Teams: Breakout Rooms

Breakout Rooms in Teams: I know so many of you have been awaiting the addition of this feature before you were comfortable moving classes and meetings from Zoom to Teams.

Now that Teams Breakout Rooms have launched (hooray!), lets take a look at how they work…

Breakout rooms icon in the menu

Creating Breakout Rooms

You will need to start your meeting in order to access the Breakout Rooms feature. At this time, you cannot set up rooms in advance of the meeting.

In your meeting, you will find a button for Breakout Rooms in the upper right menu of your Teams meeting, represented by two squares.

Breakout rooms icon in the menu

The Breakout Rooms button will toggle out a menu on the right side of your Teams Meeting screen.

In this screen you can control:

A. The number of rooms
B. Assignment of members: automatic vs manual assignment
C. When finished press Create Rooms.

Note: Unlike Zoom, clicking Create Rooms will not move your participants. There will be an additional step.

Create breakout rooms prompt with room settings

Once you create your rooms, a side panel will appear showing the rooms that have not yet been opened. There are a few additional options you can set before you open the rooms.

Breakout rooms screen

Options and Settings

In the upper right of the Breakout Room screen is an ellipses (…). Click on this to access Rooms Settings.

Ellipses options, "rooms settings"

Here you can control:

  • Whether participants will move automatically to rooms when you open them (this defaults to being on).
  • Whether participants can return to the main meeting on their own (this defaults to being off).

Settins: Automatically move participants, and option to allow them to return to the main meeting

Start Rooms

Once your Breakout Rooms are set up and you are ready to move participants, click Start Rooms.

Note: Unlike Zoom, it can take some time, around 30 seconds or so, for attendees to be moved into their rooms.

Start rooms prompt

After the rooms have been started, you can join your attendees in specific rooms by clicking on the ellipses next to each room and selecting Join Room.

Ellipses next to room: join room option

Returning Participants to the Main Room

In the Breakout Rooms menu, where you opened the rooms, will be a new option to Close Rooms. This will return all the participants to the main meeting.

Close rooms button

If you had toggled on the ability for attendees to return to the main meeting on their own, they will have a new option in their Meeting menu:

  • In addition to a Leave button will be a Return button.
  • Be sure they know to click Return if they would like to come back to the main meeting. If they click Leave, they will leave the entire meeting.

Return button added to attendees' breakout rooms

Want to know more?

This post just scratches the surface of breakout rooms. If you would like to see more details and options, take a look at this helpful writeup from Microsoft: Use Breakout Rooms in Teams Meetings


What do you think, will you use Breakout Rooms in Teams? Or maybe you have used them already? I would love to hear how the feature is working for you!

Congratulations, Power Users!

Congratulations to our newest Power Users! For the full gallery, and more information about the WSU Microsoft Office Power User Program, please visit:

  • Corey Herl
  • Evan Ohlman