Screen sharing is a great way to show participants in your room something that's on your computer's screen. At the moment screen sharing is only supported on the desktop version of appear.in, so to do this you'll need to make sure you're on your laptop or desktop.
To keep an optimal level of performance in the room, screen sharing will broadcast at anywhere between 1 and 5 FPS (frames per second), so it isn't suitable for sharing videos because they won't appear smooth to other users. One of the benefits of this is that we can offer up to 1080p resolution on your shared image though, so text and images will be crisp for your users! If you need to share a video, you can check out our YouTube integration.
Screen Sharing Compared: FREE vs PRO Rooms
Depending on what type of appear.in room you're in, there are differences in the type of screen sharing that you can do. In a FREE room you have access to the basic version of screen sharing. With this your video feed will be replaced by your shared screen until you stop screen sharing. The FREE version does offer unlimited screen sharing for all participants though, so share s much as you'd like!
In the PRO version, we add an additional feed for your shared screen so that your video feed can stay active for other users in the room. This is great if you're making a presentation and still want your participants to be able to see your face! PRO also offers unlimited screen sharing for anyone in the room!
Screen Sharing in Different Browsers
Depending on what browser you're using, there will be different options for what you can share. Additionally, some browsers require an extension to be installed for screen sharing to work, due to the permission requirements of the browser. This has been detailed below!
Chrome requires a one time extension install. You will be prompted to install this extension if you try to screen share and have not downloaded it yet. After installing the extension, you can go into any appear.in room and click on the Share Screen button in the bottom toolbar to share your screen. When you click that, you're presented with a few different options:
You can share an image of your entire screen, which will show anything that is in focus on that screen. If you have multiple monitors, you can also select which one you'd like to show.
If you click to the Application Window section, you can select a specific window of an application like Word or Chrome that you want to share. This is great if you don't want to show your participants things that are on your desktop, or other applications that aren't relevant to your presentation.
Finally, you can use the Chrome Tab option if you only want to share one tab from your Chrome Browser.
Firefox is one of the few browsers that doesn't require a screen sharing extension, so for many users this a great choice if they don't have permission to install extensions on their browser. Where Firefox is lacking is in terms of customizing what you want to show your guests. At the moment, you can only select between which screen you want to share, and there aren't options to share only an application window or a tab in your browser.
Vivaldi is built on top of the Chrome platform, so it offers the same sharing options that Chrome does! This does mean that Vivaldi requires the screen sharing extension to be installed, but comes with the added customization benefits.
Opera is also built on the Chrome platform, so like Vivaldi it shares the same options as Chrome. Just like Vivaldi, it requires an extension to be installed before screen sharing will work.
Tips and Tricks
One weird interaction that is very common with screen sharing is the "infinity mirror" effect. This happens when you share your screen, and your appear.in room is visible in the area that you're sharing (basically if your room is in the shared image, the effect will happen). The reason that this happens is because you're sharing an image that's showing a shared image, which creates an infinite loop. To prevent this, just be sure that your room isn't visible in the area or application that you're sharing!
See participants while sharing
Many users have asked for the option to create a "pop-out' version of the room when they screen share, so the presenter can see the room participants while sharing their screen. While creating a pop-out isn't possible right now due to technical constraints of the browser, we do have some workarounds that can be used to achieve something similar!
The easiest and cleanest way to do this is to have two monitors connected to your computer when screen sharing. With this option, you can keep your appear.in room open on one monitor, and then use the other screen for your content that you want to share. This way you can avoid any infinity mirror effects, and you can also keep a full-size view of your room open while sharing your screen.
If you're on the go or don't have a secondary monitor, you can still keep a view of your room open while you screen share. The main caveat to this is that you won't be able to share the entire screen, as doing this would cause the infinity mirror effect. The idea with this method is to open appear.in in a separate browser window, and make that a small portion of your screen. Then you have your shared content taking up the bulk of your screen, and share that specific application or tab.