I need to warn readers though that Zoom continues to upgrade its software and the difference between the free version and the paid version appears to be changing as well. This means that by the time you read this article, some tips may not be applicable.
If the icon bar does not appear, pressing the mouse anywhere on the screen will bring it into view, usually at the very bottom of the screen. If you want your voice to remain silent or muted, you can click a micro-phone-looking icon located at the lower left corner. When you click the icon, a diagonal redline appears over the icon, indicating that your sound is muted. Do not forget to unmute when the meeting starts.
Although you can also make yourself invisible until the meeting starts by clicking the Stop Video icon located at the lower left corner, you may want to leave the video icon on so that participants feel more comfortable as they "look around the room."
You can change the background of your picture. You first select the picture you want to use as background. Download or place the picture on your computer screen. Click Stop Video and check Choose Virtual Background. You select your downloaded picture. If your picture looks as if you are looking at it from the opposite side, look for "+" sign in the upper right corner of the dialogue box and click it to have the picture displayed correctly.
As host, you may want to use PowerPoint, handouts, personal video stored already in your computer, or some of the many wonderful videos from YouTube. You need to open these files before you start the meeting. If you simply store these files on your computer without opening them, others may be able to see the entire screen of your computer. Open and minimize it.
When you use these materials, you have to make sure to click the Share Screen so that other participants can see them also. The Share Screen button is stored in Security at the far left of the icon bar. Click the Security button and check the Share Screen. You also need to click Share Computer Sound at the lower left corner of the SHARE SCREEN box. If not, others cannot hear the sound of your video or YouTube.
Note that the green color SHARE SCREEN in the middle of your icon bar is like a gatekeeper. It is different from Share Screen in Security that allows you to share PowerPoint slides or video. SHARE SCREEN connects to your computer screen. If you somehow find that your video is missing after you try everything, you may look for and delete Protected Video somewhere on the screen.
To start a PowerPoint presentatio or video, you start it as you usually do. When the presentation is over, you go back to SHARE SCREEN and click End Show or Stop Share button at the bottom of the screen or just close it. The screen may remain dark, until you click Stop Share. This will restore the faces of participants, called Gallery that has Speaker View and Side by the Side View option.
After a presentation, you should be able to see all the faces again. If not, click Full Screen in the upper right corner. Or you can click Participants at left side on the icon bar. The Participants icon is a toggle. If you click once, the full screen of the speaker appears.
You click again, and all faces will appear on the right side of your screen in a column. If the column covers the right side of your slides, click a small horizontal bar on top of facial pictures. When you click two small bars, column pictures are restored.
Gallery is to view all participants; if missing, look for and click two or three very small bars upper-right above the pictures. In Speaker view, whoever speaks is enlarged and that person will have a "highlight" around them when the individual is speaking.
With an I-pad you may need to "swipe" to the next screen to see all images, depending on the number of participants. If you use your mobile phone, you are likely to see only the person who is speaking.
For questions and answers, participants can visually raise hand and use audio. Alternatively, you can use the Chat icon at the bottom of the screen for written questions and/or written answers.
If the host sends out the invitation email several days before the meeting time, the host may want to send the invitation letter again a day before the meeting day as a reminder so that "log-in" credentials are readily available.
Since Zoom is new to many of us, I would like to encourage readers to correct possible inaccurate statements in this article, and add more tips that we Zoom lovers can use.
Chang Se-moon (email@example.com) is the director of the Gulf Coast Center for Impact Studies.