Like any other service, you need to register to start using Zoom.
Here are the steps on how to register for Zoom using a computer:
Step 1: Go to the Zoom web portal from browser of your choice and click on ‘Sign Up, It’s Free’ button visible on the right side of the top menu bar, highlighted in orange colour. Before allowing you to sign up, you will be asked to fill your date of birth as its services are meant only for people above the age of 16. Once you fill in the details, click on the continue button to start the registration process.
Step 2: Zoom is touted to be an enterprise video meeting app, so it asks for your work email address to register. It is up to your discretion to use either the work email address or personal; both work just as fine for registering a free account on Zoom. There is also a provision to create an account by using ‘Sign in with Google and Facebook’. This is the easiest way to register an account on Zoom, but not a secure one.
Step 3: Zoom sends an activation code on your email address to verify and activate the account, only if you use your personal or work email to register. In the mail, there is an ‘activate account’ button, followed by a URL. You can either click on the button or copy-paste the URL on the browser to move to the next step, where you are asked for your first name, last name and a password to create an account.
Step 4: On the next step, Zoom asks you to invite other people. This is not mandatory and you can skip this step if you are not interested.
Step 5: On the next step, you get the URL to your personal meeting. Put this URL in the browser and the test meeting starts automatically, if you have the Zoom client installed on your machine. If the client is not installed, the URL downloads the file to install the client.
Step 6: Once installed, the client asks you to ‘sign-in, or ‘join a meeting’. Click on sign-in and enter your email address and password to start using the client.
The above steps showed how to register and download Zoom for PCs and Macs. Smartphone users can follow the above steps (till Step 4) using the phone’s browser, download the Zoom app from Play Store on Android devices and App Store on iOS devices, and sign in to the client.
Setting up the Zoom client for first meeting
The Zoom client for desktops is minimal and quite straightforward to use. However, you might like to fine-tune it before beginning your first Zoom meeting. Here is how to set up the Zoom client:
Step 1: From video and audio preferences to screen-sharing tools, the Zoom client’s settings help you customise the experience based on your preference. To set up the client, open Zoom and click on the cogwheel icon available on top right corner to enter settings.
Step 2: Among other settings, it is the video and audio settings that are important to be tuned and tested before initiating the first meeting. To tune video settings, click on the video button to explore the available options. Among other settings, some important ones to check are the camera aspect ratio, video quality and if you want to turn off video when joining meeting. There are advanced video settings too, but we do not advise you to tinker with them, unless you know what you are doing.
Step 3: After video settings, click on the audio button to tune audio settings. In this setting, you can test your computer’s microphone and speaker and see if they are working fine. Like video settings, you have the option here to select if you want to mute your microphone while joining a meeting. There are advanced audio settings, but we again do not advise tinkering with them, unless you know what you are doing.
Step 4: Besides video and audio settings, there are other settings with regard to screen recording, screen sharing, profile, etc, that should be set up. Once done, click on the cross icon to close the window and return to the Zoom home screen.
The settings on the Zoom app for smartphones is not as elaborative as one finds on the desktop client. However, it covers the basics and lets you choose if you want the meeting to start with microphone and video camera enabled.
Creating, joining and scheduling meetings
Zoom allows you to connect with up to 100 people at a time. However, there is a time limit of 40 minutes for users on their free account. Zoom sometimes automatically extends the meeting time limit, but one should be clear that such time limit extensions are up to Zoom to effect. You cannot bank on these extensions before starting a meeting. For enhanced time limit, there are paid plans that you can opt for.
Here are the steps to start, join or schedule a meeting:
Start a meeting
Step 1: If you are the host of the meeting, click on the new meeting button on the Zoom client or app to start a meeting. The client asks for your permission to use the device’s speaker and microphone for the meeting. Grant access to move to the meeting screen
Step 2: On the meeting screen, you get the option to invite other participants from your contact list or through meeting URL. On smartphone, there is an option to share the meeting URL. You also get password, which you need to share with participants for them to be able to join your meeting.
Step 3: Once the meeting ends, click on the end meeting button. There is a provision to leave the meeting. This does not end the meeting and allows other participants to continue.
Joining a meeting
Step 1: To join a meeting, you need to have the Zoom meeting ID and password. Click on the join meeting button on the Zoom client or app.
Step 2: Enter meeting ID and the name that you want showing up during the meeting. You also have the option here to mute your microphone and disable video for the meeting – both on the desktop client and smartphone. Once done, click on the join button to enter the meeting
Step 3: Zoom has a waiting room that allows participants to wait until the meeting starts. You enter the meeting as soon as the host joins the meeting.
Step 4: Once done, you can exit the meeting by clicking on the exit button available on the bottom bar.
Scheduling a meeting
Step 1: Click on the schedule meeting button available on both the desktop client and mobile app
Step 2: On the next window, enter the meeting’s topic, choose date and time of the meeting, duration, meeting ID (personal or automatically generated), password and video settings. Once done, click schedule
Step 3: The scheduled meeting is shown on the Zoom’s home screen on both app and client, making it easy to know the daily schedule.
On the bottom bar of the meeting window, there are several options that you can use while conducting a meeting on the Zoom client. These options include video and audio permissions, security options, participant list, chat, screen-share tools, and recording tools.