How to use Zoom

One of the most essential tools for anyone working or collaborating remotely is a good videoconferencing service. Being able to look a person — or people — in the eye is an important aspect of communication, and sometimes mere voice doesn’t suffice.

When remote work becomes a necessity rather than a convenience, such as when working from home, videoconferencing can be of even more significant value, and one of the best videoconferencing services is Zoom.

Zoom is an excellent tool for those who want to collaborate at a distance, and in this guide, we show you how to get started. You can also check out some Zoom tips and tricks and discover how to troubleshoot the most common Zoom problems, and how to fix them.

How to set up a Zoom meeting

Zoom is free to use with some limitations, specifically that meetings are limited to 40 minutes for groups of three or more attendees.

Initiating a Zoom meeting is easy enough. The first thing you need to do is to install the Zoom client on a PC.

Step 1: Go to the Zoom web site and sign in to your account. If you don’t yet have an account, follow the steps to create one. Once you’re signed in, hover over Host a meeting and then choose to create a meeting with video on, video off, or screen share only.

Zoom host a meeting
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Step 2: Once you kick off your first meeting, the Zoom client will download. Open the installer and follow the installation instructions. In this example, we chose to host a meeting with the video on.

Step 3: Another important first step is to test your audio and video. You’ll have this option each time you start a meeting. Click on “Test Speaker and Microphone” to kick off the process.

Zoom join with computer audio
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You’ll have the option to test and configure your speakers and your microphone. If either doesn’t work immediately, select the proper speakers and/or microphone from the drop-down menu.

Once you’ve confirmed that your audio is working, you can join the meeting.

How to mute, stop video, and chat in Zoom

All the most important controls of Zoom can be found in the toolbar at the bottom of your screen. Need to mute your audio? Just click Mute in the bottom-left corner. Next to that you’ll find Stop Video, which will turn off your webcam.

If you click on the Chat button, it’ll pull up the text chat for the meeting, where you can group message the other meeting attendees.

How to share you screen on Zoom

Sharing your screen is a useful feature if you’re giving a presentation or providing instructions. Start off by clicking on Share Screen in the bottom toolbar. From there, you’ll be given a menu of types of sharing you’d like to perform. You can share your screen, share a specific app, share your iPhone or iPad screen (if that option is configured), or create a whiteboard session. Creating a whiteboard session lets you collaborate on notes and drawings.

Zoom share screen options
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Note that if you choose to share your screen, it’ll share your whole screen, so make sure you’ve tidied up your workspace a bit before showing it to the world.

How to invite people to your Zoom meeting

Since you created the meeting, you have control over a few features. First, you can invite participants to the meeting. To do so, click on Invite and you’ll be presented with a choice of which email client/service to use.

Zoom send invite
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In this case, the default client (Windows Mail) was used. An email will be composed with the meeting information. Just add your desired recipient(s).

Another way to invite people to your meeting is by sending them the meeting ID, shown at the top of the window. Look for a nine-digit code. Lastly, you can click Copy URL, which will give you the full link to share with others.

Once your meeting has started and you have participants, you can manage them. Click on More to see options for the entire meeting.

Hover over individual participants, then click on More for participant-specific options like Ask to Start Video or Make Host.

Zoom manage participants
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You can record your meetings as well. To do so, simply hit the record button and Zoom will start recording the meeting. A set of controls will show up on the upper-left portion of the Zoom interface. Hit the stop button when you’re finished recording, then follow the instructions to save your video.

Once your meeting is concluded, you can end the Zoom session. If you want to leave but keep the meeting running, you’ll need to assign a new host.

Zoom manager end meeting
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How to join a Zoom meeting

There are two ways to join a Zoom meeting. The host should provide either a link or a meeting ID. If it’s the full link, just paste it in your web browser and you’re on your way.

If you are provided a meeting ID, just head over to Zoom.us/join. From there, just paste in the meeting ID.

If you haven’t set Zoom up yet, then follow the same instructions as at the beginning of this guide. Once you’re set up, you’ll have the same option to join the meeting with audio and to test and configure your audio settings.

Zoom join meeting open client
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Once you’re in the meeting, you’ll have some of the same options as the meeting host but without the administrative functions. You can kick off a chat, record the meeting, invite other participants, share your screen, and view a list of participants. You can also mute your audio and stop your video.

Zoom meeting as participant
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When you’re finished, simply click the Leave Meeting button in the bottom right.

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