Information Services

Breakout Rooms

Breakout Rooms have now been implemented in Microsoft Teams. These allow meeting organisers to create and name separate rooms during a meeting, and assign attendees to these rooms.

What are Breakout Rooms?

  • Breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams allow meeting organisers to create and name up to 50 separate rooms within scheduled and meet now meetings.
  • Breakout rooms are separate, virtual rooms within a meeting that groups can move to during the meeting.
Image of what breakout rooms looks like in meetings

What can I use breakout rooms for?

You can decide how you want to make use of the breakout rooms feature, but it may be particularly useful for people running workshops or other sessions that require separate group discussion. 

Using Breakout Rooms with students

We recommend using Blackboard Collaborate for any content related to teaching. However, if you intend to use Teams breakout rooms with your students, please read "Keeping students safe while using Teams" for some guidelines and recommendations on ensuring your student's safety with Teams.

How do I get the breakout rooms feature?

The feature is in general release by Microsoft and requires that you're using the latest Teams Desktop client, the feature is not available in the Teams web browser app.

The Breakout Rooms feature is also only available for scheduled meetings and is not available for ad-hoc meetings or 1-1 calls. Breakout Rooms are also not available when meetings are scheduled in Channels. Make sure if you want to use Breakout Rooms that you schedule your meeting using the Teams Calendar or Outlook, and do not add a Channel to the meeting.

Make sure all your participants, including the meeting organiser, are using the latest version of the Teams desktop client.

  • If joining on Android or iOS mobile or tablet, make sure participants go to their App Store and download the latest update
  • To check if your Teams desktop client needs updated click  your profile picture, then check for updates

To see the breakout rooms option within meetings, users must turn on the new Teams meeting experience:

  1. Click your profile picture
  2. Then click Settings, then General
  3. Scroll to "Application"
  4. Check the box beside Turn on new meeting experience” 
  5. Restart your Teams client
  6. Correct setup can be checked by starting a meeting and verifying that the meeting opens in its own window

Meeting organisers and the breakout rooms icon

As a meeting organiser, join a private scheduled meeting or private meet now meeting.

Once in the meeting the breakout room option should be available next to the raise hand control (as shown in the image across). 

Note - Users must be the meeting organiser to see the option. Meeting attendees and presenters will not see the breakout rooms option

What can meeting organisers do with breakout rooms?

Meeting organisers can:

  • Create up to 50 breakout rooms within scheduled or meet now meetings
  • Move between breakout rooms freely
  • Add, move and delete breakout rooms
  • Give breakout rooms titles
  • Decide if participants are automatically added to breakout rooms or if the participant needs to confirm
  • Reassign participants to different rooms
  • Have access to all breakout room artifacts (chat, files, recordings) 

What can meeting participants do with breakout rooms?

Note - Breakout rooms are not private chat spaces, while only the participants that are assigned to a breakout room can see the conversations and presentations in that breakout room, the meeting organiser can join any breakout room at any time.

Participants can:

  • Join breakout rooms from Teams for browser, desktop and mobile 
  • Share content (PowerPoint presentations, Whiteboards) in the breakout room 
  • Chat in the breakout room (this will only be visible to those in the room and the meeting organiser)

Participants cannot:

  • Move freely between breakout rooms and the main meeting.
  • Participants must wait until the organiser brings them back to the main meeting or reassigns them to another breakout room. However, they can request that the meeting organiser call them back. 

How do I create breakout rooms in my meeting?

You can only create breakout rooms if you are the meeting organiser

  • You can create breakout rooms at any point by clicking the "Breakout rooms" icon (shown in the image across)
  • You can choose to create all your rooms at the start of the meeting or create only one at the start and add more later
  • You can then name, join and delete your breakout rooms by clicking the elipsis (3 dots) beside the room and selecting the appropriate option

How do I assign participants to breakout rooms?

  • When you first set up your breakout rooms you can choose to automatically assign participants (this will evenly assign the participants across the rooms) or you can manually add participants
  • To manually assign participants click the breakout rooms icon and click assign participants

Further help

Mastering Breakout rooms video

The following video from Microsoft gives an indepth look at Breakout Rooms, if you only want to see how to create rooms in your Teams meetings, skip the video to 6:07.