Create and manage breakout rooms during class meetings

Use breakout rooms to break students into small groups during class meetings. You can open and close rooms more than once during a session or move participants between rooms. Only meeting organizers using the desktop versions of Teams (Windows or Mac) can create and manage breakout rooms.


Before you get started, make sure you have the desktop app

You can create meetings in any version of Teams, but you'll need Teams for Windows or Mac to create breakout rooms for your students. Students can join from any version of Teams.

Next, schedule a meeting  or Meet now

  1. Select Calendar  Meetings button > + New meeting. You must be the meeting organizer in order to create and manage breakout rooms. 

  2. Choose a channel to meet in or add students from your class as attendees.

    Note that any meeting options you select before or during your meeting will apply to meetings with breakout rooms as well. Learn more about Meeting options.

Important: These features are not currently supported in breakout rooms:

  • Using Meet now from a channel conversation

  • Call me

  • Copying the room meeting link

  • Adding a guest to meeting or meeting chat

Select + New Meeting.

Give your meeting a title.

Create breakout rooms 

  1. Join your meeting at its scheduled time and wait for your students to join. Your meeting will open in its own window.

    Important: Make sure you join your meeting from the Teams desktop app (Windows or Mac) so you can create breakout rooms.

  2. When your students have joined and you are ready, select Breakout rooms from your meeting controls.

  3. Choose how many rooms you'd like to create from the dropdown.

  4. Choose whether you'd like Teams to assign students to rooms Automatically or Manually if you'd prefer to assign students to rooms yourself.

  5. Select Create Rooms.

Breakout Rooms icon

Select number of rooms

Assign participants to rooms

If you chose Automatically, participants will already be assigned to different breakout rooms.

To manually add participants to rooms:

  1. Select Assign participants.

  2. Choose the students who will share a breakout room by selecting the checkboxes next to their names.

  3. Select Assign and then select a room for those students.

  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the whole class has been assigned to a room.

Note: If this is a recurring class meeting, the same rooms and room assignments will be available for the next meeting.

Select people to assign to a room

Select a room for participants

Rename rooms

Name your breakout rooms to reflect small student groups or projects.

  1. Select More options More options button next to the room, then Rename room.

  2. Type in the new name and select Rename room.

Rename room

Set a time limit for the breakout session

Keep your class on schedule and aware of how much time they have left by setting a timer. This will make a timer visible in each breakout room. When time is up, breakout rooms will close automatically and your students will return to the main class meeting. 

  1. Select More options  More options button at the top of the Breakout rooms pane, then Rooms settings.

  2. Select Set a time limit, then select the down arrow to choose a session length.

  3. When you're done, select Settings to return to the Breakout rooms pane.

Select Rooms settings

Set breakout rooms timer

Start breakout rooms

To start rooms individually:

  • Select More options More options button next to the room, then Open room.

To start rooms all at once:

  • Select Start rooms.

You'll know rooms have successfully opened when their status changes to Open.

Select Open room

An opened Breakout Room.

Join a breakout room

To join a room and check on its progress:

  1. Select More options More options button next to the room, then Join room.

  2. Select Return when you're ready to leave the breakout room and return to the main meeting.

Send an announcement to breakout rooms

Once breakout rooms have started, send announcements to give time updates or share prompts.

  1. Select More options More options button> Make an announcement.

  2. Type in your announcement and then select Send.

  3. Students will receive a notification in their meeting chat to check for your announcement.

Select Make an announcement

Move students to different rooms

Move participants to different breakout rooms individually.

To move participants individually:

  1. Expand the list of participants under a breakout room.

  2. Hover over a student's name and select the checkbox that appears.

  3. Select More options More options button and then the breakout room you'd like to move the student to.

Select room to move participant

Chat with participants in a breakout room

Each breakout room will have its own chat. You and students will be able to access it from your chats list and from Chat  Open chat button  in the breakout room, just like regular meetings.

  • Students will only be added to a breakout room chat when you start the room. They will be removed as soon as the room is closed.

  • You will have access to all breakout room chats.

  • Students can still see the chat history and any files shared after the breakout room is closed.

Breakout Room toolbar

Educator's chat list with Breakout Room chats shown.

Add or delete a breakout room

To add an additional breakout room: 

  • Select Add room. Give your new room a name and confirm.

  • Add participants to the room using the instructions above.

To delete a breakout room:

  • Select More options More options button next to the room, then Delete room.

Add room button in Breakout Rooms and Delete room selected from More options menu.

Close breakout rooms

To close rooms individually:

  • Select More options More options button next to the room, then Close room.

To close rooms all at once:

  • Select Close rooms.

You'll know rooms have successfully closed when their status changes to Closed.

  • Select Resume when everyone is back from their breakout rooms and you're ready to meet as a larger group again.

Tip: If you reopen rooms later on, room assignments will remain the same unless you reassign participants or recreate rooms from scratch.

Dropdown under a Breakout Room with Close room selected.

Close rooms buton

Save files, recordings, and notes from breakout rooms

Files, recordings, and notes from a breakout room can be accessed in its chat. You and your students will be able to access these materials after the room has closed, but students will not be able to chat or add additional materials.

Edit breakout room settings

To edit settings, select More options More options button > Rooms settings.

  • Automatic room setting

By default, breakout rooms will be set to automatically move students into opened rooms. If you'd like to change this setting, switch the toggle for Automatically move people into opened rooms to off.

When the automatic setting is turned off, students will receive a message asking them to join a breakout room. They will need to select Join room before being moved.

  • Allow students to return to main meeting

By default, this setting will be off. To turn it on, switch the toggle next to Participants can return to the main meeting to on.

This will allow students to leave their breakout rooms and return to the original meeting to rejoin the larger discussion. 

Select Rooms settings

Breakout rooms settings in Teams

Recreate rooms from scratch

Return to the beginning of the breakout rooms process to start over and reconfigure your rooms and assignments.

  1. Select More options More options button> Recreate rooms.

  2. Follow the steps to create new breakout rooms and assign students.

First, join a class meeting

You can join breakout rooms from Teams on Windows, Mac, mobile, or web browsers including Edge, Chrome, and others.

  1. Navigate to Calendar  Meetings button in your app bar.

  2. Find the class meeting and open it, then select Join.

Note: Only meeting organizers can create breakout rooms.

Join button from calendar meeting

Join a breakout room

  • By default, you'll be moved into your assigned breakout room as soon as your instructor opens the room. No action is required on your part.

  • If your instructor has turned off the automatic setting, you'll receive a message notifying you of the open breakout room. Select Join Room on desktop or Join on mobile to join the room.

  • If you're joining from your mobile device, do not navigate away from the meeting while your instructor is setting up rooms.

  • You'll also receive notifications to rejoin the main meeting or if you are moved into another room.

  • If you need to switch devices during the meeting or join with two devices, you'll still stay in the correct breakout room.

Invitation to join a Breakout Room.

Join Breakout Room dialog on mobile.

Chat in a breakout room

Each breakout room will have its own chat. You'll be able to access it from your chats list and from Chat  Open chat button  in the breakout room.

  • You will be added to a breakout room chat when your instructor starts the room. You'll be removed from the chat when the room is closed.

  • You can still see the chat history and any files shared after the breakout room is closed, including meeting recordings.

Breakout Room toolbar

Breakout Room chat on mobile.

Return to the main meeting

  • If your instructor has enabled it, select Return to rejoin the main meeting discussion.

  • Head back to your breakout room by selecting Join room.

Related Topics

Why can't I use breakout rooms?

Keeping students safe in Teams

Creating, managing, and attending meetings in Teams

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