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It can hard to be away from our family and friends during the current safer-at-home order. However, in the age of technology, it is easier to connect virtually with loved ones, especially with the rising popularity of Zoom. If you’re looking to up your communication game or just learn how to get started on this popular platform, we’ve created a handy guide to show you how to download and navigate the app like a pro.

The Beginner’s Guide to Zoom

Downloading Zoom

First, visit to start the download process. Once you get to the download page, you need to download “Zoom Client for Meetings” by clicking the “Download” box.

Zoom Download Screen

Clicking the blue box prompts the download to start, and you can complete the app download by clicking the button in the bottom left of your screen named “Zoom.pkg.”

Zoom Download Page

SB TIP: If your download does not show up in the bottom of your screen, go to your Finder (the blue and white face icon for Mac users) or My Computer (for Windows users). Once in your base application, click “Downloads” and find the file named “Zoom.pkg.”

Once you click on the download, follow the prompts accordingly:

Install Zoom

Install Zoom

Install Zoom

Now that you’ve successfully downloaded Zoom to your computer, it’s time to learn how to use the platform and set up your meeting.

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Navigating Zoom

Zoom is officially on your computer. It’s time to get a meeting started for your weekly book club, visits with Grandma or maybe even an after-work happy hour.

First, open your Zoom application (Mac users can search for Zoom in Finder, and Windows users can find the application in My Computer). Once you open the application, the Zoom homepage appears.

Zoom homepage

After launching the Zoom application, your homepage appears and looks like this.

From this main screen, we will be focusing on creating a meeting or joining an existing meeting. First, we look at creating a meeting. To get started, click the “New Meeting” button on the Zoom homepage.

Zoom homepage

If you wish to host a meeting of your own, click “New Meeting.”

After you click on “New Meeting,” the session starts immediately, pulling up your video and creating a Meeting ID.

Zoom Meeting

After starting your meeting, your video and Meeting ID should appear on your screen.

Now that we’ve started a meeting, let’s get others to join! To invite others, click the “Invite” button at the bottom of the screen in your tool dock.

Zoom Meeting

Once clicking “Invite,” a new screen pops up with different options on how to invite others to your Zoom meeting.

In this pop-up, there’s a variety of options to invite others to your meeting:

  1. Copy URL: By clicking “Copy URL,” the platform automatically creates a URL for you to send to others to join your meeting. You can send this link via text message, email or even Facebook messenger, whichever platform works best for you.
  2. Copy Invitation: Clicking “Copy Invitation” creates a full message with multiple options for others to join the meeting. After copying this information, you can send this via text message, email or your favorite messaging platform.
  3. Share your Meeting ID: Your specific Meeting ID can be found at the top of the video screen. Simply make a note of this and send it to others you would like to join your meeting.
Zoom Meeting

After clicking “Invite,” you can choose how you want others to join your meeting.

Now that you’ve sent off your invitation, it’s time for others to join your meeting!

Joining an Existing Zoom Meeting

You’ve now learned how to create your own Zoom meeting, but what do you do if you’ve been invited to a meeting instead? First, you can use the invitation link sent by the meeting host, or if you have the Meeting ID, click “Join” on the Zoom homepage.

Zoom homepage

If you need to join a meeting using a Meeting ID, click “Join.”

Once you click “Join,” a pop-up asks you to add the Meeting ID (provided by the meeting host) and your name. After typing in this information, click the blue “Join” button in the right corner of the pop-up, and you’ve officially joined the meeting!

Zoom Meeting

Enter the Meeting ID and your name to join your Zoom meeting.

Additionally, you can join a meeting through a messaged invitation like the one we discussed earlier when setting up a Zoom meeting. If you receive a message to join a Zoom meeting through a text message or email, you can simply click on the link to join.

Email invitation for Zoom

If you receive a Zoom invitation via email, simply click the link to join.

Navigating the Meeting

Now that you’re officially in a Zoom meeting, it’s useful to learn about the controls you can use while your meeting is in progress. On the bottom dock, you’ll see the microphone and the video icons. It’s important to make sure these are turned on (you’ll know when they are on once you can see yourself on the screen or there is no longer a red slash through the icon).

Zoom Meeting

You can mute your microphone or stop your video by clicking the icons on the bottom left of your screen.

Additionally, if you would like to chat with other participants without talking over someone or just want to add commentary to what is being discussed, click the chat button on the bottom dock.

Zoom Meeting

If you need to make a comment but don’t want to interrupt the person talking, click the “Chat” button on your bottom toolbar.

By clicking “Chat,” an additional screen pops up on the right-hand side, allowing you to type a message everyone in the meeting can see. Once you send the message, the chat icon lights up for others in the meeting, signaling a message has been sent.

Zoom Meeting

After you send your message, a chatroom appears to the right of your Zoom call.

Now that you’re a Zoom master, here’s one last way to step up your Zoom meeting — a virtual background!

Zoom Meeting

Add some flair to your Zoom call by choosing a virtual background. Click the arrow next to the video icon, and hit “Choose Virtual Background…”

Transport yourself to a gorgeous beach with swaying palm trees or even take a quick trip to the Golden Gate bridge — the choice is up to you. Once you’ve decided on a background, double click to transport yourself and impress your Zoom meeting guests!

Zoom Meeting

Escape to a white-sand beach or venture up into space with Zoom’s virtual backgrounds.

Now you’re ready to kick off your virtual book club or catch up with relatives all while remaining a proper distance from one other. If you’re looking for additional resources or need help troubleshooting, use Zoom’s Help Center. Happy Zoom-ing!


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