Posted by: kurtsh | May 21, 2020

COMMENTARY: Stop screensharing PowerPoint on Microsoft Teams

[This is a repost from a blog article I wrote in 2012 about Microsoft Lync.  People are still doing it, except now it’s being done through Microsoft Teams. Please stop.]

Cardinal rule for presenting slides in Microsoft Teams:

  1. Upload your PowerPoint into Microsoft Teams when delivering presentations to remote audiences.
  2. Never “share your screen” to do a PowerPoint presentation.

HOW TO UPLOAD YOUR POWERPOINT INTO MICROSOFT TEAMS
imageAll one needs to do is click the “OPEN SHARE TRAY” button (or CTRL-SHIFT-E)within Microsoft Teams and select the PowerPoint Presentation you need to share – or browse your drive for it.  This will allow you to upload the deck into the Teams session & automatically convert it into an HTML5 presentation, complete with full animations, transitions, etc.

image

Share Tray in Microsoft Teams

Please note that this process may take a few minutes to complete depending on the size of the presentation but the results are excellent and a little forethought/ preparation before presenting should not be a big deal.

WHY IS SCREEN SHARING POWERPOINT SO BAD?   
Sharing one’s desktop to deliver a PowerPoint presentation may look okay to you as a presenter, but from the stand point of an attendee (especially those with highly questionable bandwidth or weak QoS at their Internet gateway) pixel-level desktop sharing can take forever to do screen updates when using POWERPNT.EXE, especially at typical 1280×1024 resolutions & 24-bit color depth.

It can also pixelate the screen creating compression artifacts and sections of the screen sometimes will not update until a key frame is sent. This can take a while under low bandwidth situations.

This applies to all conferencing solutions BTW – not just Microsoft Teams.

In a phrase, it can be downright painful to view a screen shared PowerPoint presentation & it’s inconsiderate to your audience.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF UPLOADING THE .PPTX FILE?
When you load the presentation into Teams, there are several major benefits for attendees viewing the PowerPoint in this manner, instead of ‘screensharing’ POWERPNT.EXE:

  1. IMMEDIATE SLIDE CHANGES
    All slide changes are immediate, eliminating the annoying pauses & frame rate issues that occur during screensharing while the screen refreshes on a pixel-by-pixel level.  For attendees with crappy bandwidth, a single 1280x1024x64k slide change can take close to a minute.  Meanwhile, the presenter is likely yammering away, while the slide hasn’t even appeared on his attendees screens & has no idea how bad the experience is on their end.
  2. SMOOTH TRANSITIONS & ANIMATIONS
    All animation & transitions are supported and appear smoothly, whereas pixel-sharing can make animations at 1280x1024x64k run at less than a frame per second when delivered over a 64kbps connection, which can happen when the attendee is viewing the presentation with bad Internet access.  When the file is uploaded to the Teams session, the presentation is automatically scaled to the attendee’s local desktop resolution, so the presenter’s desktop resolution isn’t relevant.  (During desktop sharing for things like application demos, smart presenters normally shuttle down their resolution/color depth beforehand to minimize network I/O to the attendees)
  3. CLIENT-SIDE SLIDE CACHING
    The attendee’s Teams client will pre-cache the entire PowerPoint presentation on the attendee’s machine locally and display the first presentable slide immediately, making bandwidth usage irrelevant after the initial slides of the deck are cached.  This allows presenter slide changes to occur immediately on the attendee’s screens & also provide…
  4. SLIDE LOOKAHEAD/LOOKBACK
    If an attendee wants to look back at a previous slide, they have the ability to do so unless the presenter specifically restricts them from doing so.  This gives them freedom to review the content on their own & better understand the presenter’s point.
    (BTW Presenters need to get over the fear of “attendees looking ahead” and “not being focused”. If folks want to look ahead, that’s great – they’re curious.  If they don’t like what they see, why should they linger & waste their time?  If they refer back to previous slides, it gives them an opportunity to review & better understand you content.  Stop treating your audience like “captives" to control.)
  5. POWERPOINT DECK DOWNLOAD
    Once uploaded to Teams, it’s stored in the following directory in your OneDrive for Business:

    C:\Users\<username>\OneDrive – Microsoft\Microsoft Teams Chat Files

    Since it’s already in your OneDrive for Business, it’s simple to share the deck with your audience so they can download the .PPTX for their offline use, which is a common request from attendees.


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