By: Steph Cantrill
When you think of buzz words that have come out of the COVID-19 pandemic era, terms like “social distancing” or “self-isolation” might come to mind. But Zoom is definitely one of the words of the moment!
What is Zoom?
You probably already know this (it’s hard to avoid!), but Zoom is a videoconferencing platform that uses the internet to connect. You can talk to people over video, share what’s on your screen, and “chat” (via text-based messages). It’s been a game-changer for a lot of people during periods of isolation, and it can allow people to “attend” meetings or gatherings without needing to leave their homes.
If you haven’t used Zoom before, there’s still time! We hope this guide is a helpful start.
What kind of device do I need?
To use Zoom for video calls, you need a laptop/computer, tablet or smartphone. You will also need a reliable internet connection, whether that’s through the internet in your home (NBN/WiFi), or the mobile data from your phone. If your computer doesn’t have a camera, you may want to purchase one.
You can buy a webcam (portable camera for your computer) at Officeworks, Harvey Norman or similar stores. Prices start at around $30 and go up from there. Talk to the staff at the store about how to install the webcam.
This site has a good step-by-step guide to installing a webcam on your computer. Otherwise, ask the staff at the store for detailed installation instructions.
What if I don’t have a smart device or access to the internet?
Never fear! Zoom has an option for you to simply dial in to the call from any phone. You won’t see people’s lovely smiling faces or be able to view anything that is being shared on the screen, but you’ll be able to participate in the conversation.
If you want to use Zoom from a phone, please scroll down to the relevant section below.
Downloading the app
Zoom works best when you download the free app. If you are on a computer you don’t absolutely have to download Zoom, but you would need a Zoom account and it’s a bit complicated. So downloading the app is easier.
- To download on a computer, go to https://zoom.us/download and click on the blue download button under “Zoom Client for Meetings”
- The installer will appear at the bottom of your screen, in the task bar.
- When you click on it, it might ask you something like: “Do you want to allow this program to make changes to your computer?” – click “yes”.
- It will then install the app on your computer. You will use it when you join a meeting (see below).
- To download on a phone or tablet, go to your App Store or Google Play (or wherever you get your apps). Put “Zoom” into the search bar, and you will be directed to download the app.
- To make sure you get the right app, look for this Zoom logo:
Joining a meeting
When you are joining a Zoom meeting, you will be given a specific Zoom link that contains a lot of letters, numbers and symbols.
- You can just click this link on your computer, tablet or smartphone to be taken directly to the meeting.
- On a computer, it may ask you if you want to open Zoom meetings – click yes.
You may also be given a Zoom meeting number and password.
- Open the Zoom app on your device
- Select “Join a Meeting”
- Enter the Meeting ID or Personal Link Name you were given – it’s usually a number
- Enter your name (you can check the box to remember your name for future meetings to make it easier for next time!)
- Click “Join”
- It will then connect, and ask for the Meeting Passcode. Enter it into the box and then click “Join Meeting”
(Images will look different on a tablet or smartphone, but the basic steps are the same. For example, instead of clicking “Join Meeting” you will click “OK”.)
- If the meeting has a waiting room, the host will let you in. Otherwise you will go straight into the call, as long as the host has already started the meeting.
- When given the option, select “join with computer audio”
Joining a meeting from a phone (dialling in):
- Call one of the numbers below, according to the area code in your state (normal call charges will apply):
- 07 3185 3730
- 02 8015 6011
- 03 7018 2005
- 08 6119 3900
- 08 7150 1149
- It will ask for the meeting ID – enter the number, followed by #
- It may ask for your host key – ignore and just press #
- It may ask for the “participant ID” – ignore and just press #
- Finally, it will ask for the password – enter the code, followed by #
- It will then take you into the meeting, where you’ll be able to hear and speak but won’t have video access
- To mute or unmute yourself, press * 6
- To raise your hand to make a comment or ask a question, press * 9
During the meeting:
If you are dialling in to the call, you’ll be able to hear and speak but you won’t have video access.
If you are joining the video call, there are a few handy functions to know:
- There is a Zoom menu bar which appears at the bottom of the Zoom window once the meeting begins
- If you don’t see the menu bar, move your mouse slightly or touch your screen and the bar will appear
- The bar disappears after a few seconds when in full-screen mode
- You can turn your microphone on and off by clicking the small microphone icon on the menu bar
- On a computer, you can also do this by holding down the alt key (to the left of your space bar) and pressing A (a is for audio)
- If you have an Apple computer, press Command, Shift and A together
- If you are muted, you can also hold down the space bar to unmute temporarily – hold it down while you are talking, and then let go to put it back onto mute
- You can turn your camera on and off by clicking the small camera icon
- On a computer, you can also do this by holding down the alt key and pressing V (v is for video)
- If you have an Apple computer, press Command, Shift and V together
- If there are more people than you can see on one screen, you can use the arrow keys on the side to see who else is on the call
- On a phone or tablet, you can always swipe from side to side
Chat and other features:
Here are some other options you can access from the Zoom menu bar:
- “Chat” allows you to type messages to the group
- You can also select an individual to send a direct message
- “Reactions” allows you to give someone a thumbs-up, clap your hands and a few other options
- “Raise hand” allows you to put your hand up to ask a question or make a comment
Leaving the meeting:
On the Zoom menu bar you’ll see a red button that says “leave” – press this, and press “leave meeting” when it prompts you.
If the host ends the meeting for all participants, you won’t need to do anything.
And that’s about it! Happy Zooming everyone!
If you have more questions about installing Zoom, it might be worth asking a friend or family member, or bringing your computer or other device to your local library.
If you have questions during the meeting, the host will do their best to help you – but bear in mind it may be hard for them to see what the problem is.