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About Screen Sharing
Screen sharing is a great way to show participants in your room something that's on your computer's screen. To keep an optimal level of performance in the room, screen sharing will broadcast from 1-5 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, so text and images will be crisp for your users!
Screen Sharing Compared: Free vs Pro & Business Rooms
Depending on what type of Whereby 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 as much as you'd like!
Pro & Business
In the Pro and Business versions, 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! Both plans also offer 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, browsers that are built on Chrome 71 or earlier require an extension to be installed for screen sharing to work, due to the permission requirements of the browser. As of Chrome 72, screen sharing is fully built in and no longer requires the extension. See below for all the details.
Older versions of Chrome require a one time extension install, and you will be prompted to install this the first time you try to screen share. After installing the extension, you can go into any Whereby 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.
Due to a recent update in Vivaldi, screen sharing is no longer supported.
Opera is built on the Chrome platform, but it differs from Chrome because it requires the extension for screen sharing to work. The first time you try to screen share you will be prompted to install the extension, and after that you'll be able to share your screen!
In the newest release of MacOS, Apple has introduced system level permissions for accessing screen sharing. After updating, you will need to go into the Privacy section of System Preferences, and allow access to the browser that you use with Whereby. After doing this, screen sharing will be available on your device again!
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 Whereby 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 Whereby 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. With this method, open Whereby in its own 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 window or tab.