How to set up breakout rooms in advance in Teams

A new feature in Microsoft Teams allows organizers to create breakout rooms in advance. This handy feature allows you to build the meeting structure without keeping your attendees waiting. So in this article, we’ll look at how to create and manage breakout rooms in advance using the Desktop version of Teams.

The method:

  • Schedule a Teams meeting.
  • Go to your calendar and double-click the scheduled meeting.
  • At the top, click ‘Breakout rooms.’
  • Then click ‘Create rooms.’

Please continue reading for a visual, step-by-step guide on creating and managing breakout rooms before the meeting begins.

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STEP 1 – Schedule a meeting to set up breakout rooms in advance

This step will cover the basics of scheduling a Teams meeting. To start this guide, please open Microsoft Teams and navigate to the ‘Teams‘ tab in the window’s top-left corner. If you know how to schedule a meeting, please head down to STEP 2.

  • Click the drop-down arrow next to ‘Meet.’
  • Select ‘Schedule a meeting‘ from the drop-down menu.

Or.

  • Click the video icon.
  • Then select ‘Schedule a meeting.’
Schedule a meeting.
Note: breakout rooms can only be pre-managed when the meeting has been scheduled.
  • Add a title for the meeting.
  • Enter the names or emails of the attendees (required).
  • Then click the ‘Send‘ button.
Send new meeting invitation.
  • Now head over to the left menu and click on ‘Calendar.’
  • Then locate and double-click your Teams meeting.
Go to calendar and double-click your meeting.

STEP 2 – Create rooms and assign participants

In this step, we’ll focus on creating breakout rooms and assigning participants. If you skipped STEP 1, please head over to the ‘Calendar‘ and double-click your scheduled Teams meeting. Alternatively, you can right-click your meeting and select ‘Edit‘ from the menu.

  • If you can’t see a link for ‘Breakout rooms‘ on the next page, expand your application window to its maximum width. Alternatively, click on ‘More‘ and select ‘Breakout rooms.’
Go to Breakout rooms.
  • Next, click the ‘Create rooms‘ button at the bottom of the next page.
Create rooms.
  • A pop-up box will ask, ‘How many rooms do you need?
  • Click the number in the select box to choose how many rooms to create.
    • By default, the app will set the number of rooms to 2.
  • Click the ‘Add rooms‘ button.
Add rooms.
  • Next, click the ‘Assign participants‘ button.
Assign participants.

On the next page, you will be given the option of assigning participants automatically (default) or manually. In this guide, we will assign participants manually.

  • Select ‘Manually‘ and then click the ‘Next‘ button.
Select Manually then click Next.
  • You will see a list of participants ordered alphabetically.
  • Click ‘Unassigned‘ next to their names and select a room to assign them to.

To assign all participants to a room:

  • Click the top-left checkbox.
  • Then click ‘Assign‘ in the top-right.
  • Then select a room from the drop-down menu.
Assign all to room 1.
  • Finally, click the ‘Assign‘ button.
Assign button.

STEP 3 – Assign presenters and room managers of the breakout rooms in advance

In this section, we’ll look at room management. We will cover how to assign presenters to the rooms and create room managers to help with assigning new participants. First, let’s look at all the options available in the ‘Breakout rooms‘ window.

  • Locate and click the three dots inside the breakout room box.
  • You will find the options: Edit, Settings, and Delete.
EditChange the name of the room.
SettingsOpens a new browser tab where you can change the meeting settings.
DeleteDelete the room.
Note: Any changes you make will only be applied to that particular room.
Room options.
  • You will notice four icons in the top-right corner of the window.
  • Changes you make to options 2, 3, and 4 will be applied to all rooms.
Global options.
  1. Add a new room.
  2. Recreate the rooms.
  3. Delete the rooms.
  4. Change the settings for all rooms.
  • Click the settings icon (4).
  • Toggle on ‘Assign presenters to manage rooms.’
  • Then click the drop-down arrow next to ‘Search for presenters.’
  • Select your presenters (you can choose more than one presenter).
  • Click the ‘X‘ in the top-right corner to close the window and save your changes.
Add breakout room managers.

What does this do?

Presenters can be assigned as breakout room managers. That means they can help you create and manage breakout rooms.

By default, all participants are presenters. Go back to the three dots on your breakout room and click ‘Settings‘ from the drop-down menu to change this setting. When the new browser window opens, look for ‘Who can present?

  • Click on ‘Everyone.’
  • To select people yourself, choose ‘Specific people.’
Who can present?
  • A new option called ‘Choose presenters‘ will appear.
  • Click ‘Search for participants.’
  • Select your presenters.
Note: people you have assigned as room managers will not appear on the list.
Search for participants.
  • Finally, head down to the bottom of the page and click the ‘Save.’ button.
Save button.
Read more: Who can manage breakout rooms in Teams?

STEP 4 – Reconfigure breakout room setup

If you need two rooms, but you created one, or if you assigned someone to the wrong room, don’t worry. You can change everything with just a few clicks. So in this section, we’ll show you how to add new attendees, create new rooms, and reassign participants.

Add new attendees

  • Click on ‘Details‘ or ‘More‘ > ‘Details‘ in the top menu.
  • Add new names or emails to the attendees’ box.
  • Then head up and click the ‘Send update‘ button.
Add new attendees and then click the Send update button.
  • From ‘Calendar,’ double-click your meeting again and go back to ‘Breakout rooms.’
  • New name icons will appear next to the ‘Assign participants‘ button.
Assign participants.
Note: All unassigned participants will be listed next to the ‘Assign participants‘ button.

Reassign participants

Before we reassign the participants, let’s create a new room. Head up to the four icons in the top-right and click on the plus (+) icon. You will notice a new room has appeared in the window. Now we can reassign the participants.

  • Click the ‘Assign participants‘ button.
  • Reassign participants by changing their rooms under the ‘Room‘ heading.
  • You can remove all participants from rooms by setting them to ‘Unassigned.’

Conclusion

Setting up your breakout rooms in advance is a practical, time-saving tool that won’t keep your participants waiting. You have the complete flexibility to manage rooms, presenters, and managers, and you can even change the rooms to assign participants automatically if you selected manually to begin with.

  • Click the recreate icon if you need to change the way participants are assigned.
  • Then click the ‘Recreate‘ button when prompted to confirm.
Recreate.
  • Select how many rooms you need then click the ‘Add rooms‘ button.
Add rooms.
  • Next, head back up and click the ‘Assign participants‘ button.
Assign participants button.
  • You will now have the option of assigning participants ‘Automatically‘ or ‘Manually.’
  • Select ‘Automatically‘ and then click the ‘Next’ button.
Automatically.

As you return to the breakout rooms window, you can now see that your participants have been evenly and automatically assigned to the breakout rooms.

Thanks for reading.

John Gleave

John Gleave has been a researcher, content writer, and senior editor at Business Tech Planet since 2022. John was formerly a data analyst and web designer with expertise in several programming languages, such as JavaScript, JQuery, PHP, CSS, SQL, and more! With a passion for writing and technology, he has now focused his skills on crafting tech guides for BTP. You can connect with John on LinkedIn.

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