How to Use Zoom: All the Things You Can Do in a Zoom Meeting

By Matt RedererUpdated on June 25, 2020

Now that you’ve downloaded the Zoom app, created an account, and learned how to join a meeting, you need to know how to use Zoom and what to do in a meeting. Fortunately, it’s fairly straightforward and intuitively designed. But we’ll give you the rundown anyway, just in case you need a bit of extra help.

What is covered in this article

The first thing we’ll go over is how to start a scheduled meeting, so that you can get into a meeting without a hitch!

How to start a scheduled Zoom meeting

Your first interaction with Zoom will likely be joining an already-scheduled meeting. Joining and starting an already-scheduled meeting are both extremely easy. Simply follow the steps below:

1. Launch the Zoom desktop client and log into your account, then click Meetings along the top menu bar.

Desktop client Meetings menu button

2. Here, you will see all scheduled Zoom meetings that you have been invited to. Click any of the meetings in the left-hand list to view meeting information.

Desktop client Meetings screen showing meeting

3. After choosing the meeting you wish to begin, click Start to initiate the meeting.

Desktop client Meetings screen showing meeting Start button

4. Next, you will be prompted to choose your audio and microphone. Click Join with Computer Audio to join using the audio device your computer is using. Click Test Speaker and Microphone to test that they are working prior to joining the meeting.

Join with Computer Audio prompt

5. You’re all set. You should enter the meeting as soon as the host enters and/or lets you in.

Zoom in-meeting controls overview: what all these buttons mean

Once you’re in the meeting, you will need to know how to use the meeting controls. These will help you manage meeting settings, and take advantage of the many features Zoom has to offer.

To help you, we’ve numbered buttons in the image below, and provided corresponding descriptions of what each button does.

Zoom desktop meeting with buttons numbered



What It Does


Mute button

Mute or unmute your microphone. Click the small arrow next to it to access more speaker and microphone settings.


Start video button

Enable or disable your own video camera display.


Security button

Access security features such as enabling the waiting room, locking the meeting, or managing basic participant permissions.


Participants button

Open the participants window, which displays all people on the call.


Chat button

Open the chat window, which displays the meeting instant messaging chat log. View the chat history, share files, and chat with other people on the call via instant messaging.


Share screen button

Share your screen. You can select which screen / window to share to meeting participants. Click the small arrow next to it to access advanced screen sharing options.


Record meeting button

Start or stop recording of the current Zoom meeting. (Not available on mobile without a Pro account or higher.)


End meeting button

Leave the current Zoom meeting, or end the meeting for all participants (if you are a host or co-host).

How to use Zoom Meetings desktop client for PC

The Zoom desktop client is generally simple to use, with an intuitively designed interface; buttons are clearly colored and labelled. We’ll walk you through how to use the desktop client so you can get the most out of it.

Zoom desktop client Home screen

Desktop client home screen

The Zoom desktop client Home screen has all of the main functions you’d want. The main menu can be found along the top. Click any of the four main buttons in the center of the screen to start a Zoom meeting, join a meeting, schedule a meeting, or share your screen. The Zoom client will display the current time and date, along with upcoming meetings below.

Navigate the menu

Desktop client menu

The main menu is conveniently located along the top of the Zoom desktop client. Use this menu to navigate the desktop application easily. Click any of the four main buttons to navigate to that section of the app:

  • Home” – The main screen of the Zoom desktop app; here, you can view upcoming meetings as well as start, join, and schedule a meeting of your own.
  • Chat” – An instant messaging service between you and your Zoom contacts; access starred messages, files, recent conversations, and add apps to increase functionality.
  • Meetings” – Access and manage your upcoming and recorded meetings; start and edit meetings, share invitations, and view your personal meeting ID.
  • Contacts” – View and manage your contacts; sort and organize contacts and initiate calls directly from your contact list.

Start, join, and schedule meetings

Desktop client action buttons

From the Home screen of the Zoom app, you can use most of the main meeting features you will need. You can start a new meeting, join a meeting, schedule a meeting, and share your screen. For additional options and settings, click the small downward-facing arrow next to the button label.

View and manage upcoming meetings

Desktop client upcoming meetings

Upcoming meetings are displayed on the home screen, so you can see your next few meetings conveniently. Click the meeting title to access the meeting details; click the ellipsis icon to copy the invitation link, edit the meeting, or delete the meeting; click the start button to start the meeting now.

Instant messaging chat

Desktop client with chat screen

Click the Chat menu button to access direct messaging. You can use instant messaging to chat with contacts within the app. Use the menu along the left of the Chat screen to navigate your chats, manage files, and access add-ons.

Access and manage all meetings

Desktop client Meetings screen with buttons

Click the Meetings menu button to access all of your scheduled meetings. You can view, start, edit, and otherwise manage your Zoom meetings from this tab. Use the toggle to switch between Upcoming and Recorded meetings. Click a meeting to view more information on the meeting, and click any of the actions available for each meeting:

  • Start
  • Copy invitation
  • Edit
  • Delete

Add, edit, and view contacts and channels

Desktop client Contacts screen

Click the Contacts menu button to access your Zoom contacts and channels. You can view contacts, along with their details. Easily find contacts using the menu tab along the left. Click the toggle to switch between Contacts and Channels. Channels let you create contact groups, allowing you to easily communicate with groups you frequently communicate with.

Access your Zoom account

Desktop client account button options

Click the Zoom account icon in the top-right corner of the window. This will give you access to your account details, such as the email you have connected, settings, your personal status, and more. Click any of the options to view further options or make changes. Add a personal note for people to see and set your status to available, away, or do not disturb.

How to use Zoom on mobile

The Zoom mobile app is designed to have a similar interface and navigation to the desktop client. There are few differences, mainly that the Home screen of the desktop client is replaced with the Meet & Chat screen as your initial load screen. Here, you get the same options as the desktop Home screen as well as your most current chat conversations.

Main Meet & Chat screen

Mobile app default screen

When you open the mobile app, the main screen that opens will be the Meet & Chat screen. Here, you can do all of the main functions you would want to within the Zoom mobile app. You can start, join, and schedule meetings with one click. You can also view all of your chat conversations, sorted with the most recent conversations at the top of the list.

Navigate with menu buttons

Mobile app menu buttons

The menu buttons can be found along the bottom of the mobile screen. Tap any to navigate the app:

  • Meet & Chat” (default)
  • Meetings
  • Contacts
  • Settings

Main screen action buttons

Mobile app menu buttons

From the main screen, you can find the four main action buttons along the top. Tap any of those to perform a main action:

  • New Meeting” – Start a new meeting immediately.
  • Join” – Join a scheduled or currently running meeting.
  • Schedule” – Schedule a meeting for the future and invite attendees.
  • Share Screen” – Start a meeting with your screen shared.

These let you do the four most common actions with Zoom meetings, making it extremely convenient for the user to navigate and operate.

Access instant messaging chat

Mobile app chat message

From the Meet & Chat screen, tap any user’s name to enter that chat log. You can view your message history and send direct messages to the user. Attach and send files, use emojis, and perform many functions you’re familiar with using a typical instant messaging service.

You can also instant message yourself, giving you a personal space to make notes, collect ideas, draft messages, save files, and even talk to yourself! The image above shows a personal space, but this is how chat with other users also works.

View and manage meetings

Mobile app meetings list

Tap the Meetings menu button to view, access, and manage your Zoom meetings. Your personal meeting ID is visible at the top for your reference. The buttons directly below your personal meeting ID pertain to your personal meeting room. Tap them to:

  • Start” – Start a meeting using your personal meeting ID.
  • Send Invitation” – Send an invitation to your personal meeting room.
  • Edit” – Edit your personal meeting ID settings, including your meeting password, host and participant video settings, and more.

Below this, you can view all scheduled meetings, with the most recent appearing at the top. Tap any of the meetings to view and edit the details. Tap Start to start a scheduled meeting.

Access and manage contacts list and channels

Mobile app contacts list

Tap the Contacts menu button to view, access, and manage your Zoom contacts list. You can interact with users listed here, starting a chat, a meeting, or scheduling a meeting with them. Tap the Channels toggle button to access your channels list. Channels are group contact lists that make it fast and convenient to contact groups you regularly communicate with.

View and update settings

Mobile app settings screen

Tap the Settings menu button to access and change your account and app settings. You can access your account settings by tapping the name and email along the top. Access mobile app settings sorted by Contacts, Meetings, Chat, and About. These will adjust your Zoom mobile app settings, but not alter desktop client settings.

Top 5 Zoom tips to ensure you have a great call

Now that you know how to use the app, you want to perfect your calls and make sure they run smoothly. Below are 5 tips to make your Zoom call great. Learn more about how to use these tips effectively by reading more on each topic.

1. Mute audio and turn off video when joining a meeting

Video and audio settings for joining meeting

Enabling these settings will ensure that your microphone is muted and you are not displaying video. This is an ideal setting to use as you never have to worry about what is playing in the background, how you look, or what you say when you enter a meeting. You can unmute and enable video when you are ready to show them. This will also make connecting easier, as video will not need to load upon joining the meeting.

2. Use the gallery view to see all meeting participants

Desktop client displaying gallery view of participants

Image Credit: Zoom Support

The default view displays the meeting participant that is currently talking. You can adjust the view using the Video settings button. When using meetings and video conferencing with more than one person, we recommend using the gallery view. This will display multiple participant videos at one time, so you can see everyone in the meeting at one time.

3. Keep your meeting safe

Zoom security settings to keep your meeting safe

There are a number of safety and security features available for your Zoom meetings. Make sure you keep your meeting – and all participants – safe by using the safety features at your disposal. Enable the waiting room to admit participants as they join, lock the meeting once all participants have joined, and password protect all scheduled meetings. Learn more about the safety and security Zoom meetings offer participants.

4. Collaborate by using screen sharing

Share screen with select screen to share window

The screen share feature allows a meeting participant to share their own screen with other users. This feature can be used in a multitude of ways to collaborate with others, brainstorm new ideas, present information, and even play games and entertain each other. Get creative and use this frequently to make the most of your Zoom meetings.

5. Set up a recurring meeting

Recurring meeting button

If you run regular meetings at the same time, you can schedule recurring meetings. Run a meeting using the same meeting ID, at the same date and time, and with the same invited participants. This will save you the hassle of scheduling meetings regularly and is a great feature to use to make the most of Zoom.

Now that you know how to navigate and use the video-conferencing app, you can schedule and host your own calls. To make the most of the app, see the list of Zoom’s top 100 features and the best integrations and add-ons.