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How to create Microsoft Teams breakout rooms

Online meetings are mostly synonymous with a group video call. A functional online meeting allows users to create a meeting that can be joined by anyone as long as it’s ongoing. The meeting isn’t tied to someone always being present or to one particular user.

Microsoft Teams does online meetings exceptionally well. It allows users to schedule meetings in advance and once a meeting is active or has started, anyone can join or leave. The meeting doesn’t end based on the number of participants.

Microsoft Teams breakout rooms

A meeting (online or otherwise), is usually held for a specific purpose but online meetings open up more possibilities i.e., everyone is online and in the same meeting room but anyone can move to a different meeting or return to one.

Microsoft Teams has a feature called breakout rooms. These rooms are basically virtual rooms created for an online meeting. It allows participants to move to a different room seamlessly. A new meeting doesn’t have to be created. Instead, a user switches between these virtual rooms while in the same call.

Create Microsoft Teams breakout rooms

Microsoft Teams breakout rooms are available for all users, on both free and paid versions of the app. At present, the feature is available on the desktop and it’s in beta.

To create breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams, follow the steps below.

  1. Enable experimental features in Microsoft Teams (see next section for steps).
  2. Start a meeting.
  3. Click the Breakout rooms icon (see screenshot below).

  1. Select how many rooms you want to create.
  2. Select how participants will be assigned to a room.
  3. Click Create.

  1. The room(s) will be listed in a panel on the right.
  2. You can move a participant to a room if you’ve called the meeting.
  3. To close a room, click the Close button next to it.

Enable experimental features

Breakout rooms are in preview so you have to enable experimental features in Microsoft Teams to be able to use them. Likewise, other users will have to enable experimental features so they can use them move to a room.

  1. Open Microsoft Teams.
  2. Click your profile icon at the top right.
  3. Select Settings from the menu.
  4. Enable the ‘Turn on new meeting experience’ option.
  5. Restart the Microsoft Teams app.

Conclusion

A breakout room is associated with a meeting. When a meeting ends, all rooms created under it will close automatically. Breakout rooms are great for when a larger meeting needs to break into smaller meetings but the participants may need to return or move between various discussions. Instead of repeatedly ending and joining a meeting, the movement between them is seamless.

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