Alamo Colleges District

How to Use Breakout Rooms in Teams Meetings

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microsoft teams

In large team meetings, sometimes it can be difficult to have open discussions and a meaningful exchange of ideas. Create breakout rooms to bring participants into small groups for interactive conversations and brainstorming sessions.

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

Create breakout rooms

1. Begin the meeting.

2. In the meeting controls, locate an icon that looks like a small screen inside a big screen. Select Breakout rooms.

breakout rooms option in teams

3. Select the number of rooms you want (50 max), and whether you want Teams to assign people to rooms (Automatically) or you want to choose the people for each room yourself (Manually).

create breakout rooms in teams

4. Select Create Rooms.

Assign people to breakout rooms manually
  • If you chose Automatically, participants will be assigned to breakout rooms as soon as you open the rooms.
  • If you chose Manually, follow the steps below.

Note: Currently, participants who joined the meeting via PSTN or Teams devices can't be assigned to rooms. We suggest using the main meeting as a breakout room for these people.

1. Select Assign participants.

2. Choose the people who will share a breakout room by selecting the check boxes next to their names.

assign people manually to breakout rooms

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

assign to a room in temas

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until everyone has been assigned to a room.

Rename the breakout rooms

You can rename the breakout room to reflect a team name, or the topic that the team will be discussing.

1. Locate the room, aelect the [three dots], and then Rename room.

rename the breakout rooms

2. Enter the new name and press Rename room.

Start using the breakout rooms
  • To open all the rooms at the same time, select Start rooms.[1]
  • To open a single room, select More options next to the room and then Open room.[2]
start all rooms or individual rooms

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

Interact with breakout room participants

As the host, you can join breakout rooms, contribute to room chats, and send announcements to everyone.


Join a breakout room

  • Select More options next to the room and then Join room.

To leave a room, select Return.


Send an announcement to all breakout rooms

You can also send announcements to give time updates or share discussion prompts.

  1. Select the [three dots] at the top of the Breakout rooms pane and then select Make an announcement.
make an announcement in teams breakout rooms

2. Enter your announcement and select Send.

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


Chat in breakout rooms

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

chat in breakout rooms

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

Once you’ve joined a breakout room, you can also select Chat in the room to chat with the people there.

Close breakout rooms

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

  • To close rooms individually, select More options [three dots] next to the room name, and then Close room.
  • To close all the rooms at the same time, select Close rooms.
  • 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.

Note: Breakout rooms remain open until the organizer manually closes them, so they can be reused later in the 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. Select More options [three dots] at the top of the Breakout rooms pane and then select Rooms settings.

breakout rooms settings

2. Switch the toggle next to Automatically move people into opened rooms to off.

Allow participants to return to 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. Select More options at the top of the Breakout rooms pane and then select Rooms settings.
  2. Switch the toggle next to Participants can return to the main meeting to on.


Move someone to a different breakout room

Note: Participants can be moved only when breakout rooms are closed.

  1. Expand the list of participants under a breakout room.
  2. Point to someone‘s name and select the check box that appears.
  3. Select More options and then the breakout room you want to move that person to.
mmove people to different breakout rooms

Add an additional breakout room

  • Select Add room in the Breakout rooms pane.

Delete a breakout room

  • Point to the room, select More options, and then Delete room.

Recreate breakout rooms from scratch

During a meeting, you can return to the beginning of the breakout rooms process to reconfigure the rooms and assignments.

  1. Select More options at the top of the Breakout rooms pane and then select Recreate rooms.
  2. Follow the instructions above to create new breakout rooms and assign people to them.

Additional Resources

Want to learn more about Teams? Checkout Microsoft Teams Video Training.


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