All you need to know about Zoom Breakout Rooms

Learning how to use Zoom's breakout rooms is essential for running meetings efficiently. Breakout rooms are separate, exclusive sessions from your main Zoom meeting. The main session's host can choose which attendees to place in certain breakout rooms.

Breaking into smaller groups for more focused discussions is a characteristic of in-person meetings, and Zoom’s Breakout Rooms feature allows you to bring that dynamic meeting structure to the digital space that enhances the experience of virtual team building activities.

Breakout Rooms is one of Zoom Meetings’ most popular services, and they’re always adding new features to provide users the greatest experience possible and to overcome Zoom fatigue. Zoom has added the ability for meeting attendees to choose which video Breakout Room they want to attend.

The meeting host had to allocate a member to a Breakout Room previously. Participants can now move freely between Breakout Rooms without needing the host’s assistance when the Self-Select Breakout Rooms option is activated by the host (the host and participants have to be on Zoom 5.3.0 or later).

That’s just one of Zoom’s Breakout Rooms’ most recent enhancements. There are also plenty of other unique features packed into this strong collaboration platform. Here’s all you need to know about Breakout Rooms, so you can use them effectively in your next Zoom class or conference.

P.S. Check out our collection of 120+ icebreaker questions for your next Zoom meet.

What are Zoom Breakout Rooms?

Zoom Breakout Room is a feature that allows you to split your Zoom meeting to up to 50 smaller sessions, which enable focused discussions and improve collaboration among smaller groups.

How to enable Zoom Breakout Rooms?

Navigate to your Account Settings by going to and signing in with your Zoom credentials. You can enable the Breakout Room function under In Meeting (Advanced). Once enabled, click the “Breakout Rooms” icon in the lower right-hand corner of your toolbar to establish breakout rooms during your meetings. If you can’t find the option to enable Breakout Rooms, request your system administrator to enable it for you.

Zoom breakout rooms tutorial

How to  pre-assign breakout rooms while scheduling a meeting?

When arranging a meeting, the meeting host may be authorised to assign Breakout Rooms ahead of time. This option is ideal for hosts who already have a plan for grouping their guests.

To schedule a meeting using pre-assigned Breakout Rooms, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure the option “Allow the host to assign participants to Breakout Rooms when scheduling” is turned on.
  2. Navigate to Meeting Options and activate the “Breakout Rooms pre-assign” option when scheduling a new meeting.
  3. Then choose “Create Rooms” to manually set up rooms and assign participants based on their email addresses, or “Import from CSV” to import your Breakout Rooms and participants into a CSV template.
  4. Do you want to give each Breakout Room a name? Then, on the Breakout Room of your choice, click the pencil symbol to rename the room.
  5. Before continuing to schedule your meeting, click Save after you’ve created your Breakout Rooms and assigned your participants.

how to do breakout rooms on zoom

How to create Breakout Rooms within a meeting?

The host or co-host can access the following options for managing Breakout Rooms by clicking on the Breakout Rooms icon in the meeting toolbar:

  • Automatic vs. manual room creation — Automatic room creation will automatically create your Breakout Rooms, randomly assigning participants to rooms or assigning them to their pre-assigned rooms. Manual room creation allows you to personally create each room and assign users to each one.
  • Move participants — Participants can be moved by simply selecting their names and assigning them to a different room.
  • Delete room — If you select this option, the Breakout Room you’ve chosen will be deleted. It does not, however, remove the attendees in that room from the meeting. Participants will be placed back into the queue to be placed into another Breakout Room whenever a room is deleted.
  • Recreate - With this option, you may start over by randomly rebuilding your Breakout Rooms and automatically arranging participants into rooms. You can also recreate the Breakout Rooms from scratch.

Zoom breakout room tips

Options for Setting up Breakout Rooms

There is an Options menu inside the Breakout Room panel with elements to let you design the Breakout Room experience. These are some options:

  • Move all participants to Breakout Rooms — When you pick the Open All Rooms option, this option instantly moves all participants to a Breakout Room, allowing you to establish Breakout Rooms on the fly.
  • Set a timer — You can set a timer for your Breakout Rooms so that when the countdown expires, everyone is forced to return to the main session. This is an ideal choice for group projects or brainstorming sessions.
  • Countdown before Breakout Rooms are closed — This option displays a visible countdown to when participants in breakout Rooms will be returning to the main session, providing them the time they need to wrap up the conversation.
  • Permit participants to return to the main session at any time – This option allows participants for returning to the main session at any time without being restricted by time limits.

Zoom breakout room session

How to increase the capacity of Breakout Rooms?

Breakout Rooms with a 100-room capacity in a meeting and the ability to assign up to 1,000 people between those rooms can be accessed by contacting your Zoom account representative.


Zoom Breakout Rooms improve meeting efficiency and helps in organising more productive Zoom meetings. Knowing when and how to use Zoom Breakout rooms will help you and your team save a lot of time! To further improve your work efficiency, cut down on Zoom meetings and try asynchronous daily stand-ups and task management on Slack with Ricotta.

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