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Webex Quick Start Guide

This guide is intended to help you participate in Webex webinars hosted by the State of Illinois.

If you don't already have it, download and install the free Webex app on your computer or phone. You only have to do this once, but you need to do it before your meeting starts:

  1. Go to
  2. On the Download Webex page, click the link or button to download the version for your device. (For computers, it'll be something like "For Windows (64-bit)"; for phones, look for "App Store" or "Google Play")
  3. On a computer, watch for a notification that Webex.exe was downloaded, and Open it.
  4. Once it installs, the Webex app should open. (On a phone, you may need to tap it.)

IMPORTANT! You may find two Webex apps -- an older app called "Webex Meetings" and a newer app called just "Webex." If you do, pick the newer "Webex" app.

If you don't already have a Webex account, you can create one for free. (If you don't want to create an account, that's OK, but you may need to type in your name and settings each time.)

  1. Open the Webex app.
  2. Look for and click the link to "Create a new account"
  3. Follow the instructions to enter your email address, password, and name. You may have to enter a code sent to your email address to confirm it's really you.
  4. Once you're done, you should be signed in and ready to go. Feel free to close the Webex app if you don't need it till later.

When you are invited to a Webex meeting, it's easy to join:

  1. Open the email, appointment, or website with the invitation.
  2. Click the Join Meeting button, or the link that starts with
  3. IMPORTANT! If your web browser opens, click the Open button to start the Webex app. If you don't see an Open button, click Launch Meeting to show it.
  4. The Webex app should open. Check your settings (you may want to Mute and Stop Video), and click the Join Meeting button when you're ready.

Note: If the Webex app won't open, you can click the "Join from your browser" link instead, but it won't have all the features of the app.

If you are using a computer, Webex can use your computer speakers and microphone. If you are just listening, your computer speakers will probably work fine. If you are going to be speaking, you need to have a good quality microphone, preferably a headset.

If you don't have a computer microphone or headset, you can use your telephone for audio -- this will allow you to see Webex on your computer but hear it over your phone:

  1. If Webex shows "Audio: Use computer audio", click on that message.
  2. In the Audio Connection window, find where it says "Call me at", and enter your phone number with area code, and press Enter.
  3. Click Join Meeting, and answer your phone when Webex calls you.

Note: Using "Call me" is much easier than dialing the Webex phone number and access code.

Please mute your microphone when you are not talking. (Your host may automatically mute you.) When you need to speak:

  • Click the Unmute button with the microphone icon, or, on a computer press Ctrl + M (and remember to click the same button to Mute when you're done), or
  • Press and hold the Spacebar while you talk.

In most meetings, you will be able to type messages instead of speaking. (In some large meetings, the host may turn off this feature.)

  1. Click the Chat button with the speech bubble icon, or, on a computer, press Ctrl + E to show the Chat panel.
  2. If you don't see the Chat button, click the Panel Options button with the "three dots" icon and pick Chat.
  3. Type your message in the box at the bottom of the Chat panel. On a computer it may say "Enter chat message here".

If you need to get your host's attention, you can "raise your hand":

  1. Click the Raise Hand button with the hand icon, or, on a computer, press Ctrl + Shift + R.
  2. After your host responds, click or press it again to put your hand down.

Webex has the ability to automatically show text captions of what is being said. It's not perfect, but it's good and getting better. To see captions:

  • Click the Show Captions button with the "CC" icon, or, on a computer, press Ctrl + Shift + A.

If you don't see the Show Captions button, let your host know so they can turn it on.

If you need a sign language interpreter or live CART reporter, be sure to let your host know well before the meeting. For large meetings, the host may ask about this when they send the invitation. If they don't, contact them to let them know.

If your meeting has an interpreter, you can lock their video window in a specific position:

  1. Point your mouse at the video window where you want the interpreter to show (not where they're currently showing)
  2. Click the "three dots" options button.
  3. Select "Lock a participant to this location"
  4. Pick the interpreter's name from the list.

The Webex app works with screen readers like JAWS, NVDA, and VoiceOver. For best results, you need to have have downloaded, installed, and be using the Webex app. "Join from your web browser" won't work nearly as well.

In the Webex app on a computer, use the following keyboard commands:

  • Tab key - move between buttons; your screen reader will read their name
  • Spacebar - click a button
  • F6 - move from panel to panel
  • Control + Tab - move within a panel, e.g., between Participant Panel, Chat Panel, Notes Panel, and Polling Panel
  • Ctrl + M - mute/unmute your microphone
  • Ctrl + Shift + V - start/stop your video
  • Alt + H - open the Help menu, which has a list of Keyboard Shortcuts and Accessibility Settings

A full list of keyboard shortcuts are also available at:

Important! Screen readers can't read "shared" content like PowerPoint slide shows. Let the host know if you are using a screen reader and ask them to explain the important information in anything they share. (They don't need to read it word for word, but mention the important points.)

As with anything, Webex gets easier with practice.

If you haven't used Webex before, try asking your host if they can do a quick test session before the real event. If that's not possible, try see the following page for instructions on how to join a generic test meeting: