8 Zoom Hacks To Try During Your Next Work Meeting Or Virtual Happy Hour

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Instead of meeting friends downtown on your way home from the office, virtual happy hours and working from your couch are quickly becoming the new, strange norm. And even if you've already hopped on the Zoom train, there's always room to learn more about the conference call app. Whether you're on the clock or just catching up with your friend group, consider testing out some of Zoom's not so obvious hacks during your next meeting.

The spike in Zoom app downloads makes sense when you think about the statewide and citywide "shelter in place" orders encouraging people around the country to stay put unless they absolutely need to seek medical treatment or buy essentials like food and medicine. In total, over 15 states including California, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Louisiana, and New York recently initiated statewide "shelter-in-place" rules, according to a map published by Wired. And more states might join as the number of coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Thankfully, whether you're stuck at home or somewhere else for the time being, video chat apps make it possible to stay connected with the people who matter most. If you just downloaded Zoom, here are some of the most useful hacks to remember next time you join a work meeting or chat with family:

Hack #1: Change Your Virtual Background On Zoom

If your bedroom wall isn't cutting it as a backdrop for work calls or you just want to make your friends laugh, Zoom gives you the option to change your background to any image you want. Go to Settings on either your desktop or mobile and then click on the Virtual Backgrounds tab. From there, you'll see all the pre-installed backgrounds Zoom has, like the New York Skyline, Golden Gate Bridge, and even outer space. But if you're not too fond of the options that are available, you can upload pictures of your own, from pretty landscapes to your favorite memes.

Hack #2: Use Zoom's Annotation Tool

If you're a big notetaker during meetings, there's no need to bring out the pen and paper. Zoom lets you make annotations and take notes right on your phone or even your desktop with its whiteboard feature. Just go to Settings, hit Meetings, and double check that the Annotations option is checked. Then, using your finger, a stylus, or your mouse, you can make as many notes as you'd like, either for yourself or for everyone in the meeting. Jot things down on slideshow presentations for work or draw up funny doodles to your friends in the middle of video calls.

Hack #3: Share Your Screen On Zoom

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If you're giving a presentation or want to share a funny Instagram post or Tweet with your friends during a virtual happy hour, Zoom's screen sharing feature is key. All you have to do is tap the Share Screen option at the bottom of your screen. You'll be able to choose whether you want to share your entire computer desktop screen or just your screen when you're on specific applications like Microsoft Word. Plus, you can pause your screen sharing so your coworkers don't have to see you awkwardly fumble between apps.

Hack #4: Share Multiple Screens On Zoom

Zoom/YouTube

If there are multiple people trying to give a presentation or get their points across, test out Zoom's multi screen-share feature. That way, more than one person can share their screen in a meeting — it's perfect if you're trying to compare documents or complement each other's points. Just make sure that the host clicks on the arrow icon to the right of the Share Screen option (on the bottom of the screen) and turns on the "Multiple participants can share simultaneously option."

Hack #5: Record Zoom Meetings For Later

Zoom/YouTube

Zoom users have the ability to record meetings to a Cloud or their computers, so that important points and discussions are always on file. Just tap the Record button at the bottom of your screen and click where you want to save the video. Afterwards, you can access the video and any others you recorded by logging into your account and going to the My Recordings page.

The only catch is that the type of account you pay for dictates how much storage you have within your Cloud. For example, a Zoom Education account (usually for educators) gives you 0.5 gb per user. If you have a free account, you have the option to upload the recordings to your computer as opposed to the Cloud.

And this isn't just for work meetings. If you're having a convo with friends, you could always record your hangout and then post a snippet of it to Instagram or Twitter to show everyone how much fun you can still have while social distancing.

Hack #6: Record Transcripts Of Zoom Meetings

Being able to record a meeting is super helpful, but sometimes having a readily-available transcript of your meetings is even better. Just go to your Account Settings, click Cloud Recording, and then hit the Recording tab. From there, go to Advanced Cloud Recording Settings, click Audio Transcript, and then Save your settings. Once you have your transcripts, you can even search them using different keywords.

Hack #7: Put Zoom's Touch-Up Feature To Work

Just rolled out of bed but don't want anyone to know? Zoom's Touch Up My Appearance option puts a soft focus filter on your video feed, giving you the appearance of a good night's sleep (even if that's not really the case). You'll look more polished, and you won't have to worry about wiping off any makeup once your virtual meeting is over.

Hack #8: Try Out Zoom's Gallery View

Whether you're on a work call or just chatting with friends, sometimes you want to be able to see everyone you're talking to on the same screen. Well, with Zoom's Gallery View, you can do just that. The feature lets you display up to 49 participants in one screen. Go to your Settings and then Video to open up your Video Settings options. There, you should be able to enable Gallery View. Then, all you have to do is start or join a meeting, and you'll be able to see everyone in the video call all at once. You can also just click the little grid icon at the top right of your screen once you're in a meeting.