This feature originated from Education. Teachers would create a class meeting that students would join. They would receive the lesson brief and instructions and the Teacher would then want to group Students together into their own meetings to complete their tasks.
A Breakout Room is essentially a linked meeting to a master meeting. They can be created prior to the meeting, or during within the meeting window. As a presenter you can manually assign participants to a breakout room or select automatic.
Create a Breakout Room
If you want to create a breakout room in advance of the main meeting taking place, you can do this by first creating your meeting invitation as normal and then editing it in Teams. You’ll notice a tab appear called Breakout Rooms. To create your rooms, press Create Rooms
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From the popup, select how many rooms you’d like to initially create (default 2, max. 10) and press Add Rooms
Each room can hold a maximum of 300 participants each.
Once your rooms are created, you can now begin to set them up.
To rename a room to a more functional name, click the ellipsis (…) in the room tile and press Edit. Rename as required and press Save
As each room is its own Teams meeting, you can set up the meeting controls for each room independently using Edit Settings from the ellipsis menu in the room tile. For a list of meeting options and their meaning, see this post on meeting options.
Assign People to Rooms
You can assign people to specific rooms or let Teams evenly distribute them. When you choose to assign manually you must choose which room each participant should enter when you open the rooms. To assign them, press Assign Participants button from the breakout rooms tab
Opening the Rooms
When people click join to your meeting invite, they will automatically be joined to the master meeting as the breakout rooms will be in a Closed state. You can brief them on the tasks and then open the breakout rooms.
To do this, click on the breakout rooms icon from the meeting control bar
From the breakout rooms settings window, click Open
When opened, participants will be rejoined into that meeting automatically.
You can open rooms individually by hovering over the room name and clicking the ellipsis and choosing Open Room.
What Happens to Late Joiners or Reconnects?
If someone joins a meeting after you have opened the rooms, or perhaps a participant dropped from the room accidentally and rejoins they are joined back into the master meeting.
To move them back into their designated room, expand the room by clicking on the room name in the Breakout Rooms setting window, find their name and click the ‘i’ icon and select Ask to Join
Alternatively, the participant can rejoin the room themselves by clicking on the Join Room button that will appear on their Teams meeting window
Send an Announcement to All Rooms
As a presenter, you cannot be in multiple rooms at once, so sending a broadcast announcement to all rooms is the most efficient way to communicate call to actions. You can do this by clicking on the megaphone icon in the breakout rooms settings blade, enter your message and press Send
This shows as a message bubble in each room and also in the meeting chat of the breakout room
Join a Breakout Room
As the organiser, you can join breakout rooms to check on their progress. Click on the breakout room you wish to join and then click on the ellipsis (…) and press Join Room
The master meeting you are will be put on hold while you join the breakout room. To return to the master meeting, press Leave on the breakout room meeting window and then resume in the master meeting window.
You can close a room or all rooms at once. To close all rooms, press the purple close button. To close an individual room, highlight the room, click the ellipsis and select Close Room
After 10 seconds, all room participants will return to the master meeting.
You can reopen the rooms again in the same meeting, add more, rename them, re-assign all through the in meeting window controls.