While many companies already use the Zoom video conferencing app for business meetings, interviews, and other purposes, individuals who spend long days without contact with friends and family move to Zoom for in-person and group meetings.
This is a quick guide for those who haven’t tried Zoom yet, with tips on getting started with the free version. One thing to keep in mind: while one-to-one video calls can last as long as you want, group calls on Zoom are limited to 40 minutes. If you want longer calls without interruption, you can either pay for Zoom’s Pro plan ($ 14.99 per month) or try an alternative video conferencing app. (Note: There are reports that the 40 minutes are sometimes extended – at least one employee from The edge found that an evening meeting with five friends was sent an extension when time started to run out – but there is no official record of any change from Zoom.)
How to Register for Zoom
The first thing to do is of course register for the service. You can do this from your laptop or from your mobile phone. We first deal with the web service.
- Go to Zoom’s login page. You will be presented with a few options to create an account. At the top you can enter your email address in the box labeled ‘Your business email address’. (Although Zoom asks for a business email, a personal email should work just fine.) If you do this, skip to step two. You can also create an account by clicking the “Sign in with Google” or “Sign in with Facebook” buttons, then download the Zoom desktop app and proceed to step six.
- If you have entered an email, Zoom will send an activation email to that address. Click the “Activate account” button in the email or copy and paste the activation URL into your browser to activate your account.
- On the page that opens in your web browser, enter your first and last name and a password.
- On the next page, you can invite other people to create a free Zoom account via email. You can skip this step if you want.
- Then you will get a link to your personal meeting URL and you can click on an orange ‘Meet Now’ button to start a test meeting. If you copy that URL to your browser or click that orange button, you will be asked to download the Zoom desktop app. Follow the prompts to install the app.
- After installing the Zoom app, you will see buttons for ‘Join a Meeting’ or ‘Sign In’. Click on ‘Register’ to start your test meeting.
- On the next screen, enter the email address and password you just used to sign up for Zoom in your browser. If you registered with the ‘Log in with Google’ or ‘Log in with Facebook’ buttons, click those buttons here and follow the directions.
- Once logged in, make sure that you are in the ‘Home’ tab and then click the orange ‘New Meeting’ button in the Zoom app. Your meeting begins.
If you sign up for Zoom with the mobile app, the process is similar to how it is on the web. (We tested the sign-up process with the iOS app.)
- Download the iOS or Android app. When you first open the app, you will be given options to join a meeting, sign up for Zoom, or sign in to a Zoom account. Tap on ‘Sign in’.
- On the next screen, you’ll be asked to enter your email address, your first and last name, and check a box to agree to Zoom’s terms of service. After you do this, tap ‘Sign up’ and you will receive an activation email.
- Tap the “Activate Account” button in the email you receive, or copy and paste the activation URL into your mobile browser.
- From there you will be asked to perform the same steps described above to create an account only from your mobile browser.
- Once you get to the screen with your personal Zoom meeting URL and the orange ‘Meet Now’ button, tap either and you will be taken directly to a waiting room for your test meeting in the Zoom app.
- Tap the Sign In button at the bottom of the screen to open the meeting. On the next screen, enter your login information and tap the “Login” button.
- Your test meeting will open in the app.
Invite people to your Zoom meeting
Once you have an account, you can invite people to a Zoom meeting in several ways.
If you’re using the desktop or mobile apps, click or tap the Meetings tab. From there:
- In the desktop app, when you click the “Invite Copy” button on the screen, a message containing the URL, ID and dial-in details of your Zoom meeting will be copied to your clipboard for you to put in an email or text message .
- When you tap the ‘Send Invitation’ button in the mobile app, you’ll be presented with three options: ‘Send Message’, which allows you to text your meeting URL to someone; Send email, which opens an email with information about your meeting; or “Copy to Clipboard”, which copies the URL and meeting ID of your Zoom meeting to your phone’s clipboard.
You can also invite people to your meeting while you are already there:
- In the desktop app, on the toolbar that appears when you move your mouse in the meeting window, click the “Invite” button. When you do, Zoom opens a window where you can invite your Zoom contacts, send an email with information on how to access your Zoom meeting, copy your meeting URL to your clipboard or copy a longer message with your meeting URL and make calls. in information to your clipboard.
- In the mobile app, tap ‘Participants’ in the bottom row of icons, then tap the ‘Invite’ button at the bottom of the next screen. When you do, you can send an email invitation, send a text invitation, invite your Zoom contacts, or copy the meeting URL to your phone’s clipboard.
Once you get started with Zoom, check out our guides to finding keyboard shortcuts, change your Zoom wallpaper (here are some free wallpapers you can use) and how to prevent your Zoom meeting from being passed by trolling.
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