to look no further than their old Epson or Sony Projectors: everything you can do with an interactive touch screen board you can also do with a simple projector and low-gloss whiteboard, while saving upwards of $3,000 per set-up. You can find a complete list of reasons why physical whiteboards are better than interactive whiteboards here. It outlines details like price, durability, learning curves, legibility, memory retention and more. 


So you have your projector set up, but you’re still looking for the whiteboard that will perfectly match the projector’s widescreen, resist the glare of the sun or light strips and eliminate image warping and ink streaks (ghosting.) You have options with Optima. Below, we’ll go over the best dry erase projector screens, how to turn your whiteboard into a SMART board and the different ways to capture and save your physical whiteboard work. 

Our Top Picks for Dry Erase Projector Screen Use

Magnetic Receptive Matte Dry Erase Wallpaper

Matte/Projection, Magnetic & Fabric Backing Dry Erase Wallpaper is the go-to projection screen material. This semi-permanent wallcovering is engineered to resist ghosting, projection image warping and light glares while maintaining it’s great price. This versatile but cost-effective whiteboard is made of a unique ferrous powdered vinyl allowing flexibility and magnetic receptivity. It is applied with a 2-step primer and adhesive process and is the best option for resurfacing old whiteboards or blackboards. Click here for more resurfacing options. The dry erase wallpaper roll is available in 2 popular vertical widths, 48” or 6’ and can be ordered with custom cuts up to 65’ in length. With our Quick Ship program, these rolls will arrive within 1-2 business days. 


Low Gloss Interactive Projection Whiteboard

This Framed Low-Gloss Porcelain Steel Whiteboard is available in 3 diagonal widescreen dimensions of 86″, 107″ and a larger 113″ which supports any projected images. Click here for a great projection distance calculator. This board is magnetic and has a thickness variation less than 3mm, thus guaranteed to resist projection image warping. This is the best option for mounting on walls or even on portable carts. This option allows you to take your presentation outdoors.

Lifesaving Ways to Capture and Save Your Physical Whiteboard Work to your Favorite File Storage App

Of course, in this fast paced technological epoch, there are other ways you can save your physical whiteboard work besides just taking a simple picture of it with your phone. Using your phone camera and photo media library is clumsy and does not produce a readable file that can be automatically stored away in your file of choice, Google Drive, DropBox, One Drive, etc. Here is the best way to easily export your physical whiteboard work to your favorite file storage app like Dropbox or Google Drive. 

Exporting Your Physical Whiteboard Work


There are products on the market that will try to convince you to purchase four $15 corner stickers that act as beacons when used with the app. Everything within the four beacons is scanned and turned into a png. The downside of these products is that they do not have OCR capabilities, meaning it cannot pull characters from the photo and assemble them into a body of text to then store in the cloud service of choice. 


CamScanner mobile app is available on any smartphone and has the best Optical Character Recognition that we have seen. Optical Character Recognition means the app can pull characters from an image and assemble them into a fleshed out body of text. Once the app completes this, you have the ability to export your text to Google Drive, DropBox, Evernote, Google Translate, your phone’s notes, your email, social media and more. Though it is a paid subscription of  $4.99 a month or 49.99 a year, it is worth it to visual learners (which is 65% of us humans) or to someone who values handwriting as opposed to typing. There are other free apps such as Office Lens or PDF Scanner App that are just as reliable but don’t offer text exporting. 

Turning Your Whiteboard into a SMART Board Using Your Laptop and a Projector


If you have a whiteboard in your office or classroom and presenting a powerpoint, document or other graphics is a requirement, you’re going to need a way to cast the visual from your screen to the board. For this simple project, you will need your laptop, a projector and an HDMI cord. A soundbar and an aux cord are optional. Many home theatre instruction manuals will tell you that you need a Audio/Visual Receiver box but this is only necessary if you want to control several different sound bars simultaneously. If that’s you: here is the article you need to read: Continue reading for a simple step by step laptop projector setup tutorial. 

Laptop Projector Setup

Needed Items:

  • Laptop with an HDMI port (most laptops these days)
  • A Projector with an HDMI port (most projectors these days)
  • An HDMI Cord which can be found at any big box store like Best Buy or Target. 


  1. Plug in your projector and turn it on. Let it warm up and wait until a light is cast onto the screen or whiteboard. 
  2. Plug one end of the HDMI Cord into the projector, then plug the other end into the laptop. 
  3. The chord will send audio and visual signals to the projector. You can adjust the volume as needed. 
  4. Optional: If you are planning to send your audio to a sound bar like this one, you need an aux cord, aka a male to male headphone jack. Plug one end into the projector and the other end into the aux input of your sound bar. 
  5. If you want to take the audio from your laptop instead of the projector, you need to plug one end of the aux cord into your laptop and the other end into the sound bar. The audio signals might still be flowing to your projector. In this case, open your laptop’s sound settings and select your input device (which will be the name of your sound bar.) 


If you are having trouble getting an image to come through the projector or getting audio to work, watch this video that details troubleshooting: 


Our Projector Screen Whiteboard and Note Capturing Recommendation:

Using technology in learning environments like classrooms, conference rooms or lecture halls is standard these days. Did you know that almost 75% of all teachers surveyed reported a positive impact on learning when technology was introduced? 

But many institutions don’t have the funding to buy $4,000 SMART boards for every room. By using a low-gloss whiteboard like this one, a laptop/projector setup, and an OCR or “text extraction” app like this one, you can easily and cost-effectively retain the technology of a SMART Board. 


Bonus: Here are some possible ways you can use your new interactive whiteboard in lectures or presentations. They are sure to keep your audience engaged. 


  1. Keep it multi-modal. Laboratory studies reveal that we learn better when the inputs we experience are multi-modal or conveyed through different media. 
  2. Using Animations
  3. Storyboards