The complete Zoom guide: From basic help to advanced tips and tricks | ZDNet

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Zoom tips : How to use virtual backgrounds, break rooms, and more

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Zoom is a video communications platform that many of us at ZDNet consider to be a valuable digital joyride nowadays. One of Zoom ‘s key strengths is its simplicity, but the chopine besides has a variety of progress features that remote workers will find utilitarian for improving their productiveness.

Below, we ‘ll show you how to get started, and besides offer some tips and tricks that experienced users may be missing out on .

Let’s get started: Zoom basics

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First of all, head over to Zoom in your browser. The platform is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, io, and Android. The layout will be slightly different depending on whether you are on background or mobile. There are four plans available ; the most popular immediately likely being the free tier, in which virtual meetings can be held with up to 100 participants, 1-on-1 meetings ( 30 moment time limits ), and meetings with multiple participants can be held for astir to 40 minutes. ( When your time is up, you can plainly restart a converge if indigence be. ) The free option besides includes secret and group chats. Participants can join via their personal computer or a telephone line, and both desktops and apps can be shared. Zoom ‘s Pro, Business, and Enterprise packages come with extra features, including an addition in meeting duration limits, cloud recording and memory, Skype for Business interoperability, individual sign-on options, transcript recordings, and company brand. It is potential to join a meet just from your browser, but in the interests of longevity and avoiding browser limitations, we recommend you download the application. Also:  Remote working jobs: 5 problems we need to solve in 2022 To start using Zoom, make your option ( browser or a send download ) and then sign up. You will be prompted to type in your e-mail or augury in through either Google or Facebook. Businesses can besides provide you with a single sign-on key ( SSO ) to attend meetings, although you will besides need to know the party ‘s knowledge domain. alternatively, you can look up the knowledge domain by performing a search based on your company e-mail address .screenshot-2022-02-24-at-16-16-38.png At the adjacent sign astir prompt, Zoom will ask for license to send resources including intersection television and how-to guides your way. Either chatter “ confirm ” or “ Set Preferences ; ” the latter option being to receive emails once a week, once a month, or never. Make your excerpt. By now, a confirmation e-mail should have landed in your inbox. Open the message, click “ Activate Account ” or paste the include confirmation connect into your browser, and then at the future motivate, you will need to complete account creation with your name and a strong password. If you wish, on the future filmdom, you can invite your colleagues to besides create an account. If not, click “ Skip this step. ” nowadays you can choose to create a test meet if you like, equally well as add Zoom as an extension. There are diverse plugins available including a Google Chrome annex, Zoom for GSuite, a Mozilla Firefox extension, a Microsoft Outlook plugin, and an IBM Notes plugin. If you will be using Zoom for the foreseeable future for employment purposes, you may want to select and install appropriate add-ons now .screenshot-2020-03-27-at-17-27-10.png You can choose to launch a test meeting, which contains the meet ‘s URL and the choice to invite others. We will go through the kernel features of the meet system in a moment, but for now, let ‘s head over to the web portal vein,, to make sure that the right settings are enabled and that you know how to create and launch a meet .

The web portal

On the Zoom web site, head to “ Your Account “ in the top-right to manage your profile. You can change details under the “ Profile “ tab such as your name, painting, default meeting ID, password and time zone. future, head to “ Settings. ” here, you can adjust settings implemented by nonpayment, including whether or not video is mechanically enabled when you — or participants — join a merging ; and whether or not participants can join a scheduled meet before the host arrives. Also:  The modern workplace: Will remote tech workers tolerate being monitored? In the interests of security and to prevent scammers from hijacking a converge, you should make certain you use strong passwords. Passwords were not always enabled by default, but after Zoom apologized for “ falling short-circuit of the residential district ‘s — and our own — privacy and security expectations, ” a bang of security changes were made, including the enable, by default option, of passcodes for scheduled, clamant, and personal meetings. The security pill is now extensive and includes options to allow or restrict populace and secret chats when you host a meet ; you can give license for files to be transferred, select who can screen partake, enable throughout encoding ( but you will need to verify your telephone number first to select this option ), and you can even impose blocks on users coming from specific countries or regions. The Zoom desktop app has a exchangeable layout, with “ preferences ” accessible from the top-right corner. The options you can access here are related to your personal computer, such as whether or not you want to use double monitors or automatically enter a full-screen mode when a meeting starts. You can besides test your microphone and loudspeaker apparatus, choose a color theme, select a default location for recordings, and fine-tune approachability controls, among early functions .screenshot-2020-03-28-at-14-57-56.png With your basic preferences in set, let ‘s go to the “ Meetings “ check in your profile .

Scheduling and hosting a meeting 

screenshot-2020-03-27-at-19-01-08.png The inaugural screen you will see reveals any scheduled meetings in your diary. Click “ schedule a newfangled meeting ” and a newfangled screen will appear, in which you can name your meet, add a description if you want, and choose the date and timezone. If this is to be a continual meet up with colleagues, there is a handy “ recurring meeting “ checkbox under the timezone yellow journalism. If you select it, you can then choose how often the meeting needs to be repeated — whether daily, weekly, or monthly, and how many times during a day you want the meet to repeat .screenshot-2020-03-27-at-19-05-56.png once you have input these details, scroll depressed and click “ save. ”

The meeting is set, but how do you invite others? 

The short answer is : you must do so manually. There are two ways to do this : through calendar invites, or via your own e-mail score.

If you wish to invite others through a calendar, links to Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar, and Yahoo Calendar are displayed once your meet has been saved. alternatively, adjacent to the “ join URL ” link on this screen, there is an choice to “ copy this invitation. ” See:  Want to be a developer? These are the coding skills that can get you hired Clicking on this page chemical element brings up a screen with all of the significant information required for the meet, including the URL, of which the suffer ID is already embedded. Copy this to your clipboard, open your electronic mail client, paste the details into a fresh message, and invite away. therefore, in short, all participants need is the meeting URL, date and time, and a passcode .screenshot-2020-03-28-at-12-47-10.png If you want to try out features before bringing other people in, create a test converge at this stage and select “ Start this meet. ” alternatively, you can do precisely the same within the first page of the Zoom desktop app :


screenshot 2020 03 28 at 14 53 14 The first base prompt, in either encase, will ask you to join with computer audio if you are on personal computer, and will besides give you the option to test your loudspeaker and microphone. At the peak right of the meet window, you can choose to go full moon screen. We are now going to go over the basic settings you need to know about in meetings for management purposes. Two fundamental options can be found in the bottom-left separate of the black menu tab : the choice to mute/unmute your microphone and either start/stop your camera. If you are using an external microphone, speaker, or camera, open up the arrow tabs next to these options to choose which equipment you want to use ( external or built-in ). Moving on, the “ Manage Participants “ pill is particularly crucial. Under this yellow journalism, you can find “ invite, ” which is useful if you ‘ve forgotten to bring person into a school term.


screenshot 2020 03 28 at 12 53 44 Clicking this option will bring up a box with everyone connected to the meet. If you hover over a identify, you can mute/unmute them, and at the bottom, there are options for doing the same for every participant. In the interests of privacy, however, hosts and other participants can not control individual camera feeds. A handy feature to note here under “ Security “ is “ lock, ” which stops anyone else from joining an active seance. Different views : You can pick one of four opinion options — but this only impacts how you view a meet, and not others. By default, Active Speaker is the default option video layout — in which the person talking is ramped up to a larger screen — but there is besides a drift layout that brings in every player on one shield through a grid, an “ immersive “ see that puts participants in the same ‘room ‘ through a virtual background, and a floating thumbnail option. The “ Share Screen “ yellow journalism allows you to partake your personal computer screen with others, including your full background, browser, or candid applications, and besides permit others to share their own screens simultaneously. immediately, let ‘s talk about messaging. The “ Chat “ tab on the main cake is designed for users to type out questions and messages, ampere well as share files either hosted by swarm storage providers or stored directly on your personal computer, adenine long as the “ Send files via meet chat ” option in Account Settings has been enabled .screenshot-2020-03-30-at-12-10-13.png As a host, you can besides select the “ … ” button to save a chat seance and control who participants can talk to — no one, the host alone, everyone publicly, or everyone publicly and privately. The final yellow journalism of eminence is the “ Record “ option, which you may want to use if you are discussing work matters and want to save the seance in order to email a copy of it to others late. By nonpayment, no matchless except the host can record a school term unless the server gives license to do sol. Participants will be warned that the meet is being recorded through an automatic audio message. ultimately, the “ End Meeting “ tab finishes the school term. If the host needs to leave but the meeting should carry on, they can assign the host condition to another participant — but enabling co-hosts has to be selected first in the “ Meetings ” check and can only be selected by subscription holders. alternatively, you can leave the meet or end the meet for all .

Advanced tips and tricks

now that the basics have been covered, there is a range of settings and features that more feel users might want to use. Let ‘s point back over to the web portal to run through a few options. If you are using the desktop application, you can promptly access this area by going to “ Settings ”. You can find features including :

  • Breakout room: split meeting participants into separate, smaller rooms. This can also be done before a meeting begins to prevent logistical problems
  • Virtual backgrounds: enabling/disabling 
  • Encryption: By default, Zoom requires encryption for all data transferred between the Zoom cloud, Zoom client, and Zoom Room. You can also require encryption for 3rd party endpoints (SIP/H.323).
  • Waiting room: a feature to keep participants in a ‘waiting area’ until the host is ready for them — particularly handy for remote interviews or office hours. This feature is now on as default.
  • Private chat: Allow or restrict direct messages by participants
  • Auto-save chat: You can enable chat records to be automatically saved
  • Feedback: You can enable an end-of-meeting experience feedback survey to display
  • Report to Zoom: You can allow users to report others for inappropriate behavior during meetings
  • Far end camera control: You can allow others to seize control of your camera during meetings


If you have a Pro, Business, or Enterprise plan, you can take advantage of the webinars option. Webinars can be set up that broadcast to up to 50,000 view-only attendees at a time. Screens, video, and audio can be shared ; chat sessions between attendees and panelists can be hosted, and webinars can be run on either a pre-registration or open basis .

Language interpreters

In 2022, Zoom introduced the option for enabling language interpretation. Up to 20 participants can be designated as interpreters during a Zoom seance, and they can create their own audio channels for participants to select in their choose terminology .

Virtual Backgrounds

virtual backgrounds can be used to hide the chaos and clutter of your home. There are specific hardware requirements, which can be accessed here. Most advanced personal computer frame-up should be able to manage — but the virtual background, either made up of images or television, works better with a park shield and uniform ignite. There is besides “ studio effects, ” a beta service for adding filters .screenshot-2020-03-28-at-15-13-53.png To set up a virtual background, go to the background app, “ Settings, ” and choose “ Virtual Background. ” You can try out different screens or add your own image/video rather. You may see a warning that says your hardware is n’t dear enough — but give it a go, anyhow .

Whiteboards, annotations

This is a utilitarian option if you are canvassing ideas or soliciting feedback and it comes with different annotation options, including text boxes, arrows, and more. The “ spotlight ” is a form of highlighter which can be used to bring exploiter attention to a particular area or point. This can be enabled under in-meeting settings. Notes can be added to a virtual whiteboard and shared screens .screenshot-2020-03-29-at-13-39-39.png

What about Zoom gatecrashers?

When software is popular, scammers come out of the carpentry to try and find a way to capitalize. Zoom is no different ; the appearance of scammers jumping into unprotected meetings and posting malicious links and pornography has given rise to the phrase “ Zoom-bombing. ” Zoom has published a guidebook on how to prevent gatecrashers from disrupting your meetings, including pointers such as :

  • Keep your meeting links off social media
  • Choose “only host” for screen sharing control during a meeting
  • Taking advantage of Zoom’s extensive security options
  • Use the “lock” feature to prevent random users from joining in after a meeting has begun
  • If you are gatecrashed, hover over the user’s name in the Participants menu to bring up a “remove” option.

Zoom Rooms

soar Rooms is a more advanced software offering available on a subscription footing. Zoom Rooms, an option for business owners, combines audio conferencing, video recording conferencing, and radio blind sharing. A personal computer running Zoom Rooms is the bare minimum prerequisite, but iPads, television displays, external speakers, cameras, and microphones can all be integrated within one room.

You can find the Rooms customer and control software ( io, Android, or Windows ) in the Zoom Download Center .

App Marketplace

Zoom ‘s App Marketplace is worth investigating if you ‘re looking to implement more features in Zoom Meetings or Zoom Rooms. Apps can be integrated including the transcription service, Google Workspace, Adaptive Shield, HubSpot, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Okta .

Additional points

  • When screen sharing, the “optimize option” is especially useful when sharing YouTube and other online videos as it can prevent distortion, lagging, and buffering issues. 
  • Hot Keys and keyboard shortcuts are available for Mac and Windows machines. A full list can be found here. 
  • Meeting times: If you are experiencing connection issues at peak times, consider scheduling a meeting at times other than on-the-hour or on a half-hour. 
  • Zoom now offers the “Events” service, a solution for live events and both in-person and virtual attendance. 
  • Need training for specific purposes, such as for education? Zoom offers over 30 live training sessions per week. 
  • If you need additional technical support, Zoom has an online help center. 

Zoom’s best practices

  • Double-check meeting default settings
  • Test your audio and video as you join
  • Use a USB-connected headset
  • Mute your microphone when not speaking
  • Position your webcam properly
  • If hosting, connect from a large screen
  • For best results, use the app and not a browser
  • Use a stable/wired connection
  • Join meetings in quiet areas
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