Sometimes, you need to share your screen in a meeting. Going through last week’s spreadsheet reports with tiny numbers and rows and rows of cells? Got a new design that you want to show a client?
You need a good screen sharing software for that. Preferably, something that doesn’t take an agonizingly long time to boot up and is reasonably priced—even better if it’s bundled into your video conferencing software already, which means that’s one less tool for everyone to learn.
In fact, some of the latest screen sharing software even come with features like on-screen annotations and remote software access. If you’re one of the many businesses that are starting to adopt a remote work strategy, then having a good screen sharing software is a must.
With so many options on the market, how do you choose the best screen sharing app for you?
In this article, we’re going to look at:
- Specific use cases for screen sharing software
- How to choose the right screen sharing software for you
- The 5 best screen sharing apps for small businesses
Specific use cases for screen sharing software
Depending on what your company does, you can use it in a few different ways.
For example, if you have teammates located in other cities and countries, you could share your screen to present interactive presentations to them—without the need to fly people out or pay for hotels.
And that’s just one scenario. Regardless of the industry that you’re operating in, screen sharing offers a range of benefits. Here are a few:
- Hands-on training: Besides sharing instructions for projects and other files, you can use screen sharing features to provide a hands-on learning experience. For example, if you’re using RingCentral, your team can just follow along by watching your screen (and you can add notes through annotations as well while screen sharing):
- Recorded sessions: Look for a screen sharing platform that lets you record sessions. You can send these out at the end of the training so your employees can review them if they get stuck once the session is over. This saves you time and also empowers your team to find answers to questions on their own.
- Easier technical support: Instead of wasting time trying to describe the issue over the phone (which doesn’t make for a great customer experience), your customers can share their screens to show your customer service reps the problem firsthand. From there, your team can guide them to a solution.
- Remote collaboration: Because everyone can share their screens, any teammates who are remote can host brainstorming sessions and invite folks with a link or a meeting ID (a good way to avoid getting Zoombombed).
How to choose a screen sharing software that’s right for you
There are lots of screen sharing tools, and each comes with its own set of features—and limits.
For example, some software limits the number of people allowed on a screen share, while others integrate with other apps you use (like calendars and email).
To pick something that best suits your needs, here are a few things to think about:
Number of users: Take a look at the size of your current team and consider how much you expect it to expand in the next few years. Some apps have a limit on how many people you can share your screen with, while others can accommodate hundreds of users.
Screen share time: Will you just be sharing screens for 15 to 30 minutes per day, or do you need to do it a little longer? While some apps allow for free remote screen sharing without time restrictions, others require you to pay for extended use. If your team is big on group collaboration and brainstorming, you’ll need a screen sharing app with ample screen share time.
Collaboration features: Part of what makes remote teams so productive is their ability to work together—no matter where they are. So, if a team needs to share ideas and they want their notes to remain available after a meeting, that should be possible. Check if the screen sharing app you’re looking to invest in has features like screen recording so everyone can stay in the loop, even if they miss a meeting.
Device compatibility: Screen sharing works best when it supports multiple operating systems and device types. Make sure the software you’re interested in runs on both computers and mobile devices so that your team can stay updated and even participate in team meetings while on the go.
The 5 best screen sharing apps for small businesses
RingCentral Video is a powerful web conferencing solution that offers screen sharing, chat, and video conferencing in one integrated platform.
Screen sharing on RingCentral Video comes equipped with pretty advanced controls and options if you need them. For example, you can engage in interactive sessions with your team by sharing your screen. (Actually, here’s a step-by-step runthrough of how to do screen sharing with RingCentral Video.)
It also lets you record your screen share sessions—whether participants get disconnected in the middle of a session or can’t attend, they’ll be able to review important details after the meeting has ended.
There are a few features that make RingCentral Video really stand out. For example, it’s possible for people other than the main presenter to share their screens. (This can be useful in training sessions where multiple presenters might be briefing attendees at the same time.) You can also use the annotation feature to mark exactly what they are talking about on the screen.
Not only that, it also lets you invite participants by phone, email, or a meeting ID. Even if your screen sharing session has already started, you can still invite people—just send the meeting URL or ID to them. They don’t even need to download and install an app.
You can either use your web browser to host a meeting or download the app on your Mac, PC, iOS, or Android device. Once you do, you’ll be able to share your screen in real time.
RingCentral Video comes included with three of RingCentral Office’s plans: Standard, Premium, and Ultimate. Along with video and screen sharing, these plans come with team messaging and business calling and texting from your desktop or mobile device.
The Standard plan offers remote screen sharing with up to 100 participants—and your meetings can last for as long as 24 hours! No 40-minute time limit here.
If you just want a quick way to share your computer screen, Screenleap might be a good option for you.
The app installs as a Chrome extension and allows you to share your screen with as many people as you like over the internet. This makes it ideal for scenarios where you need to give a quick presentation to the client without forcing them to download or install software.
The first time you use the app, you’ll have to grant it permission to run in your browser, but apart from that, Screanleap is simple and easy to set up. Just visit Screenleap.com and click to share your screen.
Once your screen is shared, you’ll get a URL link to share with anyone. Participants can use the link to join the session when you’re actively sharing—they’ll be asked to wait when you’re not available.
You can also use Screenleap to host private sessions, which can be joined with a temporary passcode. And since all sessions are browser-based, it means people can join regardless of their device or operating system.
The downfall of Screenleap is that it doesn’t have more robust features. That being said, it does give you a simple way to share your computer screen.
Screenleap is free for 40 minutes per day with up to eight participants.
Any additional usage will require you to get a monthly subscription to either the Basic plan ($15 per month for eight hours per day with up to 30 participants) or the Pro plan ($31 per month for unlimited sharing with up to 150 participants.)
TeamViewer is a remote access tool that offers screen sharing as part of its package. The key focus of the app: to encourage collaboration between remote teams.
With TeamViewer, the host of a session can pass the presenter role to another attendee, and every participant can mark up the screen with annotation features.
The app also lets you record sessions and organize them easily by saving them in the cloud. This makes it easy to refer back to that one client’s issue or the key points from the last meeting.
Apart from sharing your screen, the app lets you share video and audio with other participants. You can choose to show specific apps or just parts of your display if you want to avoid sharing your entire screen.
The biggest drawback of TeamViewer is its cost. While it’s free for personal use, using it for your business requires you to sign up for one of its paid plans, most of which have a higher price tag than other comparable software on our list.
TeamViewer is free for personal use, while commercial usage requires you to buy one of three licenses: Business, Premium, or Corporate.
The Business licence costs $22.90 a month and allows you to control up to 200 devices. The premium license is priced at $45.90 a month and allows for 300 device connections. The corporate license is the most expensive, costing $89.90 a month with 500 device connections. You’d be billed annually for each license.
If you’re a Skype user, you may not need a separate screen sharing tool.
That’s because the popular video conferencing service already has a screen sharing feature.
Skype offers a shared whiteboard with a range of annotation tools, although you can’t use them on a live stream of another attendee’s screen. When a session is over, you can save the whiteboard with everyone’s input.
Skype lets you drag and drop files (up to 300 MB) into the conversation window to give all participants access. This feature lets you share many file types (like presentations and manuals) that you may have saved to your computer.
Although Skype is a decent choice when it comes to screen sharing, it may not always be the right option for businesses. For example, it doesn’t offer an option to remotely gain access to a participant’s device—if you’re planning to use screen sharing as a way to provide technical support, you may be better off with another tool. Check out these Skype alternatives.
Skype’s most basic version is free and allows unlimited screen sharing with up to 10 people (as long as you’re on a Skype-to-Skype call).
Join.me is an easy-to-use app that allows you to share your screen with up to 250 people.
Like RingCentral Video, it offers advanced collaboration features such as screen region sharing (select which screen you want to share and hide the rest) and a variety of annotation tools, including a pen and a laser pointer.
Join.me also has a presenter swap feature that allows participants to switch the role of the viewer and presenter, regardless of whether they’re on mobile or PC. Hosts can choose who can share their screen with the rest of the participants.
The app also lets you seamlessly switch between a whiteboard and your device’s screen when presenting to an employee or a customer. This lets you convey the important details as well as note down ideas on a canvas, which can be customized to display your company’s branding.
When it comes to remote access, Join.me lets participants take control of the presenter’s mouse. Don’t worry—if things go wrong, you can take the control back with a click of a button.
Join.me has almost everything you could ask for in a screen sharing app, except that it doesn’t have a straightforward option to gain remote access to someone’s device. (You’ll first need to make someone a presenter, and then use the mouse control feature to gain control over their screen, which can be a hassle.)
Join.me offers three subscription plans: Lite, Pro, and Business.
The Lite plan costs $10/month and allows you to share screen with 5 participants. The Pro plan is $20/month and allows for up to 250 participants. The Business plan is the most expensive; it costs $30/month, supports up to 250 participants, and offers Salesforce integration. All three plans are billed annually and offer an unlimited number of meetings with no limits on screen share time.
Use screen sharing software to collaborate and be more productive as a team
It can be stressful and challenging for remote teams when they need to collaborate and they’re far away from each other.
Likewise, business owners might find it difficult to keep costs down when they’re unable to provide hands-on training from afar.
With the help of screen sharing, you can do both and provide an interactive learning experience.
Whatever app you decide to go with, make sure it supports your goals and the specific way your team operates. Don’t just invest in software with the most features or the lowest price. The right screen sharing software can boost collaboration and significantly reduce your training costs, so choose wisely!