Screen Sharing: Which Option is Right for You?

Screen SharingNot many people take full advantage of screen sharing. That is really too bad, since screen sharing can spell the difference between successful and frustratingly unsuccessful web meetings. Showing your colleagues what you are talking about (rather than trying to explain charts and graphs) works wonders! Screen sharing also allows users to make e-presentations and conduct virtual training.

Screen sharing software is not one-size-fits-all. It is flexible, ensuring that you get the sharing abilities you want with the privacy you need. We’ll take a look at some different screen-sharing varieties – and how to do it right.

The Basic Model: Full Screen Sharing

Best For: People Who Don’t Mind Sharing Everything

It is what it is. If you want to share your whole screen, this is how you do it. All other users (whether it be one-on-one or a larger webinar) will be able to see your whole screen and everything on it. Think of it as an inverse webcam – instead of the computer capturing your face, the software is capturing exactly what you see on your computer screen and sharing it with others. Some screen-sharing software, such as GoToMeeting, has an option to share a “clean” version of your desktop, which eliminates your desktop clutter (such as icons and other open windows) so that you can specifically choose what you want your viewers to see. If you choose to use full screen sharing, it’s best to do some cleaning first. Close extra applications, clear your desktop, and resist the urge to check your inbox during the meeting. After all, you wouldn’t want your colleagues to find out that you just purchased an annual subscription to Teddy Bear Fan Club Magazine.

Increasing Privacy: Partial Screen Sharing

Best For: Sharing Specific Parts of Applications

Another useful feature that isn’t fully implemented in some screen-sharing software, partial screen sharing allows you to designate a section of your screen to share with viewers. You might use this in training or teaching situations so that you can wait to reveal answers, for example. Although it is a less common feature, many companies are beginning to standardize this software feature. If you choose partial screen sharing, be aware that the window you are sharing is mobile. Take care not to accidentally move something private into the shared window.

Most Privacy: Single App Screen Sharing

Best For: People who like to have tons of application windows open at all times

While it is generally a good idea to simply close all of your private browsing windows before screen sharing, you don’t necessarily have to. Single app screen sharing is our favorite version of screen sharing, since it affords the most privacy without sacrificing flexibility. With single app sharing, you don’t have to share your entire desktop with other users. Instead, you get to choose exactly which windows you want to share. If you have information that you need during a presentation that you don’t necessarily want other users to see (such as your email inbox), partial screen sharing is a good idea. When using single app screen sharing, remember that you are sharing entire applications. If you are sharing your browser, close your extra tabs first.

Letting Others Control Your Computer

Best For: Tech support or collaborative projects

This is one of the more impressive screen sharing software features. For those of us who are constantly updating our software and looking for the latest in computer technology, sharing control is a godsend. Professional tech support often uses this feature to troubleshoot problems instead of struggling to explain issues over the phone. Small business use can use this feature to remotely collaborate on work. For example, if you aren’t sure how to perform a specific function on Excel, your colleague could jump in and show you how to do it, even if she or he is thousands of miles away.

Sharing is Caring

Whether you want to share everything, limit sharing to a single application, or give control of your computer to a coworker, screen-sharing options have you covered. Just be sure that if you are not connected to an Ethernet cable, you have a good Wi-Fi signal. The last thing you want is an iffy connection blurring your screen.

Lynn is the founder and chief editor at She is responsible for strategy and business development. Her background is in software development, marketing, and project management. She loves camping, traveling, and all things soccer related. She has been married for over 30 years to one great guy and has two adult children. Lynn is also the human companion to two cats - Jynx and Spanky. She is based in Minnesota, USA.

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