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How to Enable Breakout Rooms in Zoom

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Zoom is an excellent tool for setting up meetings online. Its ease of use enables numerous people to gather together and exchange ideas in the comfort of their own homes. Sometimes, you may want to group particular people into teams to concentrate on separate topics without having to leave the current conference. This scenario is where breakout rooms come into play.

How to Enable Breakout Rooms in Zoom

Below you’ll see how to enable breakout rooms in Zoom depending on the platform or OS. Furthermore, you’ll see some most commonly asked questions regarding the Zoom breakout room. Let’s get started.

How to Create and Join Breakout Rooms in Zoom on a Windows PC

Breakout rooms are only created if you are using a desktop version of Zoom. Reasons for why the feature is not available for mobile users have not been given.

The fact is, you will need to be on a desktop if you wish to create and assign a breakout room. Before you can create breakout rooms, you have to enable the function in your account settings. To do this, follow the steps below.

  1. Go to the Zoom website. Sign in to your account. If you do not have one, you can sign up for free. The breakout room feature is also available on the free version.

  2. Click on “My Account.” The option should be in the upper right corner of the site.

  3. On the menu to the left, click on “Settings.”

  4. Under the “Meeting tab,” click “In Meeting (Advanced).”

  5. From the menu, look for “Breakout Room” then toggle the switch that allows the host to create smaller meeting rooms, then click “Save.”

  6. With the Breakout Room option enabled, you can now create smaller meeting rooms while hosting a larger one. Remember that you will need to either be an administrator or a host to create breakout rooms. To actually make a breakout room, do the following:

    1. Open the Zoom desktop app.

    2. You will either need to Schedule a meeting or host a new one. The buttons on the Zoom Home page will allow you to do either. Click on New Meeting or Schedule depending on your needs.

    3. On the lower right corner of the screen, click on the More menu. This should be indicated by three horizontal dots. From the list that pops out, click on Breakout Rooms.

    4. On the resulting pop-up window, you will be asked the number of participants for the breakout room and whether or not this will be done Automatically or Manually. Automatic breakout rooms will assign people at random. If you wish to choose which people go to what room, choose Manually.

    5. Click on Create Rooms. You can move around participants even after you have created the rooms.

    6. Another pop-up window will appear with the title of Breakout Room 1. If you want to change the room name, hover over the name and then click. Enter the new name that you want.

    7. Click on the Assign option at the right of the room name to manually.

    If you wish to join a meeting that contains breakout rooms, you can do the following:

    1. Open your Zoom Desktop app. You will need to have an invitation to the meeting that contains breakout rooms.

    2. Upon joining the meeting, a popup window will appear showing that you are being invited to a breakout room. You can choose to Join and immediately open the meeting in a breakout room, or you can choose Later.

    3. If you clicked on Join, a confirmation window will appear displaying a message with details on which room you have been assigned to. Click on Join Breakout Room.

    4. If you chose the Later option during the initial invitation, you can join the breakout room by clicking the Breakout Rooms option in the lower right portion of your menu bar.

    How to Create and Join Breakout Rooms in Zoom on a Mac

    As the Zoom desktop app is not platform-specific, the process to create and join a breakout room is similar to that of Windows 10. If you want to assign people to breakout rooms on the Mac, follow the instructions above.

    How to Create and Join Breakout Rooms in Zoom on a Chromebook

    Chromebook is a bit strange in terms of the Zoom application, as the Chrome OS does not really allow outside apps to be installed without Google’s permission. Zoom as a third-party app will not normally be an app that would be available for the Chrome OS. Fortunately, there are workarounds, namely, installing either the Web App version or the Chrome OS version.

    The web app version is available through Google Play. The Chrome OS version known as Zoom Rooms does not have breakout rooms, though they can still log into the main meeting. If a participant is using the Chrome OS version, you can set the main meeting window as their own room, while assigning other users to breakout rooms.

    The Web App, being a mobile version of Zoom, can not create breakout rooms. Participants can only join them. To find out how to join breakout rooms using the Google Play version, refer to the Android Zoom instructions below.

    How to Create and Join Breakout Rooms in Zoom on an Android Device

    Mobile versions of Zoom can not create breakout rooms. You need a desktop version to do that. You can however join ones that are already set up. To do so, follow these steps:

    1. Open your Zoom mobile app.

    2. You will need to have an invitation to the meeting that contains breakout rooms.

    3. A small popup window will appear on your screen indicating that you are being invited to a breakout room. Choose either Join or Later. Choosing Join automatically opens the meeting inside a breakout room. Choosing Later brings you to the main meeting room.

    4. If you want to join the breakout room from the main meeting, click on the Breakout Rooms icon. It should be the one with a picture of four rectangles. It is usually located on the upper left of the screen.

    5. If you wish to leave the breakout room, there should be a red Leave text prompt at the upper right corner of your screen.

    How to Create and Join Breakout Rooms in Zoom on an iPhone

    The Android and iPhone versions of the Zoom app are similar. The iPhone version can not create breakout rooms but only to join them. If you wish to join a breakout room using an iPhone, follow the instructions as given in the Android version above.

    Additional FAQ

    Here are some of the most common questions that crop up when discussions regarding Zoom breakout rooms happen:

    What user role can create breakout rooms?

    Only a host can assign people to breakout rooms. Remember that only desktop versions of the Zoom app can create and manage these rooms. This means that at least one participant should have a computer to host the Zoom app. Users using a mobile version can only Join a room that has been created by a desktop Zoom app.

    Hosts can choose to either pre-assign participants by using the Schedule meeting option or split up an ongoing meeting. Participants should also have the option to allow the host to create and assign them onto breakout rooms enabled in their settings.

    What are the limitations of breakout rooms?

    Breakout rooms do have certain limitations that should be kept note of if you want to run the meeting successfully. These limits are:

    1. As mentioned, only the host can assign people to breakout rooms. If the meeting has a co-host, they can only join a breakout room that has been specifically assigned to them by the host.

    2. Zoom Rooms users can not create or join breakout rooms.

    3. Mobile Zoom users can not create or manage breakout rooms.

    4. If you are using cloud recording to document the Zoom meeting, only the main room will be recorded. The location of the host does not matter. Breakout rooms will not be documented even if the host is in the breakout room.

    5. You can only create up to a maximum of 50 breakout rooms.

    6. The participants of each breakout room will depend on the participant’s limitation of the entire meeting.

    7. If you have the large meeting add-on, then the maximum number of participants will be as follows:

    a. 200 participants assigned to 50 breakout rooms.

    b. 400 participants assigned to 30 breakout rooms.

    c. 500 participants assigned to 20 breakout rooms.

    What exactly is a breakout room?

    The breakout room is essentially a meeting within a meeting. It is a handy way of grouping a larger group of people into smaller groups so that they can discuss specific topics that the entire meeting may not need to be involved in. If an entire meeting can be compartmentalized into particular subjects, then meetings can be conducted more efficiently. Concurrent meetings for diversified topics will run faster than having to wait for certain groups to finish before discussing a certain subject.

    Increasing Meeting Efficiency

    Zoom is a very handy tool for conducting meetings online. Being able to group people into particular rooms so that they can discuss particular points will only increase the efficiency of a meeting. It is always a good idea to have the right people concentrate on the subjects that they are connected to, rather than have a mishmash of subjects hindering progress.

    Have you had any experience in how to enable breakout rooms in Zoom? Do you know of other methods that are not mentioned above? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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