Zoom meetings (or rather all types of video call) have been a lifeline in the past year or so, but it’s fair to say that most of us have grown bored of the same old grid of faces on the screen.

If you do use Zoom to host meetings and you fancy making things a little more fun, the new Immersive View feature can place all of the participants in a lecture hall, kitchen, garden or even some picture frames. Here’s how to brighten up your next Zoom meeting with Immersive View.

As this is a new feature, you’ll want to make sure you’re on the latest version of Zoom before you begin. Rather unhelpfully, the Zoom app doesn’t prompt you to update, so you’ll need to go to the setting on your app and look for the Check for Upgrades option, then download any newer versions.

We also found during the writing of this article that you’ll need to ask any participants to update their versions of Zoom as well. Otherwise you’ll end up with some seeing blank screens or having their backgrounds included in their images, making things a bit messy.

Where are the settings for Immersive View on Zoom?

Immersive View is turned on by default in Settings. This doesn’t mean it’s the default view in Zoom, rather that you can access it if you choose. To see where it lives, go to the web version of Zoom and log into your account.

Next navigate to Settings > In Meeting (Advanced) and scroll down until you find the Immersive View option, which should already be enabled. If not, switch it on. If you don't see it, update to the latest version of the app.

How to use Immersive View on Zoom: Web Settings

How to use Immersive View on a Zoom call

With everything in place, you can now use the new feature in your next Zoom call.

One thing to note is that you need to be the Host to use Immersive View. The feature works differently from 'Together Mode' in Microsoft Teams, in that Immersive View affects what all participants see rather than allowing individuals to select their own viewing options. Hopefully Zoom will offer this option at some point.

Start your Zoom meeting, usher in your participants, then go up to the View option in the top right corner where you would usually choose between Gallery or Speaker View, and you’ll now see the Immersive View option is available. Click this and you’ll be presented with a range of backgrounds you can use. 

How to use Immsersive View on Zoom: Choose a setting

Look closely and you’ll notice that they have little icons of people with numbers next to them. This denotes the maximum number of participants that can use the backdrop. It goes from two right up to 25, but obviously you can have less than the full complement in any setting.

If there’s only a couple of you on the call, then there are a few different backgrounds designed specifically for smaller meetings. You can enjoy a coffee in a virtual café or sit in the garden with a nice fire keeping you warm as the sun goes down.

How to use Immsersive View on Zoom: Tea for two

If a few more people arrive then you can go back to the View menu in the top right corner and click Change Immersive View. This returns you to the menu, from which you can select a different setting that’s more able to handle the additional participants.

How to use Immsersive View on Zoom: Gallery

Clicking on a person’s image during the call will open up a box around them. You can then click and drag them to another position on the backdrop and leave them there. This way you can arrange people in the order you wish them to appear, say by department in a company or any other metric you want to use.

How to use Immsersive View on Zoom: Moving a person

If someone on the call hasn’t updated their version of Zoom then you may end up with an situation like the one in the picture below, where not only the person appears onscreen, but also their background. Getting them to update the app should rectify this and have them appearing as cut-outs rather than square boxes.

How to use Immsersive View on Zoom: Blocky images

You can of course return to the View menu and select the more traditional Speaker or Gallery option to go back to your normal, more boring, Zoom meeting.

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