Zoom videoconference instructions

Zoom videoconference instructions

See also video recordings of past sessions


You normally have to install the Zoom.US “Zoom Client for Meetings” from Zoom.us/download , where you will also find smartphone and tablet versions. You do not need to register a Zoom account.  If you join the meeting without first installing, you will be prompted to install on the spot, which may leave you feeling rushed. Joining the meeting without installing the app is sometimes possible but more trouble – email me for help with “joining in browser” denis@NatureVancouver.ca .

After installing I strongly recommend doing a self-test at Zoom.us/test .  You’ll get to test that the Zoom app is able to use your microphone and camera, and get familiar with the meeting buttons like “mute” or “turn off camera” (see screenshot below).

The network requirements are modest – even the cheapest connection I tried worked fine.  If you have a slow network connection, video quality may be jumpy; and audio can be poor if too many people speak at once (just like an in-person meeting).

The session host has previously logged in to their Zoom account, and sent an invitation including a clickable link and/or Meeting ID (9 or 10 digits).

Joining a session

Participants don’t need a Zoom login – just click on the meeting link in the invitation, which will open a web page.  In that page you’ll click a link that will trigger opening the Zoom App on your computer. I am not including a meeting ID number here because it can change for every meeting, and Zoom recommends against posting it on a public website. Invitations will be emailed to all Nature Vancouver members with the Monday eNews, and to others on request.

If you don’t have Zoom installed on your computer, after clicking on the zoom meeting link look for “join in browser“.

Another option, if your computer audio is unsuitable, is to phone a Zoom number (see invitation, for example Vancouver local number 778-907-2071) and get your audio through an ordinary phone (check area code for long distance charges).  Once Zoom answers the phone you’ll need to key in the meeting number (9 or 10 digits), and the meeting password. If you are playing sound on two devices in the same room, you will need to mute one of them to avoid feedback howl.

Zoom offers two basic views: “gallery view” (a grid with a little box for each face) and “speaker view” (with a large picture of the person speaking). On computers there’s a button in the upper right corner. On a smartphone or tablet you swipe sideways between views.

Zoom screen options
Zoom screen with balloons pointing to options.

To socialize before presentation starts we encourage you to turn on your microphone and camera, and turn them both off at 7:30.  In the  Q&A after the talk, please type in your questions or comments using the “chat” sidebar.

Please understand that your microphone can probably hear everything in the next room, including the radio, someone talking on the phone or the toilet flushing. When in doubt mute your microphone and turn off the camera.


  • Please mute audio from your computer, in the lower left corner of the Zoom meeting window.  You can also turn off your camera. Great when your phone rings.
  • Participants can send short text messages to host or to all – click “Chat” on the bottom bar to make the Chat sidebar appear. Similarly “Participants” brings up a list of participants. In the Participants sidebar there is a “raise hand” button, which will make a tiny blue hand appear next to your name.
  • In the upper-right corner you can select “Gallery View” where everyone gets the same size of tile, or “Speaker View” where the person speaking gets most of your screen.
  • Sometimes the slide presentation may go to a separate window on your screen.

See also https://blink.ucsd.edu/technology/file-sharing/zoom/guide/index.html for a basic introduction at University of California (San Diego),

or https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/360029527911 for a number of hour-long video sessions (some live, some pre-recorded).

You can also get my notes for hosts (MS word, 2 pages) The host is the person who starts and controls the meeting. Please note that host functions are changing every few weeks, the next major update is due May 1.

Suggestion for connecting big screen to small computer.

Many people have TVs with an HDMI connector that can be plugged into their computer using an HDMI cable.  The following articles for example have suggestions for connecting a computer or iPad to a TV

My experience is that you will need expertise with your remote control, especially when you want to restore the original cable box connection.

Nature Vancouver