Allow Participants in a Zoom Meeting to Select Which Breakout Rooms to Join / Move Between Rooms


U-M Zoom


I would like participants in my Zoom Meeting to be able to move freely between breakout rooms or choose which breakout room to join, instead of me having to assign them. How do I do that?


IMPORTANT: All people in the meeting MUST be using the Zoom desktop (Mac, PC, Linux, or ChromeOS) or mobile (Android or iOS) client application version of 5.3.0 or newer to be able to use the self-join breakout rooms feature. If any members of the meeting (host, co-hosts, and/or participants) cannot use this feature, see Additional Information below for troubleshooting steps.

Once the meeting is already in session, the host should follow these steps to create the breakout rooms and allow participants to choose which breakout rooms to join and move freely between rooms. Only the person who currently has the host role is able to complete these steps (this does not have to be the person who scheduled the meeting--it is whoever currently shows as Host in the Participants list in the meeting). NOTE: Hosts cannot manage breakout rooms using a mobile device (Android, iOS, etc).

RECOMMENDED: share the article Choose Which Zoom Breakout Room to Join / Move Between Rooms with participants ahead of your Zoom meeting for instructions on how to use the self-joining breakout rooms feature. Refer to the article yourself to understand what your meeting participants will experience.

Create New Breakout Rooms

  1. Click Breakout Rooms in the meeting control ribbon
  2. Select the Let participants choose room radio button
    Breakout Room creation options window. Create (number) break out rooms, followed by three radio buttons: Assign automatically, Assign manually, Let participants choose room (this one is chosen)
  3. Click Create
  4. Create each breakout room that you would like and give it a name that will help participants know which room to join
  5. When you are ready to use the Breakout Rooms, click Open Rooms (from the Breakout Rooms window--if you closed it, click Breakout Rooms in the meeting ribbon controls to re-open the window)

Use Existing Breakout Rooms

If you created the Breakout Rooms using another method, but now want to allow participants to select rooms to join/move freely between rooms, you may use either of the following options:

  • To completely delete the existing rooms and start over with new rooms, click Recreate Rooms (from the Breakout Rooms window--if you closed it, click Breakout Rooms in the meeting ribbon controls to re-open the window) and follow steps 1-5 above.
  • To allow participants to move freely between existing rooms without recreating them, click options (lower left corner of the Breakout Rooms window--if you closed it, click Breakout Rooms in the meeting ribbon controls to re-open the window) and check the box next to Allow participants to choose room.

Breakout Room Capacity

It is not currently possible to put a limit on the number of participants who can join each breakout room.

Additional Information

How to Resolve Issues (Troubleshooting)

The most common issue is that a host and/or participant is using a Zoom client application that is too old. The symptoms of this issue are as follows:

  • Host:
    • You do not see the Let participants choose room option when creating breakout rooms
    • You do not see the Allow participants to choose room check box in the Breakout Room settings
  • Participant:
    • You do not see the Breakout Rooms option in your meeting control ribbon once the host has opened breakout rooms
    • You do not see the option to Choose Breakout Room when you click Breakout Rooms in the meeting control ribbon while inside of a breakout room

Follow these steps to check which client application version you are using. If the version shown is NOT version 5.3.0 or newer, you need to update your Zoom desktop client application before you can use this feature.

To update your client, refer to Update the Zoom app on a computer or mobile device.

Hosts: if you have a participant in your meeting who cannot use this feature due to an older client, and updating their client is not an option, you can manually assign them into a breakout room. From the breakout room assignment window, click on the participant's name, then click to assign them to a room.

Other Resources

Need additional information or assistance? Contact the ITS Service Center.


Article ID: 3829
Thu 10/8/20 1:42 PM
Tue 4/18/23 2:36 PM

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This article provides information on creating and managing breakout rooms while in a Zoom meeting.