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Here’s All About The Microsoft Teams Breakout Rooms – The Great Features

4 Min. Read

Microsoft breakout rooms changed the meeting game. They enable dividing visitors into several online rooms for discussion and collaboration.

However, you can only use breakout rooms if you’re the meeting organizer of a new or existing meeting in Microsoft Teams.

Moreover, remember that Microsoft isn’t done with perfecting this utility. They’re still improving the features of their Microsoft Teams breakout rooms.

So, make sure you compare the information in this article with current information available on Microsoft’s official website and ensure you’re getting the updates.

Now, let’s learn more about Microsoft Teams breakout rooms.

Microsoft Teams Breakout Rooms: All You Need to Know

In December 2020, Microsoft Teams have introduced breakout rooms, and everyone loves this new feature. They make organizing meetings easier, separating team members into rooms for talking and working. However, they’re the only ones who can use breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams.

Simply put, if you’re interested in using breakout rooms, you should be the one who arranges the meetings. Otherwise, you can’t enjoy their amazing benefits.

Meeting organizers have the option of creating different breakout rooms, assigning people to different rooms for more focused small-group discussion, and much more. When they’re done, they can just shut down the breakout rooms.

The attendees assigned to different rooms rejoin the introductory meeting and share their ideas, thoughts, suggestions, opinions, and findings with the rest.

Microsoft Teams recently introduced new features for Microsoft Teams breakout rooms.

If you’re interested in learning how breakout rooms work, keep reading.

How Do You Create a Breakout Room in MS Teams?

Microsoft Teams has been a lifesaver for enterprises that took their business online and needed a stable and trusted communication platform. It’s exceptional for virtual meetings, especially in today’s hybrid environment.

However, when you must discuss various topics in a large group at once, recreating the convenience of in-person meetings, which includes breaking up into groups and discussing the subject in question, can be challenging.

That’s where Microsoft Teams breakout rooms kick in and save the day. The rooms provide a sub-meeting environment within the main meeting for organizers to split people, discuss one topic at a time, brainstorm, etc.

Breakout rooms can benefit all organizations, especially those with many members and sub-groups. They’re also excellent for teachers or instructors looking for simple yet effective ways of dividing students into smaller groups.

Important note: Only meeting organizers can create breakout rooms on desktops.

Moreover, you can create breakout rooms before or during meetings as the meeting organizer. Now, let’s learn how to create breakout rooms in detail.

Please note that organizing a meeting with breakout rooms is currently only available in the Teams for Education desktop app for Windows or Mac. Make sure you have updated to the latest version.

> Support for breakout rooms for Microsoft Teams Rooms on Android is coming by January 2023.

Creating Breakout Rooms Before the Meeting

First, you want to open the meeting to which you wish to add your breakout rooms. Click the “Breakout Rooms” rectangle icon at the top of your meeting window.

Creating Breakout Rooms in Microsoft Teams
Creating Breakout Rooms in Microsoft Teams

Determine how many rooms you want (you can choose between 1 to 50 rooms) and then click “Create Rooms”, you can add individual rooms by clicking the plus icon in the upper right-hand corner.

You can even name your rooms differently if that’s something you prefer.

Moreover, you can delete rooms if you have too many by selecting the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of your room.

Once you’re done making the breakout rooms, assign participants to each one. You can set your participants manually or automatically.

If you prefer the manual option, check the list of participants and choose the room in which you want each person assigned.

To enhance your meeting experience, customize your breakout room settings by clicking the wheel on the top-right of your breakout room pane.

You can set a time limit or assign members to manage rooms in the settings. When you place a time limit, each attendee will see their time in the breakout room. You can even change the name of each room by clicking “rename room.”

As noted earlier, today Microsoft Teams allows the creation of up to 50 breakout rooms.

Creating Breakout Rooms During the Meeting

If you didn’t create your breakout rooms beforehand, don’t fret; you can also create breakout rooms during the meeting. Just follow the same steps above, and you’re set.

Let’s discuss the assigning part and other things you can do within your rooms.

Assigning Participants

If you create your rooms automatically, your participants will be split into your rooms evenly. However, you can add participants in and out of rooms at any time.

Remember that if you pick the manual creation of breakout rooms, you won’t get the automatic option afterward.

You can assign participants to their rooms one by one or mark the checkbox next to their names and assign them at once.

Assigning Participants to breakout rooms
Assigning Participants to breakout rooms

Once they’re a part of their breakout room, participants can use features like Whiteboard and Together mode to make meetings more interactive and effective.

Using Breakout Rooms During the Meeting

As the meeting organizer, you can enter any breakout room anytime. Select the one you wish to participate in and select “join room”.

Additionally, you can share announcements with all breakout rooms.

For instance, you can notify each room of their remaining breakout sessions. Just click on the megaphone icon, write your assignment, and send the message.

The announcement will show up at the top of each breakout room.

Lastly, you can recreate and delete breakout rooms. The refresh arrow button takes care of the recreation while the trash bin icon deletes rooms.

Closing Your Breakout Rooms

Once you’re done, you can close all your breakout rooms simultaneously or one by one. Select “close rooms” for ending all at once or close each one with a status that says “open” manually.

Closing Breakout Rooms in Microsoft Teams
Closing Breakout Rooms in Microsoft Teams

Afterward, you can access all shared files and discussions in the chat tab of Microsoft Teams of the breakout rooms, so all members can continue the conversation and access everything even after the meeting.

So, What’s the Purpose of Break Out Rooms?

Breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams can benefit meeting organizers and participants.

They help attendees meet in smaller groups outside the main meeting and provide different features that make the whole process easier for everyone.

The only downside is that Microsoft says they’re still under construction.

The company plans to add more features that will make breakout rooms even easier to use, so in a way, that’s not such a bad thing after all.

Thank you for reading my blog.

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment.

-Charbel Nemnom-

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About the Author
Charbel Nemnom
Charbel Nemnom is a Senior Cloud Architect, Swiss Certified ICT Security Expert, Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), and Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT). He has over 20 years of broad IT experience serving on and guiding technical teams to optimize the performance of mission-critical enterprise systems with extensive practical knowledge of complex systems build, network design, business continuity, and cloud security.

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