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WebEx conferencing

An example of a WebEx meeting
An example of a WebEx meeting
The James Hutton Institute makes use of the WebEx web conferencing system for many of its meetings with collaborators.

The James Hutton Institute makes use of the WebEx web conferencing system for many of its meetings with collaborators.

If you have been invited to attend a WebEx meeting, this page provides a quick guide in what you need to know. If you've attended a WebEx meeting before anywhere, much of this information may be familiar.

What is WebEx?

WebEx is a web conferencing system that lets you have a conference call with one or more Hutton staff. During a meeting you can hear and speak with those in your meeting either by phone, or by using your computer or mobile device's microphone, or headset.

You can choose to let others see you by sending video from your webcam, and you can see those that have chosen to do the same. You can also see the presenter's desktop or documents if they wish to share them with you, and you can share yours too if the host of the meeting allows you to.

What you need to join a WebEx meeting

When you first join a WebEx meeting on a computer, you'll be taken through any steps necessary to install the WebEx software, which usually is a plugin for your internet browser.

If you have a headset or microphone for your computer, you can join the audio conference using your computer, or you can use your phone.

To send video, any webcam attached to your computer can be used.

You can alternatively join a WebEx meeting from most mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad or Android devices by first installing the WebEx app, which you can find and install by following this link from your mobile device.

If you don't have access to a computer or mobile device at the time of the meeting, you can phone in using the details in your invitation email.

How to join a WebEx meeting

To join a WebEx meeting, follow the link in the invitation email appointment you received. On a computer, this will take you to the Hutton WebEx site, where you'll be asked to enter your name and email address. On a mobile device with the WebEx app installed, it will automatically take you to the app and you will join the meeting.

Enter your name and email address and click the Join button

Once you enter these details and click Join, the WebEx software will automatically launch (or steps will be displayed to install it), and you'll then join the meeting.

When your meeting starts, the first thing you should do is join the audio conference. Until you join the audio conference, you will not be able to hear other participants in your meeting, and they will not be able to hear you.

If you've never used WebEx on this computer, the first time you start a WebEx meeting you will see the Connect to Audio More menu expanded, displaying the three options available to you. Similar options are also available when joining from a mobile device.

The Audio Conference window

If you close that menu without selecting anything, you can reopen it by clicking on the Connect to Audio button, or by clicking on the three dots at the bottom of the button to reopen the More menu.

Connect to Audio button

The options you can select from are described below, and the next time you join a WebEx meeting, WebEx will remember the option you chose last.

How to join audio by having WebEx call you

You can have WebEx call you on your phone by entering a phone number to be called back on.

Select the country code for your number.When you enter a full phone number, you should select the country code, and enter the phone number without the first 0.

When you enter a full phone number, you should first select the country code for your number from the dropdown menu on the left, and then enter the number without the first 0.

Once you've clicked Call Me your phone will start ringing. You will be prompted to press 1, then you'll be asked to say your name followed by the # key. Anybody else already on the call will hear an announcement of your arrival, unless the host of the meeting has turned this off.

How to join audio by using your computer

If you have a headset, or built-in microphone and speakers, you can call using your computer.

Call Using Computer

Click on Call Using Computer. You can test out using your computer for audio first by clicking on the Test computer audio option. This also allows you to select an alternative microphone or speakers, if you have more than one connected to your computer, and you'll also be warned if there is an issue that may affect your ability to call using your computer.

How to join audio by phoning in

If you do not have a computer available, or for some other reason need to phone in rather than be called back, then you can do so by calling one of the phone numbers in your invitation email, and entering the access code provided.

If you select I Will Call In for audio during a WebEx meeting, you will also be provided with an Attendee ID which you should provide when prompted.

Taking part in a WebEx meeting

Once you've joined the WebEx meeting, the following guide will help you take part in the meeting.

The Participants Panel

The Participants panel on the right hand side lists all those who have joined the WebEx meeting so far.

Participants Panel

Participants joining from a mobile device running the WebEx app will be listed with a Mobile icon icon to the left of their name.


  • You can speak to participants once the This icon will be shown if the participant has joined audio by phone  (if they used their phone for audio) or  This icon will be shown if the participant has joined audio by computer  (if they used their computer for audio) icon is shown to the left of their name. When a participant is talking, the icon will change to  Phone Audio - Talking  or  Computer Audio - Talking.
  • The host can mute your audio at any time. By pressing the Mute Button mute button to the right of your name, you can mute your own audio.
  • Any participant joining the WebEx meeting by calling in by phone who hasn't entered an Attendee ID will be listed on a separate line as Call-in User.


  • You can start sharing video from your webcam by clicking the Start my video button button. Those who are showing the Shows you are currently sharing your video. Click this button to stop the video again. icon beside their name are already sharing video.
  • The top section of the Participants panel will by default automatically switch to show the video of whoever is currently speaking, unless the host of your meeting has specifically selected otherwise.

    Participants Video Panel

  • Instead of showing a list of participants you can instead choose to see live video thumbnails of everyone. To change to this mode, click on the Select between List View or Video View button at the bottom of the Participants panel and select Video View.
  • To adjust the settings of your webcam, or to select the right webcam if you have more than one attached (for example if you are using a laptop with a built in webcam but it's being used on a dock with an external camera), click on the Set video options Set Video Options button in the top right.
  • To change to full-screen video view, click on the Full-screen video view button button in the top right of the video being shown.
  • In full screen video view the main video (usually the participant who is currently speaking) is shown in the larger window, and up to five other participant's video will be shown along the bottom. You can click the right arrow to view other participants. To exit out of this mode, either click on Exit Full-Screen View in the top right, or press the Esc key on your keyboard.

Sharing content and collaborating

During a WebEx meeting, the presenter in a meeting can share their desktop, a particular application, or a file with all other participants in a meeting. This allows everyone to for example work on a document, spreadsheet or presentation together, with the presenter having the ability to allow others to take control if need be.

The host can make you the presenter at any time during a meeting, by passing the WebEx ballWebEx ball to you.

The presenter can start sharing their desktop at any time by clicking on the Share Desktop button in the Quick Start panel.

Share Desktop button

If you want to share a specific file or a specific application rather than your whole desktop, you can click on the three dots at the bottom of the button which will open the More menu.

Share More menu

You can:

  • Share My Desktop - Clicking on this option will show all participants the current contents of your entire desktop. If you have two screens you will be asked to choose which monitor to share.
  • Share File (Including Video)... - If the presenter only needs to present a particular file to participants rather than edit it with them, this option can be selected. Supported file types include most Microsoft Office formats, PDFs, and many commonly used video, audio and image file types.
  • Share Application - Instead of sharing your entire desktop you can share a specific application that you have open. Any application you have open can be shared with the participants, or you can select Other Application... to open an application you want to share.

Sharing your desktop or an application

When the presenter shares their desktop or an application, all participants will immediately see the shared content in the left hand pane of WebEx. A participant can choose to view your shared content full screen, or zoom in using the View buttons in the top right of the window showing the content.

The View and Full Screen buttons, for viewing shared content.

  • On the presenter's PC all windows being shared will show the Shared button icon in the top right.
  • At the top of the screen in the middle, a green tab will be showing on the presenter's screen. This looks like the following:
     You are sharing this monitor
    All other participants will see a similar green tab at the top of their screen too if they are viewing the presenter's shared content full screen.
  • When you move the mouse cursor over the green tab a toolbar will appear. This looks like the following on the presenter's PC. Other participants will see a smaller version of this toolbar if they are viewing the presenter's shared content full screen.

    Sharing toolbar

  • All participants will see the presenter's desktop or application until the presenter clicks on the Stop Sharing button.
  • A presenter can allow another participant to take control of their desktop or application by going to Assign > Pass Keyboard and Mouse Control and clicking on their name. That participant will be asked if they wish to accept control. The presenter can click to take control back at any time.
  • The presenter can also annotate on top of the shared desktop or application by clicking on the Annotate button. A toolbar is then displayed on the left with various drawing tools. Other participants can be allowed to annotate too via the Allow to Annotate Allow to Annotate buttonbutton in this toolbar or in the Assign menu.
  • Participants can request control from the presenter, or to be allowed to annotate by clicking on Ask to Control or Ask to Annotate buttons in the top left of the window showing the content. If viewing full screen, the toolbar has the option Ask to Control available by clicking on the down arrow on the right, or you can request to Annotate by clicking on the Annotate button. The presenter can accept or deny this request.
    The 'Ask to Annotate' and 'Ask to Control' buttons

Presenting a document, presentation or video

If the presenter chooses the Share File (Including Video)... option and selects any supported file type, such as for example a PowerPoint presentation which works particularly well this way, all participants in the meeting will see a new tab appear in the main left hand panel of the WebEx meeting, just as with sharing a desktop or application.

An example of a PowerPoint presentation being shared with participants (with video thumbnails turned on) is shown below.

A WebEx meeting with a PowerPoint presentation being shared

  • The presenter can share several files of any format, each with its own tab, and in the case of PowerPoint presentations can see the names of each slide, and any notes they may have as they move through the presentation (with the arrow keys). Only the presenter can change which tab the participants can see and which slide, and a tab can be closed at any time. If you pass the presenter role to another participant, they can control any files that are still shared.

    The View and Full Screen buttons

  • The zoom options in the top right allow both the presenter and participants to zoom in closer to a particular section of the file you are sharing. If the presenter wants to zoom in and highlight something they can select, Sync Display for All option in the View menu which will let all participants see the same zoomed in, or full screen view that you can.
  • When sharing a video or audio, the presenter can play, pause or jump to a particular section, and all participants will see a streamed copy of the media. The quality will depend on the speed of each participants connection as well as that of the presenter who is sending the media.

Using Chat

Below the Participants list on the right you'll usually see a Chat window. This allows you to send text messages to all participants, or just individuals by selecting from the Send to menu. You might use this to pass a message to another participant during a meeting, or to let others know that you're having problems.

Leaving a meeting

You can leave a WebEx meeting at any time by clicking on the Leave Meeting button of the Quick Start tab, or by going to File > Leave Meeting.

WebEx will close, and if you were using your phone for audio, the call will end too. Your name will no longer be displayed in the Participants list, and other participants may hear an announcement that you have left.

As long as a meeting is still taking place, you can rejoin the meeting.

Printed from /about/facilities/conferencing/webex on 10/12/18 05:25:15 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.