How to Massively Upgrade Your Organizing Skills With Miro

The ultimate Miro guide

photo of a highly organized backpack with photo gear
photo of a highly organized backpack with photo gear
Photo by Jeff Hopper on Unsplash

Who should use Miro?

Who should not use Miro is the question to ask. I see so many ways to use this software that I am almost looking for excuses to use it whenever possible.

Studios with freelancers from around the world

One of Miro’s strengths is collaboration. When multiple employees work together you can see their arrows flying around on the screen producing content.

Schools

Miro is a great presentation tool and since the whole system is built around a whiteboard, it makes sense that we replaced the physical whiteboard with this one in 2020.

You, personally

Do you have something to organize? Do you wish you could spread stuff all over your Trello board or your other lists? Do you wish you could create a Kanban board for your wedding with a section full of potential wedding dresses?

screenshot of a test board containing wedding dresses and a kanban board for planning
screenshot of a test board containing wedding dresses and a kanban board for planning
Wedding planning in Miro, graphics by author
screenshot of seating in the church
screenshot of seating in the church
Wedding planning in Miro, part 2, graphics by author

Get Miro

To get Miro you can go to their website and sign up here

screenshot of license pricing.
screenshot of license pricing.
Miro’s price overview, screenshot by author
Screenshot of single-seat license
Screenshot of single-seat license
Consultant plan, single-seat license, screenshot by author

Getting Started

Once you have created your account and log in, you will be greeted by your dashboard. On your dashboard, you have a few interesting sections.

Screenshot of the Miro dashboard
Screenshot of the Miro dashboard
Your Miro Dashboard, screenshot by author

Teams

On the left-hand side, you have your Teams menu. Here you can add teams. Think of it like an office where you can invite team members to work on the boards in this office. Offices may contain several boards.

Screenshot of the teams section on the Miro dashboard
Screenshot of the teams section on the Miro dashboard
Overview of teams, screenshot by author

Boards

Boards are the core functionality of Miro. A board is what you think it is, a digital whiteboard for you to add whatever you like. We’ll get back to the whatever part later.

screenshot of the boards section on your Miro dashboard
screenshot of the boards section on your Miro dashboard
Overview of the boards, screenshot by author

Guide

The question mark on the top right is a guide menu. From this menu, you can learn more about how to use Miro.

screenshot of the guide menu
screenshot of the guide menu
Miro Guide, screenshot by author

Profile

On the far right, there is a profile icon where you can control your:

  • Apps and Integrations
  • Documents and APIs
  • Upgrade
  • Log out
Screenshot of profile dropdown
Screenshot of profile dropdown
User Profile, screenshot by author

Get the Miro App

At the bottom left, there is a row of icons representing different operating systems. You can download the Miro app for your platform if you want to use the standalone version.

Screenshot of the app icons on the bottom left of your screen
Screenshot of the app icons on the bottom left of your screen
Install the native Miro app, screenshot by author
Screenshot of the Miro app running instead of the online version
Screenshot of the Miro app running instead of the online version
Miro dashboard on MacOS, screenshot by author
Photo of Miro running on an iPhone
Photo of Miro running on an iPhone
Continue the wedding planning on the go, photo by author
Photo of Miro running on an iPad Pro and a MacBook Pro
Photo of Miro running on an iPad Pro and a MacBook Pro
Miro on the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro in harmony, photo by author

Working with boards

Remember the whiteboard you had in class as a kid? Imagine if you could send the whole class up there at the same time and they had a toolbox that would allow them to do anything. It’s 2020 now, and we have this — digitally. The kids won’t even bump into each other.

screenshot of pop-up explaining that you need to upgrade for private boards
screenshot of pop-up explaining that you need to upgrade for private boards
Create a board, screenshot by author
Screenshot of pop up with information about the board.
Screenshot of pop up with information about the board.
Edit board details, screenshot by author
screenshot of list view showing that our new board is easy to spot with a name and an icon
screenshot of list view showing that our new board is easy to spot with a name and an icon
Easy to spot with proper thumbnail, screenshot by author

Navigation

Miro works with pens, mice, trackpads, and fingers.

  • edit (double click)
  • navigate/pan (if you click-drag on the canvas)
screenshot of a bigger board utilizing the navigator tool
screenshot of a bigger board utilizing the navigator tool
Navigator representing board content, screenshot by author

Selection

To select an object, simply left-click it. To select multiple objects at once, hold shift, and draw a rectangle around the items you wish to select.

Lock objects

To lock an object, select it and click the little padlock in the top menu or click Ctrl+l/Cmd+l.

screenshot of item that is locked
screenshot of item that is locked
lock object, screenshot by author

Frames

Think of frames like containers where you can keep items collected. They share some similarities with groups, but it is easier to move an item from one frame to the other and any object inside the frame will move with the frame.

screenshot of the menu with Frame highlighted.
screenshot of the menu with Frame highlighted.
Create Frame, screenshot by author
screenshot of frame using the built-in funciton “Show Device”
screenshot of frame using the built-in funciton “Show Device”
Using the browser template for our frame, screenshot by author
screenshot of the frame browsing mode
screenshot of the frame browsing mode
Frames, screenshot by author

Objects

Elements you place on your board are referred to as objects. Miro comes with a variety of objects. Let’s have an in-depth look at them.

Text

One of the simplest objects in Miro is text. To create a text object, click the T on the side menu or hit t on your keyboard.

screenshot of menu with text highlighted
screenshot of menu with text highlighted
Create Text, screenshot by author
  • Size
  • Bold, Italic, Underline
  • Alignment
  • Lists
  • Links
  • Text Color
  • Background Color
  • Outline
  • Opacity
screenshot of all the edits you can do with your text.
screenshot of all the edits you can do with your text.
Different text formatting options, graphics by author

Sticky notes

If you have seen Miro before, you have most likely seen pictures of the post-its, sorry… sticky notes, on the boards. It is iconic and widely used.

screenshot of menu with sticky notes highlighted
screenshot of menu with sticky notes highlighted
Create a Sticky Note, screenshot by author
  • Text type
  • Alignment
  • Preset Size
  • Tags
  • Emojis
  • Link
gif animation showing what you can do with sticky notes
gif animation showing what you can do with sticky notes
Sticky notes in action, screen capture by the author
screenshot of the sticky notes menu
screenshot of the sticky notes menu
when you click the sticky notes icon, you can quickly select a color or use bulk mode, screenshot by author
screenshot of adding elements to the bulk mode
screenshot of adding elements to the bulk mode
Adding objects is very easy, screenshot by author
screenshot of the sticky notes created from our inputs
screenshot of the sticky notes created from our inputs
Sticky notes added to the board from the input during bulk mode setup, screenshot by author

Shapes

Shapes is one of my favorite functions. You can add a variety of shapes to build your node trees or if you simply need a shape to assist your board in any way.

screenshot of the menu with shape highlighted
screenshot of the menu with shape highlighted
Create shapes, screenshot by author
screenshot of the shapes preview thumbnails
screenshot of the shapes preview thumbnails
find the shape you want to use, screenshot by author
screenshot of a shape added to the board
screenshot of a shape added to the board
shape added to the board

Connection Line

A beautiful thing about Miro is that you can link almost any object to another. The connection line menu lets you create a few different arrows you can use to connect objects.

screenshot of menu with the connection line tool highlighted
screenshot of menu with the connection line tool highlighted
screenshot of several shapes without a connection
screenshot of several shapes without a connection
When you select an object you can see the blue connection dots, graphics by author
screenshot of shapes connected with a connection line
screenshot of shapes connected with a connection line
Student connected with its constructor, graphics by author
screenshot showing alternative connection lines
screenshot showing alternative connection lines
There are many places you can connect the lines, you don’t even have to hit another blue dot, graphics by author

Pen

You can use the pen tool to draw on the whiteboard. This works best with an actual pen, like Wacom or the Apple Pencil, but you can use your mouse as well.

screenshot of the menu with the pen tool selected
screenshot of the menu with the pen tool selected
  • Marker
  • Smart Drawing
  • Eraser
  • Lasso Select
  • Type and Color
gif animation showing how the pen tool works
gif animation showing how the pen tool works
Gif showing how the pen tools work, recording by the author

Comments

The little speech bubble on the left menu is the comment tool. Click it or hit c to use the tool. Click anywhere to drop a comment on your board.

screenshot of comment added to a shape
screenshot of comment added to a shape
screenshot of a finished comment
screenshot of a finished comment
the comment dialog box, screenshot by author

Upload

Miro has an upload function where you can add material from several sources. Normally, I drag-drop from my computer, but you can link Miro to cloud services if you like and browse material you have stored online.

screenshot of the menu with upload highlighted. Showing all the alternatives.
screenshot of the menu with upload highlighted. Showing all the alternatives.
Upload material to your board, screenshot by author

Working with objects

Now that we have gone through how the basic building blocks of Miro work, it is time to look at how we can use them together.

Connection

We briefly looked at how we can connect nodes earlier. Now, I will go through the way I work with shapes to quickly set up a node tree.

screenshot of a round shape that says start
screenshot of a round shape that says start
screenshot of the same shape with an arrow going downwards
screenshot of the same shape with an arrow going downwards
When you let go of the mouse button, the shape menu appears, screenshot by author
screenshot of the round shape with the next shape. This time a rounded square
screenshot of the round shape with the next shape. This time a rounded square
rounded rectangle selected, screenshot by author
  • Flip direction of the line
  • Select type
  • Set color
  • Add Text
screenshot of the shapes with connection between then. Altering the style of the connection line
screenshot of the shapes with connection between then. Altering the style of the connection line
change the appearance of the ends of the connection lines, screenshot by author
screenshot showing the available alternatives for the look of the connection line
screenshot showing the available alternatives for the look of the connection line
different types of connection lines, screenshot by author
screenshot showing the difference between a curved line and a stepped line
screenshot showing the difference between a curved line and a stepped line
Different connection types, screenshot by author
screenshot showing how a shape is duplicated when holding alt/option
screenshot showing how a shape is duplicated when holding alt/option
Hold Alt/Option and LMB drag a selected node to duplicate it, screenshot by author
screenshot of the nodes after the duplicate
screenshot of the nodes after the duplicate
When you let go, the duplicated shape will be located where you had your pointer, screenshot by author
screenshot showing how we change the shape type from rounded square to diamond.
screenshot showing how we change the shape type from rounded square to diamond.
Edit the shape to your liking in the object menu, screenshot by author
screenshot of connection lines where we start adding text
screenshot of connection lines where we start adding text
Double click to quickly add text, screenshot by author
screenshot of text added to the connection lines
screenshot of text added to the connection lines
Or use the T+ icon to add text, screenshot by author
screenshot showing how text looks in different modes
screenshot showing how text looks in different modes
Alternative text alignments on connection line, screenshot by author
screenshot showing how almost any object can be connected to another one.
screenshot showing how almost any object can be connected to another one.
Almost any object can be connected, graphics by author

Arrangement and Alignment

OK, this is starting to look a bit cluttered. Thankfully, there are ways to clean up this mess.

screenshot of settings
screenshot of settings
snap objects is set to on, screenshot by author
gif animation showing how snapping works
gif animation showing how snapping works
gif showing how snapping works, video by author
gif animation showing how alignment works
gif animation showing how alignment works
gif showing how alignment tools work, video by author

Grouping

To group objects, simply select them and click the grouping icon in the menu that pops up. Alternatively, hit Ctrl+g/Cmd+g on your keyboard

screenshot of selected objects ready for grouping
screenshot of selected objects ready for grouping
selected items will be grouped, screenshot by author
screenshot of selected group ready to be ungrouped
screenshot of selected group ready to be ungrouped
Ungroup objects, screenshot by author

Layers

Sometimes you want to create a background using a shape. Start by drawing a shape around your content. Then click the three dots in the top menu. Click send to back to move this shape behind the other objects.

screenshot of shape on top of all our objects
screenshot of shape on top of all our objects
shape covering all our content, screenshot by author
screenshot of the object sent to back to go behind the other objects
screenshot of the object sent to back to go behind the other objects
shape sent to the back, screenshot by author

Export

What happens in Miro does not have to stay in Miro. There are several ways to export your creations from Miro.

Export to CSV

If we select our group, we can click the three dots in the top menu and select export to CSV.

screenshot of shapes and the corresponding CSV file
screenshot of shapes and the corresponding CSV file
selected objects exported to CSV, screenshot by author
screenshot of selected objects we want to convert to a frame.
screenshot of selected objects we want to convert to a frame.
create a frame around your selection, screenshot by author
screenshot of frame created based on selected objects
screenshot of frame created based on selected objects
Select the frame and click the three dots. Select Export as image in the drop-down, screenshot by author
screenshot of image export menu
screenshot of image export menu
export image, screenshot by author
screenshot of export menu with available export options after an upgrade
screenshot of export menu with available export options after an upgrade
With an upgraded version of Miro, you can export higher resolution, screenshot by author

Presenting your material

Miro isn’t just a whiteboard. It is a full presentation suite. I am currently making a python programming course, and instead of making a keynote or graphics in Photoshop that I later have to time in my edit, I can use Miro and a screen recording software to record everything live.

screenshot of the bottom menu
screenshot of the bottom menu
frames, presentation mode, comments, chat, cards, screen sharing, voting, video chat, timer, activity. Screenshot by author
screenshot of the frame browser
screenshot of the frame browser
The default order of the frames are a bit off, screenshot by author
screenshot showing how to arrange frames
screenshot showing how to arrange frames
Rearranging frames so I can present them in the right order, screenshot by author
screenshot of the playback controls
screenshot of the playback controls
navigator for the presenter mode, screenshot by author
screenshot of the full screen presentation view
screenshot of the full screen presentation view
Clicking play to go full screen, screenshot by author

Video Chat

Even though most of us have been pushed to install MS Teams or Zoom this year, Miro has a built-in video call feature. To use it, simply click the video icon at the bottom menu.

screenshot showing how you can try video chat for free for 14 days before upgrading
screenshot showing how you can try video chat for free for 14 days before upgrading
Try out the premium functions before you upgrade, screenshot by author
screenshot of the video chat in progress
screenshot of the video chat in progress
video call in progress with the upgraded license. It is more fun when you’re not just talking to yourself though, screenshot by author

Voting

If you can’t agree on a subject or there are too many participants for you to keep an overview of peoples’ opinions, you can set up a vote.

screenshot of setting up a vote
screenshot of setting up a vote
use settings to define what you can vote for, screenshot by author
screenshot of voting in progress
screenshot of voting in progress
voting has started, click the plus on an item to cast a vote, screenshot by author
screenshot of the voting results
screenshot of the voting results
results of the votes, screenshot by author

Timer

Do you need to work on a task for a limited time? You can use the built-in timer function in Miro so everyone knows how much time is left.

screenshot of setting up the timer
screenshot of setting up the timer
Set the time you want for your timer and click start, screenshot by author

Templates

We casually skipped Miro templates because I wanted to cover the basics first. Templates is one of Miro’s strongest assets and there are many good ones out there.

screenshot of the menu with templates highlighte
screenshot of the menu with templates highlighte
Click the templates icon to bring up the template browser, screenshot by author
screenshot of the template browser
screenshot of the template browser
Browse templates, screenshot by author
screenshot of the flowchart template preview
screenshot of the flowchart template preview
Flowchart preview, screenshot by author
screenshot of the flowchart template added to the board
screenshot of the flowchart template added to the board
template added to the board, screenshot by author

Apps

The Apps function allows you to use your favorite tools right inside of Miro. Let’s install the Unsplash app and see how that works.

screenshot of the menu with apps selected. A list of already installed apps appear
screenshot of the menu with apps selected. A list of already installed apps appear
App overview, screenshot by author
screenshot of the app browser
screenshot of the app browser
The app browser is full of apps you can install for your Miro, screenshot by author
screenshot of search results after searching for Unsplash
screenshot of search results after searching for Unsplash
The Unsplash app appears when we search for it, screenshot by author
screenshot of the Unsplash Miro Preview page
screenshot of the Unsplash Miro Preview page
Unsplash information page, screenshot by author
screenshot showing the notification that Unsplash has been installed
screenshot showing the notification that Unsplash has been installed
Pop up showing you that the app is installed, screenshot by author
screenshot showing how Unsplash is now available in the menu
screenshot showing how Unsplash is now available in the menu
Unsplash at the bottom of the menu, screenshot by author
Screenshot of the Unsplash tool in use
Screenshot of the Unsplash tool in use
easy to use, drag-drop the image you want to use to your board, screenshot by author
screenshot of image dragged to the board
screenshot of image dragged to the board
image dragged onto our board, screenshot by author
screenshot of objects linked with the new image
screenshot of objects linked with the new image
Unsplash implementation successful, screenshot by author

Integrating Miro into other software

It doesn’t stop there… Miro can be integrated into other software as well. Let’s have a look at how Miro boards can be used in Notion as an example.

screenshot of Notion initiating Miro integration
screenshot of Notion initiating Miro integration
/miro brings up the miro option in Notion, screenshot by author
screenshot of link request from Notion
screenshot of link request from Notion
Notion asks for the link to your board, screenshot by author
screenshot of the sharing pop up in Miro
screenshot of the sharing pop up in Miro
Copy board link, screenshot by author
screenshot of the Miro board being added to Notion
screenshot of the Miro board being added to Notion
Miro board inside Notion, screenshot by author
screenshot of the Miro board now visible in Notion
screenshot of the Miro board now visible in Notion
Miro board in Notion, screenshot by author

Final thoughts

When I first started using Miro, I didn’t realize how much of a powerhouse this tool is.

screenshot of a massive breakdown on how to perform a case study
screenshot of a massive breakdown on how to perform a case study
Breaking down how to do a Case Study, screenshot by author
Image for post
Image for post

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Thanks to Fabricio Teixeira

Martin Andersson Aaberge

Written by

CG supervisor with 17 years of experience in the Animation- and VFX industry. Studying Design, Use and Interaction (UX) at the University of Oslo

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +771K people. Follow to join our community.

Martin Andersson Aaberge

Written by

CG supervisor with 17 years of experience in the Animation- and VFX industry. Studying Design, Use and Interaction (UX) at the University of Oslo

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +771K people. Follow to join our community.

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