Thanks to a variety of apps out these days, sharing screens on your computer is easier than ever – and even more useful. Screen sharing simply takes what is on your screen or window and transmits it to another computer in real time, allowing someone else to see (and sometimes control) exactly what you are doing.
This has multiple benefits. It allows students and workers to explain processes or work on projects together at a distance. It lets relatives answer questions or show off new software, and helps computer experts explain steps and answers questions.
Best Ways for Sharing Screens
Here are several of the most popular (and easiest) ways to share screens from your own computer!
Google allows you to create screen sharing features through Hangouts, Google’s version of a very general, flexible messaging service. Google Hangouts can be very useful for sharing screens because it uses Google profiles – which everyone who spends much time online is likely to have. If you can’t settle on a particular service, it can be useful to just have everyone login to Hangouts, create a Hangout, and use Google’s options to screen share. Plus, the feature is totally free.
The downside is that it takes a little work to use. You have to make a video call, turn it into a presentation, and then find the Start Screenshare function to share whatever is going on around your screen. You may want to run through it a few times on your own to make sure it works properly.
Skype is the other app/video service that everyone is likely to have, which makes it handy for screen sharing as well. Typically people use the video service to communicate with friends and family members, although distant business professionals can also use it in a pinch. Like Google Hangouts, the screen sharing function on Skype is free to use – you don’t need to pay for Premium to access it. Just download Skype, start a session, and find the “Share Screen” or “Share Window” option. You can share your entire screen and everything that is happening, or just an individual window for a more narrow look.
Skype’s feature is simple and easy to use, but like Google Hangouts it does not come with many extra administrative tools, making it better for more casual use. Skype suggests that you try out the feature for collaborating on trip plans, or showing an elderly relative how to use some of the more advanced Skype features. Also, note that the screen sharing option is designed primarily for desktop computers. There are lots of Skype apps in the world, but stick with the traditional screen for this feature.
Web conferencing apps and services help when sharing screens for more professional purposes. They typically include several different features bundled into one service, including voice calls, chatting and messaging functions, login features, listener statuses, and much more. The primary administrator or host has the ability to share a screen as well as record the session and share it with others.
This is great for web conferencing, but not everyone might need all these features. The service may also require a license fee for the host to use. It is difficult to pin down features or pricing, because there are so many web conferencing out in the world. If you are interested in a useful, cost-effective version, look into join.me, which is created by screen sharing company LogMeIn.
General Screen Sharing
There’s also a general group of screen sharing services out on the Internet. These are meant to help you share screens easily to diagnose problems, communicate with family members, or collaborate on a project. They do not have all the features of professional web conferencing services, and are focused more on basic help, small businesses, student projects, remote desktop work, and similar functions.
Again, there are many services with a lot of different pricing options. A service like ScreenLeap is free if you only use it for a couple hours a day for up to 8 viewers, which is very handy for minor projects, but the Company tier will cost around $30 per month. You may also prefer a minimalistic service like Quick ScreenShare.
Photo Credit: Lance Fisher