How to Do Breakout Rooms in Zoom

How to Do Breakout Rooms in Zoom

Have you ever wondered how to make Zoom virtual meetings more interactive and purpose-driven? The solution lies in Zoom's breakout room feature. This powerful collaboration tool allows you to transform large Zoom meetings into smaller brainstorming sessions, ensuring a more engaging and focused discussion. 

However, understanding how to do breakout rooms in Zoom can be a challenge for many users. If you're unsure how to leverage Zoom's built-in breakout room feature, you've come to the right place. 

In this comprehensive tutorial, we will delve into the step-by-step process of enabling, creating, and managing breakout rooms within the Zoom video conferencing platform. Additionally, we'll explore how to record your Zoom breakout room sessions using a third-party recording and transcribing tool, adding even more value to your meetings.

What Are Zoom Breakout Rooms?

Zoom breakout rooms allow the meeting host or co-host to manually or automatically split their Zoom meeting into 50 distinct sessions. The main objective of creating breakout rooms is to foster collaboration and intimate discussions among participants within the virtual environment. 

One of the standout advantages of utilizing Zoom breakout rooms lies in the fact that each virtual session possesses its own set of audio, video, and chat functionalities. Anyone can join the breakout room for free by creating a Zoom account and enabling this setting on the platform. To enable this setting, you can check the section 'How to Enable Breakout Rooms in Zoom.' 

Note: It's worth noting that the Zoom mobile versions do not support the creation or management of breakout rooms. The host can create breakout rooms only if they are using a Zoom desktop client. However, participants can join the breakout rooms using a desktop or mobile device. 

How to Enable Breakout Rooms in Zoom?

If you want to start or participate in a Zoom breakout session, you must enable the feature in your meeting setting. 

Prerequisites for Enabling Breakout Rooms 

You must have a Zoom account with owner or admin privileges to set up a breakout room. 

How to Enable the Breakout Room Feature? 

Here is the step-by-step process to enable the breakout room feature in Zoom. 

1. For All Members of Your Organization 

If you are the meeting host, here is how to enable the breakout rooms in Zoom for all members. 

Step 1: Sign in to the Zoom web portal. In the navigation panel, select Account Management > Account Settings. 

select account management and then account setting

Step 2: Select the 'Meeting' tab and scroll down to 'In Meeting (Advanced).'

move to meeting tab and click in meeting advanced

Step 3: Click the breakout room toggle to enable it. The new settings will be automatically saved in Zoom. 

select the breakout room toggle to enable it

Step 4: A window pop-up will appear, and you can confirm the new settings by clicking 'Enable.'

confirm by clicking the enable icon

Step 5: Select the checkboxes to modify the breakout rooms settings and click 'Save.'

click on the checkboxes to modify settings and click save

Note: If you want to prevent participants from modifying the settings, select the 'Lock' icon.

select lock to confirm the settings

2. For All Members of A Specific Group 

Follow the below steps to modify settings for all members of a specific group.

Step 1: Sign in to the Zoom web portal. In the navigation panel, select User Management > Groups. 

select user management and then select groups

Step 2: A group list will appear. You can select the applicable group name from the list.

select group you want to join

Step 3: Navigate to the 'Meeting' tab and click 'In Meeting (Advanced).' Select the breakout rooms toggle to enable it. 

go to meeting tab and click in meeting advanced

Note: If the dialog box appears gray, it is locked at the account level. 

Step 4: Click on the checkboxes to modify the breakout room settings of the host. Here you can allow the host to broadcast messages to participants, broadcast voice to breakout rooms, view activity status, and more.

check the boxes to modify the room settings and click save

Step 5: Select the 'Lock' icon to confirm the settings. 

click lock icon to confirm the settings

3. For Your Own Use

Similar to enabling a breakout room feature for all members of an organization and specific group, you can easily modify the setting for your use. 

Step 1: Sign in to the Zoom web portal. Head to the navigation panel and select 'Settings.'

select settings in navigation panel

Step 2: Navigate to Meeting > In Meeting (Advanced).

select meetings and then click in meeting advanced

Step 3: Scroll down to find the breakout rooms toggle and enable it.

enable the breakout room feature for your own use

Note: If the option is gray, you must modify the group or account-level settings. Alternatively, you can contact the meeting admin for permission.

How to Create Breakout Rooms in Zoom? 

Once you have enabled the Zoom breakout room feature, it's time to create breakout sessions. 

Prerequisites for Creating Breakout Rooms

To create breakout rooms in Zoom, you need to meet the following prerequisites. 

  • You must have a Zoom desktop client or mobile app compatible with the breakout room feature. 

  • The host should enable the breakout room feature, as described in the above section. 

Create Breakout Rooms and Assign Participants in Zoom

Below is how to create breakout sessions in Zoom using the client app in simple steps.

Step 1: On your Windows PC or macOS, log in to the Zoom app. Either 'Schedule' or start an instant 'New Meeting' to create breakout sessions. In the bottom toolbar, click 'Breakout Rooms.' 

open zoom meeting and select breakout room

Step 2: Select how many rooms you would like to create and assign participants to each breakout room.

choose the number of breakout rooms and assign participants

Step 3: Select 'Create,' and your Zoom breakout room will be ready to use. You can join any breakout room and invite participants.

Assign Participants to a Zoom Meeting

Learn how to assign breakout rooms in Zoom and add participants to the sessions.

Method 1: Pre-Assign 

If you have scheduled a Zoom meeting in advance, you can pre-assign participants to specific breakout rooms. 

Step 1: Sign in to the Zoom web portal and navigate to 'Meetings.' Select 'Schedule a Meeting.'

pre-assign participants click on meetings and schedule a meeting

Step 2: In the 'Options' section, check the box indicating 'Breakout Room Pre-Assign.' 

find options and select breakout room pre assign

Step 3: Click 'Create Rooms,' and a breakout room assignment window will open.

select create rooms

Step 4: Select the plus button to add a breakout room.

click plus icon to add breakout rooms

Step 5: Rename the breakout room and use 'Add Participants' to add them to the session.

add the participants in breakout rooms

Step 6: Click 'Save' to confirm.

Advantage: This method is suitable when the participant assignments need to be planned. 

Disadvantage: It may require preparation, especially if you create and import the CSV file to add participants to the Zoom breakout room.

Method 2: Automatically Assign

In this method, Zoom evenly distributes the meeting participants across the breakout rooms. When you click the 'Breakout Rooms,' you will be asked to assign the participants. Here, you can click 'Assign automatically' to confirm the method.

assign participants to breakout room automatically

Advantage: You can use this method for quick and even distribution of participants during meetings with a large number of attendees. 

Disadvantage: During automatic assigning, the participants may not be grouped according to specific criteria or preferences.

Method 3: Manually Assign 

You can create breakout rooms and assign participants manually. The manual option lets you decide which participants will be placed together. If you want to follow the manual criteria, start the breakout room session and click 'Assign manually.'

assign participants to breakout room manually

Advantage: The manually assigning method ensures the meeting host has complete control over the composition of breakout rooms. 

Disadvantage: Compared to automatic assigning, the manual method is time-consuming for larger meetings.

Method 4: Self-Select 

During the Zoom meeting, the participants can select which room they want to join. This method is known as self-select. Click 'Let participants choose room' to allow the self-selection method. 

let participants choose breakout rooms

Advantage: It helps participants have complete control over which breakout room they want to choose. Hence, it enhances the chances of more interactive and collaborative meetings. 

Disadvantage: This method may result in uneven distribution of participants across breakout rooms or lead to confusion if not managed properly.

How Do You Manage Breakout Rooms? 

The meeting host and co-host can use multiple options available in Zoom to manage the experience of breakout rooms efficiently. 

Step 1: Start the Zoom meeting and click 'Open All Rooms' to view management options. 

click open all rooms to modify the management settings

Step 2: Select the 'Options' button, and a pop-up window will appear. Here you can modify the managing settings depending on your requirements. 

select options to view more management options

Below we include the managing rights for the host and co-host in Zoom breakout rooms. 

host and cohost zoom breakout room permission list

Source: Zoom Support

Some other options available in the breakout room management settings include the following: 

  • Rename: This option allows you to modify the name of the breakout room. 

  • Join: It lets you enter the Zoom breakout room. 

  • Delete Room: This option enables you to delete the progress of the breakout room. (Note: You can only delete the room if the opened room has no participants or is unopened.) 

  • Broadcast: This enables the host and co-host to send a message or broadcast mic audio to Zoom breakout rooms. 

  • Add Room: This option allows you to create an additional Zoom breakout room. 

  • Close All Rooms: You can use this option to stop all breakout rooms. After a 60-second countdown, the host, co-host, and participants are returned to the main Zoom meeting. 

How to Participate in a Zoom Breakout Room? 

If you are a participant, here are a few prerequisites to consider before participating in the breakout room. Also, check out how to join and leave the breakout room anytime during the Zoom meeting. 

Prerequisites for Participating in Breakout Rooms 

Here are a few simple conditions you must meet to join the breakout rooms on Zoom. 

  • You must have a Global Minimum Version or higher of Zoom desktop client. 

  • If you are joining the Zoom meeting room using your Android or iOS device, you must have a Zoom mobile app of Global Minimum Version or higher. 

  • An invitation from the meeting host is mandatory to join the breakout room. 

Note: Some platforms from which users can participate in the Zoom breakout rooms include Zoom desktop client, Zoom mobile app for Android or iOS, Chrome OS client, Web client, Phone dial-in, H.323/SIP devices, and Zoom Room. 

How to Join and Leave a Breakout Room? 

Participants can join or leave the Zoom breakout room by following these simple steps. 

Steps to Join the Breakout Room

  • Join the Zoom session, and the host or co-host will invite you to the breakout room. 

  • A pop-up menu will appear. Select 'Join Breakout Room' to continue. 

  • Alternatively, you can click 'Later' to join the breakout room at a later stage. (Note: In this case, you can find the joining option in the meeting controls.) 

Steps to Leave the Breakout Room

Participants can leave the Zoom breakout room anytime and return to the main meeting by following the below steps. 

  • On your Zoom screen, select 'Leave Breakout Zoom.' 

  • Decide whether you want to leave the breakout room or the entire meeting. 

  • At the end of the Zoom breakout room meeting, participants will be notified and allowed to return to the main session immediately or in 60 seconds. 

How to Self-Select a Breakout Room? 

The host can allow the participants to select the breakout room of their choice. They can view the entire list of Zoom breakout rooms created by the host and choose the one that aligns with their meeting intent. 

Below are the simple steps to self-select or join any breakout room on Zoom. 

Step 1: In your Zoom meeting controls, select 'Breakout Rooms.' Here you can view the list of breakout rooms created by the host. 

Step 2: You can use the 'Expand All' and 'Collapse All' options to view the participant list in different breakout rooms. 

Note: Participants must have a Zoom desktop or mobile app of version 5.9.6 or higher to use the 'expand and collapse' options. 

Step 3: Select the breakout room you wish to join, and finally, click 'Join' to confirm. 

Step 4: Click 'Leave Room' to return to the main Zoom session or join other breakout rooms.


Can I Record Breakout Rooms in Zoom? 

Yes, Zoom allows hosts and participants to record breakout room meetings and store the sessions locally on the computer. 

  • If you are a participant wanting to record the Zoom session, you will have to ask permission from the host. The meeting host will click 'Allow Record' to provide recording rights to the participants. 

  • Once you have the host's permission to record the breakout room session, go to the meeting controls. Here you can view the 'Record' option to start recording. 

If you don't have the host's permission to record, consider using a third-party Zoom recorder tool like Notta. It is an AI-powered software solution that lets you record Zoom sessions on Microsoft PCs and Macs without undergoing the lengthy permitting process.

How Many Breakout Rooms Are in Zoom? 

The meeting host can create up to 50 separate Zoom breakout rooms at once. It is possible to pre-assign 200 participants to each breakout room. Zoom allows users to increase the maximum capacity of their account's breakout rooms to 100 or 1000. However, that will depend on the account limit of the user.

Why Can't I See the Breakout Room Option in Zoom? 

If you cannot see the breakout room option in Zoom, it may have been locked at the account or group level. You have to change the settings at that level to use the breakout room in Zoom. You can refer to the ‘How to Enable Breakout Rooms in Zoom’ to enable the feature in your Zoom settings. 

Key Takeaways

Zoom's in-built breakout room feature is a valuable tool for collaboration and communication for large teams. Breakout rooms enable participants to share ideas and engage in focused discussions during virtual meetings. Following this Zoom breakout room tutorial will help you make your brainstorming sessions more effective and leverage the benefits of this feature. 

Furthermore, the host and participants can record Zoom meetings using third-party apps like Notta. The recording and transcribing tool takes things up a notch by introducing the Notta bot. The AI bot can streamline attending, recording, and saving Zoom meetings without any hassle. Sign up for a free Notta account today to record or transcribe Zoom meetings with a few clicks. 

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