Surface Pro 2: Using Skype for Presentations

Quick Summary

Have you tried Skype to connect your Surface Pro 2 or Surface Pro to a display when you are doing presentations? I do it all the time.  You can run Skype for Windows Desktop to share your screen with a computer connected to a projector or large display. Skype takes care of scaling the screen so that output looks great on your Surface Pro 2 and the display device.

When you do this you can now wander the room with your Surface Pro, no longer tethered to the display cable.

I write and draw on my Surface Pro 2 when doing presentations. Sometimes that is to annotate my PowerPoint slides. Other times, often, I will do a quick sketch to illustrate a concept. Try that some time and you’ll see a whole new level of engagement with your audience.

Things to Consider

Like all things related to doing presentations – rehearse this with a couple of different computers before you try it live. It’s simple and only takes a minute to set-up if the host computer already has Skype installed. But rehearse it so that you can do it easily in an emergency if you have to.

Running Skype like this drains the battery faster than usual.  On my Surface Pro 2 I can still get over three hours of run time doing this and that’s more than enough for me.  Expect less with the Surface Pro, but I’ve done it for shorter events and it’s been fine.

Is there a sound system in the room?  Mute the sound system while you are making the Skype connection and then mute the microphone on your Surface Pro 2 before turning on the sound system again. This way you will avoid the call connection sounds and feedback between your Surface Pro 2 and the sound system.

Background

When I do presentations there is frequently a challenge connecting to a projector. Not all venues are equipped with wireless projectors or support for high resolution 16 x 9 aspect ratio sources. This can lead to some ugly situations when you connect your Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2 to the cable dangling from the lectern. This can be as simple as lack of an appropriate physical connection or as complex as a severe mismatch in the aspect ratio. If you’ve ever tried to do a presentation with your Surface hard-wired to a display with less than optimal display resolution you know that looking at a stretched screen or letter boxed version of you presentation is no fun.

In most of the environments where I speak there is some kind of computer attached to the projector or display. If that computer is relatively recent then there’s a good chance that Skype is installed, and if not it can be installed very quickly. 

I have done this in all kinds of environments (corporate, university, retail) and even with an Xbox One.

 

Reference Notes:

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