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Use breakout rooms in a Zoom meeting



zoom logo in breakout room icon

Zoom meetings can very easily feel overwhelming when a lot of people are involved. A feature called “Breakout Rooms” can help large groups by splitting people into smaller groups. It’s a handy trick to know.

Breakout Rooms are similar in concept to working in groups in a real office or classroom. People can break off the main meeting into smaller groups to discuss and then seamlessly join everyone again ̵

1; no need to manage a bunch of separate Zoom conversations.

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Enable breakout rooms in zoom

Before we can use breakout rooms in a meeting, you must enable the feature for your account. This is only necessary if you are organizing the meeting.

First, log into the Zoom website in a web browser such as Google Chrome and select “Settings” on your account page.

log in and select settings

Scroll down to the ‘In a meeting (advanced)’ section and turn on the ‘breakout room’ switch.

enable breakout room

While here, also enable “Allow host to assign attendees to breakout rooms while scheduling”.

plan breakout rooms

Select ‘Save’ and we are ready to use breakout rooms in a meeting.

Use breakout rooms in zoom

To use breakout rooms in a meeting, you must be the host and use the desktop client. That includes Windows, macOS, Linux and Chrome.

RELATED: How to set up a Zoom meeting

Now that we have enabled the feature, you will see a “Breakout Rooms” button on the toolbar. Click It.

breakout rooms button

A popup will appear with the Breakout Room options. You can choose the number of rooms and how the participants are divided in them.

  • Assign automatically: Zoom will randomly place people in rooms.
  • Assign manually: You choose who goes into which room.
  • Let participants choose rooms: Speaks for itself.

Make your choices and click ‘Make’.

set up breakout rooms

If you manually assign people to rooms, the next screen will show the list of rooms. Click on ‘Assign’ for each room and select the people you want in each room.

assign people to rooms

Then click on “Options” for some additional settings. You can set a length of time for the Breakout Rooms sessions and choose a countdown to give people time to wrap up before closing the rooms.

breakout room options

When you are done, click on ‘Open all rooms’. People are placed in the rooms in the way you choose. They will be asked to accept joining a room or to choose a room for themselves.

open all rooms

While the breakout rooms are taking place, you can click the toolbar button to open the menu. Here you can ‘Broadcast message to everyone’.

send a message to the rooms

Enter a message and click ‘Broadcast’. The message appears on the screen for all participants.

broadcast a message

When you’re ready to end the breakout rooms, click “Close all rooms” in the same menu.

close the breakout rooms


That’s all there is to it. Zoom saves your settings and room assignments, so if you want to break out during the same meeting, you don’t have to set it all up again. This is a useful feature to know if you are hosting a lot of large meetings.




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