Managing breakout rooms

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Breakout rooms allow you to split your Zoom meeting in up to 50 separate sessions. The meeting host or co-host can choose to split the participants of the meeting into these separate sessions automatically or manually, or they can allow participants to select and enter breakout sessions as they please. You can also pre-assign participants to breakout rooms when you schedule the meeting instead of managing them during the meeting. The host or co-host can switch between sessions at any time, and monitor the level of activity in each room. Breakout room participants will have the same audio, video, and screen share capabilities as allowed in the main session. 

Prerequisites for managing breakout rooms

Standard breakout rooms

  • Breakout rooms enabled
  • Zoom desktop client, or web client
    • Windows: 3.5.31087.1102 or higher
    • macOS: 3.5.31087.1102 or higher
    • Linux: 2.0.81497.1116 or higher
    • Chrome: 2.4.943.510 or higher
  • Zoom Rooms
    • Windows: 5.8.0 (505) or higher
    • macOS: 5.8.0 (4055.0929) or higher
    • Appliances: 5.8.0 (293) or higher
    • iOS controller: 5.8.0 (110.0927) or higher
    • Android controller: 5.8.0 (898) or higher
  • Zoom web client

Self-select breakout rooms

  • Zoom desktop client
    • Windows: version 5.3.0 or higher
    • macOS: version 5.3.0 or higher
    • Linux: version 5.3.0 or higher
  • Zoom mobile app
    • Android: version 5.3.0 or higher
    • iOS: version 5.3.0 or higher
  • ChromeOS: version 5.0.0 (4241.1207) or higher 
  • Zoom web client

Full co-host control over breakout rooms

  • Zoom desktop client
    • Windows: version 5.4.6 or higher
    • macOS: version 5.4.6 or higher
    • Linux: version 5.4.6 or higher
      Note: Both host and co-host must be on version 5.4.6 or higher for this feature.
  •  

Creating, removing, and renaming breakout rooms after launch

  • Zoom desktop client
    • Windows: version 5.9.3 or higher
    • macOS: version 5.9.3 or higher
    • Linux: version 5.9.3 or higher

Notes:

  • This applies to the host, co-hosts, and breakout room participants.
  • Adjusting Breakout Rooms while they are open must be enabled for your account by Zoom, enabled in your Breakout Room settings, and have all participants connected through version 5.9.3 or higher. 

Saving breakout rooms for future use

Viewing activity statuses of participants in breakout rooms

  • Zoom desktop client
    • Windows: version 5.10.3 or higher
    • macOS: version 5.10.3 or higher
    • Linux: version 5.10.3 or higher

Limitations of Breakout Rooms

By default, only the host or co-host can assign participants to breakout rooms. They can choose to allow participants to choose their own room, but this must be done in the meeting when launching the breakout rooms. 

  Host Co-Host
Assigning*, starting, and ending breakout rooms
Move between breakout rooms
Broadcast message to all 
Notified of Requests for Help  
View activity statuses of participants

* While both the host and any co-hosts have the ability to assign participants to breakout rooms, only the first submitted set of assignments will be accepted upon clicking Open All Rooms

Users joined into the Zoom meeting from the Zoom Mobile App or H.323/SIP devices can participate in breakout rooms, but cannot manage them. 

If the meeting is being cloud recorded, it will only record the main meeting and none of the breakouts will be captured, regardless of what room the meeting host is in. It is currently only possible to record in breakout rooms with local recording. The host must allow specific participants to record locally and it will only record the room the participant who is recording is in. Multiple participants can be given permission to record locally.

You can create up to 50 breakout rooms. The maximum number of participants in a single breakout room depends on the meeting capacity, number of breakout rooms created, and if participants are assigned during the meeting or before the meeting.

These numbers only apply to breakout rooms created during a meeting. Up to 50 breakout rooms and up to 200 participants can be pre-assigned to breakout rooms.  

Number of breakout rooms Maximum number of participants who can be assigned to breakout rooms*
20 breakout rooms Up to 500 participants
30 breakout rooms Up to 400 participants
50 breakout rooms Up to 200 participants

*The maximum capacities listed require a Large Meeting add-on. If you do not have a Large Meeting add-on, the maximum number of participants is limited by your meeting capacity. 

Note: Zoom can increase the maximum capacity of your account's Breakout Rooms to allow up to 100 breakout rooms, with a maximum capacity of 1000 per breakout room (depending on account limits). This requires ALL participants to be on Zoom client version 5.2 or higher - anyone joining a meeting on your account who does not have Zoom client version 5.2 or higher will be required to update to join the meeting or join through the web client. If your users do not have administrative control of their computers, this will require assistance from your IT Department to update the client. This also affects the pre-assignment limits, raising them also to 100 rooms and 1000 participants. To have this feature enabled for your account, submit a request to Zoom Support.

How to create breakout rooms

Note: You can also pre-assign participants to breakout rooms when you schedule the meeting instead of managing them during the meeting.

  1. Start an instant or scheduled meeting.
  2. Click Breakout Rooms .
  3. Select the number of rooms you would like to create, and how you would like to assign your participants to those rooms:
    • Assign automatically: Let Zoom split your participants up evenly into each of the rooms.
      • Include co-host(s) to breakout rooms: Disabled by default, you can include any co-host(s) in the automatic assignment of breakout rooms.
        Note: This requires version 5.10.0 or higher. Hosts on a version below 5.10.0 will have co-host(s) assigned automatically to breakout rooms. 
    • Assign manually: Choose which participants you would like in each room.
    • Let participants choose room: Participants can select and enter rooms on their own. 
    • Load pre-assigned rooms: Choose from pre-assignments or previously saved assignments
  4. Click Create.
  5. Your rooms will be created, but will not start automatically. You can manage the rooms prior to starting them by following the instructions below.

Options for breakout rooms

  1. After creating the breakout rooms, click Options (on Windows) or the gear icon (on macOS) to view additional breakout rooms options.
  2. Check any options that you would like to use for your breakout rooms.
    • Allow participants to choose room: Participants can select and enter rooms on their own once rooms are launched. 
    • Allow participants to return to the main session at any time: If this option is checked, the participants can move back to the main session from their meeting controls. If this is disabled, they need to wait for the host or co-host to end the breakout rooms.
    • Automatically move all assigned participants into breakout rooms: Checking this option will move all participants into the breakout rooms automatically. If this option is unchecked, the participants will need to click Join to be added to the breakout room.
    • Auto close breakout rooms after () minutes: If this option is checked, the breakout rooms will automatically end after the configured time.
      • Notify me when the time is up: If this option is checked, the host and co-hosts will be notified when the breakout room time is up.
    • Set Countdown timer: If this option is checked, the participants will be given a countdown of how much time they have left before being returned to the main room.
  3. Follow the steps below to assign participants to rooms or click Open All Rooms to start the breakout rooms.

Assigning participants to rooms

To assign participants to your rooms, select Assign next to the room you wish to assign participants to and select the participants you want to assign to that room. Repeat this for each room.

Once a participant has been assigned (manually or automatically), the number of participants will show in place of the Assign button.

Preparing breakout rooms

After manually or automatically assigning participants to rooms, you can rearrange the participants. Participants who are not assigned to breakout sessions will remain in the main meeting when the rooms are started. Hover over the participant or room for these options:

  • Move to (participant): Select a room to move the participant to.
  • Exchange (participant): Select a participant in another room to swap the selected participant with.
  • Delete Room: Delete the selected room.
  • Recreate: 
    • Recreate all Rooms: Deletes existing breakout rooms and allows the host/co-host to create new ones. 
    • Recover to pre-assigned rooms: Recreate the breakout rooms with the pre-assigned arrangement. This is only available if using the pre-assign breakout rooms feature.  
  • Add a Room: Add another breakout room.
  • Open All Rooms: Start the rooms. All assigned participants will be moved to their respective rooms after confirming the prompt to join the breakout room. If allowing participants to choose their own room, they can open the list of rooms and choose which to join. The host, or co-host that launched the breakouts and the original host, will be left in the main meeting until manually joining one of the rooms. 

Managing breakout rooms in progress

Once the breakout rooms have been started, the assigned participants will be asked to join the Breakout Session. The host, or co-host that launched the breakouts and the original host, will stay in the main meeting until joining a room manually. 

The Breakout Rooms window will split into two tabs, one listing the open breakout rooms and their participants and the other listing all total participants. If there are 7 or more participants, a search tool will appear. If an assigned participant has not joined a breakout room yet, it will be noted by (not joined) next to their name. Unassigned participants will be listed under the Unassigned category.

The following options can shown in the breakout rooms window:

  • Rename: Rename the Breakout Room. Enter the new name of the room and click Yes
  • Join: Join the breakout room.
  • Leave: Leave the room and return to the main meeting (only shows when in a breakout room).
  • Delete Room: Delete the already in-progress Breakout Room. 
    Note: The option to delete a breakout room is only available if the breakout rooms have not been opened, or, if already opened, the room has no participants currently in the room. 
  • Broadcast: (Host and co-hosts) Abilities to send a message or broadcast mic audio to all breakout rooms
    Note: This must be enabled in your Breakout Room settings.  
  • Add Room: Create an additional breakout room. 
  • Close All Rooms: Stops all rooms after a 60 second countdown, which is shown to the host, co-hosts, and participants, and returns all participants back to the main meeting.

Note: Adjusting Breakout Rooms while they are open must be enabled for your account by Zoom, enabled in your Breakout Room settings, and have all participants connected through version 5.9.3 or higher. 

Upon hover, each participant will have the following options available: 

  • Assign To: Only available for unassigned participants, allows the host or co-host to assign the participant to a room. 
  • Move To: Click to move a participant to another available breakout room. All breakouts will be listed, each with their current number of participants. 

Saving current breakout room assignments for future use

If you want to save these assignments, either done automatically or manually, for use in a future meeting in this series. Up to 10 different saved assignments are supported for each user.

Note: The recurring meeting must have a fixed recurrence pattern. No-fixed time meetings are not supported. 

  1. After breakout rooms have been assigned, but are not currently open, click the button and then click Save Breakout Rooms
  2. Provide a name for this set of assignments. 
  3. Click Save.

Responding to requests for help

Participants in breakout rooms can request that the meeting host join their meeting by clicking Ask for Help .

You will be prompted to join the room where the request originated from. Click Join Breakout Room to join the room.

Sharing your screen to all breakout rooms

Once breakout rooms are open, the host or co-host can share their screen from the main session directly into all open breakout rooms. This allows the presenter to share visual information to all breakout rooms at once, guiding them on the next steps or tasks. 

  1. Click Share Screen in the meeting controls. 
  2. Enable the Share to breakout rooms option along the bottom of the share window. 
  3. Choose what you would like to share, including an entire screen, a specific open program, or others. 
  4. (Optional) Click the Share Sound option as well to include audio with the shared content.
    Note: This requires version 5.10.0 or higher to share audio with content to breakout rooms.  
  5. Click Share.
    The selected content will be shared to all breakout rooms. Any active shares in any breakout rooms will be interrupted for the host's/co-host's shared screen. Annotation or whiteboarding is saved before the host's shared content is viewed. 

You can also use the Video option, found under Advanced sharing tab, to share playback of a locally stored file, which will also share the audio. This also requires version 5.10.0 or higher. 

Viewing activity statuses of participants in breakout rooms

Once breakout rooms are open, hosts and co-hosts can view the level of activity in each breakout room to get an idea of how active the participants are. On the Rooms tab in the Breakout Rooms panel, you can view which participants are in each room, along with icons that designate if their audio or video is on, if they're sharing their screen, and if they have any active reactions or nonverbal feedback. This feature can be particularly useful for instructors looking for student engagement in breakout room sessions.

Notes:

  • This option must be enabled in the breakout room setting options.
  • Once enabled, participants are notified before they join the breakout room that their activity status is shared with the host and co-hosts, and they have the option to continue or leave the room.
  • Hosts and participants must be on client version 5.10.3 or higher for activity statuses to appear.
  • Activity statuses do not appear for participants joining on certain devices, such as phone, H.323, and SIP.

How to create Breakout Rooms

  1. Start an instant or scheduled meeting.
  2. Click Breakout Rooms .
  3. Select the number of rooms you would like to create, and how you would like to assign your participants to those rooms:
    • Assign automatically: Let Zoom split your participants up evenly into each of the rooms. 
      • Include co-host(s) to breakout rooms: Disabled by default, you can include any co-host(s) in the automatic assignment of breakout rooms.
        Note: This requires version 5.10.0 or higher. Hosts on a version below 5.10.0 will have co-host(s) assigned automatically to breakout rooms. 
    • Assign manually: Choose which participants you would like in each room.
    • Let participants choose room: Participants can select and enter rooms on their own. 
  4. Click Create.
    Your rooms will be created, but will not start automatically. You can manage the rooms prior to starting them.

Options for breakout rooms

  1. After creating the breakout rooms, click the gear icon  to view additional breakout rooms options.
  2. Check any options that you would like to use for your breakout rooms.
    • Allow participants to choose room: Participants can select and enter rooms on their own once rooms are launched. 
    • Allow participants to return to the main session at any time: If this option is checked, the participants can move back to the main session from their meeting controls. If this is disabled, they need to wait for the host/co-host to end the breakout rooms.
    • Automatically move all assigned participants into breakout rooms: Checking this option will move all participants into the breakout rooms automatically. If this option is unchecked, the participants will need to click Join to be added to the breakout room.
    • Auto close breakout rooms after () minutes: If this option is checked, the breakout rooms will automatically end after the configured time.
      • Notify me when the time is up: If this option is checked, the host and co-hosts will be notified when the breakout room time is up.
    • Set Countdown timer: If this option is checked, the participants will be given a countdown of how much time they have left before being returned to the main room.
  3. Follow the steps below to assign participants to rooms or click Open All Rooms to start the breakout rooms.

How to assign participants to rooms

To assign participants to your rooms, select Assign next to the room you wish to assign participants to and select participants you want to assign to that room. Repeat this for each room.

Once a participant has been assigned (manually or automatically), the number of participants will show in place of the Assign button.

How to prepare breakout rooms

After manually or automatically assigning participants to rooms, you can rearrange the participants. Participants who are not assigned to breakout sessions will remain in the main meeting when the rooms are started. Hover over the participant or room for these options:

  • Move to (participant): Select a room to move the participant to.
  • Exchange (participant): Select a participant in another room to swap the selected participant with.
  • Delete Room: Delete the selected room.
  • Recreate: Deletes existing breakout rooms and allows the host/co-host to create new ones.
  • Add a Room: Add another breakout room.
  • Open All Rooms: Start the rooms. All assigned participants will be moved to their respective rooms after confirming the prompt to join the breakout room. If allowing participants to choose their own room, they can open the list of rooms and choose which to join. The host, or co-host that launched the breakouts and the original host, will be left in the main meeting until manually joining one of the rooms. 

How to manage breakout rooms in progress

Once the breakout rooms have been started, the assigned participants will be asked to join the Breakout Session. The host, or co-host that launched the breakouts and the original host, will stay in the main meeting until joining a room manually. 

The Breakout Rooms window will split into two tabs, one listing the open breakout rooms and their participants and the other listing all total participants. If there are 7 or more participants, a search tool will appear. If an assigned participant has not joined a breakout room yet, it will be noted by (not joined) next to their name. Unassigned participants will be listed under the Unassigned category.

The following options can shown in the breakout rooms window:

  • Rename: Rename the Breakout Room. Enter the new name of the room and click Yes
  • Join: Join the breakout room.
  • Leave: Leave the room and return to the main meeting (only shows when in a breakout room).
  • Delete Room: Delete the already in-progress Breakout Room. 
    Note: The option to delete a breakout room is only available if the breakout rooms have not been opened, or, if already opened, the room has no participants currently in the room. 
  • Broadcast: (Host and co-hosts) Abilities to send a message or broadcast mic audio to all breakout rooms
    Note: This must be enabled in your Breakout Room settings.  
  • Add Room: Create an additional breakout room. 
  • Close All Rooms: Stops all rooms after a 60 second countdown, which is shown to the host, co-hosts, and participants, and returns all participants back to the main meeting.

Note: Adjusting Breakout Rooms while they are open must be enabled for your account by Zoom, enabled in your Breakout Room settings, and have all participants connected through version 5.9.3 or higher. 

Upon hover, each participant will have the following options available: 

  • Assign To: Only available for unassigned participants, allows the host or co-host to assign the participant to a room. 
  • Move To: Click to move a participant to another available breakout room. All breakouts will be listed, each with their current number of participants. 

How to respond to requests for help

Participants in breakout rooms can request that the meeting host join their meeting by clicking Ask for Help .

You will be prompted to join the room where the request originated from. Click Join Breakout Room to join the room.

How to share screen to breakout rooms

Once breakout rooms are open, the host or co-host can share their screen from the main session directly into all open breakout rooms. This allows the presenter to share visual information to all breakout rooms at once, guiding them on the next steps or tasks. 

  1. Click Share Screen in the meeting controls. 
  2. Enable the Share to breakout rooms option along the bottom of the share window. 
  3. Choose what you would like to share, including an entire screen, a specific open program, or others. 
  4. Click Share. The selected content will be shared to all breakout rooms. Any active shares in any breakout rooms will be interrupted for the host's/co-host's shared screen. Annotation or whiteboarding is saved before the host's shared content is viewed. 

Viewing activity statuses of participants in breakout rooms

Once breakout rooms are open, hosts and co-hosts can view the level of activity in each breakout room to get an idea of how active the participants are. On the Rooms tab of the Breakout Rooms panel, you can view which participants are in each room, along with icons that designate if their audio or video is on, if they're sharing their screen, and if they have any active reactions or nonverbal feedback. This feature can be particularly useful for instructors looking for student engagement in breakout room sessions.

Notes:

  • This option must be enabled in the breakout room setting options.
  • Once enabled, participants are notified before they join the breakout room that their activity status is shared with the host and co-hosts, and they have the option to continue or leave the room.
  • Hosts and participants must be on client version 5.10.3 or higher for activity statuses to appear.
  • Activity statuses do not appear for participants joining on certain devices, such as phone, H.323, and SIP.

Follow this section if you're using the Zoom web client.

How to create Breakout Rooms

Note: You can also pre-assign participants to breakout rooms when you schedule the meeting instead of managing them during the meeting.

  1. Start an instant or scheduled meeting.
  2. Click Breakout Rooms .
  3. Select the number of rooms you would like to create, and how you would like to assign your participants to those rooms:
    • Assign automatically: Let Zoom split your participants up evenly into each of the rooms.
      • Include co-host(s) to breakout rooms: Disabled by default, you can include any co-host(s) in the automatic assignment of breakout rooms.
    • Assign manually: Choose which participants you would like in each room.
    • Let participants choose room: Participants can select and enter rooms on their own. 
  4. Click Create.
    Your rooms will be created, but will not start automatically. You can manage the rooms prior to starting them by following the instructions below.

Options for breakout rooms

  1. After creating the breakout rooms, click Options to view additional breakout rooms options.
  2. Check any options that you would like to use for your breakout rooms:
    • Move all participants into Breakout Rooms automatically: Checking this option will move all participants into the breakout rooms automatically. If this option is unchecked, the participants will need to click Join to be added to the breakout room.
    • Allow participants to return to the main session at any time: If this option is checked, the participants can move back to the main session from their meeting controls. If this is disabled, they need to wait for the host or co-host to end the breakout rooms.
    • Breakout rooms close automatically after x minutes: If this option is checked, the breakout rooms will automatically end after the configured time.
      • Notify me when the time is up: If this option is checked, the host will be notified when the breakout room time is up.
    • Countdown after closing breakout rooms: If this option is checked, the participants will be given a countdown of how much time they have left before being returned to the main room.
  3. Follow the steps below to assign participants to rooms or click Open All Rooms to start the breakout rooms.

How to assign participants to rooms

To assign participants to your rooms, select Assign next to the room you wish to assign participants to and select participants you want to assign to that room. Repeat this for each room.

Once a participant has been assigned (manually or automatically), the number of participants will show in place of the Assign button.

How to prepare breakout rooms

After manually or automatically assigning participants to rooms, you can rearrange the participants. Participants who are not assigned to breakout sessions will remain in the main meeting when the rooms are started. Hover over the participant or room for these options:

  • Move to (participant): Select a room to move the participant to.
  • Exchange (participant): Select a participant in another room to swap the selected participant with.
  • Delete Room: Delete the selected room.
  • Recreate: Deletes existing breakout rooms and allows the host to create new ones.
  • Add Room: Add another breakout room.
  • Open All Rooms: Start the rooms. All participants will be moved to their respective rooms after confirming the prompt to join the breakout room. The host will be left in the main meeting until manually joining one of the rooms. 

How to manage breakout rooms in progress

Once the breakout rooms have been started, the participants will be asked to join the Breakout Session. The host will stay in the main meeting until joining a session manually. If a participant has not joined the session yet, it will be noted by (not joined) next to their name. You can click these options in the breakout rooms window:

  • Join: Join the breakout room.
  • Leave: Leave the room and return to the main meeting (only shows when in a breakout room).
  • Close All Rooms: Stops all rooms after a 60 second countdown, shown to the host and participants, and returns all participants back to the main meeting.

Saving current breakout room assignments for future use

If you want to save these assignments, either done automatically or manually, for use in a future meeting in this series. Up to 10 different saved assignments are supported for each user. 

Note: The recurring meeting must have a fixed recurrence pattern. No-fixed time meetings are not supported. 

  1. After breakout rooms have been assigned, but are not currently open, click the button and then click Save Breakout Rooms
  2. Provide a name for this set of assignments. 
  3. Click Save.

How to respond to requests for help

Participants in breakout rooms can request that the meeting host join their meeting by clicking Ask for Help .

You will be prompted to join the room where the request originated from. Click Join Breakout Room to join the room.

How to create breakout rooms

  1. Start an instant or scheduled meeting.
  2. Click Breakout Rooms .
  3. Select the number of rooms you would like to create, and how you would like to assign your participants to those rooms:
    • Automatically: Let Zoom split your participants up evenly into each of the rooms
    • Manually: Choose which participants you would like in each room
  4. Click Create Rooms.
    Your rooms will be created, but will not start automatically. You can manage the rooms prior to starting them.

How to assign participants to rooms

To assign participants to your rooms, select Assign next to the room you wish to assign participants to and select participants you want to assign to that room. Repeat this for each room.

Once a participant has been assigned (manually or automatically), the number of participants will show in place of the Assign button.

How to prepare breakout rooms

After manually or automatically assigning participants to rooms, you can rearrange the participants. Participants who are not assigned to breakout sessions will remain in the main meeting when the rooms are started. Hover over the participant or room for these options:

  • Move to (participant): Select a room to move the participant to.
  • Exchange (participant): Select a participant in another room to swap the selected participant with.
  • Delete Room: Delete the selected room.
  • Recreate: Deletes existing breakout rooms and allows the host to create new ones.
  • Add a Room: Add another breakout room.
  • Open All Rooms: Start the rooms. All assigned participants will be moved to their respective rooms after confirming the prompt to join the breakout room. The host will be left in the main meeting until manually joining one of the rooms. 

How to manage breakout rooms in progress

Once the breakout rooms have been started, the assigned participants will be asked to join the Breakout Session. The host will stay in the main meeting until joining a session manually. If a participant has not joined the session yet, it will be noted by (not joined) next to their name. You can click these options in the breakout rooms window:

  • Join: Join the breakout room.
  • Leave: Leave the room and return to the main meeting (only shows when in a breakout room).
  • Close All Rooms: Stops all rooms after a 60 second countdown, shown to the host and participants, and returns all participants back to the main meeting.

How to respond to requests for help

Participants in breakout rooms can request that the meeting host join their meeting by clicking Ask for Help .

You will be prompted to join the room where the request originated from. Click Join Breakout Room to join the room.

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