Seeing everyone in the meeting

By | October 28, 2020

Zoom has three options for viewing the participants in a meeting:

    • Active Speaker
    • Gallery View, and
    • Mini – or floating thumbnail

Switching your view

Windows –  You should see a menu option at the top right of your screen labelled ‘View’.  Click this and a small menu will appear:

Windows View pop-up menu


This then allows you to switch between Speaker and Gallery Views.





iPad – if you touch the screen, you will see one of the following images.  These are a straight toggle switch so tapping the currently displayed image will change the view; tapping again will return the display to the original.

Switch to Gallery view

Switch to Active Speaker

Active Speaker

If you watch a meeting in Active Speaker view, it may seem quite ‘jerky’.  This is because in this view, Zoom gives focus to the current speaker – or at least the participant/device that is making a noise.  Other participants are hidden from view, so you do know who is asking a specific question – but not who else may be attending, especially if they are muted.   We recommend that at least to start, you choose Gallery view, but there may be occasions where you may prefer to use the Active Speaker view – for instance, following a presentation, there may be questions and discussion, and if the number of participants exceeds the screen limit for your device, then you may find your self chasing around to identify who is talking or asking a question – it may be a better option to focus on the speaker at this point. 

Gallery View

The Gallery view allows you to see more faces on the same screen, depending on device platform:

    • Windows: 24 – use the chevrons at the side of the display to move forward if more than 24, and you can move back subsequently
    • iPad: 9 – if more than 9, then you can swipe right and left to see others
    • iPhone: 4 – if more than 4, then you can swipe right and left to see others
    • Android: 4 – but Gallery View is only available if more than 3 participants – swipe left from Active Speaker to enter Gallery View, then swipe left to view additional participants. Swipe right to go to Active Speaker.

[You can check the total number of participants by using the Participants button on the Toolbar].  Zoom’s free version lets up to 100 participants join a meeting, so you can have a lot of people in the meeting – but that means it’s difficult to know who’s on the call at any one time, which is why it’s handy to be able to see everyone at once.

Reordering the participant display

When in Gallery View, you can click and drag the participants’ image slots to create a custom organization, e.g. to ‘promote’ specific friends so that they are all gathered in your display, leaving members who are not familiar to secondary display screens.  After the first change, all other participant tiles will remain in place until moved.  New participants will be added to the bottom-right, and on the last page if multiple display screens are used.  Your custom order will be seen only by you, [ but the host is able to change the display order and share that custom view with all participants].  The custom order can be released and gallery view will return to normal behaviour.  

In steps:

  1. Click and drag any participant slot to the location on screen you want.
  2. Continue as needed to achieve your preferred on-screen display order. 
  3. If you are the host, click View, then Follow Host’s Video Order, to deploy the custom view to all participants. 
  4. Also as host – Click View, then Release Video Order, to release the custom order. 

Mini – or Floating thumbnail window [Windows/Mac]

The floating thumbnail window allows you to minimize the main Zoom window, but keep the video on top of other applications you have open.  You can move the window around your screen as needed, or hide the video entirely.

To switch to the floating thumbnail view:

  1. Click on the minimize icon, located at the top right corner for Windows, or top left corner for Mac.
  2. Once in mini-window view, you can collapse the video by clicking on the arrow on the left side.  Click the arrow again to expand the video thumbnail.
  3. To close the floating thumbnail window and return to the full Zoom window click the arrow on the right side.