Image Map Skip to Main Content

Zoom Basics: Home

Get basic instructions for using Zoom for class, study groups and more.


Zoom is a great tool for meeting with others online. Your professor may be using Zoom to hold classes online. You can also use Zoom to meet with your classmates for group projects or study groups. This guide has information to help you get started with Zoom, including tips and tricks for using Zoom in your groups. It also has links to a few resources to help you if you want more information.


Zoom Basics

Getting Started with Zoom

Watch the video below to get familiar with Zoom and to find out how to use it. Topics include: 

  • Zoom etiquette 
  • How to create a Zoom account
  • How to change your settings for security
  • How to set up your own Zoom meetings
  • How to share your screen
  • How to record your Zoom meetings

Download the Video transcript

What is expected of me on Zoom? (Zoom etiquette)

Watch the video below to learn about what is expected of you on Zoom and how to make a good impression: 

  • Mute your microphone
  • Remember: if your camera is on, people can see you
  • Adjust your background (real or virtual).
  • Set your Zoom name to your name. 

Download the video transcript


How do I join a Zoom meeting?

The host of the meeting will send you an email with the meeting information and link to the meeting.

  1. At the meeting time, open the meeting invitation email.
  2. Click on the meeting link.
  3. When prompted, open Zoom or download it if you have not already done so. You will then enter the meeting.

Please note: If the meeting requires registration, fill in the form and click Register, then click the meeting link. 

Watch the video below to learn how to join a Zoom meeting or visit the Join a meeting page for more information.


Setting Up a Meeting With Your Group

To schedule your own Zoom meetings, you will need to sign up for a Zoom account. Follow the process below to find out how to sign up for Zoom, schedule a Zoom meeting, and join a meeting that you scheduled.


How do I Sign Up for Zoom?

  1. Sign up on the Zoom website
  2. Download the Zoom app on your desktop or your mobile device. 

Zoom accounts are free. Please note that with free accounts, meetings with more than 2 participants have a 40 minute time limit. Free accounts can host meetings with up to 100 participants.

Watch the demo below to find out how to get started.


How do I schedule a meeting?

  1. Sign in to the Zoom website.
  2. Select Meetings and then Schedule a New Meeting.
  3. Fill in the details and click Save. Note: Make sure to automatically generate a new meeting ID for each meeting. Do not use your personal meeting ID.
  4. Click Copy the invitation.
  5. Paste the meeting invitation into an email and email it to your group members. 

Watch the video below to learn how to schedule a meeting or visit the Zoom support website for more information.


How do I join a meeting I scheduled?

  1. Open the Zoom desktop app.
  2. Click Meetings at the top.
  3. Select the meeting and click Start.


How do I keep my Zoom meetings secure and private?

The following safeguards will help protect your personal privacy while attending online classes or meeting using Zoom.

  1. Create a Zoom account with a strong password. Use a minimum of 12 characters, with at least one upper and one lower-case letter, one number and one special character. Do not use the same password as you use for something else.
  2. Ensure your Zoom app is updated to get the best performance and the latest security updates. To check for updates, navigate to the profile image in the top right-hand corner of the Zoom application and click “Check for Updates.”
  3. Only conduct Zoom video meetings in private. This makes sure that there is no risk that someone will overhear your personal information.
  4. Ensure that you have a background appropriate for a classroom setting. If you don’t have anywhere appropriate, you can use a neutral virtual background.
  5. Use headphones or earphones. This prevents the people around you overhearing your meeting.
  6. Choose whether you want to appear in a recording. If your instructor informs you that a session will be recorded, you can mute your session and turn off your camera to avoid being recorded.

Tips and Tricks for Using Zoom

View the information below for strategies and tips to help you use for group meetings and presenting online.

  • Become familiar with the basic controls and features in Zoom. 
  • You can use Zoom tools to participate:
    • You can "annotate" a shared screen. When you're seeing a screen that was shared by you or someone else in the meeting, you can add text, circle things you don’t understand, and more. Just click the annotate tool from the options drop-down menu at the top of the screen.
    • Use a whiteboard. When you click Share Screen, you can choose to share a built-in whiteboard. You and your group members can add text, draw on the screen and more.
    • Add comments in the chat. If you're meeting with your professor and the rest of your class, they might have everyone else's microphone muted to cut down on noise. You can still participate by adding comments in the chat box. 
    • Send and receive files in the chat. If there is something you want to share with your group members or professor, you can send it through the chat feature. Your professor may also use the chat to send files to the class.


Zoom Tools

View the information below to find out how to use features like sharing your screen or recording a meeting.


How do I share my screen with group members or my professor?

When you are meeting with others using the desktop app, you can share your screen.

  1. Click Share Screen from the bottom menu.
  2. Choose to share your entire screen, a whiteboard, or a specific application.
  3. Click Share.

Watch the video and read the instructions on this Zoom article about Sharing your screen.


How do I demonstrate something on the screen?

  1. When viewing a shared screen, click Annotate at the top of the window.
  2. Add text, draw, etc. on the screen.

Tip: you can annotate on your own shared screen or on a screen shared by another group member.

For more info: 


How do I record a meeting?

  1. Click Record at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Select Record to the Cloud
  3. Press the Stop button in the top left to end recording.

Note: Zoom will email you when your recording is ready. It may take time. 

For more info:


How do I share a meeting I recorded to the cloud?

  1. Sign in to the Zoom website.
  2. Click Recordings.
  3. Locate the meeting you want to share; click Share.
  4. Copy the recording link; paste the link in an email to the other participant(s) in the meeting.

For more info:


How do I add a poll?

If you are the host of a meeting, you can set up a poll for your group. 

  1. Sign in to the Zoom website.
  2. Click Meetings and click to open the meeting you want.
  3. Scroll down to the Poll section and click Add.
  4. Add your question and answers and click Save.
  5. Start your meeting in the desktop app.
  6. Click Polls and then Launch Poll. Participants will see your poll.

For more info:

Meeting and Presenting

View the information below for strategies and tips to help you use for group meetings and presenting online.


How can I successfully work with classmates online?

Watch the video below to learn strategies for working with your peers using Zoom.  Strategies include:  

  • How to organize the meetings.
  • Making sure everyone participates.
  • Achieving your goals for the project.

Download the video transcript.



How can I present using Zoom?

Watch the video below to learn strategies for delivering a presentation online using Zoom.

  • How to prepare for the presentation.
  • Starting the meeting.
  • Sharing your screen. 
  • Giving the presentation.

Download the video transcript.

Zoom Resources


Note: This material is meant as a general guide, if your professor's instructions differ from the information we've provided, always follow your professor's instructions.