How to set up Zoom video for dual monitors and screen sharing with PowerPoint

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.

zoom default IDG

The default view of Zoom video client and PowerPoint 365 on a dual-screen monitor setup could use a little jazzing up.

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.

zoom powerpoint turn off presenter mode IDG

On a dual-screen setup, PowerPoint 365 will automatically select Use Presenter View. Uncheck this option.

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.

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