The problem with sharing a portion of your screen

In my popular article and video on sharing your slides in a Zoom meeting if you only have one screen, I show how you can share just the current slide portion of Presenter View Preview so that you can see your notes while the attendees just see your slides.

The problem with many Windows laptops is that the screen is relatively low resolution, such as the popular 1366 x 768 resolution. When you share just a portion of the screen, the resolution of what you share appears fuzzy to many participants. Here’s what this looks like from a Zoom recording.

The images are fuzzy and the text is not crisp.

Mac laptops are generally all high resolution and do not run into this same issue.

Using a second ghost monitor gives you more flexibility

The best way to give your attendees a high-resolution view of your slides if you only have one monitor is to add a second ghost monitor using a Virtual Display Emulator plug. This device is the size of a large coin and plugs into the standard HDMI port on your laptop. It tells the laptop that you have a second monitor. You can tell PowerPoint to display the Slide Show on the ghost monitor and share that screen in Zoom. I have articles and videos that explain this method in detail for Zoom on Windows and Zoom on the Mac.

Using Reading View with narrow PDF notes can give higher resolution for attendees

Another alternative that shows higher resolution slides to the attendees while still allowing you to see your notes is to separate the notes and the slides on your screen. Use Reading View to display your slides in the PowerPoint window while viewing your notes as a PDF. This article explains the general approach.

The challenge with a low resolution screen is that you don’t have much space for the notes if you want the slides to be large enough that they appear crisp and clear to the attendees. One option is to create narrow formatted Notes pages in PowerPoint. In the Notes master, reduce the size of the slide image and make the Notes text box narrower. Here’s what this would look like in the Notes master.

Save the Notes pages printout as a PDF and open it in your default PDF reader. I am using the Edge browser in this example. Position the PDF underneath the left side of the PowerPoint window so the slides are large but you can still see the notes to the left. You can use the zoom feature of the PDF reader to make the slide image and text larger in the PDF. Here’s what the screen would look like.

In Zoom, share the PowerPoint window. This shares higher resolution slides with the attendees. Use the arrow keys to advance through your slides. Use the mouse scroll wheel over the PDF document to move through your speaking notes. If you click on the PDF by accident, click on the bottom bar of the Reading View to return focus to the PowerPoint window so you can continue with your slides.

The bigger window for the slides gives a higher resolution view to the audience as this screen capture from a Zoom recording shows.

The Reading View window gives clearer slides to the attendees

To see the difference in these two methods, here is a zoomed in comparison of sharing a portion of the Presenter View screen and sharing the larger Reading View window. See how much clearer the Reading View slide appears.

If you want to share higher resolution slides while still seeing your speaking notes when presenting PowerPoint slides in Zoom, try the approach of using Reading View and narrow PDF Notes pages.