How to use Zoom: 6 tips and tricks to keep in mind while using the video conferencing app

Here are a few ways you can make the most out of Zoom.

  • Zoom is a popular alternative to Skype and Google Hangouts
  • The video conferencing app has become popular during the coronavirus lockdown
  • Zoom has been criticised for collecting data and not being end-to-end encrypted

Apps like Zoom have come to the rescue for people who have been working from home during the coronavirus lockdown. The increasingly popular video conferencing app has been a viable alternative to apps like Skype and Hangouts Meet, allowing users to conduct official business meetings and online classes for educational institutions, among others. That being said, the app has been marred in a recent controversy about the way Zoom collects data and also how secure its chats are. However, if you really want to continue using Zoom for its myriad of features, here are a few tips and tricks to make the best out of the app.

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1) Mute someone’s mic

This feature can be used when you are on a video conference with a lot of people, but a few annoying participants are disturbing the call due to background noise at their end. Instead of asking that person to switch off their mic, you can do it yourself.

Just head to Manage Participants -> Participant name -> Mute

2) Gallery View

The main window for Zoom while conferencing shows the Active speaker or what they are casting on to the screen. For a better view of all the people involved in the video conference, you can turn on Gallery mode. Zoom can show a maximum of 49 participants on the main page for the desktop app.

Click Gallery View on the top right section -> Move the page right if there are more than 49 participants.

3) Screen sharing

One of the reasons Zoom is a popular choice for educational institutions is because the app lets you share your screen in a Zoom meeting. By clicking the Share screen icon on the toolbar at the bottom of the screen, you can choose to share your entire desktop with the participants in the meeting or a particular window. This lets everyone see what you’re seeing, whether its a movie or a PowerPoint presentation.

4) Hide non-video participants

At times there are going to be a ton of people in a video conference who have turned off their cameras. If you have turned on Gallery Mode then it will create a lot of empty spaces. To counter this you declutter your view by enabling the option to ‘Hide non-video participants” which will remove all of those who have their camera turned off.

Open Zoom app -> Click the settings icon near your profile picture -> Click Video -> Check the box “Hide non-video participants”

5) Turn off camera/mic before the meeting starts

There could be times when you don’t want to instantly show yourself or talk into the mic when joining a Zoom call. To help you with this Zoom allows you to automatically turn off the camera and mic before you enter into a group conference. This way you won’t have to mess around with the controls as the meeting starts.

Open Zoom -> Click on settings -> Click Video -> Click the checkmark for “Turn off my video when joining meetings.” -> Click Audio -> Click Mute my microphone

6) Use a virtual background

Perhaps you don’t want your colleagues to see the inside of your house or you’re just bored at the same old position you are video conferencing from. Zoom has an option to provide a virtual background during video calls which you can decide and upload on your own. While the feature works best with a green screen, it can be used on any other background as well.

Open Zoom -> Click on settings -> Select virtual background -> Select image that you want to upload.