Create breakout rooms in Zoom and Teams: Here’s how

3 min

Video conferences are becoming increasingly popular – for example with zoom. Breakout rooms, which enable personal conversations within well-attended online meetings, are a helpful function. Using the example of Zoom and Microsoft Teams, we will explain to you how you can create breakout rooms and why it is worthwhile.

From André Gabriel

Home office and mobile working are booming. More and more people are using digital video conferencing providers to network even though they are not sitting in the same room or building. The best known are Zoom and Teams – they can be used to create virtual meetings.

A practical function when many people are participating in a session is called breakout rooms for teams and Zoom. It allows the meeting host to divide other participants into separate rooms, where they can communicate undisturbed apart from the main conference.

Activate zoom breakout rooms


The option for breakout rooms must first be activated in the settings.

Breakout rooms are not automatically activated when zooming. To use the function, you need Zoom version 4.5.0 or newer. This is how you do it on the desktop:

  1. Open the Zoom website.
  2. Log in with your personal data.
  3. Click on “Settings” on the left.
  4. Scroll to “Breakout Room”.
  5. Activate the function by clicking on the switch.
  6. Put the tick in the newly appeared area.
  7. Click on “Save”.

With the message “Your settings have been updated”, Zoom confirms that you have successfully activated the breakout rooms function. It can also be deactivated again using the switch.

Create a new breakout session in Zoom

One or more breakout rooms can be created in Zoom while a session is in progress. It works like this:

  1. Click on “Breakout Session” below.
  2. Enter the number of rooms you need.
  3. Select “Manual”.
  4. Click on “Create Sessions”.
  5. Select “Assign”.
  6. Fill the breakout rooms with attendees.
  7. Click the blue button in the lower right corner.

After the seventh step, all the breakout sessions that have been created are active.

Use separate zoom rooms properly

After a host has created a separate breakout room and added other participants, a breakout room invitation automatically appears on their respective screen: “The moderator invites you to join the following breakout room: Breakout session [Zahl]You can only use the extra room when you click on “Join”. Alternatively, you can decline the invitation with “Later”.

If you are moderating the online meeting and would like to join a zoom breakout room yourself, click on “Join” in the overview window of the adjoining rooms and confirm your entry with “Yes”. Breakout room participants can switch from the separate session back to the Zoom main conference using the “Leave room” button.

MS Teams also offers breakout rooms


You can easily create a breakout room during a video call.

If you want to create breakout rooms in teams, you have to host a conference and use the desktop version. The function is called “group rooms” and is located at the top right between the hand symbol and the three dots during an ongoing session. This is how you start a team room during a video conference:

  1. Click on the “Group Rooms” icon.
  2. Enter the number of rooms you need.
  3. Select “Manual”.
  4. Make the basic settings.
  5. Fill the breakout rooms with attendees.
  6. Open the group rooms.

In step four, for example, you can specify or prevent participants from re-entering the main conference at any time.

Only the host can switch back and forth between the individual adjoining rooms, rename or delete them. The moderator can also send global messages that are displayed in parallel in all teams breakout rooms.

Advantages of the virtual side rooms

Anyone who has already participated in online meetings with several people knows it: the conversations and topics often get mixed up. Even a program doesn’t always help, because the more participants participate and contribute communicatively, the more likely thematic secondary scenes develop. Zoom or Teams breakout rooms can do them justice.

Fictional practical example: An editorial team plans the upcoming topics via video conference. This gives rise to various ideas that are developed in smaller groups. For this purpose, the editorial management creates several breakout rooms, names them project-related and assigns the employees manually according to their competencies.

Now the individual groups each have half an hour before the host closes the adjoining rooms and brings everyone back to the main conference, where they gradually present their results. Ultimately, virtual group meetings replace physical meeting rooms in an office.


  1. Breakout rooms are manually created virtual side rooms during video conferences.
  2. The renowned provider Zoom offers breakout rooms as well as Microsoft Teams.
  3. Only the organizer of an online meeting can set up and edit such rooms.
  4. The more people take part in a conference, the more likely breakout rooms are.


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