I occasionally end up hosting our team Zoom meeting and while it’s reasonably productive, I sometimes get colleagues complaining that they can’t share their screen. I never know what to do to fix it, so tend to quit the meeting, change settings, then restart it. Is there a better way that doesn’t involve quitting Zoom and restarting?
A year ago if I would have said that we’d all be doing lots and lots of videoconferencing from our home offices, kitchens, basements or even garages, you would have scoffed, and legitimately so. Most everyone works in an office, so why not have a face-to-face meeting and enjoy the greater productivity too? Then 2020 came along and we are all spending less time in large social settings and more time trying to figure out the essence of what makes us productive in a work setting, even when we don’t have that work setting to rely on.
Enter Zoom. It was unquestionably the right program at the right time, and has become not only tremendously popular both socially and for business, but has gained a lot of features and security too, as needed by a top-flight program. And it’s those security features that are tripping you up because, let’s face it, you don’t want random people sharing their screen contents during a Zoom meeting if you don’t know your colleagues well. Yikes!
But as with many Zoom features, there’s a world of difference between clicking on the icon associated with a feature and the tiny upward triangle adjacent to that icon. And that’s exactly how you gain control over screen sharing in a Zoom meeting even while it’s live and has a few, or a few dozen, participants. Let’s have a look!
To start out, here’s the error that your colleagues are seeing:
When you’re ready to share the latest sales figures or your PowerPoint for the new product design with the team, it can be understandably disheartening to get this error instead!
Now, on your Zoom screen, as the person who initiated and is running the meeting, you’ll have this toolbar:
There’s more on the toolbar, but if you’re seeing “Polling” then you’re running the meeting. Polling, by the way, is pretty fun stuff and can be used to ask “Did you watch the season finale of Lovecraft Country” as an ice breaker just as easily as questions about more serious topics!
Anyway, you can see on both Participants and Share Screen what I mean about the tiny upward triangle, yes? Those are how you get to the settings and configuration for those features, something critical if you’re running the Zoom call. In the case of Share Screen, click on that tiny triangle and a menu pops up:
It’s a lot more mayhem if multiple people can share screens at the same time, so I definitely recommend the default of “One participant can share at a time”, but it’s the lower option you want to choose: “Advanced Sharing Options…”.
That opens up all sorts of useful settings:
It’s the lower two that you want to change so that your colleagues can share their screens with the group too. I recommend in this sort of context that “All Participants” be chosen for “Who can share?” on this Zoom meeting, and if you want to let that share bounce from participant to participant, also choose “All Participants” for “Who can start sharing when someone else is sharing?”
With those changes, ya got this:
That is, in fact, exactly how I have things set up when I am running a meeting where colleagues might want to share what’s on their screen with the rest of the group. Easy enough. Close that window and things are updated and now when your colleague clicks on “Share Screen” in their own Zoom session, they’ll see this:
Problem solved, no restart required. It’s all about those tiny upward triangles, so be on the lookout for them, whether you’re hosting the next Zoom meeting or just a participant.
Pro Tip: I’ve been writing about how to get the most out of Zoom and other video conferencing systems for a while now. Please do check out my Zoom help library for lots of useful tutorials while you’re visiting. Thanks!