Although Zoom is primarily used for video and audio calls and conferences, old school texting using Zoom chat is still helpful when you want spell a word you are unable to pronounce something correctly, or even when you want to secretly convey a message to any of the participants during an on-going voice/video call.
That said, if you are new to the app and want to learn how to chat in Zoom, here you will learn a couple of useful tips and tricks on how to make full use of the chat feature that the software offers.
Part 1: What Is Zoom Chat and Chat Settings for Secure Zoom Meeting Chat
Zoom chat is a way of conversing with the participant(s) of a meeting via text messages. This is somewhat similar to what people did back in the Yahoo! Messenger era. However, unlike Yahoo! Messenger, Zoom doesn’t have open rooms where users could find new friends. Instead, it allows to chat only with those who are connected to each other through a conference call.
When talking about the chat configurations, all the contextual options can be accessed by clicking the Settings (Gear) icon from the top-right corner of the Zoom window, and selecting the Chat category from the left bar of the Settings window that opens up next.
Once there, following are the options that you can configure to secure your Zoom chat experience:
Checked by default, the Change my status to “Away” when I am inactive for ‘n’ minutes lets you automatically change your active status to Away when Zoom doesn’t detect any input from you for a certain amount of time. The inactive time threshold can be configured by entering a value in the available box.
The Manage blocked users button next to the Blocked users label lets you view the list all the users you have blocked. The Unblock button at the bottom of the Blocked users box allows you to unblock the users for chatting.
The radio buttons under this section let you choose which type of chat messages can trigger push notifications so they are flashed on your screen.
The Keywords button next to the Receive notifications for label lets you define the keywords in the chat messages that can trigger notifications.
The Do not disturb from checkbox allows you to define the duration of the day when Zoom won’t notify you about any chat messages.
When the Show message preview box is unchecked, Zoom prevents the text of the chat messages from appearing on the screen, and you must open the message to view its content.
Part 2: How to Chat in Zoom
When it comes to texting there are several options available for you to choose how to chat in Zoom. For instance, you can send a message to everyone in the chat or send a private message to one of the participants, mention participant(s) while typing a message, and can even send a file to them if need be. You can learn how to do all these by following their corresponding methods given below:
1. How to Mention People in Zoom Chat?
As it is with most social media platforms these days, even in Zoom chat, you can use the @ sign followed by the starting few characters of the person you want to mention. When you start typing, a list of participants with the matching names would appear, and you can then choose the one you want to mention.
2. How to Send Chat Announcements?
Note: Configuring and using the Announcements feature is only available for the paid members.
The process of sending chat announcements with Zoom can be completed in three steps that are discussed below. While the first two steps explain how to enable the Announcements feature and add the users who can send or receive announcements, the third step teaches how to send announcements to all the users you added.
Step 1: Enable Announcements
Launch your favorite browser, sign in to the web portal of your Zoom account, go to Account Management > IM Management > IM Settings > Visibility and then turn on the Announcements switch.
Step 2: Add Users for Announcements
Click the + icon, in the available field type the email address(es) of the user(s) you want to allow to send or receive the announcements and click Add to add the participant(s) once found. Next, you can now safely sign out of the web portal of your Zoom account, and proceed to the next step.
Step 3: Send Announcements
Launch Zoom app and sign into your account. Click the Chat icon from the top, click Announcements from the left bar, type a message in the text box in the right and/or attach a file if need be. Press Enter to send the message/attachment as an announcement to all the recipients.
3. What File Types Does Zoom Chat Support?
Note: Restricting file types and configuring other options granularly can only be done if you have purchased a paid subscription plan.
At the time of this writing, Zoom chat supports almost all types of files. However, by signing in to your account on Zoom’s web portal, you can restrict them by their extensions. For example, you can configure your Zoom account to send only the files with JPG, ZIP, or RAR extensions.
Part 3: How to Save Zoom Chats
Zoom also allows you to save your text conversions for future references. You can either save the chats manually, or configure Zoom to do that for you automatically. Both the processes are explained below:
1. How to Configure Autosave Chats
Step 1: Get to the In Meeting (Basic) Section
Launch a web browser and sign in to your Zoom account on the web portal. From the navigation bar in the left, click Settings from under the PERSONAL section, and click In Meeting (Basic) from the center pane.
Step 2: Enable Autosave
Turn on the toggle switch next to Auto saving chats to configure your Zoom account to save the chats automatically when a meeting starts.
2. How to Save Zoom Chats Manually
Step 1: Launch Chat Panel and Review the Conversation
During a meeting/conference session, click the Chat icon from the bottom to reveal the chat pane if not already expanded. Next, review the all the chat messages to see if they are of any significance. If so, proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Save the Chat Manually
Click the More icon (with three horizontal dots) from the bottom-right corner of the chat pane, click Save Chat, and follow the on-screen instructions from there to save Zoom chat manually.
Note: By default, the chats are saved in a Notepad file, and can be found in the Documents folder of your account.
Part 4: How to Disable Chat in Zoom as a Host?
If you are hosting a Zoom meeting, you can control the way people chat. To elaborate, you can either allow or disallow Zoom private chat for the members in a particular session, or can permanently disable the chat feature for your Zoom account altogether. To learn how to configure Zoom for both of these, you can follow the steps given below:
1. How to Disable Zoom Private Chat?
Step 1: Enable Chat Pane
During a meeting session, click the Chat icon from the bottom of the interface to enable the chat pane.
Step 2: Disable Chat
Click the More icon from the bottom-right area of the pane you enabled, and from the menu that appears next, click Host Only or No One to allow users to chat only with the host of the meeting (you in this case) or prevent them from chatting at all respectively.
2. How to Permanently Disable Zoom Chats?
Step 1: Get to In Meeting (Basic) Settings Section
Open an Internet browser, sign in to your Zoom account on the web, click Settings from under the PERSONAL category from the left bar, and click In Meeting (Basic) from the middle pane.
Step 2: Permanently Disable Chat
Turn off the Chat toggle switch, and on the Turn OFF for “Chat” box that pops up next, click Turn Off to disable all types of chats and the related features, i.e. including Zoom private chat and auto saving.
Note: Alternatively, you can turn off the Private chat toggle switch individually to only prevent the participants from sending private messages to each other during a meeting session.
FAQ About Zoom Meeting Chats
Q) Is Zoom chat secure, safe, and encrypted? Can Zoom host see private chats?
A) Yes and No.
To answer the first question, Zoom chats are encrypted. However, the encryption is disabled by default and must be enabled by turning on the Require Encryption for 3rd Party Endpoints (H323/SIP) switch from the In Meeting (Basic) section.
As a video call host, if you don’t want the participant to save the chat content, you should enable Prevent participants from saving chat and save the changes.
Furthermore, if you have a paid subscription of Zoom, you can use advanced encryption method that is available on the IM Management page on your account’s web portal. About the second question, the host cannot see the private messages that the participants send to each other during a meeting session.
Q) Can people see my chat when I am screensharing?
As long as you are chatting using Zoom chat, other participants cannot see your conversation. However, if there is something else on your screen such as your Facebook profile/chat, your email account, or your bank account’s page, all those windows can be viewed by the participants you are sharing your screen with.
Zoom chat is an easy way to converse with the participants in case there are some typical words that need to be spelled or some files to be shared. These chats are not only encrypted, they can also be controlled by the host so that the participants can send messages only to the host, to each other, or to no one at all.
Richard Bennett is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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