With Coronavirus keeping people indoors, we all flock to video chat services to keep in touch with colleagues, friends, and family. Zoom’s video chat software is growing in popularity. It’s not new – the company was founded in 2011 – but it’s new to many people.
The zoom is free as long as you call less than 40 minutes and fewer than three participants. You can also upgrade to a $ 14.99 entry-level monthly plan that can accommodate up to 24 people for up to 24 hours. Additional people, rooms and cloud recording options cost more.
Fortunately, even with the free tier, becoming a zoom pro is easy. I̵
How to set up zoom
- If you are on a PC, download and install the app from the Zoom website. (You can also get it for iPhone, Android, and Mac.)
- Click the “Register” button.
- Enter your login information or create an account if you don’t already have one.
- If Zoom asks for permission to access your computer’s microphone, select Yes.
Now you can start if someone sends you a link to join a video conference. You may also want to host your own call.
How to start a zoom call
- Click the large orange camera icon that says “New Meeting.”
- You will be asked for permission to access the camera if you have one. Choose “Yes”.
- A dialog box appears, allowing you to select the Connect to Computer Audio or Test Speakers and Microphone options. Perform these tests to ensure that your microphone and speakers are working properly.
- Select the “Automatically connect audio when I join a meeting” check box to skip a step the next time I want to make a zoom call.
- Click “Connect to computer audio”.
- Make sure you are not muted by selecting the box in the lower left corner of the window.
- If you see “Start Video” click on it too. Just make sure people can see you. You can stop the video at any time or mute it later.
- Click the “Manage Participants” button at the bottom of the video screen.
- Press “more” in the lower right corner.
- From here, you can mute participants when they join your call, or zoom in on a tone when someone comes in or goes out. (Advanced settings such as turning on a waiting room where people can land before inviting them to your call are available on the Zoom website.)
- Invite others to your meeting. Click the “Invite” button at the bottom of the Zoom app window, then click “Copy URL”.
- Send this URL to people so they can join your meeting from any device they use.
Change your zoom background image
Zoom can improve how you appear to others. For example, you can change the background image if you want to hide the messy home office you’re sitting in. That’s how it’s done.
- Click the arrow to the right of the “Stop Video” option in the lower left corner of the Zoom app.
- Choose “Select Virtual Background”.
- Tap the plus sign next to “Choose a virtual background.”
- Now you can upload a good picture or video that you have saved on your computer. (Note: some computers do not support this.)
- With zoom, you can also look a little better than usual. Open the “Video” section in the settings window and click on “Improve my appearance” if you want.
Get around faster
There are some keyboard shortcuts to help you navigate through the zoom faster. How to find them:
- On the main Zoom screen, tap the gear icon in the upper right corner.
- Open the “Keyboard Shortcuts” section.
- You will find some links. For example, you can use the spacebar to mute and unmute. Or tap Alt + V to start / stop your video and Alt A to mute / unmute the sound.
Run a zoom meeting on the web
You can make a zoom call over the internet if you can’t download the app to a computer you don’t own.
- Visit the Zoom website and log in.
- Click the “Hold Meeting” button at the top right.
- Select “with video off”, “with video on” or “screen sharing only”.
- Click the “Start from your browser” link. (If the app is installed, it will try to start it. Just click Cancel if you want to use the browser.)
Finally, you want to prevent people from sharing content that could ruin your zoom conversation – a type of hijacking called zoom bombing. You probably don’t have to worry if you’re around people who normally behave. However, when you call strangers, you should take some precautions. Here are some of the Anti-ZoomBomb protocols recommended by Zoom:
- Open web settings and look for “Who can share?” Select “Host only”.
- You can remove people who continue to cause problems from the “Manage Participants” section. In the web settings, make sure that the “Allow remote participants to reconnect” check box is cleared.
- Make sure that no unwanted files are shared with video calls in the zoomed chat room. Search for “file transfer” in the web settings and check the box “Allow only certain file types”. From there you can enter file extensions such as “docx” or “.pdf”.
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