How to Set Up Online Video Calling with Friends and Relatives

This post was written by Kevin Cervantes, 3rd year medical student at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.

Social distancing may make it difficult to be with your friends and loved ones, but thanks to the internet we have the ability to communicate in ways we never could before. One of these methods is online video calling. Through this method, you have the ability to set up an online “conference call” where you can communicate with one or more people at once for free. Furthermore, if you or your loved ones have a web camera on their computer, you can even share live videos of each other as well! This guide is to help you and the people you know navigate one of the most popular video web calling services: Zoom.

In order to begin this process, you must first have an email account, a Google account, or a Facebook Account. If you do not yet have an email account, click here to be redirected to create a Google Email (Gmail) account and follow the prompts to get started.

Once you have either an email account, a Google account, or a Facebook account, click here to be redirected to the Zoom.us home page.

In order for you to set up a conference call, you will need to make an account first. From the home page, navigate your mouse to the top left of the page to see a blue button that says, “SIGN UP, IT’S FREE.” Click on this button.

You’ll then see this “Sign Up Free” page. Follow one of these three options.

  1. If you have a Facebook account, click on the “Sign in with Facebook” button. You will then be taken to Facebook where you may need to log in using your Facebook account. From there, you’ll be greeted with a box that states that “zoom.us will receive: your name and profile picture and email address.” Click on “Continue as [Your Name Here]”. You will then be redirected back into the Zoom webpage. Click on “Create Account.”
  2. If you have an email address that is not Google Email (Gmail), input your email address into the “Your work email address” text box and click on the blue “sign up” button. You’ll then be redirected to a page that says, “We’ve sent an email to [the email address you put in]. Click the confirmation link in that email to begin using Zoom.” From here, open a new web window and log in to your email account you put into the text box from before. If you have done this correctly, you should receive  an email from Zoom (no-reply@zoom.us) titled “Please activate your zoom account.” Open this email and click on the blue button that says “Activate Account.” If this doesn’t work, drag your cursor over the link so it is highlighted and cope and paste this into the address bar of a new browser window. You will then be back on a Zoom webpage. Enter your first name, last name, a password of your choosing, and the same password again. Click on continue to create an account.
  3. If you have a Google Email (Gmail) or a Google account, click on the “Sign in with Google” button. You will be redirected to one of two possible outcomes. If you’re already signed into a Google account, you will be taken to a page where you can select a Google account to be your Zoom account. Simply click on the Google Email (Gmail) you want to use as your Zoom account. The other outcome is that you may have to log in to your Google account. Enter your Google Email (Gmail) and click on the blue “next” button. Enter your password on the next screen and press “next” again. Keep following the prompts until you create your Zoom account.

By now, you should be logged into your own Zoom account. Navigate your cursor to the top right again where you will see “Host a Meeting.” This should create a drop down menu with 3 options: With Video Off, With Video On, and Screen Share Only. For now, move your cursor over “With Video Off” and click.

You may be redirected to a page with the image above. If you have the prompt on the top of the webpage like so, click on the “Open zoom.us” button on the prompt. Otherwise if it doesn’t show up, either click on the blue “click here” or “download & run Zoom” text and follow the corresponding prompts.

A new window should then show up. Click on the “Join with Computer Audio” button. This button will allow others to hear you speak during your call using the microphone built into your computer. On this new page, move your cursor to the bottom of the page to find “Invite.” Click on this button to open a new page where you can click on an email service to send your invitation. You can click one of these to send an email invite to your friends and loved ones so that they can join your conference call. Another option to invite people to your conference call is by going to the bottom left of the window and clicking on the blue “Copy URL” text. if you navigate your cursor to a text box, press your right button on your mouse, and click “paste” from the dropdown menu, a link should show up. You can send this link to your friends and loved ones through email or online messengers such as Facebook Messenger. If those same people click on the link, they will then be prompted to open “zoom.us” on their own computers. If  they are prompted to put in a password, the password they need to input is located on the bottom right of your “invite” window.

If you both are there at the same time, you should be able to connect to each other. If you have a web camera, you can go to the bottom left of the Zoom page to find “Start Video.” Click on this to turn on your web camera. When you are done with your online conference call, go to the bottom right of the Zoom page to find “End Meeting.” Click on “End Meeting for All.”

If in the event you get lost during any of these steps, go back to the home page of Zoom.us and click on the blue “Help” button on the bottom left of the page. Simply put what is troubling you (for example, type “video calling”) and press “Enter” on your keyboard. Click on the “Live Chat” button to speak to a Zoom employee.

If you want to host another meeting again in the future, simply go back into the Zoom.us homepage and click on “Host a Meeting.” 

Now that you learned how to set up a video call, try giving it a shot by calling your loved ones!

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