I’ve been in dozens and dozens of Zoom meetings since the end of March, mostly on the facilitator side of things leading a meeting or a learning event. I’ve learned a few Zoom tricks along the way – even after I have been using Zoom for a few years – and I thought I’d share them with you here. Here are five Zoom features you might not have discovered yet. (Note that I have the Zoom Pro account.)
#1 – Hide Self View
It’s no secret that many of us who spend our day in Zoom, meeting after meeting, are experiencing online meeting fatigue. Part of the reason could be because we now spend so much time looking at ourselves in meetings and we’re just on input overload. But did you know that you can turn your own video off for yourself, while still allowing others to see you? It’s called “Hide Self View” and it’s available through the little menu at the top right of your video feed. Click the square with the three dots in it to open up the menu. It’s a game changer!
#2 – Share Files
Have a file you want to send to others in the Zoom meeting, but don’t actually need to use Share Screen to show it? Use the Files button in the Chat to select a file from your computer or other services (e.g., Dropbox) that are integrated into Zoom. It’s easy to miss the little Files button sitting in the Chat area, to the right of the blue dropdown where it says ‘Everyone’, but that’s what it allows you to do.
#3 – Save Annotations
Have you discovered the annotation feature yet in Zoom? If you use the Share Screen function you can invite people to annotate any document you’re sharing or a shared whiteboard. The annotation toolbar features drawing tools, shapes, a text tool, an arrow and other items that people can use to make marks on what’s being shared. But you might not have noticed that there is a Save button on the far right hand side of the annotation toolbar – I know I didn’t at first! The Save button takes a screenshot of the whiteboard with all annotations intact and saves it to Documents > Zoom > and then a subfolder within – no matter whether you’re on a Mac or a PC.
#4 – Extra Emojis
Aside from the two emojis that are available within the Reactions button in the bottom toolbar, did you know there are additional emojis that you can make available within the Participants area? It’s a back end setting in Zoom to enable them, so you might not have known they were there yet. Enable Nonverbal feedback in your Zoom Settings (it’s in the In Meeting (Basic) section) and then go back to your Participants button in the bottom toolbar and click it. At the bottom of the panel you should now see options for yes, no, go slower, go faster, and a more button that has a few extra emojis in there, such as thumbs up and thumbs down emojis and a coffee cup that you can use to signal that you’ve stepped briefly away from the meeting.
#5 – Virtual Background
You might have already discovered that Zoom allows you to upload a virtual background if you want to keep what’s actually behind you in the room where you’re connecting to Zoom private. You can find this feature in the little ^ menu to the right of your video button. However, did you know that you can use other platforms to create customized virtual backgrounds? Canva now has a Zoom Virtual Background Maker – try it out! Even though, in my experience, the virtual background feature doesn’t actually work that well (my daughter recently “hid” in the virtual background while sitting beside me during a Zoom meeting with my parents), but it’s better than nothing if you’d prefer not to show your own personal space.
Learned something else about Zoom that you’d like to share with others? Feel free to leave a comment.