Black screen when sharing Slide Show in PowerPoint Presenter View in Zoom

Published: September 22, 2020

I am not sure if this has to do with the latest Zoom update to version 5.3 on Windows or not but I wanted to share an issue that has come up in the last 24 hours using PowerPoint Presenter View in Zoom.

I ran into the issue when I tried to share the Slide Show window in a Zoom meeting. It immediately paused the sharing and displayed a black screen to the attendees. After some experimenting, here’s what I’ve discovered.

[TL;DR summary: sharing the screen with the Slide Show works if sharing the Slide Show window does not]

I have my laptop connected to two screens: a high-res one I use for working and an older lower-res one I use just to display the Slide Show when using Presenter View. I don’t have the laptop screen on.

I started a presentation in Presenter View and in the Zoom Share dialog box I shared the Slide Show window (the second thumbnail in the second row in the screen capture).

Zoom immediately indicated that sharing had been paused and the attendees just saw a black screen, not my slides. Here’s the Zoom control bar that indicates that sharing is paused.

This is very similar to what happens when you are sharing a window and you minimize it. Zoom pauses sharing because the window is no longer active.

It would not allow me to resume sharing. Unless you notice this at the top of the screen, you won’t realize that as you advance through your slides the attendees are only seeing a black screen.

Zoom has a support article on this happening with certain Nvidia graphics cards but my laptop just has the built-in graphics. I tried it using a different setup with a second monitor connected directly to the laptop and it worked perfectly. I tested it with a Mac connected to the second monitor and it worked perfectly.

It appears that the issue is some conflict between the way my monitors are set up and Zoom.

The solution is to share the screen with the Slide Show on it instead of the Slide Show window (the second thumbnail in the first row in the sharing dialog image above). Since these two thumbnails look so similar, it is easy to mix them up.

If I want to share the Slide Show window, I have to change my setup to take out the monitor connection that seems to cause the issue. That monitor is connected through a USB DisplayLink adapter and I am not sure if that driver is causing a conflict with the new version of Zoom.

I will update this article if things change. I wanted to get it posted in case it helps someone who is also running into this issue.

By Dave Paradi

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.