How To Use Zoom: A Step-by-Step Guide (2021)

how to use zoom

Want to learn how to use Zoom?

With teams across the world working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, video conferencing tools like Zoom have become extremely popular.

However, if this is your first time using Zoom, understanding it might be challenging!

But don’t worry.

This article is a step-by-step guide to help you get started with Zoom quickly. We’ll also cover the tool’s key features and pricing to help you determine if it’s the right video tool for you and your team.

Additionally, we’ll highlight three tips to help you conduct effective virtual meetings.

See how Time Doctor’s easy-to-use time tracking software can help your team be more productive.

This article contains:

(Click on the link to jump to a specific section)

What Is Zoom?

How To Use Zoom Meetings (Step-by-Step Guide)

3 Additional Features Of Zoom (and how to use them effectively)

Zoom Pricing

Three Tips For Effective Video Conferencing

Zoom FAQs

Let’s get started.

What Is Zoom?


Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing tool that lets you host virtual one-on-one or team meetings easily. With powerful audio, video and collaboration features, this remote communication tool connects remote team members with each other.

Zoom’s key features include:

  • HD video chat and conferencing
  • Audio conferencing using VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)
  • Instant messaging
  • Virtual backgrounds for video calls
  • Screen sharing and collaborative whiteboards
  • Hosting video webinars

How to Use Zoom Meetings (Step-by-Step Guide)

Zoom makes it super easy for anyone to set up and conduct a virtual face-to-face meeting — but if you’ve never used the tool before, this can still be tricky.

To help you out, here’s a step-by-step guide to using Zoom Meetings the right way.

We’ll cover the steps for both desktop and mobile platforms on:

  • How to Get Started with Zoom
  • How to Set Up a Zoom Meeting
  • How to Join a Zoom Meeting
  • How to Schedule Meetings
  • How to Record Meetings

A. How to Get Started with Zoom

1. For Desktop

Step 1: To get started with Zoom, head to their website, and click on the “SIGN UP” button that’s at the top-right corner of the screen.

zoom sign up

Step 2: You have two options when it comes to creating a Zoom account.

You can either:

  • Create a new account using your work email address.
  • Sign in using SSO (Single Sign-On) or your Google or Facebook account.

If you’re using Zoom for a company meeting or other work purposes, it’s best to sign up using your work email address.

Step 3: Zoom will now send you an email with a confirmation link.

Click on that link to go to Zoom’s Sign Up Assistant and sign in using your credentials.

email confirmation zoom signup

Step 4: Download the desktop app/Zoom client from the Zoom website for easy access.

2. For Mobile

Step 1: Download the Zoom iOS or Android app from the App Store/Play Store.

Step 2: Sign up or sign in to Zoom by following the on-screen instructions that are similar to the desktop process.

B. How to Set Up a Zoom Meeting

Here’s a step-by-step guide to set up a Zoom meeting easily:

1. For Desktop

A. Starting a Zoom Meeting

Step 1: Log in to your Zoom account.

zoom upcoming meetings

Step 2: Hover your cursor over the “HOST A MEETING” link at the top-right corner of the screen, and select one of the following options:

  • With Video On
  • With Video Off
  • Screen Share Only

Step 3: The website will redirect you to the Zoom app and start a meeting. Here, you can edit meeting settings or copy the “Invitation URL” that you send to the attendees.

meeting invitation for zoom meeting

Note: You can also start a meeting quickly through the desktop app by following the instructions we list for mobile devices later on.

B. Adding Participants

Step 1: Start a new meeting on the Zoom desktop app.

zoom desktop app

Step 2: In the new meeting screen, click on the “Invite” button in the toolbar at the bottom.

invite people to meeting

Step 3: Here, Zoom will give you the options to either “Copy URL” or “Copy Invitation”. You can send these to participants via text, email or instant messaging.

send meeting invitation

Step 4: You can also directly email the meeting details through your preferred email client via the Zoom app itself.

2. For Mobile Devices

A. Starting a Zoom Meeting

Step 1: Open the Zoom mobile app and sign in to your account.

Step 2: Tap the orange “New Meeting” icon that appears on your screen.

Step 3: Edit meeting settings according to your preferences (such as switching video off for participants, using a Personal Meeting ID, etc.).

Once you’re done, tap the blue “Start a Meeting” button.

B. Adding Participants

Step 1: Once the meeting starts, tap the “Participant” icon in the toolbar at the bottom of your screen to add and manage participants.

Step 2: In the Participants window that opens up, tap on the “Invite” option at the bottom left.

Zoom will now give you the option to share your meeting details via a variety of communication platforms. These include various text, email and messaging apps on your smartphone.

C. How to Join a Zoom Meeting

Here’s a step-by-step guide to join a Zoom meeting quickly:

Note: The same steps apply to both your desktop and your phone.

A. Join Using a Meeting Link

If you have a join link for a meeting, just click on it or paste it into your web browser to join the meeting.

B. Join Using a Meeting ID

Step 1: Open the Zoom app and click on the “Join” icon.

zoom main window

Step 2: Paste the Meeting ID in the box provided, add your display name for the meeting and click on the “Join” button.

join meeting

You’re now all set to communicate with your team members!

D. How to Schedule Meetings

With a busy schedule, you can easily forget about appointments or upcoming business meetings.

Luckily, Zoom lets you schedule meetings in advance to avoid this!

You can schedule a meeting by setting:

  • Its date and time
  • Meeting ID
  • Whether it requires a password to join or not
  • And more!

Here’s a step-by-step guide to schedule meetings in Zoom easily:

A. For Desktop

Step 1: To schedule a meeting, head to the Zoom app and click on the blue “Schedule” button (looks like a calendar icon).

zoom main window

Step 2: Enter meeting details in the Schedule Meeting pop-up window that appears.

You can set its date and time, privacy and access settings. You can also select your preferred calendar (between iCal, Google Calendar or others) to schedule the event in your calendar.

schedule zoom meeting

Quick Tip: Setting a meeting password can help avoid Zoombombing, which happens when someone who hasn’t been invited to the meeting joins and disrupts it.

Step 3: Once you’ve adjusted preferences, click on the “Schedule” button at the bottom right of the screen.

B. For Mobile

Step 1: Open the Zoom app.

Step 2: Go to the Meet & Chat homepage and click on the “Schedule” button.

Step 3: Enter the meeting name, date and time and click “Done.”

Step 4: Zoom will redirect you or open another form for adding the event to your preferred calendar. Enter details like participant names and set the notifications into your calendar event, then tap “Done.”

You have now scheduled a Zoom meeting!

E. How to Record Zoom Meetings

Recording a meeting lets you easily use it as a reference to document everything that was discussed. This is especially important for remote teams who use Zoom video conferencing as their key mode of communication.

Zoom allows you to record meetings easily and save them either to your local device or the Zoom cloud. By saving it to the Zoom cloud, your team members can access it across multiple platforms easily.

Here’s how to record Zoom meetings:

A. For Desktop

Step 1: Start a meeting.

Step 2: In the Zoom toolbar, click on the “Record” icon.

Record Meeting

Step 3: Choose between “Record on this Computer” or “Record to the Cloud.” This starts the recording, and all meeting members will see the word “Recording” in red at the top of the screen.

Step 4: Click on “Pause/Stop Recording” to stop recording the meeting. Alternatively, you can also end a meeting to stop recording it.

Step 5: After you end the meeting, Zoom converts the recording to MP4 format and stores it in your preferred location. You can now easily access your recorded sessions any time you want!

B. For Mobile

The mobile version of Zoom lets you save meeting recordings only to the Zoom Cloud. Here’s how to record a Zoom meeting from your mobile:

Step 1: During a meeting, tap on the “More” option in the toolbar.

Step 2: Select the “Record to Cloud” feature to begin recording.

Step 3: You can pause or stop the recording by clicking the “More” button.

Step 4: After the meeting, you can find your recording in “My Recordings”. You can access this section by logging into your Zoom account on a web browser.

F. How to Track Attendance in Zoom

As an account owner or an administrator of a pro Zoom account, you can review various Zoom statistics on the Reports section of the Zoom web portal.

This includes data such as registrations, attendees list, webinar poll results, performance, and Q&A.

Follow the below steps to access the attendance report:

Step 1: Log in to your account on the Zoom web portal. 

Step 2: In the left panel, click on Reports.
If you are an admin, the Reports link will be available under the Account Management link in the same panel.

Step 3: Go to Usage Reports and select Usage. 
All your previous Zoom meetings will be listed here. The following information will be displayed for each of those meetings:

  • Meeting topic
  • Meeting ID
  • Start and end time of the meeting
  • Duration of the meeting
  • Number of participants in the meeting

Step 4: Select the date and click Search. 

Step 5: Click on the Participants link to generate a Meeting Participants report.
The following information will be shown in the report:

  • Meeting participants
  • Their joining time
  • Their leaving time
  • Their meeting duration

Step 6: Export this report in CSV format. 

Zoom attendance tracking

3 Additional Features of Zoom (and How to Use Them Effectively)

You now know how to use Zoom Meetings.

But since there are so many features, it can still be slightly overwhelming!

Don’t worry.

Here’s a detailed look at three additional Zoom features and how to use them effectively.

1. Screen Sharing

Zoom lets you share your screen with other meeting participants easily.

This lets you:

  • Host virtual presentations and workshops.
  • Explain processes in detail.
  • Review work and project documents together with your team.

To share your screen, just click on the “Share Screen” icon in the toolbar at the bottom.

This lets you share:

  • A specific app or window.
  • A whiteboard.
  • Apple iPhone / iPad screen (if your device supports this).
screen sharing on zoom

If you want more screen sharing options, click on the “Advanced” tab at the top of your screen.

Here, you can choose to share:

  • A part of your screen or the entire screen.
  • Only your computer’s sound or your microphone’s sound as well.
  • Content from a second camera or content only from your screen.

2. Zoom Phone

Zoom Phone uses the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to help you make Zoom calls over the cloud. This is similar to calling from a phone number, except that the calls here are hosted over the internet.

Zoom Phone comes with plenty of additional features to make your calling experience seamless.

These include:

  • Integration with CRMs like Salesforce.
  • Call conferencing and delegation.
  • Call recording and voice mail features.

However, Zoom Phone isn’t available with the standard pricing plans. Instead, you must pay for it separately. Prices start at $10/user per month and require you to have at least one paid licensed host.

3. Zoom Rooms

Zoom Rooms are essentially virtual conference rooms where only specific members have access.

You can use these rooms for various purposes such as:

  • Video conferencing
  • Audio conferencing
  • Screen sharing

Zoom Rooms offer various features, such as:

  • One-touch sharing and conferencing.
  • Use up to 12 whiteboards at a time.
  • Digital signage/display around an office.

This usually requires additional hardware (multiple webcams, connectors, monitors, etc.) as well as conference room design considerations. Like Zoom Phone, Rooms aren’t available in the standard pricing plans but must be purchased additionally at $49/room per month.

Zoom Pricing

Zoom offers four different pricing plans to suit your specific needs:

  • Basic: Free – Host up to 100 participants + unlimited one-on-one meetings + video conferencing + screen sharing + local recording + scheduling via Chrome extensions.
  • Pro: $14.99/month per host – Includes all “Basic” features + usage reports + 1 GB cloud storage.
  • Business: $19.99/month per host – Includes all “Pro” features + supports up to 300 participants + admin dashboard.
  • Enterprise: $19.99/month per host – Includes all “Business” features + supports up to 500 participants + unlimited cloud storage.

3 Bonus Tips for Effective Zoom Video Conferencing

Most in-office teams might not be used to video conferencing and coping with the additional challenges it poses.

To make your experience more comfortable, here are three tips that can help team members conduct seamless Zoom meetings and calls:

Tip #1: Always Mute Your Microphone Unless Speaking

Make sure to mute your microphone when you’re not speaking. This eliminates any background noise or interference in the audio.

To mute your microphone, use the mute button at the bottom left of the Zoom toolbar that appears in the meeting screen and looks like a microphone.

Alternatively, you can set your Zoom meeting preferences to mute your microphone at the start of every meeting automatically.

To unmute yourself, hit the mute button again or hold your spacebar for as long as you’re speaking. This basic rule allows group meetings or conversations to run smoothly!

For more efficient background noise elimination, use noise cancellation tools like Krisp to elevate your audio quality to the next level.

Tip #2: Inform Participants Before Recording the Meeting

Before you record any audio or video conference, make sure that all meeting participants:

  • Are aware that they are being recorded.
  • Have permitted you to record them.

You could even get this permission in writing or record it at the start of the meeting.


Not only does this maintain common courtesy, but it may be required by consent laws and regulations in many companies and regions.

Tip #3: Ensure that Everything Is Working Correctly Before Starting a Meeting

It’s extremely common for video conferences to be delayed or get interrupted due to technical snags.

To ensure that this doesn’t happen, turn on your device and check if Zoom’s working correctly at least 10-15 minutes before every meeting. And if something’s wrong, alert your meeting host at the earliest (if you’re the host – inform your participants of the same).

While conducting a check before every meeting may feel tiring, it’s far better than being embarrassed or annoyed when something goes wrong during your Zoom meeting!


Most in-office teams have struggled to communicate effectively during the Coronavirus quarantine. However, using the right video conferencing tool like Zoom can help you bridge most of the gaps well.

Just follow the instructions in this Zoom guide and you’ll be all set to host your own video calls to discuss projects, review team performance and engage in virtual team-building activities!

And if Zoom isn’t the right tool for you, you can also check out other video conferencing tools, like Google Meet (formerly called Hangouts) and Microsoft’s Skype or Teams.

Zoom FAQs

Is Zoom free?

Basic licenses for Zoom are free. All you need to start using Zoom is sign up for an account and download the application from Zoom’s website.

Is my privacy protected on Zoom calls?

As one of its primary goals, Zoom complies with global privacy frameworks in an effort to keep you, your calls, and all of your information as safe as possible.

Can I host a webinar on Zoom?

Absolutely! However, you’ll need a webinar license, which is different and costs more than the free basic license. You can upgrade your license through your account’s billing settings.

Can I record my Zoom meetings?

Zoom hosts can record locally to their computer unless the recording feature has been disabled by their account owner or admin. Hosts who are licensed also have the option of recording in both local mode and through cloud storage with just one simple click.

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  • Avatar Karen says:

    I hosted a zoom meeting, but I could only see a small picture of the person that I invited to participate. How can I make her/his picture full screen?

  • Avatar Laura Ellen Furderer says:

    I volunteer to teach Sunday school and am required to teach ‘in person’ class along with students joining virtually on zoom. There are a few Sundays that we will not be meeting but I am supposed to send a pre-recorded lesson to the families. I am having trouble with this. I know how to record but not how to locate my video recording or how to attach the recording to an email. Can you help?

    • Avatar Carlo Borja says:

      Are you recording via Zoom? There should be an option to record via local recording. This will give you the option to choose which folder your recording should go.

  • Avatar Sally Baker says:

    when participants in a meeting raise their hand through the Reactions function, does Zoom stack them in order of raising the hand? It is difficult to do this visually if you have a lot – say 80 or more – people spread over 4 or 5 screens. it can lead to intense annoyance and frustration if someone has been waiting a while with the Raised Hand and other people just jump in with questions or comments.

  • Avatar Adetayo says:

    How do i share meeting documents at a z00m meeting for all participants to have access to it?

  • Avatar Jackie says:

    Hello, im trying to change my profile picture in zoom but it wont let me because a new picture is in moderation supposedly and nothing was wrong with my photo?

  • Avatar Trudie Thomas says:

    Are instructions the same for iPad and desktop? Do I need to pay for unlimited time?

  • Avatar LaVinia LoBrutto says:

    I’m a 81 year old woman who would like to watch my nieces baby shower on Zoom. The baby shower will
    be in NJ and I will be in Puerto Rico and I cannot attend the baby shower due to my heart condition.

    Please help me navigate because this is my first experience with this Zoom.

    Thanking you in advance.

    LaVinia LoBruto

    • Avatar Carlo Borja says:

      Hi LaVinia,
      You have to download Zoom first.
      Then, you can go directly to the instructions on how to join meetings in the article.
      Take care!

  • Avatar Garland L Holt Jr. says:

    How does one turn on the subscript words by the persons in the meeting?

  • Avatar Wendy JONES says:

    I am using an I pad and want to sign up to use zoom for a meeting but not sure how to do this. Can you help please.

  • Avatar Kim Simon says:

    I’m brand new to Zoom an very intimated. Any tips ..I’ll be using my lap top?

  • Avatar Tricia says:

    Can the speaker of the zoom mute all participants during this time and unmute when they are called on to speak.This will prevent interruption and many speaking at one time. Not certain that they would mute if asked to .


  • Avatar Kevin Lucas says:

    I’ve been asked to attend an interview via Zoom. Presumably the company have the Pro version and will be hosting the meeting, but I only signed up with the Free Version. Am I going to get kicked out after 40 minutes?

  • Avatar Betty Simms says:

    I have had a couple of zoom meetings and found that I can see and hear everyone they can hear me but cannot see me. What am I doing wrong

  • Avatar Ed Macias says:

    In the Section:
    E. How To Record Zoom Meetings – A. For Desktop
    Under “Step 2: In the Zoom toolbar, click on the “Record” icon”, you have a screenshot repeated from the “How To Schedule Meetings” section.

  • Avatar Brenda Crawford says:

    I’m planning to host a video cooking class with up to 6 participants where all participants can show their efforts and speak when needed.
    Which zoom program do I need?

    • Avatar Carlo Borja says:

      Hi Brenda,
      There’s only one Zoom program you can download from
      If you are looking at the subscription option, you may want to go Pro so that your cooking class won’t get cut off at the 40 minute mark.

  • Avatar Belen Avergonzado says:

    Thanks so much for this, information.
    Very helpful.

  • Avatar Hector says:

    Will someone please tell me how to let all kinds of participants in the meeting? Every time I do it, my friends tell me when they try getting in, they tell me they need to sign into to some sort of account.

    • Avatar mohammed yaseen says:

      you have to sign in by you can see sign in press that then you can see sign with goggle then you can see your account press that and launch zoom if your email is control by your parent you cant sign in

  • Avatar Danny says:

    Hello, we can’t hear each other talk, why?

    • Avatar Carlo Borja says:

      Make sure you’ve set up the microphone and speakers correctly in Preferences.

    • Avatar mohammed yaseen says:


    • Avatar Nickka says:

      Your microphone is often muted when you join a meeting. The microphone symbol is on the task bar in the lower left side. If it has a red bar through it, then it is muted. Click on it once with the left mouse button to un-mute it so they can hear you. Everyone in the meeting may have to do this. One more suggestion … you can leave the microphone muted, and use the space bar on your keyboard when you want to talk. Press the space bar *and hold it down*, speak, then let the space bar go when you finish talking (kinda like a walkie talkie).

  • Avatar Hemantha Nanayakkara says:

    I have a one time only event this sunday. I want to send the live over the zoom for 3hrs. Can I do it 40mts sections of 3 or pay for 3hrs. I got a price for upgrade 234/year

    • Vaishali Badgujar Vaishali Badgujar says:

      Hi Hemantha,
      It would be good to go for an upgrade. You may also check the monthly plan.

  • Avatar Matthew says:

    I have been invited to join my first Zoom meeting in just over a week from now. I have installed Zoom and know it works fine. Can I accept the request today and will it automatically be added to my scheduled meetings?


    • Avatar Carlo Borja says:

      Hi Matthew,

      You should activate your calendar integration for Zoom.

      If you open and sign in on the web portal (, go to Profile and then Connect to Calendar.

      This is how you make your scheduled meetings appear on your Google Calendar.

  • Avatar Eve Gan says:

    May i know what is the meaning of local recording in the basic package?

  • Avatar Debbie says:

    Hello I need to do a meeting for 2.5 hours do I need to purchase anything or will it lapse after 40 minutes

  • Avatar Drew says:

    This was my first go-to-article as I am going to have my first (very important one!) zoom telemedicine conference today. Thanks for concise to the point quick info!

  • Avatar Faizel Mohideen says:

    Useful Information. Thank you.

  • Avatar Luis Malave says:

    I have loved the article, recently I am using Zoom for my work and sometimes to chat with friends in free hours, by the way that sometimes the conversations in Zoom get tedious.

  • Avatar AL says:

    We had a small family meeting hosted by William (first time) for Thanksgiving, all seemed to go well. Now when trying to log into a sunday school class, not a problem in the past. all I get is a black acreen white lettering
    Please wait for the host to start this meeting
    William Jones’s Zoom Meeting

    • Avatar Nancy says:

      There are very few replies. Am I missing something? IO have the same problem as AL. “Wait for the host to start meeting.” I’m sure the meeting is half over. Had this problem two weeks ago, too.

  • Avatar Reza says:

    Oke thanks. Very useful

  • Avatar Barry Warren says:

    I know how to set up and conduct a Zoom meeting for my family. One older family member has a cell phone without a camera. He wants to be connected with the conference call by telephone (audio only). Is this possible? How would one make this connection?
    Barry Warren

  • Avatar Robinson says:

    I made schedule once and save it, but few day later passcode was different , it’s happened many times.
    What should I do?

  • Avatar Wolfe Derle says:

    We just had a meeting, was unable to see all presentation.
    Would Zoom have website enable newcomer to learn how to use and apply Zoom beneficially?
    I am 83 years young a lot of this is new to me.
    Thank you

  • Avatar Liesl Higson says:

    Hi, We wanted to host an awards via Zoom and heard about breakout rooms. Is this a thing and how do we do it please?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Avatar Bart Mathias says:

    I will be hosting a meeting with an invited speaker to whom I will need to give screen control. I did this a month ago and lost a lot of time while we figured out how to do it so that the speaker could show his slides, and I don’t have a clear memory of what I did. I didn’t see anything above that clearly addresses this, but maybe it involves the “Share Screen” icon?

  • Avatar Selah says:

    I understand that to have zoom app on a mobile phone requires you to go to play store, how about when you want to use a laptop. Does a laptop have options if downloading the app?

  • Avatar Simengwa Edward says:

    I host using my android phone but when I share a video my participant complain about audio that is not shared at all. I need your help on how to share video and audio using an Android phone.

  • Avatar Pandrang Row says:

    If you want to set up separate rooms so that students can do group exercises, A) is it possible? and B) Does it cost substantially more?

  • Avatar Asuncion Ng says:

    Hello. I have been attending zoom meetings of our study group and I was able to set it up myself. Now it is my turn to make a presentation and I would like to ask for instructions.

    First do I make a power point?

    Thank you vm,

  • Avatar Susan Jensen says:

    I know I can record a meeting, but can I then share it with others? I don’t see this addressed anywhere.


    • Avatar Carlo Borja says:

      Hi Susan,

      If you are recording your meeting over the cloud, you can share the link.

      If you recorded the meeting locally, you have to find a way to upload it to the cloud (e.g. Google Drive or Dropbox) and then generate a share link from there.

      I hope this helps!

  • Avatar LINDA CARSON says:

    Can I edit a zoom meeting that I have recorded?

  • Avatar Karen says:

    I want to utilize pre-recorded audio during my Zoom sessions. If my laptop has a CD drive, will the sound automatically play and be heard by participants once the CD begins?

    Can I talk at any time, before, during, and after using a headset w/microphone?

    Or is it easier to play independently of laptop and just have my mic pickup/broadcast the audio?

    Zoom mtgs I’ve been in have had the host showing material on a screen separate from the host. How is this accomplished?

  • Avatar Noah says:

    it’s a very useful guide

  • Avatar Priscilla K Showers says:

    How can I get a PDF form of this?

  • Avatar James hansard says:

    Can a team member during a meeting send a message to another team member and have it show up on the screen to all or to the person it intended for??
    I have purchased to Zoom and I have been using it in church.
    Tel 678-973-6688

    • Avatar Carlo Borja says:

      Hi James,

      During a meeting, the chat window has an option to send to “Everyone” or privately to the person whom you would want to send it to.

      If the setting is for everyone, each person in the meeting will see it. If privately, only the person whom you’ve selected will see it.

  • Avatar Claude Tenkeu says:

    We have created a meeting and we want to involve interpreters, how to to register them as interpreters and not simply as participants?


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