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How-To-Use Guide: Video Conferencing Tools

By Kristina James
Published by Ruby

Ruby helps you and your family work together to prepare and organize finances.

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It’s important to stay connected.

During these trying times, it’s important to stay connected with friends and family. In lieu of being able to see each other in person, we’ve put together a user guide to help get you started with our favorite video conferencing tools that are free to use and easy to set up.

  1. Google Hangouts
  2. FaceTime
  3. Skype
  4. Facebook Video Messenger
How to get started with Google Hangouts:

1. Go to https://hangouts.google.com/ on your web browser.

2. Sign into google. If you do not have a google account, you can create one here.

3. You should see the following screen (background image may be different):

4. Click “Video Call”. You should then get this screen:

5. Click “Join or start a meeting”

6. To keep things simple, click “continue.” You don’t need to enter a meeting code or nickname for this to work.

7. Google Hangouts will open a new window:

8. If you don’t see your face, allow your web browser to access your camera and microphone.  Click here for how to do that. If everything is working, click “join now.”

9. You’ll see this window in the middle of your screen.

10. Click “copy joining info” and paste the information in an email, text, or direct message to your friends and family so they can join! You can also click “add people” to add people by email address.

 

And there you have it! Google Hangouts is a really easy way to have professional-quality video calls with friends and family. For additional support, you can visit Google’s support page here.

How to get started with FaceTime:

1. Turn on FaceTime by opening the FaceTime app on your device and sign in. Note: Facetime is only available for Apple products.

On iPhone:
  • FaceTime automatically registers your phone number.
  • You can add your email address by going to Settings > FaceTime > Use your Apple ID for FaceTime.
On iPad, iPod, or a Mac Laptop:
  • Register your email address by tapping Settings > FaceTime > Use your Apple ID for FaceTime.

 

2. In the FaceTime app, tap the plus button and type the person’s phone number or email address. Tap the number or address, then tap Audio or Video.

3. If you have the person’s phone number or email address saved in your Contacts, you can start typing their name and tap the name when it appears. Then tap Audio or Video.

4. You can also start a FaceTime video call from your iPhone during a phone call. Tap the FaceTime icon in the Phone app to switch to FaceTime.

For help with FaceTime, see Apple’s support page here.

How to get started with Skype:

1. First, Download Skype here.

2. Once you have downloaded Skype, install it into your computer.

3. Create a free Skype account here. When you launch Skype, you should see the following window:

Note: You can use an existing Microsoft account if you have one already.

 

4. Next, sign in to Skype. You can sign in to Skype with a Skype name, email or phone number:

5. Open Skype and click or tap Skype name, email, or phone number.

6. Enter your Skype name, email or phone number, and select Sign in.

7. Enter your password and select the arrow to continue. You’re now signed in to Skype.

 

Note: Once you’ve signed in, Skype will save your information so you don’t have to remember your login every time.

When you start Skype, you can access a number of tools and features.

  • “Contacts” are where your people are. In order to add a contact, you must have their Skype name or email address. Ask your family and friends what their Skype contact information is!
  • “Chats” are a way to talk to your friends and family through text-based messaging. Simply open up the window and start messaging your contacts.
  • “Calls” are where you access video and audio calls. From Skype, you can easily call your contacts.
  • “Notifications” lists anything from new messages to missed calls.

 

There you go! Enjoy calling your friends and family with Skype. If you need additional help, visit the Skype support page here.

How to get started with Facebook Video Chat:

In order to get started, make sure you’re logged in to Facebook.

1. Go into your messaging window. Look for this app:

2. Next, open a conversation with the person you want to video chat with. At the top right corner of the chat window, you should see a small video camera symbol:

3. Click on this symbol, and Facebook will launch your video call right away!

Note: Your camera and microphone will need to be turned on for this to work properly.

 

If your camera or microphone isn’t working, check your computer’s hardware settings.

  • Make sure that your camera and microphone are turned on.
  • Close any open applications that may be using your camera or microphone, such as other video-calling or chat programs.
  • If you’re using an external camera, microphone or speakers, make sure that your computer has the correct hardware selected.
  • Make sure that your microphone isn’t on mute.

If you’re unsure about your system’s settings, you can check on them!

  • On Mac OS, go into System Preferences > Sound
  • On Windows PC, go to Control Panel > Sound > Manage Audio Devices

If using an external microphone or WebCam, check your system’s connected devices to make sure they’re working.

 

Now you’re using Facebook Video Calling! For additional help and support, you can go to Facebook’s video calling support page here.

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