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Controlling the Chat in Zoom

Transition Tip Tuesday for December 8, 2020

Have you ever felt bombarded by your screen reader voicing chat messages during Zoom meetings?

Are you missing lesson content because the chats never seem to stop?

Well, here is an easy solution—one that puts YOU in control of the chat box!

1.    Download the Zoom desktop client.

On a computer, you can use the internet or the Zoom app to join a meeting. However, if you join through the Zoom app, you will have the control to mute and unmute the Zoom chat. It also gives you the opportunity to control other Zoom alerts.

2.    Accessing control over Zoom alerts

Make sure that your screen reader is on.

Open the Zoom app (you can get to it quickly by typing the Windows key and typing the word “Zoom” into the search box).

Go to “Settings” and then to “Accessibility.” There is a list of items under “Screen Reader Alerts.” The first item is “IM Chat Received,” and the default is to “enable” this feature. You may disable this feature by unchecking the box. While you’re there, check out the other screen reader alerts you can enable or disable.

3.    During the meeting

You may also enable or disable the in-meeting chat by typing the key combination Alt + Windows key + S. Like most other Zoom commands, this is a toggle, and the same key combination will turn the chat on or off.

Also, if you use the key combination Alt + Windows key, it will silence (or turn on) announcements of people entering or leaving the Zoom meeting.

4.    Getting the chat information

This part takes a little planning. You’ll need to talk with the Zoom host (probably your teacher.)

No matter what option you choose for the whole chat, ask the Zoom host (teacher) to immediately voice any chat input that is important to the meeting. They should already be doing this (after all, phone callers cannot access the chat), but it is great to remind them to do so.

For chat information that is not important to the presentation, getting a CHAT TRANSCRIPT is a great solution.

Option 1: If the meeting is being recorded, ask the teacher to send you a copy of the chat transcript.

The host will need to turn on “Auto saving chats” in Settings (under “Meetings” then “In Meeting (Basic).”

Option 2: If Option 1 won’t work, ask the host to leave the meeting open for a couple of minutes after the meeting so that you may copy the Chat Transcript.

At the end of the meeting, press Alt + H to open the Chat.

Focus on the chat (you may need to use the Shift + Tab keyboard command a few times) and select all (Control + A).

Paste your selection in a blank document, and check to make sure you got it.

Let the host (teacher) know that you have the chat, and say thank you.

Now, there are certainly other ways to accomplish these tasks, but the ones we have shared are great places to start.

Have a wonderful week, and Happy Zooming!!

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

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