Breakout rooms allow you to create sub-meetings within your Teams meeting for smaller groups of participants to collaborate and have discussions. Up to 50 Breakout rooms can be created for a single meeting.
Ensure the meeting organiser and all participants are using the latest version of Teams. Participants joining on Android, iOS mobile or tablet should download the latest update from the App Store.
Before the meeting
You must be the meeting organiser and use the Teams desktop client to access the breakout rooms option, and to manage breakout rooms and participants. If you want to use breakout rooms, you will either need to start a Meet Now meeting in a standard channel. Calls from chat interfaces do not support this feature as they are not considered meetings.
Meeting attendees and presenters will not see the breakout rooms option. It is not possible to transfer or share organiser capabilities.
Breakout rooms cannot be set up before a meeting and must be created after the meeting has started.
During the meeting – as meeting organiser
Breakout rooms are available if you join any Meet Now or private scheduled meeting (including recurring meetings) you organised with a Teams desktop client. The breakout room icon is located on the meeting menu between the reactions control and the ellipsis that reveals additional actions.
Setting up and managing breakout rooms
Join your meeting from the Teams desktop client.
Once the meeting has started, select the breakout room icon.
In the pop-up settings window, select the number of breakout rooms you want to create and how participants will be assigned:
Automatically – participants who have already joined the meeting will be assigned into equal-sized rooms. Participants who join the meeting after automatic allocation will need to be assigned manually.
Manually – allows you to assign participants to rooms as you choose.
Select ‘Create rooms’. A menu will appear to the right of your Teams meeting window displaying room management options, room titles, participants, and status of your breakout rooms and participants.
To manually create additional rooms, select ‘Add room’.
To assign or move a participant manually, select the closed room or section where the participant is currently assigned. Tick the box(es) next to the name(s) of the participant(s) you want to move. Select ‘Assign’ and choose any room you want to place them in. Participants who have not yet been assigned to a room will appear under the ‘Assign participants’ section. Note that participants joining via desk phone or Teams mobile app cannot be assigned and will remain in the main meeting.
To edit the title of a room or delete it, hover over the status icon next to the room title:
‘Rename room’ – change the title of the selected room. It is recommended to create a specific title as the chat log remains accessible for participants after the meeting, and a distinctive name will help with discoverability.
‘Delete room’ – remove the selected room. Any assigned participants will be moved to the list of unassigned participants. To delete all rooms and settings at once, see ‘Recreate rooms’ in the next step.
To open additional overarching room settings, select the ellipsis icon next to the ‘Breakout rooms’ heading, and chose ‘Rooms settings’ while all rooms are closed:
‘Automatically move people into opened rooms’ – select to move participants automatically in and out of their assigned rooms when you open or close the breakout rooms. Participants will receive a notification that they will be moved automatically with 10 seconds notice. If this option is not selected, participants will be prompted to choose whether they want to move in or out of the breakout room.
‘Let people go back to the main meeting’ – select to allow participants to move between the main meeting and their assigned breakout room when the breakout rooms are open. If this option is not selected, participants will be able to move back into the main meeting by selecting ‘Return’, or back to the breakout room by selecting ‘Join room’.
‘Recreate rooms’ – delete all current rooms and settings to start from the beginning.
Starting breakout rooms
When you are happy with the breakout rooms allocations and settings, you need to open the rooms to allow participants to access them.
To open all of the rooms at once, select ‘Start rooms’. The status icon next to the rooms will change from ‘Closed’ to ‘Open’.
To open individual rooms, hover over the ‘Closed’ status icon of the room and select the ellipsis icon. Select ‘Open’.
When participants are in the breakout room, ‘In meeting’ displays beside their name. If this status is not shown beside a name, you can prompt the participant to enter the breakout room by selecting their name and ‘Ask to join’.
Managing open breakout rooms
To send an announcement message to all open breakout rooms simultaneously, select the ellipsis icon next to the breakout rooms menu title.
Select ‘Make an announcement’ and enter your message. The announcement will display in all breakout rooms with a red ‘Important’ label.
Joining breakout rooms
Hover over the ‘Open’ status icon of the breakout room you want to enter.
Select ‘Join room’.
You will be added to the breakout room and can interact with all features of the meeting. While you are in a breakout room, you will be ‘On Hold’ in the main meeting and will not be able to see if participants have entered the main meeting until you return to the main meeting.
Select the ‘Leave’ button to leave the breakout room and return to the main meeting.
Select ‘Add room’ to create another breakout room at any time. Note that participants from open rooms cannot be moved to a different room until their current room is closed.
Close breakout rooms
To close all of the open rooms at once, select ‘Close rooms’.
To close individual rooms, hover over the ‘Open’ status icon of the room and select the ellipsis icon. Select ‘Close’.
Ending the meeting
At the end of the meeting, you can either leave your breakout rooms open or closed.
Open – allows participants to continue collaborating to the breakout room chat and re-open the breakout room meeting after the main meeting has ended. If the meeting is recurring, your breakout room settings and allocations are saved and maintained for subsequent meetings.
Closed – breakout room chats become read only for all participants after the meeting has ended, and cannot be re-opened. Breakout room settings and allocations are not saved for subsequent meetings.
During the meeting – as meeting participant
Entering a breakout room
If the meeting organiser chosen not to move participants automatically, participants will see a pop up message with options when the breakout sessions begin and end.
When the breakout rooms open – participants can select ‘Join room’ to go into the breakout room or ‘Later’ to remain in the main meeting. If a participant selects ‘Later’, the breakout room can be accessed while it is still open by selecting ‘Join room’ on the main meeting menu.
When the breakout rooms close – participants can select ‘Join’ to go back into the main meeting, or ‘Leave meeting’ to completely exit the meeting.
Switching between main meeting and assigned breakout room
If this feature is enabled by the meeting organiser, participants can return to the main meeting at any time while the room is still open by selecting ‘Return’. Participants can return to their assigned breakout room from the main meeting while the room is open by selecting ‘Join room’.
Note: It is not possible for participants to switch between breakout rooms unless the meeting organiser has assigned them a new room.