Zoom 101 – 4. Views

  1. Preparation

  2. Installation

  3. Joining


  5. Interaction

  6. Leaving

  7. Resources


Once you’ve joined a meeting and have your audio and camera settings sorted out and can see and hear everything okay and be seen and heard okay, then you can manipulate the arrangement of windows in your Zoom screen. Before I share a screen (such as my iPad screen or Painter desktop) there are usually two settings for arranging the video thumbnails of all attendees (including the host / presenter):

  • Speaker View

    In Speaker View the current person speaking appears large and the other attendees are arranged around them (usually on top). The problem with Speaker View is that if anyone makes a noise their video thumbnail may jump into being the main view as the Zoom system considers them the current speaker. It can get a little dizzying as different people’s videos suddenly jump into enlarged view. If you want to view one person’s video large independent of who is speaking or making a noise with their mic unmuted, then you can click on the three little dots in the upper right of that desired video and select “Pin Video”.

  • Gallery View

    In Gallery View (grid of small squares icon), which is what I generally recommend, everyone is arranged in equal sized video thumbnails (or represented by their name only if they have chosen not to show their video).

Whichever View you are in you will see (often in upper right on Mac / PC and upper left on iPad), somewhat confusingly, the name of the other view. The iPad version includes “Switch to Gallery View (or Speaker View)”. This name is a toggle button that you tap to change to the other view. If you’re a presenter you may also see a Presenter view. For more information on Views see the Zoom info page called Rooms Display Options on this subject. Zoom uses the word “Room” to denote a self-contained virtual meeting space with people in it. There can, for instance, be Waiting Rooms where people congregate before a meeting starts, and Breakout Rooms where attendees breakout into small groups.

If you see a Zoom settings window covering up some of your screen you can just hide it by clicking on the red close button in the top left corner of the window. When the host is sharing a screen you’ll have the chance to view just the presenter video thumbnail and either stretch or shrink it by dragging in the corner of the thumbnail.

Video Thumbnail View Options During Screen Share

When the presenter is sharing a screen, such as when I share my iPad screen or Corel Painter screen, the attendee video thumbnails will be grouped in a “box” or window, with three small arrangement icons in the top left title bar of the box. This is what the three arrangement icons do:

  • The flat line on left minimizes the box.

  • The single rectangle in the middle shows just the speaker only, a view which also allows you to stretch or shrink the box by dragging in the corner.

  • The two rectangles on top of each other on the right arranges the thumbnails together in a block, a bit like the Gallery View.

Full Screen

On a Mac or PC I recommend going into Full Screen mode by clicking on the “Full Screen” icon (feint square) in the top right corner. Once you are in Full Screen you can return to regular view by clicking on your Escape (esc) key or the “Exit Full Screen” icon, a feint “inverted square”, in the top right. If you wish one of the gallery thumbnails to be the main thing you see on your screen you can click on the upper corner of the thumbnail and choose Pin or Spotlight in the pop-up menu.

Virtual Backgrounds

Under the Video settings you’ll find an option for Virtual Backgrounds. These can be great fun to play with! By clicking on the default backgrounds you’ll see them appear behind you (expect to see lots of Golden Gate Bridge backgrounds:-)). By clicking on the “+” symbol in the top right of the Virtual Backgrounds pop-up window you can make any image file you have access to a virtual background. Zoom then saves all the background images you open as Virtual Backgrounds. You may find that the Virtual Backgrounds “eat” into your image on screen and, if you are wearing anything green, appear in your clothing as well! Virtual backgrounds are a fun way to customize your look on screen and reflect your art or photography in the background.