If you’ve been wondering about the difference between Spotlight and Pin Video on Zoom, you’re not alone.

Those two features used to have me stumped, too, until I did some poking and prodding to figure out exactly what those differences are.

Although both features will bring a speaker to the forefront, the differences in how that happens are significant. Hopefully this brief article will help you in your next meeting! ​


Only a Host or Co-host can spotlight someone. ​

​Whoever is spotlighted will appear in Speaker View for everyone, even if participants were viewing the meeting in Gallery View.

No permission is required, either to spotlight or to be spotlighted (spotlit?), so be aware at the next meeting you attend, you could have the virtual spotlight shone on you at any time! (In other words, you might want to wait to pick your nose until your video is off. Just sayin’…)​

Pin Video:

​Any participant can pin any other participant’s video at any time. No permission is required. (See my caveat above!)​


On a computer, click anywhere in the participant’s window.​

​Then click “Pin Video” in the drop-down menu that appears.​

​On iPad/iPhone, make sure you’re in Gallery View, then double-tap on the participant you want to pin.​

TIP: Pin Video supersedes Spotlight (AND screensharing!)​

​As a host, be aware that participants always have granular control over what they see in Zoom.

What are some of the most common reasons for using spotlighting vs. pinning?

As a host (or co-host), you may want to spotlight someone who’s speaking so everyone can see them.

Participants may be viewing the meeting in Gallery View, or perhaps they’re in Speaker View, but not everyone is muted, and someone is coughing or moving their chair, so their video keeps popping up, so the person who has the floor is not the one taking up the screen.​

Or if in Gallery View, nobody can tell who the speaker is.

Once the host or co-host spotlights someone, now they are the active speaker, and their window appears big and bold for everyone to see, even if someone else coughs or inadvertently (or intentionally!) “grabs” the microphone.

Now say you’re a participant. You would rather look at another window. Maybe someone on the meeting is graphic recording—taking live visual notes—and sharing them via their video. And you want to watch THAT instead of the speaker or the slides.

Cool! Just click “Pin Video” on that person’s window, and now THAT is what you’ll see, no matter what’s being spotlighted.

One of my favorite uses for Pin Video, though, is for interactive activities!

I pair people up and have them pin their partner’s video, and then it almost feels like they’re in a room alone together, even though we’re still all in the main Zoom room.

As host, I can see everyone in Gallery View, but the partners only see each other.

I share some of my favorites in my Non-Boring Virtual Meetings workshops, along with other interactive activities and essential facilitation tips, so sign up on the waitlist to get notified of upcoming sessions.


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