My colleagues and I have lots of Zoom meetings and I’m typically the one who organizes them. It’s usually me showing my screen, but sometimes I want a colleague to share what they’re doing and it always says they don’t have permission. How can I enable others to share screen in Zoom?
You’re not alone in spending a lot of time in the Zoom program managing meetings. Whether one on one or with hundreds of participants, it’s grown to become an essential tool for the modern, geographically dispersed workforce. Zoom has also added features at a rather breakneck pace, rapidly growing from a simple live video chat service to a complex tool that doesn’t necessarily have the easiest user interface. In other words, you’re not alone in having participants bump into that “you don’t have permission to share your screen” error.
Screen sharing in Zoom is pretty sweet, however, and once you master all of it, including how to enable participant sharing, you’ll likely use it even more than you are now. For example, did you know that you can use your iPhone as your webcam? Odds are it’s a better camera than your computer, so that’s an easy way to look better for your colleagues. You can also share video content, including streaming the audio component. Shared Netflix, here we come!
Actually, many of the streaming services can detect screen sharing, producing a blank screen. If that happens, you’ll have to try a different avenue for sharing video content with your friends, family, or colleagues.
Let’s start with the most basic screen sharing…
ZOOM SCREEN SHARING BASICS
One great thing about Zoom is that you can practice and experiment with a lot of settings in your own personal Zoom meeting, no colleagues required. Fire it up, choose “New Meeting” and you’ll see something like this:
Everything you want to control is along the bottom toolbar. In this instance, it’s Share Screen. If you don’t see that, your window might be too narrow: Widen it, or look for “Share Screen” on the “•••” More menu. Click on Share Screen and you’ll get thumbnails of all the windows on your computer:
Lots of people share their Desktop (the default), but that’s awkward and unnecessary because you share everything on your screen, including notifications that may pop up, images and icons on your desktop, etc. Not necessarily bueno. Instead, you can find the specific app’s window and share that, as I’ll demonstrate in a bit. For now, notice that there’s a Whiteboard feature you can utilize, along with the ability to share what’s on your iPhone or iPad screen either wirelessly (via AirPlay) or by plugging it into your computer directly (via Cable). We’ll come back to sharing options.
For now, however, this is the wrong place to look for the setting that allows your participants to also share their screen.
Go back to the main window and notice that adjacent to the green “Share Screen” there’s a tiny “^” icon. Click on it and a menu pops up:
You can enable “Multiple participants can share simultaneously”, but that won’t fix the problem either. Instead, choose “Advanced Sharing Options…” from this menu.
ADVANCED SHARING OPTIONS IN ZOOM
This is where the participant sharing feature can be enabled:
You can see it in the middle: “Who can share?”. Click to choose “All Participants” and you’ve enabled everyone else to share their screens too. Not only that, but the lower portion still lets you retain control over whether people can share “over” each other or not, and it becomes enabled as soon as you turn on “All Participants”:
That’s your problem solved! Once you know about the “^” menus, it’s not too hard.
While we’re here, however, let’s have another look at screen sharing…
ADVANCED SCREEN SHARING IN ZOOM
Earlier I showed you how you can share your iPhone or iPad screen, either wired or wireless. While you’re exploring and experimenting, don’t forget to also click on “Advanced” along the top of that window to see even more sharing options:
“Video” is how you can share a video clip and if you remember the easily-0verlooked “Share sound” checkbox on the lower left of the share window, you can share audio too. Very handy for those hilarious vacation videos or your favorite new TikTok.
In this same view, there are some other really cool options, including “Slides as a Virtual Background”, an effect you’ve probably seen professional speakers use on Zoom webinars. You can also share just a portion of your screen if you want to avoid those awkward desktop file icons, just your computer audio – shared podcast, anyone? – and, my favorite, Content from 2nd Camera. The latter is great for teachers who might have a camera set up pointing to a whiteboard or lab area: With it you can have the main screen be the whiteboard while the inset is still your webcam!
Of course you can also share more than one window, as Zoom reminds you once you choose an individual source to share:
This one’s interesting to explore, particularly if you’re showing the interaction between two apps or two windows in an app.
And, finally, once you are sharing, tiny icons tell you a bit about exactly what you’re sharing:
Notice the tiny green bar “You are screen sharing” and the corresponding green box identifying what’s being shared. Also in that tiny green bar are two icons, a tiny speaker and a tiny shield:
The tiny speaker icon means you’re sharing audio (the checkbox in the sharing window), and the shield means that it’s encrypted and secure, helpful if you have security concerns. There’s the big red “Stop Share” that’s critical to know, but also notice that there’s a “Pause Share” button that’s shown up, along with “Annotate” if you want to highlight something in that window, and Share Screen has morphed into “New Share“. Lots of additional power and sophistication if you want to explore, for sure.
Pro Tip: I’ve been writing about Zoom and video conferencing systems for years. Please do check out my growing Zoom help area for lots more useful tutorials while you’re visiting. Thanks!