How to set up breakout rooms in Teams

Breakout rooms are perfect for dividing large teams into focused groups. Whether it’s brainstorming sessions or private briefings, dedicated rooms offer the flexibility to do more with your virtual space. You can set up a breakout room in Microsoft Teams by following this simple guide:

  • Go to ‘Rooms’ as an organizer or manager.
  • Click ‘Create rooms.’
  • Assign participants if adding ‘manually.’
  • Click Open’ to open the room.

Please continue reading for a visual, in-depth guide on setting up breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams.

Table of Contents

Who can set up a breakout room?
Create a breakout room.
How to manage a breakout room.
How to set presenters.
How to take control of breakout rooms.

Who can set up a breakout room?

While presenters can run a breakout room, only organizers and managers can create them. The organizer assigns the manager, and the organizer is the person who sets up the Teams meeting. Currently, Microsoft Teams allows only one organizer for each meeting. However, co-organizers are available in the Teams public preview features.

Note: Only one person can manage breakout rooms at a time.

STEP 1 – Create a breakout room

In this section, you will learn how to create a breakout room. As previously discussed, you must be an organizer to follow this guide. You will also need to assign participants to the breakout rooms before they can be opened. This part of the guide is for creating breakout rooms during a meeting.

  • Start your meeting and invite your participants.
  • Click ‘Rooms‘ at the top.
  • A box titled ‘Create breakout rooms‘ will appear.
  • Choose how many rooms to create (a).
  • Select to assign participants ‘Automatically‘ (b) or ‘Manually.’
  • Click ‘Create rooms‘ (c).
Create rooms.

Your new rooms will now appear on the right side of the screen. You can view these rooms by clicking the ‘Rooms‘ icon on the top menu.

Assign participants manually

If you need to select which participants to assign to a specific room, continue reading this section. To carry on with the automatic assignment, please skip to STEP 2.

  • Click on the ‘Rooms‘ icon at the top.
  • Click the ‘Assign participants‘ button on the right side.
Assign participants.
  • A box titled ‘Assign participants to breakout rooms‘ will appear.
  • Click ‘Unassigned‘ next to the participant’s name and select a room from the drop-down menu.
  • Then click ‘Assign.’

STEP 2 – How to manage a breakout room

An organizer or manager can only open a breakout room after participants have been assigned to the room. Note that the option to ‘Open‘ the room is unavailable.

Room features.
1 – The room can only be opened when participants have been assigned.
2 – Click the + icon to add new rooms.
3 – The announcement feature can only be used when rooms are open.
4 – You can use the recreate rooms feature to create new rooms with new settings.
5 – The bin icon will delete all breakout rooms and cannot be used while rooms are open.
6 – Room settings will apply to all breakout rooms, and you cannot alter them while rooms are open.

Assign a room manager:

• Toggle on ‘Assign presenters to manage rooms.’

Use this feature to allow a presenter to create breakout rooms and assign participants.
Only one presenter can be made into a ‘manager‘ at a time.

Set a time limit:

Choose how people enter and leave:

Save your settings:
• Click the back button next to ‘Settings‘ to save.

1. To assign presenters to manage breakout rooms, you must invite them directly.
2. Direct invitations are made through the app, not using invitation links.
3. This feature only works in the Desktop version.
  • When participants are assigned, click ‘Open‘ to open the room.
Open and close rooms.
  • Click ‘Close‘ to close all open rooms.
  • Right-click a room and select ‘Close room‘ from the menu to close rooms individually.
Close room.
  • Right-click the room you want to join and select ‘Join room‘ from the menu.

STEP 3 – How to set presenters in a breakout room

When you join a breakout room, a new window will open that looks like the lobby with its own menu at the top. You will also notice a ‘Leave‘ button in the top-right corner.

Set specific people as presenters

  • Head up to the top menu in the breakout room and click ‘People.’
  • A menu titled ‘Participants‘ will appear on the right side.
  • Look down the list of participants to find who to set as a presenter.
  • Right-click the participant’s name or click on the three dots.
  • Then choose ‘Make a presenter‘ from the drop-down menu.
Make a presenter.
Note: you can use the same method to turn a participant into an attendee.

Assign presenters to a breakout room

Now that your presenters have been set, you can assign them to a breakout room. This can be done through the ‘Meeting options,’ which are accessible by organizers.

  • Head up to the menu and click ‘More.’
  • Then select ‘Meeting options‘ from the drop-down menu.
Meeting options.
  • A menu titled ‘Meeting options‘ will appear on the right side of the screen.
  • Scroll down to ‘Who can present?‘ and click the down arrow next to ‘Everyone.’
  • Select ‘Specific people‘ from the drop-down menu.
Who can present?
Everyone assigned to the breakout room will be automatically set as a presenter. This means they can be selected by the organizer to take control of the room. Being a presenter does not give you automatic control of a room. Presenters must be assigned to a room before they can present.
People in my organization and guests:
Everyone assigned to the breakout room will be automatically set as an attendee. Only people in your organization or people you set as a presenter can be assigned to a breakout room.
Specific people:
Only people you specifically set as a presenter can be assigned to a breakout room.
Only me:
Only the organizer can take control of a breakout room.

Choose specific people

  • Select ‘Specific people‘ from the drop-down menu.
  • An option to ‘Choose presenters‘ will appear.
  • Click the drop-down arrow or type in the presenter’s name to assign a presenter to the room.
  • Click ‘Save.’
Save meeting options.

STEP 4 – How to take control of breakout rooms

If you have been directly invited to the meeting and you are set as a presenter, you can choose to take control of the breakout rooms. First, the organizer needs to set up the breakup rooms with managing enabled.

  • Create your breakout rooms.
  • Make sure your presenter is assigned to the room (‘Assign participants‘).
  • Click the settings icon.
  • Click to toggle on ‘Assign presenters to manage rooms.’
  • Click the back arrow to save settings.
  • Open the rooms.

Now your presenter should have the option to view ‘Rooms‘ and ‘Manage Rooms.’ Please note that only one person can manage breakout rooms at a given time.

  • Click ‘Manage rooms.’
  • Then click ‘Take over.’


Before the meeting begins, it’s important to take some time to think about how you want the meeting to be organized. If you have a large group and you need to assign them to randomized breakout rooms, then set your rooms to assign people automatically. Once the breakout rooms have been created, new participants can be assigned manually by the organizer or the manager.

Thanks for reading.

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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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