Breakout rooms generally available today in Microsoft Teams

Published Dec 09 2020 06:00 AM 900K Views

Creating meaningful connection can be difficult in larger group settings. Breakout rooms allow organizers to divide the meeting into sub-groups to facilitate discussions and brainstorming sessions.


We are excited to share that Breakout rooms are generally available in Microsoft Teams today (available in GCC this week).


The meeting organizer can create up to 50 breakout rooms and choose to automatically or manually assign participants into rooms. The organizer can start a breakout room in a Teams meeting or a Teams channel meeting, allowing greater flexibility on how you want to meet.

Create Breakout room.png


Using the breakout room settings, the meeting organizer can choose to allow participants to come back to the main meeting at any time, then return to the assigned breakout room. This way participants can ask a clarifying question without disturbing the breakout room discussions.


Also, organizers can use the setting to re-create breakout rooms in the same meeting. This allows them to assign participants into new room setups.

Recreate breakout rooms.png


The meeting organizer can create, rename, and delete rooms as needed.

Rename Breakout room.png


Once the breakout rooms are open, meeting organizers can join any of the breakout sessions. And should the need arise, you can quickly switch attendees in between breakout rooms.

Switch breakout rooms.png


Organizers can send announcements to the breakout rooms, and recall all participants back to the main meeting at any time.

Announcement in Breakout rooms.png


Since breakout rooms are Teams meetings, all the innovation that makes Teams meetings inclusive, interactive, and intelligent are available within. Attendees can discuss a topic in their breakout room while in a virtual coffee shop in Together mode. Or students can bring up the Microsoft Whiteboard and draw out their ideas. This is also true of our security features that help make your Teams meetings a safe and secure place to meet.

Breakout Room Whiteboard.png


Any files from the breakout rooms can be shared in the main meeting once everyone is back together and will be available afterwards in the meeting chat.

Meeting chat from breakout rooms.png


Who can start a breakout room?

  • Only the meeting organizer can start breakout rooms.

How can I use breakout rooms?

  • The meeting organizer can start a breakout room on the desktop client only.
  • Participants can join a breakout room from desktop, web or mobile. Microsoft Teams Rooms do not have breakout room capabilities yet.
  • Participants logged in from multiple devices will have all end points join the same breakout room.

How do I make sure I can start using breakout rooms?

I’m an educator, what will my students be able to do?

  • Educators will have the option to push students into the breakout rooms and pull them back to the main meeting, without any additional action needed by the student.
  • Students can be assigned to breakout rooms, join breakout rooms, use the whiteboard or screen share if allowed to in normal school meetings, re-join the main meeting, and see their breakout room chat.
  • Since breakout rooms are Teams meetings, the same security policies and options apply to the breakout room.
  • Learn more about using breakout rooms at your school or university here.

Last link/URL is not working : here (


Way to go :party_popper:!

Senior Member

Excited for this functionality. Hopefully some future enhancements include:

  • Presenters being able to start breakout rooms
  • Users with phone audio being added to breakout rooms
Occasional Visitor

We 100% need the option to pre-assign students and/or staff members to breakout rooms when the calendar invite is initially created. Please create an update where an option is to "Create Breakout Rooms" and then prompts us "Pre-Assign Participants?" or something of that nature. 

Senior Member

Not being able to assign participants to rooms, or even create rooms, ahead of the meeting starting is a massive oversight, in my opinion. Some uses we've been looking forward to using this feature with include internal happy hour events with contractors we hire, where we may have > 200 contractors, supporting various projects, that we'd like to move to project, or client, specific rooms. We'd hoped to be able to set the room attendance before the meeting, but now will have to do so during the meeting itself. 

Senior Member

Sala de descanso ??


In portuguese-BR, We are seeing a text called "Sala de descanso". This is the same as Rest room

Frequent Contributor

Found this in my tenant today.  Yahoo!

Question: Is this only available for new meetings?  In other words, I assume that existing recurring meetings would have to be cancelled and re-created to get this functionality.  Am I right?

I just a blogged how to guide for Breakout Rooms, covering the usual scenarios.


I will be updating the guide as needed and when I get more scenarios tested out.

Senior Member

That was lightning quick, thanks much @Vesa Nopanen !


Hopefully the ability to pre-assign attendees to breakout rooms is on the roadmap. Not only for class meetings, but also for school staff training days etc.

Senior Member

Agreed, that would be fantastic. So far this is an excellent start

Pre-assigned attendees for breakout rooms through the 'meeting options' experience + allowing other people to manage the breakout rooms would be ACE.

Super Contributor

@Microsoft_Teams_team, finally it is here and about time! I did test it a little bit today and it seems easy and smooth. I agree with the above that pre-assigning attendees to breakout rooms would be great!

Occasional Visitor

Thanks so much for this - the functionality looks like a great start to a much-requested new functionality!


And of course I'm gonna be "that guy" who says "more more" and pile on to the "pre-assign users" capability. I'd also love the ability to be able to allow users to freely switch themselves between breakout rooms. We use breakouts regularly for planning events, and there are a number of participants who want / need to float between rooms. Having to go through a meeting organizer could be a bottleneck. 

New Contributor

@Microsoft_Teams_team  really great to see this available. Thanks for all your hard work on this mega feature!


There are a number of additional features that I think would help this align to the competition (e.g. Zoom, Webex Training Center) and present this as viable alternative for our training and large workshops. I know many people who would want to see this functionality in large corporates:


- Option to pre-assign people to break-out rooms

- Option to pre-create break-out rooms in advance

- Option to allow attendees to move themselves freely between breakout rooms for large workshops rather than organiser moving people e.g. Scaled Agile PI Planning sessions - we can do this in Webex Training Center but would prefer to use the more rich functionality of an Ms. Teams meeting

Senior Member

@heidiwright @chrimorg @Rhys Williams @PapaMark @NLondonLem Watch the video below from 13:30 to see the pre-assign feature coming soon! 


@Microsoft_Teams_team Great work guys, much needed feature!


Agree with the need to pre-assign people to a room. 


You can do it by setting up the meeting, then immediately joining the meeting - as you can only assign in a live meeting (so it seems) you need to make the meeting live. It's a weird way to do it but it works. 


Hopefully, there is more sophisticated functionality on its way!! 


@chrimorg I suspect it has to do with the mapping.  Pre-scheduling Zoom breakout rooms often does not work because you can't anticipate whether someone is coming in with their authenticated login or something else.   It only works if you require authentication for your meetings.

Not applicable

I am having problems trying this new functionality out.


I have tried inviting a guest who joined via Google Chrome web browser and I want to assign them to a room. They should have access as web access is an option yet It states 'this person is using a device or app version that does not support breakout rooms'



Also as the meeting organiser I have created some breakout rooms, assigned users and then tried to open a room. I am getting an error message saying I don't have access to this room



Occasional Visitor

Thanks for this feature - been waiting since June so this is a nice Christmas present. I agree with the other comments regarding pre-assigning participants to rooms in meeting options, and allowing floating participants, but I understand this is in development (Thanks @Blue_Brumie for pointing this out.)  :smile:

Having a registration system for external guests would be great too and would help with creating breakout rooms.


This is awesome, and I cannot wait to test it out. Hopefully they will be able to add the option of allowing people to select which breakout room they'd like to join. That is a new option in Zoom and would be nice to see it come to Teams as well. :)

Occasional Visitor

I'm going to jump on this train and reiterate that creating groups BEFORE the meeting is absolutely necessary. As a teacher with a fully inclusive high school classroom (students ranging from second grade to college level abilities in the same class), it is imperative that I be able to group students thoughtfully and systematically. This cannot happen on the fly during a class in which a lull in activity for assigning groups will result in students mentally checking out. I was really excited for this update and now, the air has been let out of my balloon. 


This is a great new feature thanks Microsoft Teams Team! I echo the other feature requests but will add.

-allow an alt meet host to create breakout rooms should the organizer not be able to attend or to help the meeting organizer. I can see this alt host feature being helpful for other features that only the organizer can do.


Occasional Visitor

What is the maximum capacity PER breakout room?

Occasional Visitor

Great to hear it's finally available but why can it not be accessed via a browser? I'm a facilitator who accesses teams under more than 1 email with many guest accesses, and have to have versions via browser too.

This has limited functionality which is very hard to manage. Please either extend functionality or allow the app to be accessed from more than 1 microsoft account! 


How can I check if my tenant is eligible for breakout rooms? As of now, no one sees the option (fastest update channel selected).

Senior Member

As others have said, there is room from improvement but it's great to see the feature at last.  Definitely need the ability to prepare rooms prior to meeting start!



Very good development. I have a question. Can I set a co-organisator?

Thank you in advance


May I know if this breakout function applies to Teams Live event?

Occasional Visitor

Thank you Microsoft for this great feature


Been testing breakout rooms today and it works great! However, I can't see the option to create breakout rooms in channel meetings at the moment, only in non-channel meetings. Is this a bug or is the feature not completely rolled out yet?

Occasional Visitor

In a breakout room, can students turn the recording off?


For those talking about setting up rooms BEFORE, it *appears* you can kind of do this now, but this is just my saying this because of some testing I did yesterday. I created a new Teams meeting and got it on the calendar with a single invitee. I then went in to "join" it from the calendar, and so even though the true meeting was scheduled for the future, I was able to go in and set up/name the breakout rooms. I left and went back in and saw the rooms/names were still there. So it is definitely NOT an ideal way to do it, but it seems possible with this workaround. I'd be curious to hear from others after you test it out. :)


@Mattias Skog Interesting- I had noticed the same when I tried to use the new polling feature w/ Forms. I am wondering (hoping!) that channel meetings will be an option soon, as those are often my favorite kinds of meetings to set up for our user group. Fingers crossed that channel meetings will be an option for all these cool new Teams meeting features. :)

Super Contributor

@Grahama1325, A user can access breakout rooms via the browser, but an organizer can't currently setup breakout rooms from a browser.


Also, @AKIMF, if you aren't seeing it and are an admin ensure users can schedule private meetings with the following settings:

  1. Allow scheduling private meeting = on
  2. Allow Meet now in private meeting = on
  3. Allow channel meeting scheduling = on
  4. Allow meet now in channels = on

Also, as a user 

  1. Checking the “Turn on new meeting experience” option within General settings, close and restart teams. If all of that is there, maybe for some reason your tenant hasn't been updated and if so, open a support ticket with Microsoft.

Fantastic! However we have pivoted our events to Teams Live Events, is this a feature that will be integrated into the live events platform soon? It would be very useful for larger events. Thank you! 

Senior Member

Need to ability to assign an second organizer. If the organizer cannot attend, someone else should be able to have controls to breakout rooms.


Moderators should be able to manage breakout rooms. Or allow to set at least two organizers to any meeting.

Super Contributor

Thanks @Edu_aspe, I would have assumed this was possible but hadn't had a chance to test it.

I like how the screenshots all have a date of 2018 in the lower right corner.

Senior Member

Well Done!  I think MS Teams checked most of the boxes for ease of use Breakout rooms.  Thank You! For L&D this feature was a must have... Now we have it

Occasional Visitor

I am wondering if anyone can confirm what the parameters are for recording. I work in an educational setting and, specifically, teachers are wondering if there are situational restrictions for students to record in teacher-initiated breakouts. Does anyone know?

Occasional Visitor

Are Breakout Rooms available for Teams for Work, or is this only for Teams for Education? I tried updating, and I don't see the Breakout Rooms icon. 

Super Contributor

@RICHARD_POLK, breakout rooms has rolled out for Teams for Work as we have a work tenant and we have it.

This is so exciting! Our L&D team have been waiting for this. A great early Christmas present.

Occasional Visitor

@Jeffrey Allen Thank you. We have not been able to get it to show up yet. I guess we will need to wait and see if the update comes through. Thank you for the response. I appreciate it. 

Occasional Visitor

This is such an awesome feature.

I'm trying out and thinking how to apply to our use cases.


One thing that we want in future is an ability for participants to select which breakout room to join.

For example when planning for our product we frequently switch between gathering in one place and talking in each teams, and having this feature will perfectly fit in the use case.


Anyway thanks for the great work.

Occasional Visitor


Great stuff with the following questions:

When setting up a meeting from a group calendar, the feature is missing. As many events are set up by admin teams, this needs further refinement, maybe going together with the following feature: Making someone co-host / co-organisator so that several people can assign participants to breakout rooms

Occasional Contributor

Woohooo - this is great!


I haven't been able to find out how many participants can fit into 1 breakout room - anyone know?

Occasional Contributor

:cool:Thank you so much for deploying this great feature - we're waiting since month! 

Occasional Visitor

So if I join a meeting via my desktop but have the meeting call my phone for the audio, I can't be put into a breakout room?  This is a major flaw for our use, professional training where often our participants will join via there phone because they are attending the class in a common area.

Version history
Last update:
‎Jan 26 2021 11:16 AM
Updated by: