How Desktop Sharing Works

By: Dave Roos

Presentation Sharing

With presentation settings, salesmen can give presentations such as how a Web site would work.
© Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Another useful application of desktop sharing technology is presentation sharing. Like remote login and real-time collaboration, presentation sharing uses the same technology as basic desktop sharing. In presentation sharing, the presenter shares his or her desktop with a group of remote users to show a PowerPoint presentation or a Flash demonstration, to display photos or screen a video. Presentation sharing is inherently less collaborative and implies a one-to-many or few-to-many structure.

Other terms for presentation sharing are Web seminars or online presentations. In a Web seminar or online presentation, a presenter sends out an e-mail invitation to a group of attendees that includes a link and an access code. When the attendees click on the link and enter their access codes, they're logged into the virtual presentation.


In a Web seminar, there can only be one presenter at a time. The presenter can share his desktop, share presentations with programs like PowerPoint or Flash, or share other applications and software on the host computer. With Web seminar software, it's easy to switch presenters. Each presenter can then share his or her own desktop and files. But since Web seminars are one-to-many or few-to-many affairs, there usually isn't much changing of presenters.

Some real-world applications of presentation sharing and Web seminars are for salesmen who want to demonstrate a new software package to clients, for online continuing education classes and for online employee training.

As with other forms of desktop sharing, audio is usually separate from the Web presentation itself. The most common solution is to use teleconferencing. When the presenter sends out his invitation for the Web seminar, he can include a conference call dial-in number and an access code. Attendees would have to dial into the conference call, then log in to the Web seminar, or vice versa. Some subscription Web seminar services offer an option for bundling audio into the Web seminar using VoIP [source: Kolabora].

Now let's look at one of the coolest uses of desktop sharing: application sharing.