How To Use Borderless Canvas

*NOTE: The translation of this page is in progress.

  1. Introduction
  2. One-Minute Experience With Borderless Canvas
  3. Explanation of Operations
  4. Example Models for Immediate Use
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
  6. Annex: Installing Server Components
  7. Annex: Operating EasyStarter
  8. Annex: Utilizing SkyDrive Functions
  9. Disclaimer



Welcome to Borderless Canvas! With this software tool, you can make interactive presentations to, and have discussions with, a large number of people by sharing just one piece of paper. For example, Borderless Canvas allows you to:



The following hardware and software are required to use Borderless Canvas.


Borderless Canvas has been developed by the the Microsoft Chair of Educational Environment and Technology of the Center for Research and Development of Higher Education, the University of Tokyo The source code for Borderless Canvas has been open-sourced in CodePlex.

2. One-Minute Experience With Borderless Canvas

Experience Borderless Canvas for one minute by viewing this unedited video clip.


This clip introduces EasyStarter, which does not set group authentication (explained later) or roles (explained later). EasyStarter is convenient and allows you to easily use Borderless Canvas, but note that anyone can see and edit the information presented. Normally, please use “Detailed Starter,” which is explained below, on the Borderless Canvas website. See Operating EasyStarter here.


3. Explanation of Operations

Borderless Canvas is a system that integrates a large number of people, computers, and displays. At first, however, each user needs to follow some simple steps to receive authorization from the website and set his or her own role. Then the discussion can begin!

Below we explain the necessary steps for dividing the user group into the manager (presenter and discussion leader, lecturer, etc.) and the general participants (audience, students, etc.) and the way to operate the system.

3.1 Manager (presenter and discussion leader, lecturer, etc.)

The manager at first prepares the necessary equipment and then makes the “group” by the web browser, uploads the presentation/discussion slides, and informs the general participants of the steps they must follow to participate.

3.1.1 Preparation of equipment

Since a great deal depends on the kind of equipment you have and the kind of activities you wish to carry out, please see 4. Example Models for Immediate Use to know what kind of equipment should be prepared.

As far as the preparation of computers to be used at the meeting place, each general participant may bring his/her own laptop computer and, if there is enough time after everyone has arrived, each participant may be asked to configure his/her computer. However, in most cases, the computers equipped in a room such as a computer room at an educational institution will be used, which means that the manager side will make most of the preparations. Those procedures are explained below.


After all of the computers to be used have been set out, connected, turned on, and connected to the network, start up Internet Explorer and open the Borderless Canvas website.

In order to prevent the laptop computers from going into sleep or screen saver mode, which can be disturbing during the presentation and discussion, start up the Windows Mobility Center by pushing the “Windows” and “x” keys and turning on the “Presentation mode.”

If multiple projectors and plasma displays are available and they can be each connected to the computers, after arranging them in the meeting room and connecting them to the computers, access the Borderless Canvas website and follow the steps in 3.1.3below.

3.1.2 Configuring the Group on the Web Browser.

This video clip explains the steps that must be carried out.

Creating a new group:

Access the home page (here for the open trial server) of the Borderless Canvas website through Internet Explorer and select“Detailed Starter.”

Enter the new group’s ID and password in the form for creating a new group and click the “Create” button.

Use a group only once. After a group has been used once, make a new group for the next occasion.

Since the group ID and password and any uploaded presentation materials can be easily seen by third parties, be very careful not to input any confidential or private information.

Next, from the role selection page, select “Presenter” or “Questioner” from the assumed operational configuration and start up the client software.

Since the client software will need to be downloaded and installed for the first boot-up only, click the authorization button.

Uploading and distributing presentation materials:

For discussion based not on blank paper but slides, files made by PowerPoint can be dragged and dropped into the client software.

Since you will be asked about the distribution of the materials, choose any you like. (When multiple projectors are used, they can be put side by side with no problem.)

PowerPoint will be started up and the materials will be sent to Borderless Canvas.  

When the transmission has been completed, a “completed” sign will be shown.

Select “Distribute” from the menu bar to upload the materials.

After the materials are uploaded, when the group participants log into the group, the materials will be automatically downloaded.

For starting the “Questioner” function, first set the number of quizboards by selecting “Quizboard” from the menu and distribute the materials.

Informing the Group:

Inform the group participants by any desired means (oral or e-mail message, lecture bulletin board, etc.) of the group ID and password.

xxxxxx is the group ID.)

Send the link below to the participants, and when they open the link, the group ID will already have been input in the Log-in box, making it very convenient.

The operation of the client software from now on will be the same as that for the general participants to be described later.


3.1.3 Setting large display equipment (projectors, plasma displays, etc.)

Since normally the manager’s computer will be connected to the large display equipment, the following procedures will not be necessary.

But when multiple projectors or displays can be used, as in the photograph below, you can effectively utilize them if a computer terminal can be connected to each of them.

The functions for the large displays that are currently available are as follows:


To set the large displays for providing the above-mentioned functions, go through the following procedures.

Log in by inputting the group ID and password in the Log-in box at “Detailed Starter” from the home page.

From the “For the Public Displays” menu, click the display you wish and the client software will start up. (Confirmation of installation needed only for the first start-up.) The operation will proceed automatically.


3.2 Operations for general participants (audience, students, etc.)

The audience-side participants log in by inputting the group ID and password received from the manager into the Log-in box at “Detailed Starter” from the home page.

When the participant clicks the desired role button, the client software will start up. (Confirmation of installation needed only for the first start-up.)

The roles the audience-side participants will usually choose are the following two:


3.2.1 Operation of client software

An overview of the functions of the client software is shown in the figure below. You can write notes at any time with the tablet pen or erase markings with the eraser.

By turning the Wheel knob in the bottom right-hand corner left or right, you can also zoom in or out the displayed slides.

If you want to view different slides, you can drag the slides along the screen with the tablet pen by holding down the button on the pen or move the slides back or forth one at a time by using the function keys. (If the tablet pen does not have a button, see the explanation for using the Wheel in the diagram below.)

If you are the presenter, any changes in slides will be shown to all the participants. However, any changes will be shown to participants who are writing comments or moving slides independently of the presenter after a delay of ten seconds after the latest comment or completion of the slide change operation.

※    Short-cut function keys for slide change

F1: Jump to previous slide (may get slightly dizzy because of sudden movement)

F2: Jump to next slide (may get slightly dizzy because of sudden movement)

F3: Smooth change to previous slide (recommended)

F4: Smooth change to next slide (recommended)

F5: Instantaneous change to previous slide (Use when you want immediate slide change, but can become lost if overused.)

F6: Instantaneous change to next slide (Use when you want immediate slide change, but can become lost if overused.)


4. Example Models of Immediate Use

Although they may be slightly technical, if you want to try the models, use EasyStarter.

Start selection from available equipment

Based on the equipment available for use in the meeting room, consider how to use Borderless Canvas by following the chart below.


  1. Knowledge-emergent presentations 
  2. Quizboard
  3. Brainstorming
  4. Multi-display presentations


Choose according to purpose

If you have found your desired application, proceed to the detailed explanations below.


(1) Knowledge-emergent presentations

Knowledge-emergent presentations are very interactive, two-way presentations.

The audience can react to what is being presented by writing their own opinions, questions, or comments directly on the displays.

The presenter can read all comments from the audience written on the slides on his/her own terminal and thus respond to the level of understanding and interest of the audience.




(2) Quizboard

The Quizboard is very convenient when many computers can be connected to it.

Each answerer writes the answer on his/her own terminal to questions posed by the questioner, and the answers are all displayed together.

The Quizboard is demonstrated in the latter half of this video clip.





(3) Brainstorming

Below is a typical example of a brainstorming map written by hand on a common whiteboard.




(4) Multi-display Presentation

By preparing multiple displays and projectors, you can deliver usual PowerPoint presentations or lectures using multiple displays and show different slides at the same time.



5. Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: What is the meaning of the word “kotodama,” which frequently appears?
  • Q: My laptop computer soon goes into “sleep” mode.
  • Q: The connection to the server is very unstable, or at times I cannot connect to the server.
  • Q: The client software is very unstable.
  • ? Q: When I use Borderless Canvas with young children, they soon begin writing mischievous comments, which interferes with the lesson.

    6. Annex: Installing Server Components

    This section has been written with the assumption the reader has knowledge of IIS and web servers.

    Borderless Canvas is a server client system. The installation of server components is necessary to ensure stable and fast system performance and prevent the disclosure of information outside the system. Please remember that in this system group IDs, all operational history, presentation slides, and other important information are saved on the server.

    The server components can run on the Windows 2008 server and Windows Vista. (Please note that there is a limitation on the number of simultaneous connections possible with Windows Vista.) For these operating systems, install SQL server 2005 or 2008 (the express version is acceptable for small-scale use) and IIS 7.0.

    After that, download the server components from CodePlex and open them. The following two components can be installed.

    Install these two components. Use setup.exe, not .msi, when installing each one.
    From the IIS manager window, grant the authority to write for webkotodama/data, bc/APP_Data, and iis_user.

    IISの管理画面から、 webkotodama/dataおよび bc/App_Dataに、iis_userユーザに対する書き込み権限を付与します。
    <add key="BaseUri" value=""/> のxxxxxxの部分にインストール先のサーバのIPやドメイン名を置き換えます。
    &l<httpRuntime executionTimeout="90" maxRequestLength="100000" useFullyQualifiedRedirectUrl="false" minFreeThreads="8" minLocalRequestFreeThreads="4" appRequestQueueLimit="100"/> の部分をいじると、ファイル容量制限や時間制限が可能です。

    Edit webkotodama/web.config. Include the IP and domain name of the server where the components will be installed in xxxxxx of . Limits can be set for file capacities and time by adjusting:

    Borderless Canvas can now be accessed from: http://(serverIP or domain name)/bc/.


    By properly setting machine.config, you can adjust the complexity of the authorization password for the group ID.

    If you install the server independently, please remember to change the yellow-highlighted designation bc. to the installed server IP and domain name.


    7.  Annex: Operating EasyStarter

    This section is not geared for those who only want to know the bare minimum; some slightly technical operations are necessary.

    Group authorization and the setting of roles are not necessary for EasyStarter. EasyStarter is convenient because you can easily use Borderless Canvas, but anyone can also see and edit your inputs. In addition, since the (Presenter) function that automatically shows the presentation slides to other users by default is turned off for all other users, it is necessary to change the setting manually.

    As is shown in 2. One-Minute Experience With Borderless Canvas to use EasyStarter, select “EasyStarter” from the Borderless Canvas website, enter a new Group ID, which does not need a password, and click the “Start” button.

    If you want to share your PowerPoint slides, drag and drop your PowerPoint files, select “Distribute” from the menu, and the files will be sent to all participants.

    In this setting, all the participants can freely move the slides, and no one can force changes.

    If someone wishes to proceed with the presentation, he/she selects “SendView” in “Settings” from the menu of that person’s computer’s Borderless Canvas client software and the setting will be checked. In this setting, that person’s slide changes can be force-sent to all participants.

    If the person wishes to allow another person to proceed with the presentation, the person who has been proceeding with the presentation up to that point releases the SendView check, and the new person carries out the SendView check procedure.

    Do not allow two or more persons to check SendView at the same time since it will hinder the progress of the presentation.

    8. Annex: Utilizing SkyDrive Functions

    Borderless Canvas can access and read files uploaded into SkyDrive.

    To use this function, go here and follow the necessary steps.

    9. Disclaimer

    Since the Borderless Canvas software is a developmental beta version, usage of it is the personal responsibility of the user. Please understand that since the software is still under development, some inconveniences may arise during its use.

    MEET bears no liability for any or all damages stemming from the use of the Borderless Canvas software or any claims for compensation for damages brought forth by a third party.

    (C) Kazutaka Qurihara, MEET 2008-2009

    kotodama0 <at>