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Video calls and meetings are great, but they leave a lot to be desired when it comes to accessibility. Fortunately, Zoom has the ability to create live closed captions in real-time during meetings. We’ll show you how it works.

Zoom’s live closed captions differ from the standard closed captions in that they’re automatically generated by AI. At the time of writing, you have to submit a form to request the feature on your account. You can do so at this Google Form.

When live captions have been enabled on your account, Zoom will inform you by email. We can then toggle it on and start using the feature in meetings.

RELATED: How to Use the Whiteboard Feature in Zoom to Mark up Screens

How to Turn on Live Captions on Zoom

First, sign in to the Zoom website in a web browser such as Google Chrome and select “Settings” on your account page.

sign in and select settings

Scroll down to the “In Meeting (Advanced)” section and toggle on the switch for “Closed Captioning.”

toggle on live captioning

After you toggle the switch, a pop-up will explain that you must also enable “Save Captions.” Click the “Enable” button to do so.

enable save captions

Next, under the “Closed Captioning” toggle, there will now be a box for “Enable live transcription service to show transcript on the side panel in-meeting.” Check the box and click “Save.”

enable live transcribe and click save

Live captions are now enabled on your account. They will be available every time you host a meeting.

How to Use Live Captions in Zoom Meetings

Once you’ve enabled live captions on your account, it’s super simple to use them in a meeting. You do need to be the host, though. Live captions can be turned on from the desktop apps on Windows, macOS, and Linux as well as from the Android, iPhone, and iPad apps.

RELATED: How to Set Up a Zoom Meeting

On the desktop client, click the “Live Transcript” button in the toolbar.

live transcribe button

A menu will open with a few choices. For live captions, select “Enable Auto-Transcription.”

enable live transcription

The transcribed text will appear in a translucent black box at the bottom of the Zoom window.

caption on desktop

In the mobile apps, tap the three-dots menu icon in the bottom toolbar.

open the menu

Next, select “Enable Live Transcript” from the menu.

enable live transcript

The transcribed text will appear underneath the video.

captions on the mobile app


That’s all there is to it! Keep in mind that this is AI-powered, so the accuracy isn’t going to be spot-on. In fact, it can be pretty bad sometimes. If it’s your only option, though, it might be worth a try.

Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has close to a decade of experience covering consumer technology and previously worked as a News Editor at XDA Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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