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How do I use and manage breakout rooms? | Zoom

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If you create breakout rooms you can divide your meeting into different, smaller sessions. Participants can use these sessions to make a group assignment or discuss.

Create breakout rooms
Working with breakout rooms

Create breakout rooms

The maximum number of breakout rooms is 50. Each breakout room can contain 200 participants at most.

During a session

  • Click Breakout Rooms.
  1. Choose the number of breakout rooms you want to create.
  2. Choose whether you want to assign participants automatically, manually, or let them choose their own breakout room.
  3. Click Create Breakout Room. The rooms will be created but not yet started.

If you choose Let participants choose room then only the students who use the desktop client and have version 5.3.0 or higher can choose a room. The other students still need to be manually added to a room by the lecturer.

Divide the participants manually

If you have chosen Manually when you created the breakout rooms, you can assign participants to breakout rooms yourself. It will look like this:

  1. Click Assign or click the number behind the breakoit room (if you have already assigned people) and select the names of the participants you want to put in the breakout room.
  2. Click Move to to move a participant to a different breakout room.
  3. Click Exchange to swiftly swap two participants.

Options for breakout rooms

After creating the breakout rooms you can click Options for additional settings.

  1. Change the name of the breakout room.
  2. Remove the breakout room.
  3. Move participants to another breakout room.
  4. Click Options:
    • Move all participants into breakout rooms automatically: Select this option to move the participants to the breakout rooms automatically. When this feature is turned off the participants first have to click Join to participate in the breakout room.
    • Allow participants to return to the main session at any time: Participants can choose to leave the breakout room and return to the main session. If this option is not selected, the host can control when the participants return to the main session.
    • Breakout rooms close automatically after X minutes: Set up a time for the breakout room. They will be ended automatically once the predetermined time as passed. 
      • Notify me when the time is up: As host you will receive a notification when the time is about to pass; you can then opt to continue the breakout rooms for an undetermined amount of time.
    • Countdown after closing breakout room: Select this option to show the participants how much time they have left in the breakout room before they will be moved to the main session.
  5. Click Add a Room to add a breakout room.
  6. Click Open All Rooms to start the breakout rooms. All participants will be moved to their breakout rooms, the host will remain in the main session.

The setup of the breakout rooms will be saved during the session. If a series of sessions is planned, then the setup of the breakout rooms will not be saved for the next session in the series. A setup can be saved if the participants are divided beforehand.

Working with breakout rooms

Move the participants to the breakout rooms

  • Click Breakout Rooms (if you are sharing your screen: click More... on the top of your screen and then click Breakout Rooms.)
  • Click Open All Rooms. The participants will now be moved to their own breakout room.

Manage breakout rooms

As host you have the possibility to manually participate in a breakout room. You can also chat with participants from the main session.

Once the participants are in the breakout room, they are no longer able to see the main session's chat.

  1. Click Broadcast a message to all to send a message to all breakout rooms.
  2. Click Join to participate in a breakout room as the host.
  3. Click Close All Rooms to close all breakout rooms manually. The participants will then return to the main session.


Participants who are in a breakout room might also contact the host to ask for help. As host you then have two options: either you click Join Breakout Room to participate in the breakout room, or you ignore the request by clicking Later. The student will then receive a notification.

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