A man having an online meeting.

How to Use Zoom Focus Mode to Get More Productivity for Online Meeting

Have you ever been on a Zoom call and felt distracted by other students or coworkers as they fidget, eat, or take notes noisily? Zoom has recently added a new feature called Focus mode, which eliminates these distractions while providing you with direct access and contact with the meeting host.

Today, we’re sharing how to use Zoom Focus mode to get more productivity for online meetings so that you can maximize productivity during your calls, shorten your sessions, and increase engagement.

What is Zoom Focus Mode?

Zoom Focus mode is a setting “designed with the digital learning environment in mind,” according to Zoom. Focus mode allows the host and co-hosts of the Zoom call to see all meeting attendees’ videos without the attendees being able to see each other’s videos.

Enabling Focus mode can reduce distractions because attendees can only see the host and co-hosts' screens. A host can choose to temporarily share a participant’s video or screen with others, which can be helpful for presentations and work reports. 

There are two requirements for using focus mode in a Zoom meeting. According to Zoom, you need to:

1. Start the Zoom meeting as the host

2. Start the Zoom meeting on a device that meets the following criteria:

For Zoom calls on a computer:

● Windows: version 5.7.3 or higher

● macOS: version 5.7.3 or higher

For Zoom meetings on mobile:

● Android: version 5.7.6 or higher

● iOS: version 5.7.6  or higher 

If any members of the Zoom call are on an older version, they will not receive the standard notification that you are using Focus mode. As a result, we recommend that you tell everyone in the meeting that you are using Focus mode so that they are not left wondering why they can’t see everyone else.

How to enable Zoom Focus Mode?

Before your Zoom call, you’ll need to enable Zoom Focus mode. Take the following steps to allow Zoom Focus mode:

1. Go to the Zoom web portal and sign in as an admin. If you are not the admin for the Zoom account, you’ll need to contact the account owner to edit the account settings.

2. Under the personal navigation menu, click ‘Settings.’

Settings option on Zoom3. Click on the ‘In Meeting Advanced’ tab. Next, locate Focus mode and click on the toggle button on the right-hand side of the description so that it is no longer gray.

Turn Focus Mode on Zoom4. After enabling Zoom Focus mode, you may receive a verification dialog display. Either way, you have updated your settings and are now ready to use Zoom focus mode during your next meeting.

*When you turn the toggle on for Zoom Focus Mode, you’ll also be given a choice to allow the host to enable focus mode when scheduling. If you select yes, every Zoom call from now on will automatically start in Focus mode. This can prevent distractions at the beginning of meetings by preventing idle chatter and delayed meeting starts.

How to use Zoom Focus Mode during meetings?

How to use Zoom Focus Mode on Windows/Mac

After enabling Focus mode on your Zoom account, start your meeting and take the following steps to use Zoom Focus mode on your desktop:

1. Click ‘More’ at the bottom of the Zoom screen.

Click More on Zoom Client2. Click ‘Start Focus Mode’ to start Zoom Focus mode.

Click Start Focus Mode3. Look for the message “Participants can see only the host, co-hosts, and spotlighted users” at the top of your Zoom screen to confirm you are in Focus mode.

Participants can see only the host, co-hosts, and spotlighted users.How to use Zoom Focus Mode on Android/iOS

If you are starting Zoom Focus mode on your phone, take the following steps: 

1. Start your Zoom meeting.

2. Click ‘More’ at the bottom of the Zoom screen for additional meeting options.

Click More on Zoom App3. Click ‘Focus Mode’ to start Zoom Focus mode.

Click Focus Mode4. Click ‘Start’ when the following screen appears.

Click Start to Start Focus Mode

How do I turn Zoom Focus Mode off?

Turn Zoom Focus Mode off on Windows/Mac

When you are ready to turn Zoom Focus mode off on a desktop, take the following steps:

1. Hover your mouse over ‘More’ at the bottom of the Zoom screen. Click ‘Stop Focus Mode’ to end Zoom Focus mode.

Click Stop Focus Mode2. Look for the message “Focus mode is ending. Participants who’ve started videos will be seen by everybody.” This is your confirmation that Focus mode is over. Everyone on the call will be able to see each other shortly.

Focus mode is ending. Participants who've started video will be seen by everybody.Turn Zoom Focus Mode Off on Mobile Devices

When you are ready to turn Zoom Focus mode off on mobile, take the next steps:

1. Click ‘More’ at the bottom of your Zoom screen.

Click More on Zoom app2. Click ‘Stop Focus Mode.’

Click stop focus mode3. Look for the following screen to confirm that Focus mode is over. Shortly after, meeting participants will be able to see each others’ videos.

Alerts for ending focus mode on Zoom app.

Real-time Note Taking

With Notta, you can take real-time notes during Zoom meetings and sync them across platforms. Capture information, action items as they unfold, ensuring nothing is missed. Access your notes from anywhere, on any device, and collaborate with your team effectively.


What will be shown on the participant’s screen when Zoom Focus Mode is enabled?

As a participant, you can only see your host, co-hosts, and your own screen while the video call has Focus mode enabled.

In the following example, you can see that only the host and one participant are shown at a time. The other participants have only their names listed, reducing distractions for everyone.

 Zoom Focus Mode DisplayImage source

No longer worry about note-taking. Notta Takes Notes for You.

There are many Zoom tips & tricks to help us to improve the efficiency of having a meeting. Notes-taking may be the one thing that causes the most pain for you during a Zoom meeting. Many of us take notes while on Zoom calls so that we don’t miss any important information or upcoming deadlines. However, taking notes during online meetings or classes via Zoom can easily distract you, and you can miss essential details.

The Zoom Focus mode helps to reduce distractions from others, but note-taking is another way we can distract ourselves. So, we recommend using Notta to transcribe live Zoom meetings for you so that you can sit back and relax during the call, giving it your full attention.

Notta’s transcriptions can be easily exported and shared with others, transformed into valuable memos and notes for others, and more. You can even add images, make edits, and add notes to the transcript.

How to Use Notta Bot to Transcribe Live Zoom Meetings

The Notta Bot automatically creates a transcription of your live Zoom meeting. You can even set it up before the meeting by syncing your Google calendar with your meetings and your Notta account. 

Here’s how to use the Notta Bot to transcribe a live Zoom call:

1. Gather the Zoom link for your meeting. Depending on your situation, you may be sent a Zoom link for the session, or you may copy one during the meeting. Once you’ve located the link, log in to your Notta account and go to your dashboard.

2. On the right-hand side of the dashboard, click ‘Join Live Meeting’ and wait for the following message to appear on your screen. Paste your meeting URL into the blank field, then click ‘Transcribe Now.’

Transcribe Now3. Look at the Zoom meeting participants. Underneath participants, you should see “Notta Bot” listed, which indicates that your meeting is being transcribed. We recommend letting other students, teachers, and coworkers know that the Notta Bot is recording them, as this is common courtesy.

Notta Bot4. On your Notta screen, you’ll see the Notta Bot transcribing your meeting live. At any time, you can click the red button at the bottom of the screen to end the Notta Bot recording. Alternatively, you can kick them out of the Zoom call like any other participant to end the recording.

See transcription and stop recording on Notta


What if my student’s Zoom client version does not support Focus Mode, what will they see?

If your student’s Zoom client version does not support Focus Mode, they will still see the effects of Focus mode. Zoom will blank out other meeting attendees’ videos, and the only video content they will see will be the host, co-host, and any spotlighted participants. The only difference between a student with a client version that supports Focus mode is that they will receive a notification from Zoom stating that Focus mode is starting and ending. In contrast, students with a client version that doesn’t support Focus mode will not receive this. We recommend verbally stating when you are starting and ending Focus mode so that you don’t have to worry about any confusion from students with an outdated client version.

Can participants chat on Zoom when Focus Mode is enabled?

No, participants cannot chat on Zoom when Focus mode is enabled. Meeting attendees cannot see or hear each other, aside from the hosts or spotlighted individuals, and they can’t chat with each other. Focus mode eliminates distractions, like chat and other videos, to increase productivity during meetings and lessons.

Who Can Use Zoom Focus Mode?

Meeting hosts can use Zoom Focus mode to improve productivity and reduce distractions. The host and co-hosts will be able to see all participant videos. Everyone else will see blanked-out screens and names and the host or co-host’s video. Regular meeting attendees cannot use Zoom Focus Mode but must have a host or co-host use it to experience the effects.


It can be easy to get distracted during a critical Zoom meeting or class. However, using Focus mode and Notta to transcribe the session can reduce distractions and make it easy to retain key information from the class or meeting. 

If you plan on using Focus mode, don’t forget to enable the setting in your account settings before the meeting begins. Notta can be quickly set up after you’ve created an account. Simply set the Notta Bot up with your meeting link, and you’ll have an excellent transcript of the meeting to reference later on.

Interactive Collaboration with Notta

Notta empowers interactive collaboration in Zoom meetings. With features like real-time document editing, screen sharing, and interactive whiteboards, you can foster creativity and engagement among participants.

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