zoom start screen
Microsoft's 'Teams' is the University's preferred and recommended application for online meetings and live teaching, as well as being the Faculty's default application for committee meetings and for conducting Faculty business, but there are some settings in which we recognise that Zoom might be favoured. Importantly, while Teams is included within the University's overall licence with Microsoft and is available to all members of the University, Zoom is not on a University-wide deal.

The Faculty has bought a number of licences for single/short-term use when a case can be made. Email web.support@law.ox.ac.uk in the first instance.

IT Services do not provide technical or user support for Zoom. There are a number of users in and around the Faculty (including ITSG at Manor Road, and some colleagues at the Saïd Business School and the Blavatnik School of Government) who are acquiring some expertise - or at least proficiency - and to some extent new users will need to fend for themselves. Having said that, the tool is quite intuituve to use, at least at a basic level.  Those using Zoom will also need to familiarise themselves with the relevant sections of the University Information Security guidance (see links in the 'Related Websites' section of this page). Under no circumstances should colleagues use a free version of Zoom to conduct any Faculty business. 

The table below shows that there are only a few areas in which one of the two products is markedly superior in the features on offer. As a rule, Faculty Zoom licences will only be made available when one of the Zoom features is required, to enable a specific event (or short series of events), and will only be available for as long as is necessary.

Zoom vs Teams Feature Comparison Table

Significantly better feature offerings are highlighted




Audio/Video CallsYesYes
Automatic closed captioningNoYes
Breakout RoomsYesYes
Chat with Classmates/AttendeesYesYes
Collaborative ToolsYesYes
DisplayMy backgroundCustom BackgroundBlur and some stock images
Pin a video stream on your own displayYes - oneYes - up to four
Spotlight a single video stream (like pin, but for for all viewers)HostNo
Video feeds in displayup to 49up to 49
View gallery or single feedYes (i.e. 1 or all, up to 49)No
External users can join meetings
(by invitation)
External users can present/start meetingsYesYes
File transfer via chatYes (not enabled by default)Yes
Guest joinYesVia browser
Instant MessagingYesYes
Lobby / Waiting roomYesYes
Multiple presenters/teachers in a sessionYesYes
Max Number of Participants

large meeting add-on* up to 500
webinar add-on* 500 or 1000
(* = extra £££)

Outlook Calendar integrationYes [by installing Oulook plug-in]Yes
Persistent Instant Messaging2 yearsUnlimited
Public Group chatYesYes
Q&A ToolYesChat
Raise HandYesNo
RecordingLocal or cloudCloud
Registration required settingYesNo
(But the security element of unregistered access is mitigated by Waiting Room)
Screen SharingYesYes
Video SharingAll ParticipantsPresenters
Webinar can be streamed to Facebook/YouTube channelYesNo
(Microsoft offers its own streaming solution, Stream)




Both of these tool sets are developing rapidly at the moment and so this table is likely to fall out ouf date quite quickly as the two products converge. For example, in recent days Zoom has addressed a number of security concerns, and as this page was being prepared, Microsoft added a 'custom background' feature to Teams.  

IT Services have also prepared a comparison table of video conferencing services which may considered for use in the University. Their table focusses less on features and more on suitability for particular uses, and on security considerations, which must be taken into account.


  • There are some important notes about security, privacy and related matters in the document(s) produced by the University linked in the Related Websites panel of this page.
  • If details of a meeting are shared publicly/widely, the host should set screen-sharing to ''host only" to prevent zoombombing - a form of trolling that sees uninvited guests screen-share inappropriate content.
  • Meeting hosts should also disable "file transfer" to prevent any malware being shared.

A note about free versions of software

While this does not relate specifically or explicity to Zoom, the following cautionary note appears in a University policy document concerning security and privacy issues to be taken into account when considering free versions of software:

  • Privacy controls as described in Terms & Conditions (T&Cs) are often weaker with free versions of the software (if offered). General trends indicate that free versions often create revenue by selling your data.
  • Under Data Protection legislation an appropriate contract must be in place with any service processing data on our behalf. Standard or free T&Cs may not be compliant with GDPR requirements.