How to use Zoom

How do I join the meeting?

There are three different ways to join the meeting, once you have received the email with the meeting details.

  1. You can join by clicking the link in the email and following the prompts or click "download and run Zoom".
  2. You can join by clicking the link in the email and clicking on the option to "join from your browser".
  3. You can phone in using a phone number local to your state.

What happens when I click on the link in the email?

This should launch your browser and you will be shown options to download and run Zoom (if you don't already have it), launch meeting (if you already have it installed) or join the meeting from your browser. Downloading and running Zoom should only take a minute or two. If your internet is particularly slow, it may take longer.

Nothing seems to be happening!

Be patient, you won't necessarily see a progress indicator while you are waiting for Zoom to install. Give it a minute or so.

What if my internet is too slow?

If it seems to be taking more than five minutes to download Zoom, there are two things you can do. One is to kick everyone else in the house off the internet and close all other applications on your own machine (e.g., email and other browser windows). The other is, if you are totally stuck, to join the meeting by phone. You will incur the cost of the phone call in this case.

To join by phone:

  • Ring the phone number supplied for the meeting and wait for it to answer. The voice on the phone will prompt you to enter the meeting number.
  • Enter the meeting number using the keypad on your phone. Press # when finished.
  • The voice on the phone will prompt you to enter the password for the meeting.
  • Enter the meeting password. Press # when finished.
  • If the connection is successful, you will start hearing voices of the people in the meeting. You will be able to speak and the meeting should hear you. 

Do I need the meeting number and password?

If you have clicked on the link in the email, you shouldn't need the meeting number and password. It will take you straight to the meeting once the installation is complete. The numbers are only required if you launch Zoom first (from a pre-existing installation) or if you are dialling in by phone (as described above).

How do I find the menus?

When you view the screen, you will see yourself (if your camera is on) and other people who are at the meeting (video images if their cameras are on, or names if their cameras are off). The menus only appear when you wave your mouse over them. There is a menu along the bottom of the screen as well as some options in the top right corner (though it's possible that these may look different on different devices).

How do I send a question using the chat window?

To open the chat window, mouse to the bottom of the screen and click on "Chat". If you can't see "Chat" on the menu, you may need to click on "... More". Once the chat window opens, you can type a question into the little box at the bottom that says "Type a message here". When you hit your "Enter" key, that message will go out to everyone in the meeting and display at the top of the chat screen.
Chat window

How do I give a thumbs-up or applaud?

In the bottom menu, there is an icon for "Reactions". Click that and you should see the two icons. Just click the icon and your reaction will appear where your image is displayed. Others in the meeting will see your "reaction".

How do I vote (for acceptance of previous minutes and adoption of reports)?

When a motion is put to the meeting, such as accepting the previous minutes, the meeting host will ask for someone to move, someone to second, those in favour, those against. When you hear a request, please respond by typing into the Chat window, e.g. "I move", "I second", "yes" or "no". The meeting host will know who typed the message because your name is displayed above what you wrote when it is sent. The number of "yes" and "no" responses will determine if the motion is passed by a majority, unanimously or if the motion is defeated. Voting is not compulsory.

How do I see who else is at the meeting?

There are two ways to view the other attendees. By default, they should appear side-by-side across the top of the screen, with a left or right scroll symbol to indicate that others are hidden to the left or right (like when you are viewing multiple photos on someone's Facebook post). Clicking on the symbols will scroll to the hidden participants. This is "Speaker View" because the person speaking occupies the largest part of the display. To see everyone at once, use the tile icon at the top right of the screen. It looks like a little set of nine squares (visible at top right in the image with the fish above). You will then be in "Gallery View". You can switch between Gallery View and Speaker View by selecting these options at the top right of the screen at any time. Speaker View is most useful if the speaker is displaying a document, such as a financial report. This image is Speaker View:
Speaker view

How do I know who is currently speaking?

In Speaker View, the person speaking should be in the big part of the display (as above). In Gallery View, the person speaking will have a green highlight around their little box (as below). This image is Gallery View:
Gallery view

How do I mute/unmute my mic and turn my camera off and on?

On the bottom menu, you'll see at the very left two important icons. One is "Mute" and the other is "Stop Video". Clicking on "Mute" will turn off your microphone. The host may set up the meeting so that you are automatically muted from the start. This is useful if there is background noise at your end (rambunctious children, incessant ABBA music, kitchen clatterings, etc.). You may wish to "Stop Video" if you don't want to display your own image (maybe you had a bad hair day). If your internet is a bit slow, it will probably work better if you turn off your camera by clicking "Stop Video". To turn these on at any time, in the same menu location, click "Unmute" or "Start Video".
Mute Unmute

Where's it gone???? Help!!!! How do I expand the Zoom window if I've accidentally minimised it?

If you can't see the Zoom screen, minimise everything else you may have open and look for a small black box with the speaker's image in it. It will have a little green diagonal arrow. Click that arrow to bring back the full-sized display.

How do I know who's who and what settings they have?

The display names depend on how Zoom was set up on each person's device. The host may change the display name for the meeting. Users not using their cameras will show up as dark rectangles with their names in white. Users with no camera available (e.g., those who phone in) will have a "no camera" symbol in their rectangle. Users with their microphones turned off will have the small muted microphone symbol at lower left. The person speaking will have a green highlight, even if their image isn't shown.

That's it! Hopefully, this is enough to get you started and any other problems can be ironed out during the meeting.

Author: Lesa Moore. Last updated: 16 July 2021.