How to Share a Screen on Zoom

Show others your documents by sharing a screen

Whether you use Zoom for work, school or just hanging out with friends and family, there are often occasions when you want to show others something that you have on your own computer. Instead of sending out links or attachments, you can use Zoom screen sharing to share your screen in real-time and discuss it with others.

Instructions in this article apply to both Windows and Mac computers. They were tested on a Windows 10 computer.

How to Screenshare in Zoom

Before you share your screen in Zoom, be certain that anything anyone can see on your computer is safe to see. For example, close any windows that might not be work-related if you're sharing a screen during a business meeting. Once you're set, follow these steps to start screensharing:

Both hosts and attendees can share screens in Zoom. However, the host can prevent participants from using the option. Free and Basic accounts are set to Only Host by default.

  1. To see your Zoom menu option, hover your mouse over the Zoom meeting screen. At the bottom of the screen, you will see a menu. The Share Screen option sits near the middle.

  2. Click Share Screen.

    Do not click the tiny white up arrow, if you see one, to share your screen. Those are Host options addressed later in this article. Simply click Share Screen icon.

    Zoom menu options, including Share Screen.
  3. In the menu window that appears, select the program or window you want to share. The screen you are currently using will appear with a bright blue background; all other screens will show white backgrounds. Use the scroll bar on the right to move through your options if you need to. Once you've select the window you want to share, click Share.

    Zoom window or program selections.
  4. On your computer, check to be sure that a light blue highlight appears on the screen you selected. That indicates the window or program Zoom is going to show to others. If it's incorrect, change your selection in the menu window.

    Highlighted window Zoom will share.
  5. Once you're confident that the correct screen is going to appear, click Share in the menu window.

    Zoom Share button

When you have successfully shared your window, the menu window will disappear and a new menu bar will appear at the top of your main screen. This menu bar offers tons of options, including a More drop-down menu. You can drag this bar around your monitor(s) to another location if you want to.

Zoom menu bar

Many of these options have nothing to do with sharing your screen. There are several, however, that you can use while screen sharing or while running a Zoom meeting as a host.

From the More menu, you can select the follow screensharing options:

  • Allow (or not) participants to annotate on a shared screen.
  • Show or hide the names of annotators as they use screenshare.
  • Share computer sounds.
  • Optimize sharing for full-screen video clips.

Zoom automatically switches to full-screen in order to optimize your sharing. If you don't want that on your screen, click Exit Full Screen in the top-right of the menu at the top of your screen or press the Esc key.

How to Pause a Screen Share in Zoom

Sometimes you need to stop screensharing so you can see faces again and gauge reactions, have a discussion about something, or allow someone else to a share a screen. If you're going to resume sharing the same screen again, however, there's no need to stop sharing your screen completely. If you do, you'll have to start from the very beginning when it's time to show your screen again.

Instead, click Pause Share. This action does just what it says: It stops your screen from sharing but doesn't entirely close the option. As soon as you click that option, the button renames itself to Resume Share.

Zoom's Pause Share button

You'll also see a bright orange-yellow bar warning that your screen sharing is paused.

When you're ready to begin sharing again, just click Resume Share.

Zoom Resume Share button

How to Stop Sharing Your Screen

To stop sharing your screen, locate the menu bar. It might still be at the top of the main screen you are using or you might have dragged it somewhere else.

Click Stop Share. Once that's done, participants can no longer see your computer screen.

Zoom Stop Share button

How to Use Host Screen Sharing Menu Options

Hosts can limit screensharing to one person at a time or allow multiple participants to share at the same time. They can even limit screensharing so that only they can share a screen.

These features are all located in the Advancing Screen Sharing options menu. To open and use that menu, follow these instructions:

  1. Hover your mouse over the Zoom meeting screen. At the bottom of the screen, you will see a menu.

  2. Click the tiny white up arrow to the top right of the button that says Share Screen.

    Be careful: You are not clicking the black arrow inside the bright green box (that opens the screensharing menu window); you are clicking the tiny whiter arrow to the right.

    Zoom sharing button white arrow for advanced screen sharing options
  3. Click Advanced Sharing Options.

  4. In the menu window that appears, make selections based on what you want participants to do by clicking the desired option.

    Zoom Advanced Sharing Options menu
  5. When you've completed your selections, just click the X at the top right of the window.

    The options you select will remain the default in your future meetings. If you don't want to use these selections in every meeting, you'll need to adjust them before your close out of the current meeting or when you log in as a host to your next meeting.

How to Share Computer Sounds

By default, Zoom does not share computer sounds. Most people don't want to share computer sounds during Zoom calls but if you'd like to let others hear any sound your computer makes during a meeting, you can select that option when you start sharing your screen.

Simply select the box next to Share computer sound when you're in the Zoom program or windows selection menu; then click Share.

Zoom share computer sound option

If you are decide to optimize screen sharing for video clips, computer sounds will be automatically shared.

How to Share Videos in Zoom

Since you can share any of your screens in Zoom, you can share whatever is running in them, including videos. If you want to share a video in full screen format, it's a good idea to check the Optimize for full screen video clip option in the program or windows selection menu, then click Share.

If you're not going to share the video in full-screen, don't bother using this option. It can make the shared screen blurry.

You can also share audio-only in Zoom.

How to Use Focus Mode in Zoom

Focus Mode is a low-distraction setting for Zoom hosts. When it's active, hosts and co-hosts will get the regular view of everyone's screen, while participants will only see themselves and the hosts/co-hosts.

The participant view with Zoom's Focus Mode active


To turn on the feature, you must be running version 5.7.3 or later of the Zoom desktop client. Then, during a meeting, click the More heading and select Start Focus Mode. Once it's active, hosts and co-hosts can "spotlight" participants to make their screens visible to everyone.

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