This page provides information on the basic functions and layout of Zoom, including:
- Joining a Zoom meeting
- Meeting controls
- Video layouts
- Ending a meeting
Joining a Zoom meeting
When you click on a Zoom meeting link, you may be taken to this page on your browser. Click on “Open link” to start the Zoom meeting with your Zoom application. You can check the box that says “Remember my choice for zoommtg links” to skip this step in the future.
Zoom will ask you whether you want to join the meeting with your computer audio or via phone call. You can “Join with Computer Audio” if your computer has an internal microphone and speaker. If your computer does not have an internal microphone and speaker you can join the meeting by calling in with your phone.
Check “Automatically join audio by computer when joining a meeting” to always use the computer audio in the future.
If prompted, select whether you want to join with video or without video.
Once you are in the Zoom window, move your mouse to the bottom of the screen to see the Zoom menu bar. The menu bar will look different depending on whether you are the host of a meeting or whether you are a participant.
You can mute/unmute your microphone or stop/start your video at any time using the first two buttons. The small grey ^ next to the microphone and video buttons will display further audio and video settings.
The “Security” button brings up the option to lock the meeting, and configure what participants can do during the meeting. You can also select “Remove Participant…” to quickly remove a disruptive participant from a list of participants. You can also report participants to Zoom–see Zoom’s page on reporting a participant during a meeting for more information.
The “Participants” button brings up the Participants box, which contains a list of all the participants in the meeting and various additional controls.
The “Invite” button allows you to invite additional people to the meeting while the meeting is taking place.
The “Mute All” button lets you mute all the microphones of all participants. This is useful for when there is one main speaker, and you want to ensure that noises from other participants does not disrupt their presentation.
In the “More” button at the bottom left-hand corner of the Participants tab, you will see options to “Mute Participants upon Entry,” “Allow Participants to Unmute Themselves,” “Play sound when someone joins or leaves,” “Allow Participants to Rename Themselves,” and “Lock Meeting.” For more information about these controls please see the page on Security Features in Zoom.
You can also hover over a specific participant and click “More” to see additional options for interacting with or managing that participant.
- You can chat privately with that participant by clicking “Chat.” Find out more about the chat function on our Facilitating Student Participation in Zoom page.
- You can stop the participant’s video, ask them to start their video, or spotlight their video. More information about video layouts can be found below.
- You can make the participant a host or co-host. See Zoom’s page called “Roles in a meeting” for the differences between host and co-host roles.
- You can assign that participant to type closed captions. See Zoom’s closed captioning guide for more information.
- You can allow the participant to record–see our page on Recording in Zoom for more information.
- You can rename the participant. It is also possible to prevent participants from being able to change their names: see our Security Features in Zoom page.
- You can put the participant in the waiting room. See our Security Features in Zoom page for more information.
- You can remove the participant from the meeting. If removing a disruptive participant, make sure that your meeting does not allow removed participants to rejoin. See Zoom’s page on “Allowing Removed Participants or Panelists to Rejoin” for more information.
- You can report a disruptive participant to Zoom.
For more information about the other options in your Zoom menu bar, please see the following pages:
- Learn about the in-meeting chat on Zoom’s page as well as our page on Facilitating Student Participation in Zoom.
- Learn about the “Share Screen” feature on our “Screen Sharing and Annotations” page.
- Learn about recording your Zoom meeting on our page titled “Recording in Zoom.”
- See Zoom’s “Using closed captioning” guide for more information on closed captions.
- Learn about Breakout Rooms on Zoom’s page on “Managing Breakout Rooms” as well as our page on Facilitating Student Participation in Zoom.
- See what “Reactions” are about on Zoom’s page on “Meeting Reactions.”
By default, your Zoom meeting will have the video layout in Speaker View, where the person who is speaking is automatically highlighted front-and-center, while the other participants are displayed in smaller boxes above the main speaker.
If you click on the more options button  for a participant, you will see options to “Pin Video” or “Spotlight Video” . Pinning the video of a participant makes that participant’s video the main video on your screen regardless of who’s speaking.
As the host, you can spotlight a participant so that their video is the main video for all participants in the meeting. This is a great way to highlight the video of a guest speaker or a student giving a presentation, so that their video is the main video that all participants see.
You can change the video layout to Gallery View to display multiple participants in tiled windows across your screen. You can toggle back and forth between Speaker View and Gallery View by pressing the button on the top right-hand corner. You can have up to 49 participants in Gallery View by changing your settings–learn how to enable this setting on Zoom’s page on the Gallery View.
Ending a meeting
To end a meeting, hit the “End” button on the bottom right-hand corner of your Zoom window. A dialog box will appear asking if you want to “End Meeting for All” or “Leave Meeting.” When you “End Meeting for All” the meeting will finish for all participants. If you “Leave Meeting,” the meeting may continue without you present, as long as there is another person assigned as host. Zoom will prompt you to select a new host if there are no other hosts in the meeting.