Zoom Webinar Guide

Table of contents

Since webinar licenses are obtained the day of your webinar, it is recommended to create a standard Zoom meeting that can be converted to a webinar as soon as you have a webinar license. 

This will allow you to promote your webinar and invite attendees using your meeting link ahead of having a webinar license. As you are granted a license you can set up webinar-specific features and invite panelists and alternative hosts.

You may want to review the various Roles in Webinar before setting one up. Participants are Hosts, co-hosts, and panelists. The audience is called attendees. If you need help with setting up your webinars you can schedule a training session using the Schedule a Technology Training and Consultation Session request form. 

Do I need a webinar?

Webinars are designed for a one-way stream of communication from presenters to an audience. See Zoom’s meeting and webinar comparison to see if there are any webinar-specific features you need. Some features, such as breakout rooms, are not available with webinars. Reference this knowledge article for more information on Zoom webinars at UMD.


Before the webinar license is granted

  1. Schedule a normal Zoom meeting.
    • Until you have a Zoom webinar license, you will not be able to schedule a webinar.
    • Zoom meetings can be converted to webinars once you have the license the day of your webinar.
    • For Meeting ID select Generate Automatically. Do not use a personal room.
  2. Apply pre-webinar settings. Webinar licenses are granted the day of the webinar so getting as much configured before the webinar conversion is recommended.
    • Set up registration if desired.
    • Consider if you need to set an alternative host. Only users in the umd.edu domain can be set as Alternative hosts. The alternative host can start the webinar on the host's behalf. They have all the abilities of a co host during the webinar. If you would like to have a user outside of the umd.edu domain have host permissions, first invite them as a panelist then promote them to a cohost.
    • Apply a passcode. If a passcode is set after the webinar link is shared, the attendees will be required to input that passcode. If a link with an embedded password is shared to the attendees and the passcode is removed, the link will still allow the attendees in the meeting.
  3. Invite attendees.
  4. Enable Live Auto-Transcription at the User level to allow all participants to see live automated closed captioning during the webinar.
  5. Allow Panelists to share their screen.
    1. Sign into the web portal, then click Settings.
    2. Under the Meeting tabs, click In Meeting(Basic).
    3. Scroll down to Screen Sharing then under Who can share? select All Participants. For a Webinar, this means everyone but the attendees will be able to share their screen. 
  6. You can set up Polling questions before the webinar.


After the webinar license is granted

  1. The day of the webinar, convert that meeting to a webinar. Only the Host of the meeting can do this.
    • Sign into the web portal.
    • Under the navigation panel, click Meetings.
    • Click the meeting's title (located above the Meeting ID) of the session you would like to convert to a webinar.
    • Scroll to the bottom of Meeting Management page.
    • To the right of the Start and Edit buttons, click Convert this Meeting to a Webinar
  2. Locating webinar options.
    • After converting your meeting to a webinar, you can find new options.
    • Click Webinars from your Zoom profile.
    • Click the webinar name.
    • Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the Edit button and a number of tabs.
    • Invitations, Email Settings, Branding, Polls, Survey, and Q&A.
  3. Invite panelists.
  4. Enable a practice session. This isn’t required but is highly recommended.
    • This will start the webinar with only Host, co-hosts, and panelists.
    • Hosts, Alternative hosts, and co-hosts can start the practice session.
    • If you enter the webinar as a practice session, leave, then come back, the webinar will remain a practice session. This can be useful during intermissions.
  5. You can make the webinar on-demand. When you host a webinar that is scheduled as on-demand, cloud recording will start automatically when you start the webinar. You do not need to take any other steps as the host. A user who registers for the webinar before it starts will receive a link to join the webinar at the scheduled time. Users who register while the webinar is in progress will receive a link to join the webinar in progress. Users who register after the scheduled date and time will have the option to view the recording.
  6. Q&A options.
    • Allow anonymous questions: Check this option to allow participants to send questions without providing their name to the host, co-host, and panelists.
    • Allow attendees to view: Check either if you want attendees to be able to view answered questions only or view all questions.
    • If you choose for attendees to view all questions, you can then choose if you want attendees to be able to upvote questions and/or comment on questions.
  7. Set up Post webinar survey and reporting.
    • Webinar reports on registration, Attendee, Performance, Q&A, Polling, and Surveys can be downloaded by the host after the session has ended as long as the webinar license is applied to their account. 
    • Make sure to access any reporting information before the end of the day. Licenses are removed close of business or the morning of the next business day.


During the practice session

Some actions can only be taken after the webinar or practice session has been started, make sure you leave enough time to configure any final settings.

  1. Start the Practice Session from your browser or click the Start button from the app.
    • You will see a notice on the top middle of the webinar that You are in a practice session.
  2. Allow the panelist to start their video. By default, this is turned off.
    • In the Participants tab, click More…
    • Under Allow Panelist to, Check Start Video.
    • Make sure also that they are able to unmute themselves.
    • A host can ask an attendee to unmute or turn on their video but cannot unmute them. They can mute the attendee or turn off their video, but as a security feature, they cannot unmute them or start their video.
  3. Allow Panelists to share their screen. By default, Screen sharing is limited to Hosts and Co-hosts only. 
    • Click the arrow in the corner of Screen Share
    • Under Who can share?, Select All Panelists.
  4. Set the attendee view.
    • In the Participant window click more.
    • At the bottom of the menu, you can decide what view the attendees will have.
    • Have those that are not speaking, mute and turn off their video.
    • When a Host, Co-host or Panelist has their mic and video off, they are invisible
  5. Start live Auto-Transcription. Live Captioning has to be turned on by the host and is only available if enabled in web settings.
    • In a Zoom meeting or webinar that you are hosting, click Closed Caption or Live Transcript.
    • Select Enable Auto-Transcription. It allows the system to start providing live transcription. 
    • Participants will see a notification above Closed Caption /Live Transcript in the meeting controls, informing them that one of these services is available.
  6. If necessary, assign a co-host to share hosting privileges.
  7. Set up Chat
    • Who the attendees are allowed to chat with may be locked down by the hosts.
    • In the chat panel, click the ellipsis (...) and select an option.  
    • Under Allow attendees to chat with you can select Panelists and attendees, Panelists only, No one. We recommend No one.
    • When limited, attendees will still be able to see the chat window so participants will be able to send messages to attendees but they will not be able to respond.
    • Panelists, hosts and co-hosts may send private messages in the webinar though we usually recommend using an outside chat of some manner to avoid accidentally sending a private message to all attendees.


During the webinar

  1. Click the Start Webinar button from the You are in a practice session notice.
  2. During the webinar, you can launch a poll you have set up or create the questions live.
    • Both the Host and Co-Host can launch a poll but only the Host can create them.
  3. Managing Q&A during the webinar.
    • Answer, Dismiss, Reopen Dismissed, Upvote, Allow attendees to answer questions.
    • You may want a dedicated person to answer Q&A questions. A speaker can always review the Q&A during the webinar.
    • You can mark a question as Answer live but that devalues reporting.
    • If you allow attendees to answer Q&A, the questions will still appear in the Open list, even if an attendee has commented on the question.
    • You can change settings during the webinar.
  4. Screen share
    • Either only the host may share, or any participant (Panelist, host, co-hosts) may share. 
    • If sharing is allowed then the host may select whether participants may interrupt another’s sharing or if only the host may.
    • Screen sharing with audio. This Zoom article also covers audio options.
  5. Allow attendees to raise hand.
    • You may also allow attendees to raise hands and view participant count. 
    • If an attendee raises their hand their name will rise to the top of the attendee list. You may use this to find an attendee that you wish to allow to talk or promote to a panelist temporarily. 
    • Attendees will never see the names of the other attendees and participants but if you allow them to view participant count they will see the number attending.
  6. Record to the Cloud and/or locally.
    • Only hosts and Co-hosts can record to the cloud.
    • Hosts, Co-hosts, and Panelists can record locally.
    • Attendees must be given notice before the recording is started. 


Additional information and features

This information is not typically needed for most webinars or first-time users.