Use breakout rooms in Teams meetings

In all but the smallest meetings, it can be hard to have open discussions and a meaningful exchange of ideas. With breakout rooms, people gather in small groups for lively conversation and brainstorming sessions.

Only meeting organizers on the desktop versions of Teams (WIndows and Mac) can create and manage breakout rooms.

Notes: These features are not currently available in breakout rooms:

  • Call me

  • Adding people to the meeting from the participants panel

  • Adding additional people to the meeting chat

  • Copying the Join meeting info

Important: You can't create breakout rooms if there are more than 300 people in a meeting. Likewise, if you create breakout rooms before a meeting, you won't be able to invite more than 300 people. 

For more info about managing large Teams meetings, see Best practices for a large Teams meeting.

In this article

Create breakout rooms

  1. Start the meeting.

  2. In the meeting controls, select Breakout rooms  Breakout rooms icon.

    Select Breakout rooms

  3. Do the following:

    1. Select the number of rooms you want (50 max). 

    2. Choose whether you want Teams to evenly assign people to rooms (Automatically) or assign people yourself (Manually).

      Image showing how to create breakout rooms.

      Note: You won't be able to automatically assign people to breakout rooms later in the meeting.

  4. Select Create rooms.

Assign people to breakout rooms manually

Assign participants to each breakout room if you didn't do so automatically or need to reassign someone to another room.

Note: Currently, people who join the meeting using PSTN or Teams devices can't be assigned to rooms. Use the main meeting as a breakout room for these people instead.

  1. In the meeting controls, select Breakout rooms  Breakout rooms icon.

  2. Select Assign participants. From this window, sort people to see who's been assigned where by selecting the down arrow next to Name or Room.

  3. Choose the people you want in a room by selecting the checkboxes next to their names.

    Image shows how to assign people to breakout rooms

  4. Select the down arrow next to Assign and choose a room for them.

    Image showing how to select breakout rooms for participants.

  5. Repeat the previous steps until everyone in the meeting is assigned to a room. When you're done, select Confirm.

    If someone joins the meeting late, select Assign participants again to assign them to a room.

Rename the breakout rooms

If you want, rename each room to reflect its purpose (for example, what the people in that room will be working on).

  1. In the meeting controls, select Breakout rooms  Breakout rooms icon.

  2. Hover over the room and select More options  More options icon  then Rename room.

    Image showing how to rename a breakout room.

  3. Enter the new name and select Rename room.

Tip: During the meeting, you can delete all the breakout rooms and set them up differently (see Recreate breakout rooms from scratch).

Set a time limit for breakout room sessions

When you set a time limit, a timer is visible in each breakout room so that participants are aware of when the session will end. When time is up, the rooms close and participants return to the main meeting.

Note: If you turn off the Automatically move people to rooms setting (see Turn off automatic entry to breakout rooms), participants will have the option of returning to the main meeting or leaving the meeting when time is up.

  1. In the meeting controls, select Breakout rooms  Breakout rooms icon.

  2. Select Rooms settings  Settings button.

  3. Select Set a time limit and choose a session length.

    Image shows how to set time limit for breakout rooms.

  4. Select the back button < to save your changes.

Start using the breakout rooms

By default, meeting participants are moved to their assigned rooms as soon as you open them, but you can turn off this setting (see Turn off automatic entry to breakout rooms).

  1. In the meeting controls, select Breakout rooms  Breakout rooms icon.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To open all the rooms at the same time, select Open.

    • To open a single room, hover over the room, select More options  More options icon, and choose Open room.

      Image shows how to open a single breakout room.

You can open and close breakout rooms more than once during a meeting.

Join a breakout room

As a meeting organizer, you can join any of the breakout rooms.

  1. In the meeting controls, select Breakout rooms  Breakout rooms icon.

  2. Hover over the room and select More options  More options icon then Join room.

Leave a breakout room

  • In the meeting controls, select Return.

Interact with breakout room participants

As meeting organizer, you can send announcements to all the breakout rooms and contribute to any of the room chats. 

Send an announcement to all breakout rooms

You may want to tell everyone the remaining breakout session time, offer discussion ideas, or just give general updates.

  1. In the meeting controls, select Breakout rooms  Breakout rooms icon.

  2. Select Make an announcement Announcement icon..

  3. Enter your announcement and select Send.

Participants are notified in their meeting chat to check for your announcement.

Chat in breakout rooms

Each breakout room has its own chat. All of the chats are available in your main Teams Chat list.

Chat from main Chat area

Here you can chat with the members of any breakout room.

Once you join a breakout room, you can also select Chat  Open chat button in the room to chat with the people there.

Note: When the breakout room closes, the room chat ends and can't be continued. However, you'll still be able to view the chat history and any shared files.

Close breakout rooms

When you close the breakout rooms, the participants return to the main meeting.

Note: If you turned off the Automatically move people into opened rooms setting (see Turn off automatic entry to breakout rooms), participants will have the option of returning to the main meeting or leaving the meeting when the rooms are closed.

Close rooms individually

  1. In the meeting controls, select Breakout rooms  Breakout rooms icon.

  2. Hover over the room and select More options  More options icon then Close room.

Close all the rooms at the same time

  1. In the meeting controls, select Breakout rooms  Breakout rooms icon.

  2. Select Close.

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

When everyone is back from their breakout rooms and you're ready to meet as a larger group again, select Resume.

Notes: 

  • Breakout rooms remain open until the organizer manually closes them or unless they set a timer.

  • If the rooms are reopened later in the meeting, participants keep the same room assignments they had before.

Room assignments in recurring meetings

Unless the organizer manually unassigns people from their breakout rooms, the same rooms and room assignments will be available for the next meeting.

Additional options

Turn off automatic entry to breakout rooms

By default, participants are automatically moved into breakout rooms when they're opened. When you turn off this option, participants receive a message asking them to join a breakout room. They select Join room (Join on a mobile device) before being moved.

  1. In the meeting controls, select Breakout rooms  Breakout rooms icon.

  2. Select Room settings  Settings button.

  3. Switch the Automatically move people to rooms toggle off.

  4. Select the back button < to save your changes.

Meeting attendees can learn more about joining and participating in breakout rooms here: Join a breakout room in a Teams meeting.

Allow people to return to the main meeting

By default, this setting is off. Turning it on gives participants the option to leave their breakout rooms and return to the original meeting to rejoin the larger discussion. 

  1. In the meeting controls, select Breakout rooms  Breakout rooms icon.

  2. Select Room settings  Settings button.

  3. Switch the Let people return to the main meeting toggle on.

  4. Select the back button < to save your changes.

Move a person to a different breakout room

Participants can be moved when breakout rooms are open or closed.

  1. In the meeting controls, select Breakout rooms  Breakout rooms icon.

  2. Select Assign participants and select the checkbox next to the person's name you want to move.

  3. Choose a new room for the person and select Assign then Move.

Add another breakout room

  1. In the meeting controls, select Breakout rooms  Breakout rooms icon.

  2. Select Add room  Add button.

Delete an individual breakout room

  1. In the meeting controls, select Breakout rooms  Breakout rooms icon.

  2. Hover over the room and select More options  More options icon then Delete room.

Delete all breakout rooms at once

  1. In the meeting controls, select Breakout rooms  Breakout rooms icon.

  2. Select Remove rooms  Delete button then Remove.

Recreate breakout rooms from scratch

During a meeting, you can delete all the breakout room and create new ones and reassign participants.

  1. In the meeting controls, select Breakout rooms  Breakout rooms icon.

  2. Select Recreate rooms  Recreate breakout rooms icon  and confirm the decision.

  3. Follow the instructions above to create new breakout rooms and assign people to them.

Related Topics

Join a breakout room

Why can't I use breakout rooms?


 

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