How to Share Computer Audio in Zoom

Zoom offers plenty of options to share files and media with participants of an online meeting. And sharing computer audio is among the platform’s most useful features, especially if you host webinars.

The great thing is that this feature doesn’t require a complex set-up and there aren’t too many actions. With that in mind, this write-up focuses on sharing computer audio, and the other sharing options available during a meeting.

Things to Know

Zoom computer audio sharing is actually one of the screen-sharing features. This comes in handy when you want to share the computer audio from a third-party video, for example.

For this to work, you need the Zoom desktop app, which is available on both macOS and Windows. The important thing is that you can’t share the audio when you’re sharing multiple screens.

Sharing Audio – Quick Guide

  1. Log into your zoom meeting. (Make sure you’re the host or you may not have the necessary privileges to share your screen)
  2. Hit Share Screen(its a green icon at the bottom of your screen) and a pop up window will open asking what you want to share.
  3. At the bottom of the window, check the box labled Share Computer Sound.

From now on, the computer sound gets shared whenever you’re in the screen-sharing mode.

This option works great with Pandora, YouTube, and most other online video and audio platforms.

What Happens When You Access a Meeting on a Smartphone?

Truth be told, you can’t trigger audio sharing via a mobile device. But there is a hack to overcome this limitation.

To be exact, there’s a way to access a meeting on both devices and merge them together. For example, you can join a meeting on your smartphone and then the computer. So, get the audio via the smartphone and receive the video or shared screen on the desktop.

For this to work, you need to provide your “Meeting ID” and the ID of the participant. If the “Share computer sound” option is checked on your computer, the audio stream comes through both devices by default.

Now, you can mute one or the other to get the audio through a single channel only. If you want to stop the transmission, just select “Stop Share”, located on top of the meeting window.

Side-By-Side Sharing Mode

This mode is quite helpful when hosting larger meetings or webinars. It allows you to adjust the viewing options and keep the participants on-screen while sharing content and audio from your computer.

The screen gets shared along with the Gallery View or Speaker View and you can tweak the screen separator to your preferences. This is easy because you only need to select and move the separator to the left or right.

Here’s how to use the Side-By-Side mode:

  1. Once you’re in a meeting, choose View Options on the top right of the screen. Then select the Side-by-side Mode from the drop down menu.
  2. When you click on the option, the screen you’re sharing appears on the left and the speakers/participants are on the right.

At this point, you can click on the separator between the two windows and adjust the size to your preferences. The option to switch between the Speaker View and Gallery View is at the top right of the window on the left.

Click on it to make the switch, with Speaker View being a good choice when a single participant needs to address you or the group for a bit longer. Of course, you always have the option to enable or disable the computer audio sharing.

Neat Trick

There’s also an option to trigger the Side-by-side mode automatically. To do so, you need to click on your avatar in the Zoom desktop app and choose Settings.

Make sure the Side-by-side mode is checked and you’re good to go. Now, whenever someone initiates screen-sharing the app automatically triggers this mode.

It’s advisable to keep this option on because it makes the entire UI more manageable. And it’s easier for you to communicate key messages during screen-sharing.

Troubleshooting Zoom Audio

Right off the bat, you shouldn’t experience any problems with your audio as long as you follow the instructions. However, there are some common culprits that might obstruct the transmission.

First of all, you need to check your gear and volume levels. Make sure the in-app and computer volume are as high as you’re comfortable with. Then, if you’re using a headset check the microphone output.

The great thing is that Zoom allows for a quick test of your gear before the meeting starts. And if you use “Share computer audio” the video or app you’re sharing mustn’t be muted. So, take a quick look at the in-app/playback volume slider before you start.

In the odd case that everything checks out but there’s still no audio, restart the app or your device.

Hello, Can You Hear Me?

Without a doubt, Zoom has done a great job in providing you with different audio and screen-sharing options. The best thing is that you get to change the settings without leaving the meeting.

How often do you need to share your computer audio on Zoom? Have you ever attended a Zoom webinar? Tell us more in the comments section below.

11 thoughts on “How to Share Computer Audio in Zoom”

Avatar Arnie says:
When I record a PP with video imbedded, The sound is fine, but when I show the video and talk to explain it over the video, it does not play. You see my mouth moving, but what I say is indiscernible.
Avatar Norm HURST says:
Our host has a powerpoint that he shares on zoom. One slide has an audio file set to play when that slide appears. The audio mp3 file has been created so that it plays at normal volume for about 10 seconds and the ducks (drops in level) so it can be talked over.

The host hears this drop in volume, but none of the participants do. They all hear very loud audio throughout. I believe there is something in the audio chain (powerpoint -> windows -> zoom) that is automatically and very rapidly adjusting the level. We’re not using Zoom’s Original Sound mode (yet). Zoom’s “Automatically adjust volume” control does not react nearly as fast as what we are hearing happen to the clip playing from powerpoint.

Until very recently Windows 10 had a “Loudness Equalization” (depending on the audio driver) that we thought might be the problem, but Microsoft eliminated that option in their latest update.

Any ideas?

Avatar LG says:
I share audio and at times video but I can’t HEAR the audio myself and all the viewers can. Is there a way around this?
Avatar LYUYU says:
I have this problem too.
Avatar Jennifer says:
I’ve been trying to share my computer audio during meetings but everytime I try to share audio, I get a pop-up notification that says: To share your computer audio, please install the Zoom audio device. Please restart your audio sharing application, such as the media player, after install to continue sharing computer sound.

I’ve been trying to find said Zoom audio device that I need to install but find no mention of it in Zoom’s help center. Would you have any idea about this?

Avatar Sarah Tout says:
Hi Peter and Eric, Similarly, I’m having issues sharing Audacity playback in to a Zoom chat via the screen share. (I am running an online training seminar in How to Edit With Audacity so this is not at all ideal.) The only work around I have so far for playback is exporting the section of audio in Audacity (that I want the participants to hear) as an MP3 and playing that to them through iTunes which I am screen sharing. This is a tedious solution. I think the key might lie in a complex setting within Audacity or my sound card preferences.
Avatar John Bloom says:
Newer versions of Audacity have an option to enable audio output to Zoom. Earlier versions allowed sound to be shared, but the Audacity volume control on older versions did not change the volume of the shared sound. (Zoom shared sound is only affected by the volume control on the playing app and not the computer master volume, and older versions of Audacity had the volume slider linked to the computer master volume, not to anything in Audacity).
Avatar David Goldstein says:
I need to play some audio clips over Zoom, while someone else is screen sharing, so this looks like what I need. I just downloaded the most recent version of audacity, 2.4.2, and can’t find the option to enable audio output to zoom – searched the manual too and didn’t see it there. Can you shed some light on how to find and turn on that setting? Thx.
Avatar Randy Austill says:
Hello, I have used you suggestion on how to share music only by using the Advanced Tab off the Share menu.

However, when I play music through Windows Media Player or VLC Media player, the volume is very loud compared with my microphone, and I find myself trying to adjust the volume in the music app between 2-10 (on a scale of 0-100), which makes fine adjustment difficult. Adjusting the level of my overall computer sound doesn’t seem to make a difference. Any suggestions? Thank you!

Avatar Evan Grant says:
Have you tried muting or turning volume down very low on your PC/Mac speakers? Turning your speaker volume to zero will definitely solve problem for your listeners but may not be usable for you. Perhaps ‘very low’ rather than zero would work for both?

Similarly, have you tried doing same to microphone levels using settings in Windows/MacOS (as opposed to muting yourself within the Zoom app session)? Thus should work too, but may be an issue if you need to talk over the mp3 file.

Avatar roxy says:
Is it normal that when I share the sound, I can’t hear it myself? Is there a way to overcome this?
Avatar Brian Gray says:
Hello I am a hypnotherapist and I would like to play music while I talk for an online session. I use tablets or a laptop. Please tell me there is an easy way to accomplish that. Thanks
Avatar Peter Dann says:
Brian, please see my reply to Martina. They’re the steps you need to follow.
Avatar Martina says:
Hi Peter, how can I share the audio without showing them the interface or my screen?? I have to play audio files, but there’s nothing on the screen for them to look at, they read on their books…
Avatar Peter Dann says:
How to play audio to Zoom meeting participants without showing them the user interface of the audio application you’re running:
1. As host of of meeting, click green “Share screen” button at bottom of user interface (on computer, anyway).
2. Select “Share computer sound” checkbox (bottom left).
3. Selected “Advanced” (at top of dialog).
4. Select “Music or Computer Sound only”, then click Share button.
5. Launch whatever sound-playing program you want to use to play your sounds.
The users will hear the sounds you are playing, but not see the application you are using. (They will see your lovely face on camera, instead).
I hope this is an answer to what you are wanting to know.
2.
Avatar Peter Dann says:
For my training sessions, I need to be able to play participants a song recorded as an .mp3 file. I use Audacity to play the file, and have figured out how to channel the sound of the file to participants without showing them the Audacity interface. Only problem is, what participants end up hearing seems to be a mix of (a) the direct output of Audacity (which sounds OK) and (b) the sound of the Audacity file playing on my computer, then going to participants via the microphone (which sounds pretty lousy). However, when I mute my microphone, participants hear no sound at all. Is there any way I can have my participants hear just the sound of the .mp3 file direct from Audacity, without also hearing what’s coming through my microphone? Ideally, I don’t want to have to wear headphones.
Avatar Eric says:
Any luck with this? I need the same help
Avatar Peter Dann says:
Alas no, Eric.

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