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Zoom Tutorial Basic Features


Basic features to use with Zoom

Enlarging the Zoom Window

You know, one of the most common quesitons regarding a basic feature in Zoom I get asked is how to enlarge the Zoom window. Obviously this question is only in conjunction with the windows and the mac. The above Zoom video tutorial will show you how to click on the maximise button at the top right of the zoom window. This will enlarge the window so that it covers the whole screen. Just a small simple thing, but even a kingdom can be lost for the want of a nail.

Mute me baby

Let's face it! Sometimes, or most of the time, we don't like the sound of our own voice. So if we want others not to be able to hear it you can click the mute button. You'll find the mute button in the bottom left corner of the Zoom window. One click Mutes and another click Unmutes. It's really that easy. There are couple of shortcuts that are pretty handy. One is that if you prefer to remain muted you can hold down the spacebar to temporarily unmute yourself. This reminds me of the old days of the CB where you have to hold down a button to be able to speak. Should you want to use the keyboard to unmute then you can hold down Alt+A to either mute or unmute.

Turn off the Camera

You've just rushed to the zoom meeting and you've forgotten to put your make-up on. Your hair is a right mess and you're sure that clothing is something right from the Wombles. Don't worry you can either choose not to start your camera or turn your camera off. Do this by clicking on the camera button in the bottom left corner. Now your meeting companions can hear your but not see you. Click on the start camera button to start the camera again.

Another quick tip: Should you want others to still see you but you don't want to see yourself then you can use the hide self view feature. In the top right corner of your video you'll see a small blue button with 3 dots. Clicking on the button will give you the "Hide Self View" option.

Hide Self View

Now you don't have to look at yourself. That is unless you like looking at yourself? Then you're more that welcome to click on the show self view you'll find at the top of the screen.

Participants - Zoom Tutorial Basic Features

If you want to know who's in the meeting, and there are far too many to see on your tiny little screen, you can click on the participants button at the bottom. You might have to move your mouse around so that the participants button appears. Participants will appear on the right of the screen and not only can you see who's attending the meeting, but the participants panel will allow you access to other basic meeting features. Such as "Raising your Hand" should you want to comment during the meeting. As of writing this you click on the Raise Hand" button again to lower your hand. Just a little note that the person who invited you to the Zoom meeting (known as the host) can change the options of what you can and can't do in this window. So if your screen looks a little different to that in the above video tutorial then speak to the person who arranged your Zoom meeting.

The Chat Window

Let's face it, speaking up in a face to face meeting can be embarassing enough. So, when it comes to a virtual meeting this can be magnified. Especially if there are a lot of meeting attendees. If you are a little shy in speaking then why not use the Chat windows with Zoom.

Move you mouse over the screen and look to the bottom. You will see the Chat button, click on it. In the window that appears you can type your messages to the whole group or, if your host has allowed it, to individuals within the group.

Now the host, or whoevers taking the meeting part, can talk away and you won't be disturbing their flow.

Virtual Backgrounds

While working from home the increased use of video conferencing tools such as Zoom has led to people conducting meetings in their own private homes. That means you can take a peek to someone elses life, and what can be more interesting than that? The trouble is that others might want to see into your life, so you can use a Virtual Background to stop them.

A Virtual background is a picture in the background of your Zoom window. So instead of seeing your messy office, bedroom or worse they can see a professional looking office, garden or even the Golden Gate bridge. It must be noted that Virtual Backgrounds only work on a relatively new computer. Otherwise you'll need to use a green screen. Zoom has a few notes on what spec of computer you will need for Virtual Backgrounds to work without a green screen.

To add a Virtual background click on the drop down arrow to the right of the Stop Camera button and click Choose Virtual background. Then click on the background you want to see.

To add your own background you can click on the plus button and choose any picture you've taken with your camera or phone.

Bonus Zoom Feature: Reactions

One little tip, that's not included in the video tutorial, is the options to add reactions. This means you can applaud or give a thumbs up. Click on the Reactions button at the bottom then click on the two clapping hands or the thumbs up button.

Zoom Reactions

I sincerely hope that Zoom and similar video conference tools do not replace the face to face contact that is a must when it comes to delivering effective training. It's difficult to see peoples reactions, to see if they are absorbing information, to see if they are engaged or a little day dreaming is going on. Plus, it gives access to features the just aren't available in real life.

For instance in real life you can't turn off your face, making yourself invisible while seeing others. Interacting with others solely using the chat window and the fact you can leave without anyone else knowing.

However, as of writing this we are still in isolation and the fact is that it still gives a vital avenue of communication that just wasn't available 10 years ago. By following this Zoom tutorial understanding the basic featrues will help you make the best use of this tool to get the best out of your training.

If you're asked to host the meeting then you might find this free Zoom Tutorial on how to host a Zoom meeting handy.

Find out more about instructor led Zoom Online Training Courses.