Zoom Quick Start Guide: Download, Sign Up, Join & Host A Meeting

By Matt RedererUpdated on June 23, 2020

Getting started with Zoom’s video conferencing service can be confusing and overwhelming. We’re here to make it easy to get started using Zoom, including downloading, creating a free account, and joining your first meeting.

To make sure you start out with your best foot forward, we cover all of the things you’d need to know when starting out with Zoom.

What is covered in this article

Let’s get into it! If you’ve already signed up for an account, learn how to use Zoom and how to host a meeting in more detail.

How to create a free Zoom account using an email address

It is free to create an account, which will enroll you in a Basic Zoom plan. You can purchase a Zoom plan that has longer group meeting time limits, enhanced features, and allows multiple hosts. It’s easy to create your free Zoom account; simply follow the instructions below.

1. Using your web browser, go to Zoom.us. Click Sign Up, It’s Free in the top right corner.

Browser sign up button

2. Next, provide your date of birth. Click the “Month,” “Day,” and “Year” drop-downs and select the correct information. Click Continue when done.

Sign up birthday confirmation

3. Type your email into the “Your Work Email Address” form field. Then click Sign Up.

Sign up email registration

4. Check the email inbox for the email address you provided for your account. You should have an email from Zoom (no-reply@zoom.us). If not, double check your spam filter and then click Resend Another Email in the sign-up window.

Open the email you received and click Activate Account. You can also use the URL link.

5. You will be asked if you are signing up on behalf of an organization (such as a school or business). Make your selection using the radio buttons available, and then click Continue to advance.

Sign up with organization


The example we are using here assumes you are not signing up on behalf of an organization. If you are, you may be prompted with additional instructions to set up the account. Follow any instructions given for setting up via an organization.

6. From here, you will be asked to set up the basic parameters of your account. Fill in the form fields with your first name, last name, password, and a copy of the password.

Account parameters


Pay close attention to the rules and regulations for passwords. This will tell you what a password can and cannot contain. Follow these rules for creating your password to be able to create a password and maintain security.

7. Now that you’ve created your own account, you can invite friends to be contacts on Zoom. To invite friends, click the provided boxes and type in their email address. Click Add Another Email to invite additional people.

Invite friends to Zoom

If you choose to send out invitations, you will need to pass a human verification process, ensuring you are not an automated program sending unsolicited messages. Click the box that says “I’m Not A Robot,” and then solve the puzzles given. Once done, a green checkmark will appear. Then click Invite.

If you aren’t ready to invite anyone just yet, click Skip This Step. You can invite attendees at any time in the future.

8. The following screen will display the URL for your personal meeting room. Click the personal meeting ID or the Start Meeting Now button to launch a test Zoom meeting in your personal meeting room. You can also click Go To My Account to view account settings.

Start test meeting with personal meeting URL

Your free account is now created. You can now download the Zoom app (instructions below) and start using it.


If you are being invited to join an existing account as an additional user, you will receive an email from Zoom (no-reply@zoom.us). After receiving this email, click Activate Your Zoom Account.

How to download and install Zoom

Zoom video conferencing is most commonly used via the desktop (Windows and Mac) and mobile (iOS and Android) apps. We cover how to download and install using different clients below, but they all follow these basic steps:

  1. Go to Zoom’s home page at Zoom.us.
  2. Click the Resources drop-down in the top right corner; then click Download Zoom Client.
  3. From the Download Center, find the version of the app you want to install and click Download.
  4. Click Install and follow the subsequent instructions.

We cover the unique steps for each app version below, but the above are the basic steps for downloading and installing all versions of the app. If you can’t find the version you are planning to use here, we’ll have an article explaining how to download and install Zoom on every OS in the future.

How to download and install Zoom on desktop (Windows or Mac)

Downloading the desktop client works the same for Windows and Mac. There will be small differences in where the download is found, based on the operating system of each. However, the basic steps to follow are identical.

Follow the steps below to download the Zoom desktop client.

  1. From Zoom.us, click “Resources” in the top right corner, and then click “Download Zoom Client” to access the Download Center.
  2. Under “Zoom Client for Meetings,” click Download.
  3. You will be prompted to save the installation app with the file name “ZoomInstaller.exe.” Click Save File.
  4. The installer will download. When done, locate the file and open it.
  5. The installer will run. Once done, the Zoom client will be installed and ready to open.
Website Download Center with desktop client download

How to download and install Zoom on mobile (iOS and Android)

The easiest way to download the Zoom app on a mobile device is through the operating system’s native application marketplace.

  1. Open the app marketplace (for Android, this is Google Play Store; for iOS, this is the Apple Store).
  2. Use the search bar to find the Zoom app.
  3. Tap to select the Zoom app from the marketplace.
  4. Tap Install (or Get and then Install on iOS) to initiate the download.
  5. The app will download to your device. Once done, it will be ready to open.
Zoom Cloud Meetings app download on mobile

How to sign in and join your first Zoom meeting

After creating an account and downloading and installing the Zoom app, you can sign in to the app. If you haven’t already created an account, you will be prompted to sign up and create your account.

How to sign into your Zoom account

Upon opening the desktop client or mobile app, you will be prompted to sign in to your account. To sign in on the browser, go to Zoom.us/signin (or by clicking Sign In from Zoom.us).

You can also join a meeting without signing in. See below for how to do this.

There are four main ways to sign in to your Zoom account:

  1. Using your email address
  2. Using single sign-on with company credentials
  3. Using your Google account
  4. Using your Facebook account

To sign in, choose the method you want to use to sign in by clicking / tapping. Enter your credentials and click Sign In (if necessary).

Zoom sign in methods

Join a Zoom meeting from an email invite or code

There are four main ways to join a meeting using an email invitation:

  1. Join using meeting link
  2. Join by entering Meeting ID and password
  3. Join by phone
  4. Join via Google Meet
Email invitation with join meeting link

Click the Join Zoom Meeting link. This will automatically initiate the Zoom client, app, or browser version and open the meeting. This is one of the fastest ways to join a meeting, as it only takes one click from the invitation email to join the meeting.

Email invitation with Meeting ID and password

Copy the Meeting ID and password, and share them with invitees. Attendees can use the Meeting ID and password with the desktop client, mobile app, or browser version to find and join the meeting.

Email invitation with Join by phone number

Dial the phone number provided under Join by phone to call in to the Zoom meeting using a phone. If you are accessing the email invitation via your mobile device, you can simply tap the phone number. This will bring you to your phone pad, with the number dialed. Simply dial out and you will join the video conferencing meeting by phone.

Email invitation with Join with Google Meet link

Click the Join with Google Meet link to join a Zoom meeting via your Google Meet account. This feature will let you join a video conferencing call through the Google Meet application. You will use the Google Meet app and sign in to your Google Meet account. This will enable you to participate on Zoom calls through Google Meets.

Pro Tip

No matter how you choose to join your meeting, it’s a good idea to test your speaker and microphone before joining. When joining a meeting, click Test Speaker and Microphone.

Test speaker and microphone screen

The app will play an audio tone using your chosen speaker. Listen for the tone and click Yes when you hear it. If you click No, you will be able to troubleshoot your audio output.

Test speaker with ringtone

Next, you will test that your speaker is working. Speak into your microphone, and make sure that the Zoom app is picking up the sound. Once you confirm this, click Yes to advance. If you click No, you will be able to troubleshoot your microphone input.

Test microphone by speaking

Once you’ve completed testing, the app will confirm the speaker and microphone you are using. Click Join with Computer Audio to complete the speaker and microphone testing process.

Test speaker and microphone complete

Join a Zoom meeting without signing in

If you’re being invited to a meeting and you don’t have an account created, you can still join the meeting without signing in. There are a few ways you can join a meeting without signing in:

Join a Zoom meeting without signing in using a Meeting ID or Personal Link Name

Browser Join a Meeting screen with Meeting ID and Personal Link Name field

You can join a meeting with just a Meeting ID or Personal Link Name. The host can share this with you directly, using a text message, over the phone, in person, or via any direct messaging service.

Open the app or access the browser. Click / tap Join a Meeting, and then input the Meeting ID or Personal Link Name that the meeting host provided you. Enter the password for the meeting and click / tap Join.

Join a Zoom meeting without signing in using an email invitation

Meeting email invitation

Without signing in, you can join a meeting via an email invitation. Simply open the email and click the Join Zoom Meeting link. This will prompt the app to open on your device (either desktop or mobile). Alternatively, you can choose to run the meeting through the browser version of the app.

To use the desktop client, tap Open Zoom Meeting. You will then join the meeting via the desktop client, with your name based on the account you used. Depending on how you sign in, you may be asked for a display name to use while on the call. You will be able to participate in the meeting with some restrictions.

Join a Zoom meeting without signing in using a calendar invitation

Meeting Google Calendar invitation

If you’ve been sent a meeting invitation via a calendar integration – such as Google Calendar – you can join the meeting without signing in. Access your calendar app, and find the event scheduled in your calendar. The calendar event will include all meeting information, including the link to the meeting. Click the Join Zoom Meeting button or click the Join Zoom Meeting link URL.

You will be prompted to use the desktop client. Tap Open Zoom Meetings to open the meeting via the desktop app. If you don’t already have the app, click download and run Zoom. To join via your browser, you can click launch meeting, and then join from your browser. You may be asked to input a name to display during the call. You will be able to participate in the call with some limitations.

How to host your first Zoom meeting

To create a meeting and invite other participants, you will need to create a free Zoom account. There are a few different ways to host a meeting. Below is the simplest and most straightforward, but there are multiple ways of navigating through the desktop app. The process is extremely similar on both the mobile and browser versions of the video conferencing app.

Step 1: Set up the call

Open the Zoom desktop application and sign in to your account.

To set up a call for the future, you will need to schedule the call. Click Schedule.

Main screen schedule meeting button

This will open the Schedule Meeting window, where you will make all the selections for your meeting. Set the start date and time, duration, and time zone for the meeting. Choose to automatically generate the Meeting ID or use your Personal Meeting ID. Leave the automatically generated password or set your own unique password. 

Set video settings for when the host and participants join. Choose which calendar to schedule your meeting to. Select from the Advanced Options to customize your meeting. After making all the proper adjustments and settings, click Schedule.

Schedule meeting available options

This will schedule the meeting, and advance you to setting the calendar event via the calendar you chose. First, sign in to the preferred calendar to set your event. For this example, we are using Google Calendar.

Google Calendar sign in

This will advance you to the calendar event creation screen. Here, you can set details for the scheduled meeting that will appear on the calendar event. It’s important to note that the settings you make here will not affect the scheduled Zoom meeting. The date and time, notifications, and guests are all specific to the calendar app you are using and calendar events you are creating, and do not affect the settings you made in the Zoom app.

Google Calendar meeting event

Pro Tip

To invite users while creating the Google Calendar invite, click Add Guests. Enter the email of the attendees you want to invite. This will ensure an invitation is sent to their email and calendar.

Google Calendar meeting event invite guests

Once you’ve customized the calendar details, click Save.

Google Calendar meeting event Save

Step 2: Invite others to join your meeting

As we noted above, you can invite others to the meeting when creating the calendar event. You can also send a personal message – via text, call, or any direct messaging service – giving the person the Meeting ID or Personal Link Name. Anyone with this information – and the accompanying meeting password – can access your Zoom meeting.

You can also copy the meeting invitation to your clipboard, allowing you to paste it anywhere, such as an email, an instant messaging service, or even a text message. These preset meeting invitations include the topic, date and time, meeting link, meeting ID, and password.

Upcoming meetings list with Copy Invitation button

Simply paste the copied invitation and send the message to the person you wish to invite.

Meeting invitation message

You can also show the meeting invitation message, and copy only the parts that you want to send to the invitee. The only things that are needed to join are either the meeting URL or meeting ID and the password.

Meeting invitation details

Step 3: Launch the call at the right time

Before the call is scheduled to start, you can start the call. Access your upcoming meetings by clicking Meetings in the main menu.

Desktop menu Meetings button

Next, select the meeting you want to launch from the list of upcoming meetings.

Desktop meeting list with meeting button

Click Start to initiate the video conferencing meeting.

Desktop meeting Start button

You’re all done. The video meeting will launch and participants will be able to start joining.

You should be all set! With the app downloaded, an account created, and an understanding of the basics, you’re ready to join meetings and make calls. Explore available Zoom features and learn how to schedule a Zoom meeting to make the most of the video conferencing service.