Use a Video Capture card as a 2nd screen for PowerPoint Presenter View (Zoom, Teams, Webex, Meet) in Windows

The challenge this can solve

If you only have a single screen and want to use PowerPoint’s Presenter View so you can see your speaking notes and the current slide, you have a challenge when presenting in Teams or Zoom. There are some ways to do this with a single screen but they have their potential issues and the quality for the audience can depend on the platform and your screen resolution.

This method creates a “virtual” second screen on your laptop so that Presenter View can display the slides on the second screen which you share in the meeting so the audience sees your slides clearly. You see Presenter View and can see your notes and use the expert features of Presenter View on your laptop.

Overview of how this works

To create a second screen, you connect an HDMI cable to the regular video output on your laptop. The HDMI cable goes into a video capture card that is plugged into a USB port on your laptop. The video capture card appears to your computer as a second screen that can now be used with PowerPoint’s Presenter View just like a physical second screen.

(The Mac version of this article is here.)

What is a video capture card?

A video capture card is not actually a card, the name is a holdover from when expansion cards were installed in desktop computers. The device has on one end an HDMI port where an HDMI cable gets connected. This is the video input source. On the other end it has a USB connector that plugs into a USB port on a computer and supplies the video source to the computer as a camera input. Here’s what my device looks like.

These devices are popular with gamers who use them to send their game play to streaming services. If you have a gamer in your house they may already have one of these devices.

When you look at these devices online, you will see many choices, ranging from under thirty dollars to several hundred dollars. For the purpose of a second screen you don’t need the high-end devices. Choose a device that has a USB 3 connection instead of the slower USB 2 connection. You won’t need a high resolution or frame rate that the gaming cards use, a maximum of 1920 x 1080 resolution and 30 frames per second (fps) is more than enough. I suggest you look for one that has a short cord between the HDMI end and the USB end instead of one that is more of a block style so that you don’t block any USB ports when you plug it in. Here’s the one I bought on Amazon and use: https://amzn.to/3bSZQqU. Certainly look at competing devices as well but I don’t think you need the high-end gaming devices.

Connect the card to your computer

Start by connecting the device to an open USB port on your laptop. If you are connecting it to a USB hub, you may want to use a powered hub to make sure it gets enough power when working to provide the video signal to your laptop. If your laptop only has USB-C ports and the device has a USB-A connector, make sure any adapter you use allows power and data to pass through.

After you connect the device your computer will download the correct driver and install it so the device works. Your computer will likely tell you that the device is now ready to use.

Connect an HDMI cable from a video output to the card

After the card is working, connect an HDMI cable from the video output port on your laptop to the HDMI input on the device. For some laptops this will be an HDMI port on the laptop.

For other laptops you will use an adapter from a USB-C or mini-DisplayPort port.

(The adapter you see above is one I use and have recommended for years. It is on Amazon at http://amzn.to/2iHUkKk.)

Extend your screen

Your laptop now thinks that it has a second screen attached. In the Windows Display Settings, change the Multiple displays setting to Extend desktop to this display.

To see the second screen, press the PrintScreen key on your keyboard (it may use a short form such as PrtScn). On a blank PowerPoint slide or in a blank Word document, press Ctrl+V to paste the screen capture. You will see two screens as this example shows.

You can also check the Display resolution for this second screen. You may need to first click on this display in the display arrangement diagram at the top of the Display settings page. Depending on what card you have, it may list different resolution options. As long as you select 1280 x 720 your slides will be clear to the audience. Higher resolutions will make your laptop do more work but not give the audience any better of an image.

Set up PowerPoint to use Presenter View and a second screen

Now that your laptop thinks it has a second screen, you can set up your PowerPoint file to use Presenter View and select which screen the slides should be displayed on. In PowerPoint on the Slide Show ribbon, check the Use Presenter View checkbox.

Use the drop-down list of monitors to select the video capture card as the monitor to display the slide show on.

Start Presenter View

Start your presentation in Slide Show mode using Presenter View. You should see Presenter View fill your laptop screen. Use the full screen/windowed button to switch to the windowed mode and reduce the size of the Presenter View window so you can see the meeting platform controls.

You can confirm that there is a second screen showing the slides by clicking on the Display Settings button in Presenter View and selecting the Swap Presenter View and Slide Show option which swaps the Slide Show and Presenter View between the laptop screen and the “virtual” second screen.

When viewing the Slide Show on the laptop you can return to Presenter View by clicking on the three dots in the lower left corner of the slide, select the Display Settings menu item and selecting Swap Presenter View and Slide Show in the sub-menu that appears.

Share second screen in Teams or Zoom

In Teams or Zoom, share the second screen, the one with the slides being shown full screen. Here’s what the Teams sharing dialog would look like (Screen #2 would be shared).

Here’s what the Zoom sharing dialog would look like (Screen 2 would be shared).

Since your laptop recognizes a second screen, this same method of sharing the second screen should also work in Webex, Google Meet, or any other meeting platform.

Deliver your presentation using Presenter View

Once the audience sees the screen with your slides, you can start delivering your presentation using Presenter View. Don’t forget that Presenter View has some features that you make great use of in virtual presentations as you can see in this article and video.

When done, end the presentation and disconnect the card & cables

Since PowerPoint thinks you have a second screen connected, end your presentation the same way you would if you had a physical second screen. Stop sharing the screen in the meeting platform, end the meeting, and disconnect the HDMI cable and the video capture card. In most cases the laptop will recognize the video capture card the next time you connect it and extend the desktop instead of using the default of duplicating it.

Advantages of this method

There are a number of advantages of using this method of creating a second screen to use PowerPoint’s Presenter View, including:

  • You don’t have to find or purchase a second screen and find room for it on your desk.
  • The adapter is much less expensive than a second screen.
  • This method does not require you to install software on your corporate laptop so it won’t be blocked by IT restrictions.
  • Your slides will be higher resolution and clearer to the audience than if you shared a portion of your screen in Zoom. This is especially true if you don’t have a high-res screen.
  • You can see what is on the second screen and tell if anything goes wrong.
  • In Teams it doesn’t require you to share a hidden window which could go away in a future Teams or Windows update.

Try this method if you only have your laptop screen

If you just have your laptop screen and want to use Presenter View in PowerPoint to see your notes and use the expert features to be more effective when presenting, try this method of using a video capture card to create a “virtual” second screen.

Video of this technique

The video below shows me connecting my video capture card to my laptop and the steps above to share my slide show on the “virtual” second screen in a Zoom meeting.

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 1.2 million times and liked over 12,000 times on YouTube.