The Showcase Workshop Blog

Put on a Show(-case)! Getting your presentations on a big screen

There are some questions we get asked a lot here at Showcase.

"How did we ever live without this app??"

"Why didn't we do this sooner?"

"Can I have a t-shirt??" (the answer to that one is yes you can, if you take 12 minutes to review us and then email us your t-shirt size).

One of the more practical queries however is:

"Can I download my showcase onto a USB drive...and plug it in to a random computer in my prospect's boardroom...so that I can project it onto a big screen?"

A reasonable request - after all, that's what you can do with a Powerpoint! And Showcase is like Powerpoint on steroids.

However, you unfortunately can't yet simply "plug and play" a showcase on any computer in the world. With Powerpoint, there is a Powerpoint file; and then the Powerpoint application (app) to run it with. Most computers in the world have some version of the Powerpoint app, or some kind of "reader" app that will accept Powerpoint files. Showcase is, sadly, not yet at that level of world domination that our presentation files are accepted on any computer without question (trust us though, we're working on it).

That being said, there's a ton of ways you can project your beautiful showcases - or any app - onto a bigger screen. There is no built-in, specific projection option within the Showcase app, but there are still many ways you can share or cast your screen somewhere while Showcase is running. It depends a lot on what kind of device you are using, and what other resources you have at your disposal.

I'm going to run through some methods of projecting your device's screen (and, therefore, Showcase) for different platforms. Warning: technical detail ahead!

Projecting from an iPad

Method 1: With a cable

This is a bit fiddly, as you need two pieces of kit. The first piece is a "Digital AV Adapter" from Apple; this is a short cable that plugs into the lightning connection at the bottom of your iPad and has a jack for an HDMI cable at the other end.

This means that you then have to also have an HDMI cable to plug into the projector or TV.

There have been occasional bugs reported with the adapter on certain versions of iOS, so if using this method, ensure you are on the latest version of the iOS operating system on your iPad (by going to Settings > General > Software Update).

The upside of using this method is that you don't have to rely on WiFi networks/wireless connectivity to get it going. The downside is...two cables.

Method 2: AirPlay

AirPlay is Apple's proprietary method of mirroring screens and is done over WiFi - so you need your iPad + another device to be connected to the same WiFi network. That "other device" also needs to be AirPlay compatible.

Other Apple devices, like Mac computers, are AirPlay compatible by default. So if you want to project to a Mac computer, which is itself hooked up to a big screen, you can go to System Preferences > Display > AirPlay Display and pick your iPad from the dropdown (if it's not showing up, open the Control Center on your iPad - usually done by swiping up from the bottom edge of the screen - and look for the AirPlay/"Screen Mirroring" option).

You can also AirPlay to an Apple TV unit that is plugged in to a screen. This works much the same way - if you have an Apple TV turned on & connected to the same WiFi network, in the same room, you should be able to select "Apple TV" from the list of options under "Screen Mirroring" in the the Control Center on your iPad.

While Mac computers and Apple TVs are AirPlay compatible by default, you may instead want to connect to a Windows PC, which does not have a built-in AirPlay capability. In this case, you may want to look into AirServer - software which adds AirPlay to Windows PCs. AirServer has a license cost of $20 USD.

If neither of these iPad options are sounding good to you, don't lose hope - there are more options out there that don't involve using Showcase Workshop on your iPad specifically.

Projecting from a Windows computer

Your own device might be a Windows computer - a laptop, or a Microsoft Surface tablet, for example.

We have apps available for Windows, so if you are able to connect your own computer to a prospect's screen or projector - for example, via a standard HDMI cable, or even VGA screen connection - you can project Showcase right from your computer.

Install one of our Windows apps here and once that is up and running on your screen, that same screen will show up anywhere it's projected. As with our other apps, our Windows apps can run offline, so once you've downloaded your showcase you don't even need to connect to your host's WiFi.

You may not be able to connect your own computer to a projector or screen, but if notified in advance, your host may be amenable to downloading the Showcase app themselves, so you can log in and present from that.

If you can't plug in your own Windows computer, and your host doesn't want to install the Showcase app either, but there is a reliable WiFi connection in the location you want to present, you could consider sharing the entire showcase with your prospect via Email Pitch, and presenting the "Shared" showcase on the browser while that is projected. Just bear in mind that the web view may be slightly slower, and HTML Zips will not appear on it.

Projecting from Android

Almost all Android devices have a built-in 'Cast' or "Screen Mirroring" function, accessible via Settings. So, if there is a WiFi connection available, you can cast your Android tablet to a WiFi-enabled smart TV. Both devices have to be on the same network; then you can turn casting 'On' on your Android device, and select the TV from the list of options that appears.

You can also "Cast" to a Chromecast that is connected to a TV or screen. Again, both your device and the Chromecast have to be on the same WiFi network in order for casting to function successfully.

And that's it! That's all the ways (that we know of so far) to project your device's screen onto a bigger screen. Hopefully, there's an option in here that suits you, for showing off Showcase to the masses.

Cover photo by Jeremy Yap

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About Nicky E
Nicky is the Head of Customer Success at Showcase Workshop. She prefers Otago dried apricots to Turkish.