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11 best Zoom tricks you’ll wish you knew sooner

Zoom has become the reigning champion of quarantine communication. Maybe not for long as mighty Facebook is a worthy contender with its new platform. Tap or click here to get a sneak peek at Facebook’s upcoming video conferencing tool.

There has been a slew of security issues with Zoom. Don’t think for a moment this does not apply to you. Tap or click here for four essential Zoom security settings you should set now.

One of the most important is protecting the privacy of your meetings. Otherwise, a hacker, a troll, or even a well-known inventor might pop-in your meeting. For a little levity, tap or click here to watch Elon Musk jump into an unsuspecting Zoom chat.

Most of us are now familiar with its basic operation, but Zoom has lots of tricks and shortcuts. Whether you are planning a one-on-one coffee date or an important board meeting, Zoom enables you to interact – and even appear – exactly the way you want.

1. Enter silently

If you’re trying to enter a Zoom call without making a ton of noise, you can opt to enter silently. This tip is especially helpful when meetings have already started and you’re trying to stealthily join late.

Open the Zoom app and click Settings. On the Audio tab, click the box to add a checkmark to Always mute the microphone when joining a meeting. To turn your microphone back on while in the call, use the button at the bottom of the screen.

You can also enter a Zoom call without video on, which is pretty helpful when you’re dealing with low bandwidth or having video quality issues.

To use this setting, open the Zoom app and click Settings. On the Video tab, click the checkbox for Always turn off video when joining a meeting at the bottom of the page under the Meetings heading. To turn your video back on, you can do so at the start or in the midst of meetings by clicking the video button at the bottom of the screen.

2. Change your background

Worried about your coworkers seeing your messy kitchen or living room? You can change the background on your Zoom call. It doesn’t even require a green screen to do so (though you can certainly use one).

Click on Settings > Virtual Background. From there, Zoom will offer you a few selections you can use, or you can upload basically any image you want.

3. Mute everyone at once

There may be times when you need to mute everyone on the call at once.

You can simply hit ⌘Cmd+Ctrl+M on a Mac or Alt+M on a PC to mute everyone. You can also navigate to Host controls in the Zoom app on your desktop and click on Manage Participants, then Mute all.

4. Mute and unmute with spacebar (and other shortcuts)

If you want to add to the conversation but don’t like leaving your Zoom unmuted, press and hold the spacebar and it will temporarily unmute you so you can throw all your ideas into the ring.

Zoom also has more than a dozen other keyboard shortcuts, for both Mac and Windows. You can see them all here.

5. Set up Zoom to show names

I’m really bad with names. If you are too, go to Settings > Video and check the box for Always display participant’s name. We need this IRL.

6. Don’t miss Zoom meetings anymore

Download and open the Zoom app for iOS or Android. Toggle to the Meeting Settings section of the Zoom app and choose Meeting reminders on your mobile device. Your Zoom app will automatically send a mobile notification when it’s time to join a meeting.

7. Look a little better with Zoom’s beauty filter

We all want to look our best, but quarantine haircuts and standard webcams are not a flattering combination. Luckily, Zoom developers already thought of that.

Find Settings > Video. From there, check the box for Touch up my appearance, and Zoom will soften the focus on your camera, giving your skin a refreshing glow. Nice.

8. Record your meeting onto your computer

There are tons of reasons to record video calls. You may need to reference it for notes later or share it with people who need the information.

Go to Settings > Recording and toggle the option on. Once that’s done, you can click the Record icon when you’re hosting a Zoom meeting on the bottom toolbar to record your meeting and save it to your computer.

9. React with emojis

Click the Reactions tab at the bottom of the meeting screen. It’s in the same panel as mute audio and video, but you’ll find it over to the right. Choose the emoji that you want to use to express your feelings.

10. Quick invite

If you’re in the midst of a meeting and realize you forgot to send an invite to a crucial coworker or two, you can send a “quick invite.”

Type ⌘Cmd+I on a Mac or Alt+I on a PC to open the Invite window. Click the Email tab, copy the URL, and send it to anyone who you want to invite to the meeting. You can also click on Contacts to directly invite a colleague if they’re on your contact list.

11. Get unlimited time

Zoom is an astonishing free service, but it comes with a time limit. Meetings only go up to 40 minutes on the free tier. Paid plans offer unlimited time, the ability to add more people and a way to record meetings to the cloud.

Bonus Tip: Get more free software to run your life at home

Google, Microsoft, and others are offering free work from home tools. We’ve rounded up the best offers. Tap or click here for more information on my website.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television, or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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