Not that far back in the past, countries around the globe began switching to remote work for obvious reasons. As the ‘new normal’ persists, the working force all over the world is working either remotely or is choosing hybrid work. Under these unprecedented circumstances, the reliance on online tools increased like none of us had imagined before. Zoom emerged as the unlikely winner in the world of online apps.
But you aren’t surprised, are you? All of us are well aware of Zoom. You, too, will have used it for your professional (and in some cases, social) meetups - or their virtual counterparts, to be more accurate. Arguably beating senior giants such as Skype and Google Meet in the video conferencing industry, Zoom became a household name.
Today, Zoom is used by professionals from all industries. Whether you head a global team, are a small business-owner, or have students to teach, you might find yourself turning to Zoom sooner or later. There's a reason behind it, too. The app is user-friendly, feature-rich and most importantly, offers a basic free plan for everyone. If you don’t want to invest money into video conferencing but still need to use it, opting for Zoom is a safe and reliable choice.
The software is easy to use as well. You can use the web version or download the mobile app to conduct calls on the ago. You can also integrate Zoom with the various other tools you already use for your business needs - such as an accounting app if you’re an accounting firm or a time tracking app if you want to optimize your team’s productivity. Zoom has wide-ranging and popular functionalities that enabled it to enter mainstream usage; helpful innovations ensure that it continues to dominate it.
That was a quick rundown of the reasons behind Zoom’s wild success. Now that you’re using the app, it’s only fair that you learn to master it. We bring you a comprehensive list of tips you can start using right away to improve and speed up your Zoom experience. Let’s dig in!
1. Change Your Username
If you are attending a professional meeting on Zoom and want to set your username right, there are two ways you can go about it. The app lets you change your name temporarily or permanently.
If you are only looking to change the name for one particular meeting, go to the tab called Participants - to be found at the bottom end of your screen. Press More and then press Rename. Enter the username you want and press OK. To change your name permanently - meaning, for every session you attend from here on out - go to the Profile section. Click Edit, add the name you want, and press Save Changes. Don’t worry; the permanent name isn’t really permanent. You can still change it whenever you need to.
2. Add Your Profile Picture
You can set a temporary or a permanent profile picture on Zoom, just like you can for your username. For a temporary picture, click the option called Participants - located at the bottom of your screen. Press More and then press Add Profile Picture. Select the image you want from your system and press Open.
To change your picture permanently - that is, for all the future sessions you will attend - go to the Profile section. Click Edit, choose the picture you want from your system, and press Open. As with the username, you can still change the so-called permanent profile picture whenever you want, using the exact steps we have described above.
3. Specify Your Preferred Pronoun
Did you know Zoom offers you a chance to be more gender-inclusive? Well, yes! The app lets the users customize their profile details, including the pronoun they prefer. It’s quite a neat way to reflect and meet the needs of the modern world where individuals have more autonomy over how they want to be addressed.
Use quick and easy steps to let other meeting participants know your preferred pronoun: Go to the Profile section and simply enter the pronouns you use. In addition, the app also gives you several options to share your pronouns with other meeting participants. You can enable it for every online session you attend or choose not to share it at all. You can also adjust the setting so that Zoom prompts you for every session and you can decide right then whether to share your pronoun or not.
4. Customize Your Background
Although setting virtual backgrounds is one of the handiest features the app offers in our opinion, not every user seems to be aware of it. Well, working from the comfort of your home has its perks. Want to attend a call sitting on your comfy couch rather than your work desk? You’re welcome to do so. But what about the huge pile of clothes decorating the background? Worry no more! Zoom takes care of it.
You can restore the professional touch to your official online meetings by choosing a virtual background. From a solid colored-wall to a galaxy of shining stars to trees dancing in the wind - take your pick of the several backgrounds Zoom offers. Go to Settings and enable your virtual background with a single click. It’s super easy to get on quick calls with zero embarrassment.
5. Use The Beauty Filter
Working from home allows you to relax. You don’t feel the need to wear makeup and can go without making any efforts at all to look presentable. But what do you do when a sudden video conference call is scheduled? You might find yourself looking for your lost and buried foundation or your missing lipstick because you want to look your best.
With Zoom, you can take care of your appearance in a matter of seconds. The app has a built-in ‘touch up’ feature. Use it to brighten up your face, get rid of the dark circles and just overall present a fresh look to your boss. Go to the Video section in your Zoom settings, and tick the Touch up my appearance option. Save your time and look your best with minimal efforts.
6. Create Zoom Meetings Automatically
Teams in different industries use more than one software to manage and run various operations daily. It becomes a tad bit difficult to switch between apps to perform different tasks. For instance, if you run a consultancy or are a personal trainer, you might use a scheduling tool like Sprintful to manage your client bookings. Since a lot of these appointments or sessions now take place online, you automatically need a video conferencing tool to actually talk to your clients. This is where Zoom integration comes in.
Zoom has a highly useful marketplace which lists the different apps you can access from Zoom directly - without having to switch between apps. Contrarily, the apps you use also have a Zoom integration. Connect your scheduling app’s calendar directly to your Zoom and set automatic Zoom meetings effortlessly. Share the link with your clients and hold online sessions without any hassle.
7. Set Recurring Meetings
Got weekly appointments with a particular client or daily conference calls with your teammates? It becomes a tiring process to set meetings every time you want to conduct a session which is really regular. With Zoom, you don’t have to create a new meeting everyday or every week, depending on whatever is your required frequency.
You can simply choose the convenient option of Recurring meeting and take control of your schedule in simple steps. Note that recurring meetings use the same URL every time so you also get to skip the hassle of sharing meeting URLs for each session.
If you have meetings with the same group on the same day of the week but at different times, use the option called No Fixed Time. This way, you can customize and set the meeting time depending on your need. No more worrying and no more forgetting meetings anymore!
8. Co-Host Meeting Sessions
Just as there can be more than one host for a real-life meeting, there can be two hosts for virtual meetings. With Zoom, you can use the option to co-host sessions where more than one person is at the helm of the meeting. To avail yourself of this lesser-known feature, go to the Meeting Settings option and enable the Co-host option.
How can you add the individual you want to co-host a call with you? Start by inviting them to your Zoom session; once they have joined, hover your cursor over their name, click on the three dots that show up, and add them as co-host. Another way to add your co-host is by doing this: go to Participants, selecting Manage Participants and click on More. The co-host option will appear and you can add the individual you want easily. Please note that this feature is only available for those who use the Pro, Business or Education Plan.
9. Share Your Screen
Sometimes, you need to share your screen with your meeting participants to ensure clearer understanding. Screen-sharing comes with its many advantages. You might want to show a rookie teammate around by explaining the project management software you use, work on a common document with your group mate, or simply want to watch a movie with a loved one that lives far apart. All of this becomes possible with Zoom.
To share your screen during a Zoom session, simply press the Share screen option that appears on the bottom of your screen - it’s hard to miss! As soon as you press it, you will get the option to either share your entire screen or a particular window you have opened on your system. Once done, press Stop share and you will have privacy again. See how quick and easy it is?
10. Record Your Meetings
One of the most convenient features that Zoom offers is recording your meeting sessions. With people attending remotely from various locations, it’s inevitable that problems will arise. A bad internet connection or simply crossed wires can get in the way. When this happens, you might debate rescheduling the entire meeting but that’s another hassle. We recommend you choose the option of recording your meetings. Zoom helps you record your sessions for absent attendees or simply for archival purposes. It is especially useful for teachers and students.
Go to the Recording option in your settings tab and enable the option to record videos. You can choose to store the recording locally - that is, on your computer. You can also decide to save it on the cloud, meaning on the online storage server that Zoom offers (only to the paying members). With both, you can manage your archive of meetings, share the sessions with whoever was unable to attend, or re-visit the meeting whenever you need.
11. Enable Gallery View
You can view all the participants of your meeting sessions, whether they have enabled their video camera or are only using the audio option. Use the gallery view to see every single individual attending the session. While only one or two people may be speaking at one time, you get to see everyone that is participating in the meeting.
Click the option labeled Gallery View, located in the top right corner of your screen. You will see the screens of every participant if the number is under 50. If the number of attendees is 50 or more, then their screens won’t be visible all at once; however, you can scroll between pages and see the participants easily.
12. Add Waiting Room for Improved Privacy
Want to avoid the meeting rush? Create a waiting room for your participants and allow them entry to your online sessions per your convenience. While Zoom enables participants to enter meetings directly if they have the required URL and password, it is sometimes best to defer joining the meeting until you are sure and it’s time to start. In this case, the waiting room option comes in handy.
Like its real-world counterpart, the virtual waiting room is a space for your meeting participants to wait out the time before you let them into the online session. To enable your Waiting Room, go to Account Management and press Account Setting. Select Meeting and then enable Waiting Room. Easy, isn’t it? This way, you can help attendees hold back while giving yourself the time you need to be absolutely ready to begin. With such control over your Zoom sessions, you can avoid unnecessary noise and inconvenience.
13. Use Breakout Rooms
You might be holding a large event with a huge number of participants. What if you want to take some of the attendees aside and conduct a separate, private meeting with them? Or what if you want to break a large group into several small ones for the purpose of your meeting? Here’s where you can use the breakout room feature that Zoom allows.
Using Zoom’s breakout room feature, you can create smaller sessions or breakout rooms with a maximum of 50 attendees in each. Go to Account Management, and choose Account Settings. Select the tab labelled Meeting and choose Breakout Room. This way, you can create breakout sessions automatically, with the participants added beforehand. The other option is to allow your attendees to opt for the breakout session of their preference. If you’re the host, you have greater control and can access any session you want to easily. You can also disable the breakout session at any time you want.
14. Hide Non-Video Participants
Want to control the visibility option on your Zoom gallery? It’s possible through the control option in the app. If you are conducting a very large session on Zoom and find it distracting to look at every participants’ screen, you can resort to this option. It’s easy to hide the attendees who do not have their cameras turned on. Quite convenient, we would say, because why would you want to look at a blank screen anyway?
Go to Settings then Video and then choose the Meetings option. Enable the option to Hide non-video particiaptns. Voila! Your screen is now uncluttered and you can easily focus on what’s being said instead of being distracted by visual noise.
15. Unlimited Meeting Time
Nothing great comes without a cost. Well, Zoom does but with limited functionalities, as is to be expected. The free or basic plan costs you nothing. You can also hold one-on-one meetings using the free plan for as long as you want. However, the app caps the meeting time for groups at 40 minutes. Any sessions that are longer than that will have to be interrupted in the middle and a new session created. We know how distracting this can be for serious users of Zoom.
If you want to overcome the notorious 40-minute limit, we’re afraid you will have to pay up. Explore the pricing options on Zoom and avail yourself of the one that fits your needs and budget. You will have access to unlimited time for group meetings and get your hands on some other useful features as well.
16. Invite More Than 100 Participants
The more the merrier, they say. Now, you might believe in the aforesaid or it might simply be a straightforward business need to have a huge number of participants for your Zoom sessions. The downside is that Zoom only allows up to 100 people if you are using the free (Basic) Plan. If you want to add more than one hundred attendees to your online session, you will have to upgrade to the pricier plans.
Zoom’s Pro Plan allows 100 participants but you can increase the number to 1000 using the add on. The Premium Plan, costing $19.99 per month, allows you to add up to 300 people, which you can take up to 1000 with the add on. The Enterprise Plan, geared primarily toward large organizations, allows up to 500 participants without having to use the add on.
17. Access Attendance List
Zoom usage exploded out of necessity. One of the top demographics using Zoom is students who attend online classes. In cases like these, attending online sessions becomes mandatory instead of an optional deal. However, with the large number of attendees in such sessions, it might become difficult to mark attendance manually. Don’t worry because with Zoom, you can access the list of participants who attended your sessions easily.
Zoom conveniently generates a meeting report after your sessions ends. You can get your hands on the list of attendees by going to the Reports section, found in your Zoom Account Management tab. Choose Usage Report, and go to Meeting. Then select the meeting you need the list for, choose the type of report you want to generate, specify the date, and create the report. All it takes is a few clicks and your attendee list will be in your hands. Note that you can generate this list only if you are the meeting’s host and have purchased the right plan that allows this feature.
18. Collect Data Using Zoom
Did you know you can use Zoom to collect important data from your meeting participants? It might be an introductory event where you want to know the attendees, or it might be a poll you want to conduct but you can ask questions which your participants can answer.
Do this by creating a form for the participants that they are mandated to fill out before they can enter the meeting. You can ask them their name, company name and the industry they work in. You can also add more fields per your requirement; use the Custom Questions feature, and set the checkbox option to get straightforward answers. This feature also comes in handy when you want to allow entry to a meeting or event after potential participants fill and submit their forms. Note that this option is available in the Pro Plan.
19. Know the Names
If you take many calls in a day, you might harbor the fear of forgetting the name of whoever you are speaking to. Embarrassing, right? Zoom can help you neatly sidestep this faux pas. Go to Video settings, on to Meetings, and check the box conveniently labeled Always display participant name on their videos. All it takes is a single click to guarantee complete professionalism, no matter how occupied you are!
20. Use Shortcuts like a Zoom Pro
When it comes to success, motivational gurus would advise you to avoid taking shortcuts. Good thing the same does not apply to Zoom where nothing saves time like using shortcuts! With a multitude of things to tackle during your meetings, it can become a hassle to constantly click and tap to get things done. You can cut down on clicking by a good margin by using the keyboard shortcuts Zoom allows. Here are a few handy ones:
- Start local recording: Alt + R (Windows); Cmd + Shift + R (macOS). Press these keys to start recording your call, to be stored locally.
- Start cloud recording: Alt + C (Windows); Cmd + Shift + C (macOS). Press these keys to start recording your call, to be saved in your Zoom cloud storage.
- Invite: Alt + I for Windows; Cmd + I (macOS). Using these two keys together, you can hop to the Invite Window, get the invite link and also email invitations to your meeting participants.
- Show or Hide Chat Panel: Alt + H (Windows); Cmd + Shift + H (macOS). With this combo, you can either reveal or conceal your chat option, depending on your convenience.
- Share: Alt + Shift + S (Windows); Cmd + Shift + S (macOS). Press these keys to screen-share quickly.
- Mute: Alt + M (Windows); Cmd + Ctrl + M (macOS). You can use this handy combination to mute the entire team while you speak as the host.
21. React Using Emojis
Find yourself running out of words during a crucial call? Never fear because Zoom is here! Following the footsteps of almost every app out there, Zoom comes integrated with a full range of emojis, known to be great conveyors of meaning in the texting community. Well, the popular saying did declare pictures to be worth a thousand words. Use emojis in your official or personal communication on Zoom easily. This is especially useful if you are communicating with people with whom you have a language barrier.
Similar to various apps’ drive for inclusiveness, Zoom also allows you to choose the skin tone of your thumbs-up and other emojis. You can send a like or a smile or just a frustrated face, depending on your need. This cleanly eliminates the need to type long sentences to say what you want to. Cool, isn’t it? The great thing is, emojis have slowly become acceptable in the professional world so you’re safe using them. But we don’t recommend overdoing it!
22. Use The Vanishing Highlighter
Remember the joy of using magic ink as a kid? Well, Zoom certainly did. It offers its users yet another cool feature - a vanishing highlighter. It is found in the annotations section of the app and you simply have to click on it to start using it.
When on call with people, you might want to direct their attention to a specific textual section or an object. This is where you can use the vanishing pen. As the name implies, using this pen, you can highlight whatever text or object you want to, only for it to conveniently disappear in moments. There is no need to erase or re-edit the content on your screen. It fades away automatically.
23. Set Reminders for Yourself
This is for the forgetful ones out there: you are not forgotten by Zoom. The app demonstrates remarkable consideration by including an in-built reminder feature, designed solely to alert you for an upcoming schedule you might otherwise totally forget. No one likes to miss meetings, let alone ones they set up in the first place. But with a hundred things on your daily planner, it’s only human if you sometimes miss a schedule. Zoom resolves this issue effortlessly.
Go to the General settings and set up a reminder for yourself. Check the box called Remind me and specify how many minutes before an upcoming session you want to be alerted. It’s a convenient and quick way to stay on top of your day no matter how busy it gets.
24. Use Slack Integration
Who doesn't use Slack?! We know we do. The chat app is very useful to streamline internal communication within teams. This is where you can chat with your team members, share links and files and much more - all with the least effort. The great news is that Zoom comes with the very necessary Slack integration. The app is available on Zoom’s marketplace and you can begin using it right away.
Want to find the Zoom option in Slack? Simply type /zoom in Slack to start viewing the options. You can make use of Slack’s various helpful features such as reminders to send out alerts to the entire team for an upcoming meeting. This decreases risks of no-shows and delays. With Slack and Zoom both on your side, nothing can stop you now!
25. Leverage The Power of Zapier
Even with an impressive list of app integrations, you might find something missing in Zoom. Are you stuck now? Is there no way out? No! Zoom gives you complete control to customize the tool for your specific usage and expand its functionalities per your requirement.
Zoom comes with an irreplaceable Zapier integration, using which you can connect and start using multiple other apps easily. Whether it’s an accounting tool you want to integrate or a scheduling app, you can accomplish it all easily simply by using Zapier in Zoom.
Did you know all the tips and tricks we shared above or were some totally new to you?
Were you taken by surprise but are ready to roll with the tricks up your sleeve now?
We hope that in the course of this blog, we successfully introduced you to some lesser-known but highly-useful Zoom functionalities. The tips we explored above will help you improve your communication, enhance your workflow and build better teams. Start using your Zoom app in a way to get the full worth of your resources (whether time or money or both) that you have invested into using this tool. Try them out today and save your time like a time management pro!