The Zoom video call app has become incredibly popular as millions of people around the world work and study from home during the coronavirus outbreak quarantine. Whether you’ve been using Zoom for years or just signed up, there are a number of useful and fun tips, tricks, and hidden features you can find to enhance your experience.
Here are 13 ways to become a Zoom expert.
1. Change your wallpaper
Virtually transport yourself to the beach, outer space, or anywhere else you can imagine by customizing your background while on Zoom calls – everyone is doing it these days. You can read our step by step guide to change your Zoom background on desktop and mobile app, but basically, go to Settings >Virtual background and select or load the image you want from there. However, you must ensure that your system meets all the requirements to do so.
2. Mute your audio and turn the camera on and off by default
Diving through the camera and audio mute buttons as soon as you enter a meeting may not be the best experience. Avoid letting your coworkers see the head of your bed or hear your cat chirping, turning them off by default. To do this, go to Settings >Audio >Mute Microphone when joining a meeting, and then Settings >Video >Turn off my video when joining a meeting.
3. Learn keyboard shortcuts
For those who do not like to click on the screen, Zoom has a large number of useful keyboard shortcuts to help you navigate the application on your desktop without using the mouse or mouse. Find commands to join a meeting, start or stop recording, enter full screen and share your screen (more on that below). Check out the full list of Zoom keyboard shortcuts here.
4. Control the microphone using the space bar
When you are asked to speak, stop fighting with your computer to click the microphone button. You can press and hold the space bar to quickly mute and activate the microphone, right from your keyboard.
5. React with emoji on the screen
If you’re muted during a meeting, you can still let the hosts know what you’re thinking if you use emoji reactions. Send a thumbs-up or clapping emoji to communicate without interrupting the meeting (by default, those reactions have a yellow skin tone, but you can customize it in the Zoom desktop app).
To react during a meeting, click the Reactions tab at the bottom of the meeting screen (it’s on the same panel to mute audio and video, on the right) and choose the one you want. The emoji will disappear after 5 seconds.
If the meeting organizer enables the non-verbal feedback feature, participants can place an icon such as a raised hand next to their name to communicate. All participants will be able to see each other’s comments.
6. Activate gallery view
The Gallery view option allows you to see everyone in the meeting at once, rather than just the speaker. To activate it, click on the tab that says “Gallery view” in the upper right corner. If the meeting has 49 or fewer attendees, you will see all of their screens on one page. If there are more, you will have the option to move between multiple pages. Change it again by clicking Speaker view in the same upper right corner.
7. Hide participants who don’t use video
On a larger call, your screen may be crowded with participants, which can be a distraction, especially if some don’t have their cameras on. You can hide participants who are not using video by going Settings >Video >Meetings and choose Hide nonvideo participants.
8. Share your screen
Share your screen for a Zoom meeting (or to watch a movie or play a game) with other participants by clicking the Share Screen icon in the toolbar at the bottom of the meeting screen. You will have the option to share your entire desktop or just one of the windows you have opened. Click the red Stop Sharing button at the top of the screen to become a normal meeting participant again.
9. Add a beautiful background
You’ve probably already heard all the advice about working from home: wake up on time, shower, dress like it’s a day at the office, and so on. But if it’s one of those days when you don’t think you look better, Zoom has an answer: a feature called Retouch My Look. Basically, it’s a smoothing filter, like the one you’ll find on Instagram, FaceTune, or your phone’s selfie camera.
To activate it, click the up arrow next to Start video. Click Video settings and under My video, check the Retouch my appearance box. Ready!
10. Record the meeting on your computer
Both free and paid Zoom subscribers can record your meeting on your laptop or computer using the desktop app (you can’t record on mobile right now unless you have a paid account; read on for more info. about). Those recorded files can be uploaded to a file storage service like Google Drive or Dropbox, or a video streaming service like YouTube or Vimeo.
To enable local recording, go to Settings >Recording and turn it on. When you host a Zoom meeting, click the Record icon on the bottom toolbar.
11. Record a meeting and upload it to the cloud
If you have one of Zoom’s paid packages (starting at about $15 a month), you can make a recording that will be saved directly to the cloud (or to your computer if you prefer). Tap the record button on the bottom toolbar and you’ll have the option to do it locally or in the cloud. You can do it on a desktop computer or on a mobile device.
12. Make group calls of more than 40 minutes
At Zoom’s free entry-level, group meetings can only last up to 40 minutes (although one-on-one meetings are unlimited in time). To get unlimited group time, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid account.
13. Invite more than 100 people
If you have a group of more than 100 people to stay for work or school, you must upgrade to a professional paid account. If you upgrade to the highest level (Enterprise Plus), you can invite up to 1,000 participants.