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Accessibility in Zoom

Zoom has several settings to support a more inclusive meeting experience. The following page has information on most commonly asked accessibility-related questions.

To adjust font size of chat or closed captions, go to the settings section on the Zoom desktop app. Click on your profile picture, and then Settings.

Accessible features overview

Closed captioning

Live Transcript

Live Transcript is a new Zoom feature that provides live automatic speech recognition (ASR) transcripts in real time for meetings and webinars. All spoken content will be transcribed and appear during the meeting or webinar side panel or as subtitles, visible to all participants. Hosts must enable the feature at the beginning of the meeting. Live transcription is currently not supported in breakout rooms.

Meeting hosts

To start the Live Transcript service during a meeting or webinar:

  1. Click the Live Transcript button in the host control bar.
  2. Under Live Transcript, click Enable Auto-Transcription.
    • Attendees will be alerted that Live Transcript is available.
Screenshot of Live Transcript button within Zoom.

Meeting participants

After the host has activated Live Transcript, click the small up-arrow in the Live Transcript button to select how to display:

  • Show Subtitle: The transcript will appear as video subtitles. To change the subtitle size, click on the small up-arrow in the Live Transcript button (again), then click Subtitle settings.
  • View Full Transcript: The transcript will appear in a side-panel Transcript window. Towards the end of the meeting, participants can click on Save Transcript.
Screenshot of Live Transcript settings where participants can show or hide subtitles, view full transcript, or access subtitle settings.
  • Although the accuracy and efficiency of the technology is always improving, it does not offer 100% accuracy. Therefore, it is not recommended to use this feature as a substitute for professional live captioning or ASL interpreting.
  • Sometimes speaker identification is not accurate. When there are multiple people speaking, the live auto-transcription may be attributed to one speaker and not all of the overlapping speakers.
  • Does not work in breakout rooms.
  • If you have a human or third-party captionist in your meeting, do not turn on Live Transcript.
  • Supports English language only.
Live transcript and recordings
  • Captions are not captured if creating a local recording. If you would like to retain a transcript, please be sure to click "Save Transcript" at the end of your meeting. 
  • Live Transcript appears in the cloud recording as "Closed Caption" immediately when the cloud recording is done processing. This cannot be edited easily. 
  • The automatically generated audio transcription that occurs after the recording is done processing appears as "Audio transcript" and can be easily edited within the Zoom media player.
    • It's recommended to use the automatically generated "Audio transcript" as a starting point for editing closed captions. For more information on this workflow, please read Record lecture components using Zoom.

Live captioning with a professional third party captioning vendor

Students registered with Academic Accommodation Support can arrange for live captioning through their Student Accommodation Facilitator.

All other individuals who need information or assistance to arrange live captioning for an accommodation, please contact:

Only the host can assign someone as the captioner.

If you are a meeting host, and you do not see "Closed Captioning" in the toolbar, you must enable them in your account settings.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom web portal and navigate to Account Settings. (external link) 
  2. Click the Meeting tab.
  3. Verify that Closed Caption is enabled.
    • Use Ctrl + F to find quickly find the setting.
    • If the setting is disabled, click the toggle to enable it. If a verification dialog displays, click Turn On to verify the change.

Captioning vendors usually require at least 3 business days notice before the start of the event. The order form will ask you to provide the time, date, meeting link, and passcode  for the event.

The live captioner joins the meeting just like any other participant.

Before the event

If you are a host, join the meeting the night before or morning of the event. Click on “Live Transcript” and click on “Copy the API token”. Share the API token with the captioning vendor. 

 Important notes about API token 
  • The API token will expire 24 hours after being retrieved.
    • If your meeting is in the morning, provide the API token to the vendor the night before.
    • If your meeting is in the after or evening, provide the API token in the morning.
  • The API token might reset if copied multiple times. It's important you only generate one API token within 24 hours of your event.

Closed captioning in breakout rooms

Zoom supports closed captioning in breakout rooms. Each breakout room will have a unique API token and will require additional set up. Inform the vendor if you require live captioning in any breakout rooms.

Automatic transcription for cloud recordings

Meetings recorded to the Zoom Cloud are automatically transcribed. The transcription will be available after the recording. Learn more about Zoom Cloud Recordings and automatic transcription.


ASL interpreters

ASL interpreters join the meeting just like any other participant. 

  • Interpreters should have the Zoom client downloaded for best functionality. 
  • If you are a Zoom host and are expecting ASL interpreters (outside of Toronto Metropolitan University), do not enable the “Only authenticated users can join” option.
  • If using the breakout rooms feature, make sure to assign interpreters to the same breakout room as the participant receiving the live captioning or ASL interpreting.

Ensuring ASL interpreter is always visible

Spotlight the active interpreter, by hovering over their name in the participants panel, or picture and select "Spotlight for everyone". If there is a team of interpreters, spotlight the active interpreter each time they switch. Consider making the interpreters co-hosts of the meeting, so they can look after this for you.

Zoom version 5.2.2+ also allows multi-pinning of video screens on the desktop client. This gives participants the ability to create their own custom views. By default, only the host or co-host can utilize the multi-pin feature, but either can allow individual participants to multi-pin on their video layout. At the beginning of the meeting:

  1. Click Participants along the meeting toolbar. 
  2. Hover over the participant, click More, then Allow to Multi-pin.

The participant will be responsible for pinning the ASL interpreter and speaker. It will create a custom view for them. 

Requesting ASL

Students registered with Academic Accommodation Support can arrange for ASL interpretation through their Student Accommodation Facilitator. All other individuals who need information or assistance to arrange ASL interpretation, please contact

Viewing tips

If you are a participant, you can pin the interpreter’s video in Zoom. There are also options to pin videos on separate screens if you have more than one monitor. 

  1. Hover over the video of the participant you want to pin and click the three dots (More) button.
  2. From the menu, click Pin.

If you are viewing a shared screen, you can also switch to Side by Side Mode to adjust the preview of both speaker and the shared screen.

If you would like to have the ability to multi-pin up to 9 speakers, please ask the meeting host or co-host for permission to multi-pin. (external link) 

Ensuring ASL interpreter is visible during recordings

There are two main video layouts when recording the the Zoom Cloud:

  1. Active speaker view with shared screen.
    • "Active speaker" will only record someone who is speaking aloud. Since the ASL interpreter will not be speaking, they will not be recorded in the recording - even if you "Spotlight" them.
  2. Record active gallery view with shared screen. 
    • This option provides the best results when recording to the cloud.
Enable gallery view for recordings

Go to your Zoom Setting's Recording tab, (external link)  and make sure Record gallery view with shared screen is selected only.

Screenshot of Zoom's Recording settings, highlighting: Record gallery view with shared screen option.
During the meeting

Once you're in your meeting, you are going to "Spotlight" the ASL interpreter. This will help ensure that they have "prime real estate" in the gallery, and that they will also show up in the top right corner when you are sharing your screen to everyone.

  1. Click Participants along the meeting toolbar. 
  2. Hover over the ASL Interpreter, click More, then Spotlight for Everyone.

Make sure you do not spotlight yourself, otherwise the cloud recording will feature your video as the thumbnail when you are sharing your screen - not the interpreter. The interpreter should be the only one spotlighted for this to work.

This option presents the best experience for the participant who requires ASL interpretation, as it gives them the ability to record their own local recording.

  1. Click Participants along the meeting toolbar. 
  2. Hover over the participant, click More, then Allow to Multi-pin.
  3. On the same participant, click More again, then Allow to Record.
  4. With multi-pin enabled, the participant can pin the host, and ASL interpreter.

The local recording will record all pinned videos, including the shared screen.

Keyboard and screen reader accessibility

Zoom has various keyboard dhortcuts for easy navigation, and is compatible with screen readers such as NVDA, JAWS, VoiceOver, and Android Talkback.

To ensure full keyboard support within the desktop meeting client, the toolbar must be set to not automatically hide. 

  1. Navigate to your Zoom Settings in the web portal. (external link) 
  2. Navigate to "Always show meeting control toolbar" button.
    • Press Ctrl + F, and type in "Always show meeting..." to quickly find this setting.
  3. Press Enter to enable the setting.

The table below contains the most important accessibility-related keyboard shortcuts. Zoom also provides keyboard shortcuts that are customizable and can be enabled globally. View a full list of keyboard shortcuts. (external link) 

Description Windows macOS
Toggle the "Always show meeting controls" option in Settings/Accessibility Alt Ctrl + \
Navigate among Zoom popup windows/toolbars F6 CMD + ~
Change focus to Zoom meeting controls (at the top when sharing your screen at the bottom when not sharing) Ctrl + Alt + Shift CMD + ~
Begin remote control Alt + Shift + R Ctrl + Shift + R
Mute/unmute audio Alt + A Command + Shift + A
Start/stop video Alt + V Command + Shift + V
Display/hide In-Meeting Chat panel Alt + H Command + Shift + H