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ZOOM: Video Conference Tips, Tricks and Features

Now that Zoom has become part of our daily lives, we thought you might appreciate this information to become more proficient and comfortable using this online "tool" for connecting with co-workers, family, friends and neighbors.

People have used Zoom for meetings, bingo, happy hours, exercising and bible study. I’ve enjoyed learning online and interviewing businesses, service providers and senior communities. But, like all new things techie, it take s a bit of practice. So here are a few tips I thought you could use:

Change Your Background

Customizing your background is a great way to show personality or further you brand presence. Whether you want to transport yourself to a national park or place that brings comfort. You can read this step-by-step guide on changing your Zoom background, but you can easily do this by going to Settings — Virtual Background and select or upload the image you want from there. However, you do have to make sure that your system meets all of the requirements to do so.

Mute Your Audio or Camera by Default

Clicking the mute audio and camera buttons as soon as you enter a call can get repetitive. Keep your coworkers or clients from seeing your bedhead or hearing your dog barking by turning those off by default. To do it, go to Settings — Audio — Mute microphone when joining a meeting, and then Settings Video — Turn off my video when joining a meeting.

Handy Keyboard Shortcuts

Whether you want to be efficient or multitask while on a call, Zoom has an array of helpful keyboard shortcuts that can help you navigate the app on your desktop without using your mouse. Find commands to join a meeting, start or stop recording, enter full screen and share your screen.

Spacebar Can Mute or Unmute

When is your turn to speak, stop scrambling to click the microphone button. You can press and hold the spacebar to quickly mute and unmute your mic, right from your keyboard.

Use Emojicons to Convey your Thoughts

If you’re muted in a meeting, you can still let the hosts know your thoughts with emoji reactions. Send a thumbs up or a clapping emoji to communicate without interrupting the meeting.

To react during a meeting, click the Reactions tab at the bottom of the meeting screen (it’s in the same panel as mute audio and video, to the right) and choose the one you want. The emoji will disappear after 5 seconds. If the meeting organizer enables the nonverbal feedback feature, participants can place an icon such as a raised hand next to their name to communicate. Every participant will be able to see each other’s feedback.

Share Your Screen

Share your screen for a Zoom meeting (or to watch a video) with other participants by clicking the Share screen icon on the toolbar at the bottom of the meeting screen. You’ll have the option to share your entire desktop, or just one of the windows you have open. Click the red Stop Share button at the top of the screen to go back to being a normal participant in the meeting. This feature is practically helpful when you are trying to explain something on your own screen or review a document without jumping between multiple applications.

Record a Meeting Onto Your Computer

Both free and paid Zoom subscribers can record their meeting to their laptop or computer using the desktop app (you can’t record on mobile at the moment, unless you have a paid account. Those recorded files can then be uploaded to a file storage service such as Google Drive or Dropbox, or a video streaming service such as YouTube or Vimeo. To enable local recording, go to Settings — Recording, and toggle it on. When you’re hosting a Zoom meeting, click the Record icon on the bottom toolbar To enable local recording, go to Settings — Recording, and toggle it on. When you’re hosting a Zoom meeting, click the Record icon on the bottom toolbar.

Turn On the Beauty Filter

We can all get self-conscious about our appearance on camera. When you want to look the best in front of your coworkers or clients, Zoom’s Touch Up My Appearance feature may help to do this. The filter aims to smooth over your appearance and minimize some of the imperfections that a camera might highlight but you wouldn’t necessarily notice in-person. This feature can make you look dewy and well-rested. If you’ve ever used beauty mode on your phone's selfie camera or various social media apps, you will get a similar result. To turn it on, click the up arrow next to Start Video. Click Video Settings, and under My Video, check the box for Touch Up My Appearance.

Try Gallery View

Gallery view lets you see everyone in the meeting at once, instead of just the person speaking. To turn the feature on by clicking the tab that says Gallery view in the top right corner. If the meeting has 49 or fewer attendees, you’ll see all of their screens displayed on one page. If there are more, you’ll have the option to move between multiple pages. Change it back by clicking Speaker view in that same top right corner.

Hide Non-video Participants

On a large calls, your screen can get cluttered with participants, which can be distracting, especially if some don’t have their cameras on. Hide the participants who aren’t using video by going to Settings — Video — Meetings, and check Hide non-video participants.

Record a Meeting to the Cloud

If you have one of Zoom’s paid plans, you can take a recording that will save 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 make it either local or in the cloud. You can do this on either desktop or mobile.

Host a Group Meeting Longer Than 40 Minutes

On Zoom’s free basic tier, group meetings can only last up to 40 minutes (though one-on-one meetings are unlimited in time). To get unlimited group time, upgrade to a paid account. desktop or mobile.

Host More Than 100 People

If you plant to have a webinar with a group of more than 100 people to host for work purposes, you have to upgrade to a paid professional account. If you upgrade to the highest tier (Enterprise Plus), you can host up to 1,000 participants.

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