While Zoom publishes a straightforward document on how to use dual monitors with the Zoom desktop client, in our experience, the process can be more complex. Because some apps may not work the way you want them to on default, you’ll likely need to make a few further changes.
We’ll describe below the issues we encountered and the workarounds we found. We have reached out to Zoom for comment, but have not heard back as of this posting.
For starters, this is the default view you get from using Microsoft’s PowerPoint 365 on a dual-screen setup where you get duplicate screens.
While we actually think it’s pretty smart for PowerPoint 365 to sense your second display and use it for the presentation, the software is assuming there’s a live audience viewing a projection that the presenter can’t see. That’s not the case with screen-sharing audiences. Instead, you might want that second screen full of happy faces.
Here’s how you fix it.
Set PowerPoint 365 to use only your laptop display
First you’ll need to set PowerPoint to stop giving you duplicate images. You can do this by clicking Slide Show and then un-checking Use Presenter View.
In our experience, PowerPoint still automatically tried to use the second display, but you can further limit it by using the Monitor option. Click Select the Monitor and choose your primary display from the drop-down menu. The Primary Monitor is typically the laptop’s display.
Once you’ve done this, it will effectively make PowerPoint act as though you have only a single display. This mode of use is also handy if you want to have other applications visible on the second display while giving a streaming presentation.
Set Zoom for dual-monitor support
The second thing you should do is set up Zoom for dual-monitor support. Note: We tested this on the latest desktop client for Windows 10, not the web client. Based on the Zoom documentation noted at the beginning of this story, the web client does not support dual monitors.
First, click the small gear or cog icon for Settings, under your profile picture in the application. It should take you to the General tab, but if not, click General. Check the box for Use dual monitors.
When you share your screen with Zoom from an active session (Alt+S), you’ll be given a choice of which window to share with your audience. Just pick the window that has PowerPoint. In the example below, it’s display 1.
Restart Zoom to confirm the setting
While you’d think you were done now, the result may be a confusing at first when you start your video conference. As you can see, we have PowerPoint on just one screen, but our video windows aren’t exactly giving us full use of the second display. We found no way to go into full-screen mode, even if we checked the Go to full screen option.
The issue, we believe, is that Zoom’s “Use dual monitor” setting doesn’t change until you exit the application. When you close Zoom, it minimizes into the Window tray on the lower right-hand corner. To restart Zoom, find it in the Windows tray in the lower right-hand side, right-click the blue Zoom icon, and select Exit. Restart Zoom and PowerPoint, and you should see your PowerPoint confined to your laptop’s screen, and your Zoom video windows expanded so you can see the entire staff.