This page is an introduction to help those who have either not used Zoom before or are not sure how to use it to take part in Civic Society meetings. It is not a full tutorial on using Zoom.
You will need to download Zoom for your computer or Tablet. Make sure to download from the proper website or the appropriate app stores. More information is in this article.
What do I need if I haven’t used Zoom before?
The prerequisites for using Zoom are that you will need an internet connection that is reliable with at least a 1Mbps internet speed. Most broadband connections should be satisfactory. You will need a computer with speakers and a microphone (not necessarily built in), and a webcam that is built-in or connected by USB. Your computer needs to be running a relatively modern operating system: macOS 10.9 Mavericks or later, Windows 10 Home, Pro or Enterprise (not S), Windows 7, 8, or 8.1. Linux is also supported.
Much more information on installation and use is available in the Zoom Help Center (https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us).
You can also use a tablet (or even a smartphone), but because of the smaller screen it can be a little more tricky to use. The basic setup is largely the same.
In order to work, Zoom obviously needs access to your microphone, speakers and camera. Therefore, depending on your operating system and security settings, you can expect some requests to allow Zoom to access these aspects of your hardware.
Installing Zoom on a computer
You will need to install the Zoom Client for Meetings on your computer. Go to https://zoom.us/download#client_4meeting and download the “Zoom Client for Meetings” as shown in the image below.
Depending on your security settings and operating system you may have to click to allow downloads from zoom.us. The file that is downloaded will be the installer for your operating system. This will need to be run (typically you would double-click on it) and follow the instructions to install the Zoom Client.
Installing Zoom on a tablet or smart phone (iOS / Android)
You will need to download the appropriate app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. On your mobile device go to https://zoom.us/download#client_4meeting and scroll a little way down the page where you will find:
These are links that will take you directly to the correct apps in the appropriate App Store. Once there, install the Zoom app as you would any other app on your iOS or Android device.
Using Zoom for the first time on a computer
While Zoom will encourage you to create a (free) account, this is not necessary if you are just joining meetings hosted by other people like The Civic Society, without any authentication.
These instructions assume that you are not using extra audio and video devices. If you are, there are ways to employ those in Zoom, but outside of the scope of this simple set of instructions.
Joining meetings can be done in two ways – by typing in a Meeting ID and a passcode, or by clicking a link that effectively has the meeting credentials “baked in”.
Using a link is the simplest method as it avoids having to type too much.
Joining a meeting using a link
Clicking the link provided will cause the Zoom app to start. You may have to click to allow this to happen – follow any instructions on the browser screen. If this is the first time you’ve used Zoom and you don’t have an account, you will probably get this screen:
This allows to enter your name. The default may be based on your computer username, or even the computer name itself and so may not be what you want to be known as in the meeting. This gives you the opportunity to call yourself as you wish. Then click “Join”.
You will now be put into the “Waiting Room” until the host admits you to the meeting. You will see a screen similar to the following – hopefully for not too long but bear in mind that many people may be joining at the same time.
Once the host has admitted you, you will see a screen showing your video and whether you wish to join with your video showing or no.
After clicking one of the two Join buttons on that screen, you get a final screen which looks like this:
It is important to “Join with Computer Audio” as otherwise you will not hear the presenter (or any other participants).
Joining a meeting using the Meeting ID and password
If you are launching Zoom as an application for the first time without having created an account you will see a screen like this:
If you did create an account you will have many more options.
Click “Join a Meeting”. This will bring up the following screen:
Enter the Meeting Id in the top box (cut and paste it from the e-mail is probably the easiest method to get it right) and type the name you wish to be known as in the second box, and then click Join. This will cause a request for the meeting Passcode as shown:
You now need to enter the meeting Passcode in the appropriate box and click Join. Again copy and paste is your friend. As before, this will take you to the Waiting Room screen and after a little while you will be allowed in to the meeting and will have two more screens (as shown before) which you will need to click through to “join with video” and “join with computer audio”.
Finding your way around the Zoom window
You should now be in the meeting and be able to see the speaker or a gallery of images of other people in the meeting. The view you have can be changed by going to the top right of the window and clicking on View.
The Gallery view will show a number of images on your screen – possibly spread over some pages. The speaker view will show the current speaker.
At the bottom of the screen are a series of buttons:
The button in the bottom left allows you to mute and unmute your microphone. When you enter The Civic Society meeting you will be automatically muted, and we ask that you remain muted for the meeting until the host lets you unmute – perhaps to ask a question audibly. The next button allows you to stop broadcasting your video (if you do not wish to be seen). On both of these buttons there are drop downs which allow you to select alternative audio sources/speakers and video sources and their associated preferences.
An important button is the Chat button which is about in the middle at the bottom and shown with a text balloon. This will open a text window which allows you to type questions and, potentially see other questions being asked as shown in the image.
Type your question at the bottom where it says “Type message here..” and press return. The message will then appear in the Chat stream above. Using the drop down (showing Everyone in this example), you can choose whether to send a question to everyone or just to an individual.
If you wish to leave the meeting, click “Leave”.
At the end of the meeting, when the host closes the meeting, you will automatically be removed from the meeting.
During the course of the meeting the speaker will be displaying his slides by sharing his screen. This will then fill the main part of your Zoom window with the material that the presenter is showing. You can still access the chat facility during this time to ask questions about things on the presenter’s slides.
Using Zoom on a Tablet
The process is essentially the same as using a computer, and if you read the instructions above for using a computer you probably can navigate your way through using Zoom on a tablet or smart phone (a tablet has much more screen space and so will be much easier to use).
Once the application is installed, joining using a link will work automatically much the same as on a computer. Alternatively, if you launch zoom directly you could enter the Meeting ID and passcode to join.
There are differences, because mobile devices generally don’t have multiple audio devices or screens, so the audio and video choices are simply to mute or turn off video rather than more complex choices.
Once in the meeting, the major differences are that the controls are in different places. If you see no controls at all, then a tap on the screen should bring them up. The choice of single / gallery view on an iOS tablet is towards the top left. The buttons that are at the bottom of the screen on a computer are at the top right on an iPad, and to get to the Chat button one must tap the three dots marked “more”. This is illustrated below:
On iOS (and probably on Android, but I have no device to test), the Chat window is overlaid on top of the video windows.
What if it doesn’t work?
Don’t worry! Things often don’t work right first time and because every computer has different software and settings, there are many things that can make things not quite right.
As mentioned at the top, a good resource is the Zoom Help Center (they are American so I’m using their spelling) at (https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us).
There is a test site there for you to test internet connection and basic settings at: https://zoom.us/test
Many problems are often quite simple (and frustrating) like having speakers turned off (or the volume turned down low) – on some computers there can be multiple volume controls and you may need to check them all. Often microphones are muted when they shouldn’t be and vice versa.
Even if your internet connection is good and solid, if your computer is connecting via Wi-Fi it may be suffering from interference or just not be in a good place to get a reliable wi-fi connection. You could try a different location, or if you are able to connect it with an ethernet cable to your router that can remove the problem. Home routers and wi-fi access points can be unreliable, unexpectedly reboot, or need to be restarted.
At some time, many of us have felt that we’ve been overlooked in the Waiting Room. The Civic Society host will do their best not to miss anyone, but it may take a while. On the evening try to connect in good time and don’t worry if it takes a while for us to get everyone into the meeting.