(Analog) whiteboard vs. easel pad vs. large desk pad

The recent Freeform episode got me thinking.

I think well on paper, but I’m frequently running out of space. I’ve thought about getting a whiteboard again, although based on experience I’d need a 3’x4’ minimum - and drilling into the wall is non-preferred, so I’d need a melamine one that’s light enough to attach with Command strips.

But then I was thinking about David talking about the large 3M pads. I assume he’s talking about their easel pads, and I’ve shied away from going that route because it’s always seemed to me that a whiteboard is more cost-efficient - although now I’m rethinking that as a pad would allow me to write with a pen and get far more precision (and data on a page).

I can’t fit anything close to an easel pad on my desk, but I could always find a different large pad - or I could mount a pad holder to my wall with the aforementioned Command strips.

Has anybody else gone through this process? What do you use, and how is it working for you?

How about a dry erase easel?

That’s a possibility, although floor space is very limited right now. My office is currently kind of tucked into the storage room. So I’m hoping for something that doesn’t take much floor space.

1 Like

Static cling whiteboard sheets might be an option if you don’t want to drill.

1 Like

Do you happen to know whether those work on textured walls?

This is just personal preference, but I find having something on the wall I could stand at and write on without having to bend over works better than a large desk pad or easel. There’s something in the physical change that works well for me. I had to drill into the walls for that, though.

But I also like to pace on phone meetings. As I’ve gotten older, I”m more aware of how my physical movement impacts my thinking and I try to account for that when I can. A whiteboard on a wall is one of those ways.


We’ve had great results using whiteboard paint. Here’s just one product. There are lots of others. More durable than sheets or post-it whiteboards, and pretty forgiving of most surfaces. Plus can obviously be any shape or dimensions you want or have available. On of my partners painted his entire office with whiteboard paint. A bit overwhelming for visitors, but great for him.



There’s something in my brain that’s refusing to believe this would work. I think it’s great, though. I’m going to go through their website.

In your usage, did you come across any problematic surfaces?

In our case, the whiteboard paint was on typical U.S. urban office tower walls – i.e., drywall. Not always flat-flat, but not highly textured either.


In one office we fitted out, I had Whiteboard “paper” installed it was a strip of whiteboard 2m x 10m which was pasted onto the wall to avoid drilling.

I can’t find a similar product online now though

3M sells something similar

I don’t think so. The texture would come through on the ones I saw, anyway.

1 Like

As a renter, I bought rolls of the paper used to cover tables at some restaurants. I taped it to the wall with two-inch or 1.5 inch blue painter’s tape (removable).


We rent here in Mexico. Everything (and this is almost without exception) residential is concrete w/ stucco. So anything attached to a wall pretty much requires drilling and a plastic insert that expands w/ a screw. Once you get over that, it’s just drill hole, insert insert, attach w/ screw. Voila, solid as a rock.

I bought a cheap 4x3 whiteboard and have had it attached in my previous and current apartments. Right now it’s behind my 2nd bedroom/office door. I have used THE. HECK. outta this thing. I really didn’t realize how visual my brain is. It is not uncommon for all organization ideas to start on the board and then, only if it becomes too complicated, transfer over to a spreadsheet or diagram app or outline.

So seriously, just attach one to a wall, either a board or melanine or paint, and go for it. For archival or transfer purposes, take a quick photo, erase, continue. Works a charm!



I’ve been in discussions with networking/communications technicians and had them ask if they can use the whiteboard in my office. And when we were finished this is exactly what we did.

I recall watching two engineers, one from the US the other from France, use one to work out a technical problem when neither spoke the other’s language. IMO, a whiteboard may still be the ultimate collaboration tool.


Good info. Any idea which brand it was/is? I know some cheapos don’t hold up well. :slight_smile:

Can’t tell from photos. But Google Photos has helpfully organized them under ‘Whiteboards’

Will be home in 8 days and will verify

I always had a whiteboard in my office at work, at least since they first appeared. Erasability was important – I could keep semi-permanent info around and erase and reuse more temporary parts of the board.

On the other hand, I used an easel pad for teaching, basically an ever-expanding white board. At first it was a pad of plain paper plus a roll of masking tape to attach sheets to walls, but when the Post-It version became available I switched to that.

Never used a desk pad. Desk far too cluttered for that to be useful.

(Putting some dates on this – I taught electrical engineering courses 1990-2015, and worked as an electrical engineer from 1973-2016.)

1 Like

There is a product called “Alien Tape” which would hold a white board to a lot of surfaces and holds some tiles onto my walls. My whiteboard is screwed to the studs.

1 Like

A hanging dispenser of butcher paper is a fun solution to this. For permanent whiteboard, I’ve usually put up big showerboard pieces with either sticky material or anchors.