If you are using Zoom to meet with others who are working remotely, you may not realize that you have six choices when it comes to how you will present your PowerPoint slides to the group (I added two options I discovered after the article was first published). In this article I will share more details on these six options and you will get a link to that option in my video that shows you what your audience will see. In this article I am using the Zoom app in Windows 10. The six options are:
- Share your entire screen/desktop
- Share the Slide Show window
- Share the editing window with a clean look
- Run the Slide Show in a window and share that window
- Use Presenter View to show the audience your slides while you see Presenter View
- Present with your video beside your PowerPoint slides
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Option 1: Share your entire screen/desktop
This is the default method that most people choose because it is the closest to what we would do if we were in a meeting room with the participants sitting around the table. In Zoom, you choose the sharing option called Screen. The audience sees everything that is on your screen, so if PowerPoint is not full screen, they will see any wallpaper you have and any other open applications with potentially confidential information displayed. They will not see the Teams controls at the top of the screen as those are always hidden from the audience when sharing your screen or a window.
You start your slide show in PowerPoint and all features will work, including animations and transitions. You can use a presentation remote to advance through your slides or use the arrow keys. Even though the slides take up the whole screen, you can still access the Zoom controls by moving your mouse to the top of the screen and selecting the controls you want. If you are concerned that you may miss any chat or questions from the audience, click on the Chat option in the Zoom controls and the chat window will be shown on top of your slides without the audience seeing it. Be careful as seeing comments in the chat window may distract you from your presentation.
Option 2: Share the Slide Show window
Because Zoom allows you to share any window that is open on your computer, another option you have is to share the window that has the Slide Show in it. Before you start sharing in Zoom, start the Slide Show in PowerPoint. This will display the slides on the entire screen. Use Alt+Tab to go back to the Zoom window. In the Zoom sharing options, choose the window that is displaying the slide show (make sure you select the slide show window, not the PowerPoint regular window).
Again, since you are using full PowerPoint, all features work and this is similar to presenting before an audience in a meeting room. Because you are only sharing a window, the audience won’t see anything else on your screen. Even though the slides take up the whole screen, you can still access the Zoom controls by moving your mouse to the top of the screen and selecting the controls you want.
Option 3: Share the editing window with a clean look
The first two options don’t allow you to see any other documents or notes that you may have on your screen because the slides cover the entire screen. If you don’t need any animation or transition features and are comfortable with the audience seeing the edit view of PowerPoint, you can choose to use a view that minimizes the PowerPoint interface so the slide is the focus.
In the normal editing view, minimize the slide thumbnails by dragging the vertical divider all the way to the left until it just shows the text indicating that thumbnails are available. Drag the horizontal divider at the bottom of the slide down to hide any notes that are below the slides. Third, collapse the ribbon by clicking on the collapse indicator (an upward arrow head) in the lower right corner of any ribbon. Finally, maximize the size of the slide in the editing window if it did not automatically resize itself. Now your slide is large in the editing window and PowerPoint has a cleaner look than the normal editing view.
In the Zoom sharing options, choose the window for this PowerPoint presentation. When you move through the slides, you are not using Slide Show mode so there are none of the animation or transition features available. Any embedded media will not run automatically and must be manually played. You can move through the slides using the down and up arrow keys or the PageDown and PageUp keys.
This is not as clean as Slide Show mode, but it allows you to see other open documents on your screen without the audience seeing them. You can still see and access the Zoom controls by moving your mouse to the top of the screen.
Option 4: Run the Slide Show in a window and share that window
Many presenters are not aware that PowerPoint has the option to run a slide show within the window it is in without taking up the entire screen. PowerPoint refers to this as the “Browsed by an individual” mode or Reading View. To use this mode, on the Slide Show ribbon, click on the Set Up Slide Show button. In the dialog box, in the Show type section in the to left corner, change the option by clicking on the radio button for “Browsed by an individual”. Click the OK button to save the change and exit the dialog box. Now whenever you enter Slide Show mode, the slides are run just in this PowerPoint window, not the full screen. You can change this back to the default of “Presented by a speaker” after the meeting is done.
Update Aug 11 2020: A recent Zoom update seems to have changed the order you need to do the steps. First start the Slide Show mode in PowerPoint. You will see the slide show with some additional controls at the top and bottom of the window and possibly black bars on the top/bottom or left/right depending on the size of the window relative to the size of the slides. This is a slightly different look for the audience if they are used to the full screen version of Slide Show mode. Then, in the Zoom sharing options, choose the window for this PowerPoint presentation. If you share the PowerPoint window first before entering Slide Show mode it confuses Zoom and it will stop sharing the window.
Because this is Slide Show mode, all animations and transitions work as expected. What is different than the full screen Slide Show mode is that the laser pointer, inking, and some other features are not available. Since you are only sharing this window, the audience does not see any other documents you may have open on the screen. You can still see and access the Zoom controls by moving your mouse to the top of the screen. This allows you to keep up with any chat discussion while presenting.
Since this option is only sharing one window, it uses less bandwidth than sharing a full screen which may help users on lower speed connections have a better experience with less lags or distortion. This option may give you the best combination of PowerPoint features and presenter controls and options.
Option 5: Use Presenter View to show the audience your slides while you see Presenter View
If you prefer to use Presenter View to see your speaking notes while the audience only sees your slides, I have instructions for using Presenter View in Zoom with 1 or 2 screens and in Windows or on a Mac in my Complete Guide to using PowerPoint Presenter View in Zoom.
Option 6: Present with your video beside your PowerPoint slides
You can present in a Microsoft Teams or Zoom meeting with your video beside your PowerPoint slides so your facial expressions can be easily seen along with the slides. The idea is to arrange our video and slides on our desktop and share the entire screen, so we control the size of both the video and the slides. This does not require you to install any software and uses the built-in features of the operating system and PowerPoint. For Windows 10 I explain the detailed steps in this article and show you how this is done in this video. For a Mac I explain the detailed steps in this article.
In my opinion, Option 5, using Presenter View, is the best option for most presenters because it allows you to see your notes and access all the expert features of Presenter View while the attendees see your full slides. It is what I use when I deliver my customized training courses.
Full video with all four options
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Dave Paradi has over twenty-two years of experience delivering customized training workshops to help business professionals improve their presentations. He has written ten books and over 600 articles on the topic of effective presentations and his ideas have appeared in publications around the world. His focus is on helping corporate professionals visually communicate the messages in their data so they don’t overwhelm and confuse executives. Dave is one of fewer than ten people in North America recognized by Microsoft with the Most Valuable Professional Award for his contributions to the Excel, PowerPoint, and Teams communities. His articles and videos on virtual presenting have been viewed over 3.5 million times and liked over 14,000 times on YouTube.