Microsoft Teams: Using Breakout Rooms (General)


Microsoft Teams is an easy way to pull together a group to share, collaborate and communicate in one central location without the use of phone calls that take time away from our day or emails that can easily get buried.  From directly within Teams we can bring everyone together to share information, securely edit files live and at the same time, bring together Microsoft Office 365 apps (OneDrive, OneNote, Planner, Forms, etc) and third-party apps and websites in one place, tag members of the team in conversations or actions and customize the work through adding notes (OneNote and others) and other applications.

For a more in-depth walk-through with Microsoft Teams, view the Tech Talk video training.
For an in-depth demo of Teams Breakout Rooms (01/08/2021) from the Tech Talk series, click here.

This article will show how to create breakout rooms.  To learn how to manage rooms and attendees, click here.

Before you can create and use breakout rooms, you must:

  • Be using the installed Teams client in Windows or MacOS.
  • Be using Microsoft Windows 8, 8.1 or 10, or MacOS 10.14, 10.15, or 11.x
  • You must be the owner of the meeting.
  • More than one person in your meeting.
  • You can prepopulate Breakout Rooms in your meeting by starting it ahead of time, then leaving the meeting.  When you start it at its official start time, the rooms will still be there.  Note that you must schedule the meeting to prepopulate rooms.  Ad-hoc meetings will not save room configurations.
  • If you create standing meetings or virtual office-type meetings with static links, you can create rooms to reuse.
  • Note that attendees (those who are not meeting organizers) will not see the breakout rooms icon.

Creating and Starting Breakout Rooms

  1. Start your meeting.
  2. Across the top of your meeting, you will see the breakout room button.

  3. When you click the breakout room button for the first time in your meeting (only), you will get this screen to help you quickly create rooms.  You can choose how many rooms, and how you will assign them.  Then click Create Rooms. If you choose to do the operation manually, you can simply select Manually then click Create Rooms.

  4. To manage the rooms you just created, click the breakout room button and the management pane will slide out from the right side.
  5. In this management pane, you will see who is in your meeting, plus the buttons to add and close rooms. 
    Note: you will not see yourself.

  6. If you did not add any rooms (as in my example here), click the Add Room button to add your first room.  By default, this is named Room 1 and shows (0) participants and will be closed.

  7. To manage a room, move your mouse over the CLOSED sign and it will change to the familiar three dots.  Click on the three dots and you will see options to Join room, Open room, Rename room, Close room, and Delete room.  
    Note: Open remains greyed out until you assign someone to the room, Join and Close remain greyed out until the room is Open.

  8. You can click Rename room to give it a more friendly name if you wish.
  9. Repeat steps 5 through 7 as many times as necessary.
  10. Once you have created your rooms, your Breakout rooms management pane looks like this. 

  11. To assign someone to a room (or more than one) click on Assign participants.
  12. You can now select the individuals, multiple people, or Select All to highlight everyone.  Once you have selected those you want to assign to a particular room, click the purple Assign button.

  13. Select the room you would like to assign the attendee(s) to.  You will see the name(s) show up under the name of the room, and the number indicator change.

  14. Once you have assigned everyone to the breakout room you need them in, you need to click on Start rooms to open the breakout rooms.

  15.  When you click Start rooms, everyone will be taken out of the main meeting space and they will be shown a message that tells them they are being moved.

  16. Now you will see your rooms say OPEN, and you can click on the room to expand the list of participants in the room.  When rooms are open, it shows they are "in meeting."  If you close the room, you can move them to another room.  You can not move someone from one open room to another.

  17. You (as the owner/organizer) can move between rooms by moving your mouse over the OPEN sign, clicking on the three buttons, and clicking Join room.  If you have navigated to a room, you will need to click the Return button.  Once you have returned to the main meeting room, you can then repeat the steps to Join another room. Note: anyone can use the Return button to leave a breakout room, and return to the main room at any time.

  18. You can move attendees between rooms by closing the room they are in, then reassigning them using steps 10-13.
  19. Additionally, if you click the three dots to the right of Breakout rooms, you will see a menu that lets you change room settings (when rooms are closed), recreate rooms (when rooms are closed), and Make an announcement to all the rooms (when rooms are open).

  20. You can move everyone back to the main meeting by clicking the Close rooms button, or making sure all the rooms are closed.


Article ID: 122447
Thu 12/10/20 3:39 PM
Mon 10/11/21 1:06 PM