Creating and using Zoom Team Chat channels

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Channels allow you to create private or public groups where you can send messages, files, images, and start an instant meeting with channel members. These channels generally serve as longer-term collaboration forums, such as specific teams, channels serving a specific purpose or topic (Ask IT, for example), and announcement channels.

Private channels cannot be searched for and found by users who are not already a member of the channel; current members of the channel must add those other members to give them access.

Public channels are searchable and joinable by all members of an account, and all members of that account need no special invitation to join, but they can be added to the channel by current members as well. Public channels are specific to an account and cannot be found by external users, but external contacts can be added to a channel if allowed by admins.

Prerequisites for chat channels

Joining and using chat channels:

Previewing channels before joining:

  • Zoom desktop client
    • Windows: version 5.9.0 or higher
    • macOS: version 5.9.0 or higher
    • Linux: version 5.9.3 or higher
  • Zoom mobile app
    • Android: version 5.9.0 or higher
    • iOS: version 5.9.0 or higher
  • Advanced chat encryption disabled

Limitations of Zoom Team Chat channels

  • Public channels can have up to 10,000 members.
  • Private channels on paid accounts can have up to 5000 members, while private channels on free accounts can have up to 500 members.

How to view and join channels

Join channels through the Contacts tab

  1. Sign in to the Zoom desktop client.
  2. Click the Team Chat tab  , then click Channels to see a list of channels you currently belong to.
    The chat list will also indicate if the channel is public or private .
  3. Click the plus icon  , then click Join a Channel.
    A window will appear with a list of channels you can join or search for a specific channel.
  4. Use the search bar to find a channel.
    Hovering your cursor over the channel names provides the following options:
    • Preview: View more information about the channel, including channel description, members, and recent messages (if previous messages are allowed to be viewed by new channel members). Click Join Channel to join the channel, or Close to exit the preview.
      Note: The preview feature requires version 5.9.0 or higher (except for Linux, which requires 5.9.3 or higher), and is only available for public channels.
    • Join: Immediately join the selected channel.

Viewing and joining channels through the Team Chat tab

  1. Sign in to the Zoom desktop client.
  2. Click the Team Chat tab  to see a list of channels, group chats, chat folders, and 1:1 conversations you currently belong to.
    The chat list will indicate if a channel is public or private , while 1:1 chats will show the user's profile picture or initials.
  3. At the top of the panel, click the down arrow icon  next to Chat, and click Join a Channel.
    A window will appear with a list of channels you can join or search for a specific channel.
  4. Use the search bar to find a channel.
    Hovering your cursor over the channel names provides the following options:
    • Preview: View more information about the channel, including channel description, members, and recent messages (if previous messages are allowed to be viewed by new channel members). Click Join Channel to join the channel, or Close to exit this preview.
      Note: The preview feature requires version 5.9.0 or higher (except for Linux, which requires 5.9.3 or higher), and is only available for public channels.
    • Join: Immediately join the selected channel.

How to create a new chat channel

If a chat channel suiting your needs doesn’t exist, you can easily create a new channel specific to your needs.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom desktop client.
  2. Click the Team Chat tab  .
  3. At the top of the panel, click the down arrow  next to Chat, and click Create a Channel.
    Note: If this option is grayed out, your account admin has prevented your group from adding channels.
  4. Enter the following required details to create a new channel:
    • Channel Name: Enter a display name to help others identify your channel.
    • Channel Type: Select the channel type.
    • External users can be added: If checked, users not in your organization can be added to the channel.
      Note: If you enable this option, make sure to review the channel privileges of external users.
      • By all channel members: Members internal and external to your organization can add external members.
      • By members in your organization: Only members internal to your organization can add external members.
    • Add Members: Enter a name to search for contacts, then click the name to add them to the invite list.
      Note: You can invite individual users, or you can select an existing channel to invite all members of that channel. You must be a member of the channel to invite all of its members. Inviting all members of a channel is only available for Windows and macOS.
    • Manage Posting Permissions: Select which channel members are allowed to post in the channel.
      • Everyone: All channel members can post in the channel.
      • Admin only: Only the admin can post in the channel.
      • Admin, plus specific people: Only the admin and specified members can post in the channel.
  5. Click Create Channel.

Edit a channel's name and privacy settings

If you're the channel admin, you can customize the channel's name and privacy settings.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom desktop client.
  2. Click the Team Chat tab  , then select a channel in the left-side panel.
  3. In the top-right corner, click More Actions .
  4. Click More Options to open that menu and select Edit Channel.
  5. You can change the following channel settings:
    • Channel Name: Enter a display name to help others identify your channel.
    • Channel Type: Select the channel type.
      • Public: Anyone in your organization can join your channel.
      • Private: Only invited people can join your channel.
    • Privacy: Change privacy settings.
      • External users can be added: If checked, users not in your organization can be added to the channel.
        • By all channel members: Members internal and external to your organization can add external members.
        • By members in your organization: Only members internal to your organization can add external members.
      • New members can see message history: New members can see chat messages made before they join.
  6. Click Save Changes.

Edit a channel's description

The channel description provides a brief explanation to help users identify the channel and its purpose.

Note: You can only change posting permission in the Windows and macOS clients.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom desktop client.
  2. Click the Team Chat tab  , then select a channel in the left-side panel.
  3. In the top-right corner, click More Actions .
  4. At the top of the panel, click Add a channel description (if none currently exists) or Edit (if a description has already been added).

Edit a channel's posting permissions

Channel admins may want to change posting permissions, controlling which users can post messages to this channel. This is ideal for announcement channels, where responses or follow-up questions may be unwanted.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom desktop client.
  2. Click the Team Chat tab  , then select a channel in the left-side panel.
  3. In the top-right corner, click More Actions .
  4. Click More Options to open that menu and select Manage posting permissions.
  5. Select which channel members are allowed to post in the channel.
    1. Everyone: All channel members can post in the channel.
    2. Admin only: Only the admin can post in the channel.
    3. Admin, plus specific people: Only the admin and specified members can post in the channel. Add current members to the list of specific users that can also post in this channel.
  6. Click Save to confirm the changes.

Invite additional members to a channel

After the initial creation of the channel, where the admin invited the first batch of members, others can be added to a channel by current members.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom desktop client.
  2. Click the Team Chat tab  .
  3. Click the channel you want to invite members to.
  4. In the top-right corner, click More Actions .
  5. Next to the Members section, click the plus button .
    A window will appear to search for and add members.
  6. Use the search box to search for users, select one or more users you want to invite.
  7. Click Add to confirm the additions.
    Notes:
    • You can invite individual users, or you can select an existing channel to invite all members of that channel. You must be a member of the channel to invite all of its members.
    • With version 5.11.0 or higher, you can copy-and-paste email addresses to add contacts in bulk.
    • You can invite external Zoom users if allowed by the channel admin. Make sure to review the channel privileges of external users before you invite them.

How to star a channel

You can put a star on important channels, placing them under Starred in your chat panel and allowing you to quickly view them later on.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom desktop client.
  2. Click the Team Chat tab  .
  3. Select the channel you want to star.
  4. At the top left of the channel window, click the star icon .
    The starred channel will appear in the Starred section of the chat panel.

For more detailed organization of 1:1 chats, group chats, and channels, you can also create folders.

Information regarding external contacts

Users added to your contact list, who are not on the same account as yours, will be labeled as External.

For a 1:1 chat with that contact, External will be listed to their name at the top of the chat window:

For a group chat, External will be listed next to the name of any participants who are not a part of the account:

When composing a message in a channel with external users present, a notification above the compose box will appear, warning there are 1 or more external users present in the group chat or channel. 

How to view and join channels

Join channels through the Contacts tab

  1. Sign in to the Zoom desktop client.
  2. Click the Team Chat tab  , then click Channels to see a list of channels you currently belong to.
    The chat list will also indicate if the channel is public or private .
  3. Click the plus icon , then click Join a Channel.
    A window will appear with a list of channels you can join or search for a specific channel.
  4. Use the search bar to find a channel.
    Hovering your cursor over the channel names provides the following options:
    • Preview: View more information about the channel, including channel description, members, and recent messages (if previous messages are allowed to be viewed by new channel members). Click Join Channel to join the channel, or Close to exit this preview.
      Note: This preview requires version 5.9.3 or higher for Linux, and is only available for public channels.
    • Join: Immediately join the selected channel.

Viewing and joining channels through the Team Chat tab

  1. Sign in to the Zoom desktop client.
  2. Click the Team Chat tab  to see a list of channels, group chats, chat folders, and 1:1 conversations you currently belong to.
    The chat list will indicate if a channel is public or private , while 1:1 chats will show the user's profile picture or initials.
  3. Hover your cursor over the Recents chat category, click the more button , and then select Join a Channel.
    A window will appear with a list of channels you can join or search for a specific channel.
  4. Use the search bar to find a channel.
    Hovering your cursor over the channel names provides the following options:
    1. Preview: View more information about the channel, including channel description, members, and recent messages (if previous messages are allowed to be viewed by new channel members). Click Join Channel to join the channel, or Close to exit this preview.
      Note: This preview requires version 5.9.3 or higher for Linux, and is only available for public channels.
    2. Join: Immediately join the selected channel.

How to create a new chat channel

If a chat channel suiting your needs doesn’t exist, you can easily create a new channel specific to your needs.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom desktop client.
  2. Click the Team Chat tab  .
  3. Hover your cursor over the Recents chat category, click the ellipsis button  .
  4. Select Create a Channel
    Note: If this option is grayed out, your account admin has prevented your group from adding channels.
  5. Enter the following required details to create a new channel:
    • Channel Name: Enter a display name to help others identify your channel.
    • Channel Type: Select the channel type.
    • Privacy
      • External users can be added: If checked, users not in your organization can be added to the channel.
        Note: If you enable this option, make sure to review the channel privileges of external users.
        • By all channel members: Members internal and external to your organization can add external members.
        • By members in your organization: Only members internal to your organization can add external members.
    • Add Members: Enter a name to search for contacts, then click the name to add them to the invite list.
      Note: You can invite individual users, or you can select an existing channel to invite all members of that channel. You must be a member of the channel to invite all of its members.
    • Manage Posting Permissions: Select which channel members are allowed to post in the channel.
      • Everyone: All channel members can post in the channel.
      • Admin only: Only the admin can post in the channel.
      • Admin, plus specific people: Only the admin and specified members can post in the channel.
  6. Click Create Channel.

Edit a channel's name and privacy settings

If you're the channel admin, you can customize the channel's name and privacy settings.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom desktop client.
  2. Click the Team Chat tab  , then select a channel in the left-side panel.
  3. In the top-right corner, click More Actions .
  4. Click More Options to open that menu and select Edit Channel.
  5. You can change the following channel settings:
    • Channel Name: Enter a display name to help others identify your channel.
    • Channel Type: Select the channel type.
      • Public: Anyone in your organization can join your channel.
      • Private: Only invited people can join your channel.
    • Privacy: Change privacy settings.
      • External users can be added: If checked, users not in your organization can be added to the channel.
        • By all channel members: Members internal and external to your organization can add external members.
        • By members in your organization: Only members internal to your organization can add external members.
      • New members will see message history and files: New members can see chat messages made before they join.
  6. Click Save Changes.

Edit a channel's description

The channel description provides a brief explanation to help users identify the channel and its purpose.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom desktop client.
  2. Click the Team Chat tab , then in the left-side panel, select a channel.
  3. In the top-right corner, click More Actions .
  4. At the top of the panel, click the edit pencil icon  to provide or edit the description.
  5. Click Save to confirm the changes.

Invite additional members to a channel

After the initial creation of the channel, where the admin invited the first batch of members, others can be added to a channel by current members.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom desktop client.
  2. Click the the Team Chat tab  .
  3. Click the channel you want to invite members to.
  4. In the top-right corner, click More Actions .
  5. Next to the Members section, click the plus button .
    A window will appear to search for and add members.
  6. Use the search box to search for users, select one or more users you want to invite.
  7. Click Add to confirm the additions.
    Notes:
    • For the Linux client, you can only invite individual users.
    • With version 5.11.0 or higher, you can copy-and-paste email addresses to add contacts in bulk.
    • You can invite external Zoom users if allowed by the channel admin. Make sure to review the channel privileges of external users before you invite them.

How to star a channel

You can put a star on important channels, placing them under Starred in your chat panel and allowing you to quickly view them later on.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom desktop client.
  2. Click the the Team Chat tab  .
  3. Select the channel you want to star.
  4. At the top left of the channel window, click the star icon .
    The starred channel will appear in the Starred section of the chat panel.

For more detailed organization of 1:1 chats, group chats, and channels, you can also create folders.

Information regarding external contacts

Users added to your contact list, who are not on the same account as yours, will be labeled as External.

For a 1:1 chat with that contact, External will be listed to their name at the top of the chat window:

For a group chat, External will be listed next to the name of any participants who are not a part of the account:

When composing a message in a channel with external users present, a notification above the compose box will appear, warning there are 1 or more external users present in the group chat or channel.

How to view and join channels

  1. Sign in to the Zoom mobile app.
  2. Tap the Contacts tab .
  3. At the top of the screen, Tap the Channels section to see a list of channels you currently belong to.
  4. In the top-right corner, tap the plus icon + and then tap on Join a Channel.
  5. Use the search bar to find a public channel.
    Note: To join a private channel, you must be added to that channel by an existing member. Private channels cannot be searched for and joined.
  6. Tap the channel to view more information about the channel, including channel description, members, and recent messages (if previous messages are allowed to be viewed by new channel members).
    Note: This preview requires version 5.9.0 or higher, and is only available for public channels.
  7. Tap Join Channel to continue joining the channel.

How to create a new channel

If a chat channel suiting your needs doesn’t exist, you can easily create a new channel specific to your needs.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom mobile app.
  2. Tap the Contacts tab .
  3. In the top-right corner, tap the plus icon + and then tap Create a New Channel.
    Note: If this option is grayed out, your account admin has prevented your group from adding channels.
  4. Enter the required information to create a new channel:
    • Channel Name: Enter a display name to help others identify your channel.
    • Select the privacy setting for your channel:
      • Private: Only invited people can join your channel.
      • Public: Anyone in your organization can join your channel.
    • External users can be added: Allow members external of your organization to be invited to the channel.
      Note: If you enable this option, make sure to review the channel privileges of external users.
  5. Click Next.
  6. Use the chat compose box to search for members, select the members you want to invite, then click OK.

Edit a channel's name and privacy settings

If you created a channel, you can change its name and change channel privacy settings.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom mobile app.
  2. Open the channel you want to edit, either through the Team Chat  tab or the Contacts  tab.
  3. In the top right corner, tap the info icon .
  4. Tap Channel Name to edit the display name and help others identify your channel.
  5. Tap More Options to access privacy settings.
  6. Tap the following privacy settings:
    • External users can be added: Allow members external of your organization to be invited to the channel.
    • New members will see previous messages and files: New members can see chat messages made before they join.

Edit a channel's description

The channel description provides a brief explanation to help users identify the channel and its purpose.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom mobile app.
  2. Tap the Contacts tab .
  3. Open the channel you want to edit, either through the Team Chat  tab or the Contacts  tab.
  4. Tap the channel you want to edit.
  5. In the top right corner, tap the info icon .
  6. Tap Description, and then provide or edit the description.
  7. Tap Save to confirm the changes.

Edit a channel's posting permissions

Channel admins may want to change posting permissions, controlling which users can post messages to this channel. This is ideal for announcements channels, where responses or follow-up questions may be unwanted.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom mobile app.
  2. Open the channel you want to edit, either through the Team Chat  tab or the Contacts  tab.
  3. In the top-right corner, tap the info icon .
  4. Tap Channel Name to edit the display name and help others identify your channel.
  5. Tap More Options.
  6. Tap the Posting Permissions option.
  7. Select which channel members are allowed to post in the channel.
    1. Everyone: All channel members can post in the channel.
    2. Admin only: Only the admin can post in the channel.
    3. Admin, plus specific people: Only the admin and specified members can post in the channel. Add current members to the list of specific users that can also post in this channel.

Invite members to a channel

After the initial creation of the channel, where the admin invited the first batch of members, others can be added to a channel by current members.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom mobile app.
  2. Open the channel you want to add more members to, either through the Team Chat  tab or the Contacts  tab.
  3. In the top-right corner, tap the info icon .
  4. Tap Add Members.
  5. Search for contacts, select the contacts you want to invite, then click OK.
    Notes:
    • You can invite individual users, or you can select an existing channel to invite all members of that channel. You must be a member of the channel to invite all of its members.
    • You can invite external Zoom users if allowed by the channel admin. Make sure to review the channel privileges of external users before you invite them.

How to star a channel

You can put a star on important channels, placing them under Starred in your chat panel and allowing you to quickly view them later on.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom mobile app.
  2. Open the channel you want to star, either through the Team Chat  tab or the Contacts  tab.
  3. Beside the channel name, tap the info icon .
  4. In the top right, click the star icon .
    The starred channel will appear in the Starred section at the top of your channels list.

Information regarding external contacts

Users added to your contact list, who are not on the same account as yours, will be labeled as External in contacts.

The External label will also show on the profile picture of the contact when tapping on their profile information.

For a group chat or channel, External will be listed next to the name of any participants who are not a part of the account.

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