How to Use Laser Pointers for Impactful Zoom Meetings

pointing to the laser pointer on the Zoom meeting app

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What To Know

  • Zoom’s built-in laser pointer feature is available during screen-sharing sessions after enabling the Annotation settings in the Zoom web portal.
  • For desktop users, activate the laser pointer by sharing your screen, clicking Annotate, then Spotlight; mobile app users can tap Share, then Pen, and select Spotlight.
  • Zoom offers additional annotation tools like text, drawing, and highlighting for more interactive and informative presentations.

In this guide, I will teach you how to use a laser pointer in your Zoom meetings to make your presentations more engaging. 

Let’s get started!

Requirements for the Laser Pointer in Zoom

Zoom has a cool feature that lets you use a laser pointer in your presentations.

But remember, you can only use this feature when you’re sharing your screen with others in the meeting. 

So, you’ll need to click on the Share Screen button at the bottom of your Zoom screen to get it going.

Before your meeting, check these requirements to make sure you can use the laser pointer without any hitches:

  • The Annotation settings in Zoom must be on.
    If you’re not sure how to do this, refer to the section “How to Enable Annotation Tools for Zoom Meetings” below. 
  • Make sure you’re using the latest version of the Zoom desktop app. This app should work fine whether you’re using Windows, macOS, or Linux.
    Note for Linux users: The laser pointer works with X11, but if you’re using Wayland, you can only annotate when you share your entire desktop on a single screen.
  • If you’re using Zoom on a mobile device, like a phone or tablet, ensure that you’ve downloaded the latest version of the Zoom mobile app.
    It’s available for both Android and iOS.

One last thing to keep in mind: The meeting host can turn off attendee annotation. If you don’t see the annotation option, the host might have disabled it.

How to Enable Annotation Tools for Zoom Meetings

Getting your annotation tools ready for Zoom meetings is a breeze with just a few steps:

Step 1: Sign into the Zoom web portal right here.

Zoom Sign-in screen

Step 2: Then, head over to the Personal panel and click on Settings.

select Settings in the Zoom Personal panel

Step 3: Click on the Meeting tab and select In Meeting (Basic).

select In Meeting (Basic) setting on Zoom

Step 4: Look for the Annotation tab and make sure it’s toggled ON.

switch ON the Annotation setting on Zoom

If you need more information or get stuck, Zoom’s support article has all the extra details you might need.

How To Use the Laser Pointer in Zoom Meeting Properly

For Zoom Desktop App Users (Windows and Mac)

Using the laser pointer in a Zoom meeting is a really handy way to highlight things on the screen, especially when you’re using the Zoom Desktop App on Windows or Mac. 

Here’s how you can activate it:

Step 1: Start off by opening the Zoom app. Click on the New Meeting button to begin your meeting.

find and open the Zoom app on a Windows PC

select the New Meeting button on the Zoom desktop app

Step 2: Next, you’ll want to share your screen with the other participants. 

There are three methods for screen sharing in Zoom:

Method 1: Click the More icon (it looks like three dots) at the bottom of your screen, and then select Share Screen.

select Share Screen in Zoom More setting

Choose the screen you want to share and click Share.

select a tab to then select the Share button on the Zoom meeting

Method 2: An even quicker way is to directly click the Share Screen button at the bottom. Then just pick the screen tab you want to share.

select the Share Screen button on the Zoom meeting

Method 3: For a super fast method, you can press Alt+S on your keyboard. This shortcut instantly opens up the screen-sharing feature in Zoom.

Step 3: Once you’re sharing your screen, move your mouse to the top of the screen.

This will bring up a new tab. Click on Annotate, and then select the Spotlight button.

select the Spotlight button on the Zoom annotation toolbar

Step 4: Click on Spotlight again to finish setting it up.

select the Spotlight button on the Zoom mobile app's meeting

Now, you’re all set! A dot that looks like a laser pointer will appear on the screen, and you can move it around with your mouse or trackpad. 

pointing to the Zoom laser pointer

Everyone in the meeting will be able to see this laser pointer on their screens, making it easier for you to point out important stuff during your presentation or discussion.

Zoom laser pointer is showing on an iPhone screen

For Zoom Mobile App Users (Android and iPhone)

Using the laser pointer in Zoom meetings on your phone is a cool way to highlight important points during your presentation.

Whether you’re using an Android or iPhone, here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Start by opening the Zoom app on your phone.

find and open the Zoom app on the iPhone

Step 2: Tap the New Meeting button and choose Start a Meeting to begin a new session.

Zoom home screen on iPhone

select the Start a Meeting button on the Zoom mobile app

Step 3: Once your meeting is up and running, tap Share at the bottom of the screen and select what you want to share. 

select the Share button on the Zoom mobile app

For example, I chose to share a photo.

list of options to share in the Zoom mobile app

select a photo then select the Add button to share in the Zoom meeting

Step 4: Tap the Pen icon on your screen and select Spotlight.

select the Pen button on the Zoom mobile app's meeting

select the Spotlight button on the Zoom mobile app's meeting

And that’s it! You’ve set up the laser pointer.

Now, you can move it around the screen with your finger.

pointing to the laser pointer in the Zoom mobile app meeting

It’s a great tool to grab attention and the best part? Everyone in the meeting will be able to see the laser pointer on their screens, just like you do.

How to Get Your Mouse Cursor Back to Normal in Zoom

When you’re in a Zoom meeting and you’ve been using the laser pointer, but now you need your mouse cursor to look normal again, don’t worry, it’s easy. 

While you’re sharing your screen, just glance at the screen tab on the left side.

You’ll notice a Mouse icon there.

All you have to do is click on that icon, and like magic, your cursor will go back to its usual look. 

select the Mouse button in the Zoom annotation toolbar

Are There Different Annotation Tools Available in Zoom for Your Presentation?

Beyond the laser pointer, Zoom offers a range of annotation tools that can make your presentations more interactive and clear.

When you share your screen during a Zoom call, look for the Annotate option in the toolbar. This feature gives you access to several helpful tools. 

For example, the Text tool lets you type words directly onto your screen, which is perfect for emphasizing key points or adding additional information.

Text tool in Zoom annotation toolbar

If you’re explaining a concept or process, the Draw tools are incredibly useful. 

They allow you to create shapes or diagrams right on your screen. 

Draw tool in Zoom annotation toolbar

For those times when you need to write or draw something quickly, you can use the Pen tool.

And, if you’re focusing on specific details in your presentation, the Highlighter is great for underscoring important numbers or words.

These tools make it much easier for your audience to follow along and grasp the essential parts of your presentation.

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How was content created? This piece is created collaboratively, with tech editors generating ideas, conducting testing, and proofreading meticulously, while AI assists in fine-tuning.

One Comment

  1. I find the laser a useless tool because it is too small, I can’t see how you can increase it’s size. Also when in use I can’t click in/out of documents. Annotation in zoom is quick clunky.

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