How to use Zoom while working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic

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How to use Zoom videoconferencing.
Image: Zoom

The rapid spread of COVID-19 around the globe has forced governments to shut down schools. Meanwhile, many businesses are choosing to adopt a work from home approach for the majority of their employees.

This means that more people will be conducting video conferences than ever before. As the global situation unfolds, Zoom—a popular virtual meeting software—has emerged as a massively helpful tool. However, many people who now rely on it might not know what they’re doing.

Fear not. Zoom is an easy-to-use program that actually has a lot of intuitive features once you get comfortable with it. If you’re stuck working from home during the coronavirus pandemic (or any other time) this is how to use Zoom.

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Getting Started

Most people don’t need to create their own meetings, they just need to join them. So, we’ll skip the steps of how to create a Zoom account as you don’t need one just to join. Fortunately, doing so is pretty self-explanatory.

You’ll likely receive a link to a Zoom meeting from your boss or team leader via email or message. The first thing to do is to download the Zoom software. You can do this for free from Zoom’s official website.

Once it finishes installing, you’ll have the option to “Sign In” or “Join a Meeting.” Choose the latter if you already have a meeting link. On the next screen, simply paste the link into the first box. Zoom should convert it automatically to a numerical meeting key ID. If not, you can type in the ID number manually.

Next, just type your name as you want it to appear on screen in the second box. Then, hit “Join” and you’ll automatically be connected to the meeting.

Setting Things Up

Once you successfully join your Zoom meeting, you can tweak several settings to customize your experience. At this point, you should be able to see yourself and any other participants who have their camera turned on.

Speaking of, you can alter your video and audio settings by hovering over the bottom left corner of the screen. The microphone button allows you to quickly mute your audio. The arrow beside it lets you choose the source of your audio and microphone (for instance, if your headphones aren’t automatically detected) and also test your audio gear.

Next to it, the video camera button lets you turn off your camera feed. The pop-up menu allows you to choose which camera to use (if your computer has more than one) and also alter the video settings. You can do things like automatically touching up your appearance—especially useful for those early a.m. meetings—and rotate your video as needed.

Finally, a button in the bottom center of the screen called “Share Screen” allows you to show participants a live feed of what’s on your display. This is incredibly useful when troubleshooting something like bits of code or sharing a document for everyone can view simultaneously. If you have multiple displays, you’ll need to choose which one to share. You can also share open browser windows and documents instead of the whole display.

With these things in mind, getting started with Zoom should be pretty easy. As everyone adjusts to the work from home life, there will certainly be some bumps in the road. However, by getting a firm grasp on the technology that makes it possible, the transition will be a little easier.

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