What Is Zoom?

Zoom is a popular conferencing platform with support for video and audio calling. Given its high capacity for users, it is becoming the favorite choice for live online classes, discussions, and meetings. There are not too many accessibility barriers that we have encountered both on the mobile and computer applications, but this document will focus primarily on how to use Zoom on your computer.

Joining a Meeting

More often than not, you will be invited to a Zoom call and be asked to join. To do so, you have a few options:

  • click on a provided link to open the meeting in the application
  • click join from the application and enter the meeting ID
  • use the dial-in number to join on your phone (only available with certain plans)

If you choose to follow the link or enter the meeting ID directly, you will be asked follow-up questions about your video and audio settings before you enter the meeting. Note: Select the use Internet audio setting if you want to use audio normally.

Scheduling a Meeting

If you are hosting the meeting, you can click schedule on the application and fill out the information requested. This form is also where you can invite others by email.

Navigating Zoom

Honestly, you could use Zoom entirely through navigating around the screen, but that is not the most efficient way, especially on a computer. If you learn a few simple hot keys, you will be able to use Zoom quickly and effectively. When you first use Zoom, you will need to follow the directions for downloading the app, once the app is downloaded, you will be given instructions to test your microphone and camera. Make sure if you are using the camera that you are aware of your surroundings and that the camera is at the appropriate angle. If you are using a laptop on a desk you should not have to make any adjustments. Additionally, when you are not talking, be sure to mute your microphone.

Helpful Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows

Note: Will only work when meeting control toolbar has focus. To quickly return focus to the meeting controls from another window or application, press ctrl+alt+shift.

  • Press alt+a: Mute/unmute audio
  • Press alt+v: turn on/off video
  • Press alt+m: Mute/unmute audio for everyone except host Note: For the meeting host only
  • Press alt+s: Launch share screen window and stop screen share
  • Press alt+h: Display/hide In-Meeting Chat panel
  • Press alt+u:Display/hide Participants panel
  • Press alt+y: Raise/lower hand
  • Press ctrl+alt+shift+h: Show/Hide floating meeting controls
  • Press ctrl+w: Close current chat session
  • Press ctrl+up: Go to previous chat
  • Press ctrl+down: Go to next chat
  • Press ctrl+t: Jump to chat with someone
  • Press ctrl+f: Search
  • Press ctrl+tab: Move to the next tab (right)
  • Press ctrl+shift+tab: Move to the previous tab (left)

Helpful Keyboard Shortcuts for macOS

Note: Will only work when meeting control toolbar has focus

  • Press command+shift+a: Mute/unmute audio
  • Press command+ctrl+m: Mute audio for everyone except the host (only available to the host)
  • Press command+ctrl+u: Unmute audio for everyone except host (only available to the host)
  • Press command+shift+v: Start/stop video
  • Press command+shift+s: Start/stop screen share
  • Press command+u: Display/hide Participants panel
  • Press command+shift+h: Show/hide In-Meeting Chat Panel
  • Press option+y: Raise hand/lower hand
  • Press ctrl+option+command+h: Show/hide meeting controls
  • Press command+w: Prompt to End or Leave Meeting

Accessing Chat Messages After a Call

To access the text in a chat message after the Zoom session has ended, you can use one of the "save chat" functions in Zoom, navigate to the saved file, which is a plain text file, and copy the text. The easiest way to do this, in case the meeting organizer has not set up the meeting to automatically save the chat content, would be for you to set up your own Zoom account with the "Auto saving chats" setting enabled. You can get to that setting by going to the Zoom home page and logging into your account. Then, choose the "My Account" link, and go to the "Settings" menu item in the "Side Navigation". Go to the level 4 heading called "Auto saving chats", and make sure that it's enabled.

You could also explicitly save the current contents of the chat window by using the "more chat options" button drop-down within the chat window. After selecting that button, press Down Arrow to select the first option, which is "Save chat". Note that when you press Enter to choose "Save chat", nothing is announced, but the chat content will be saved to the current location for saving Zoom chats. The default location is a folder called "Zoom", under your Documents folder. You can repeat the save process, to update the saved chat file, as many times as you like. Doing this has no effect on whether the entire Zoom session's chat will be saved automatically. It appears that each save, including the end-of-meeting save, will append the chat content to the same file.

Other Important Tips

  • Your screen reader will announce changes live, from what is being written in the chat feature to people joining the call.
  • When sharing your screen, you can either share the entire thing, or just one application, be sure you know which one you want to use
  • You have the option to share computer audio when in the screen sharing menu. If you check the box, the other people on the call will be able to hear your screen reader.


Here are a couple helpful links:

Free Audio Guide to Using Zoom

Full List of Keyboard Shortcuts from Zoom Support

You can also find more information in the Zoom application itself under accessibility settings.