How to pre-assigning participants to breakout rooms

This post was most recently updated on July 28th, 2022

Organizers have the option to pre-arrange meeting attendees into breakout rooms when scheduling a meeting when converting the meeting to an open format. You may find this useful if you are already aware of the way your participants will be grouped.

The meetings can also be managed by managing your breakout rooms while they are in use.

Prerequisites for pre-assigning participants

  • There is a pre-assignment option available for breakout rooms with breakout sessions
  • turned off When the meeting is in place, ends-to-end encryption will be enabled
  • Host:
    • Zoom desktop client
      • For Windows: version 5.3.0 or higher
      • For macOS: version 5.3.0 or higher
      • For Linux: version 5.3.0 or higher
    • Web client
  • Participants:
    • Zoom desktop client
      • For Windows: version 5.3.0 or higher
      • For macOS: version 5.3.0 or higher
      • For Linux: version 5.3.0 or higher
    • Zoom mobile app
      • For Android: version 5.3.0 or higher
      • For iOS: version 5.3.0 or higher
    • Web client
    •  It is necessary for participants who join a meeting that has pre-assignments to be signed into the Zoom account associated with the email address used to create pre-assignments so that the pre-assignments can be applied. The pre-assignment won’t be applied to them if they are not logged in or if they are not logged in with the same account they used to sign in.


  • The company can pre-assign rooms for up to 50 participants and 200 rooms for up to 200 attendees. Using Breakout Rooms 100, if you have enabled this feature on your account, you can pre-assign as many rooms and participants as you wish.
  • Pre-assignments can be configured for meetings but only one set of pre-assignments can be added. There is the option of altering and changing pre-assignments but unfortunately it is impossible to store more than one set for one meeting or meeting series.
  • Pre-assigning participants will only work if they have an internal or external Zoom account (internal or external users of Zoom).
  • In order to assign external participants in a meeting who are not Zoom users, you can import a CSV file.
  • In order to allow your account’s breakout rooms to grow up to a maximum capacity of 100 breakout rooms, with a capacity of 1,000 per breakout room (depending on the account limits), Zoom Support can increase the capacity. If all or even most participants are participating in a meeting hosted by your account who do not have Zoom client version 5.2 or higher, they will be required to update their Zoom client before joining the meeting. They can also join with the web client if they have it. In the event that your users do not have access to their computers, updating the client on their computers would require that your IT Department assist you with this task.
  • You should make sure that you apply the predetermined breakout rooms to all meetings in a recurring meeting if you scheduled recurring meetings. In order to apply a unique pre-assignment to every meeting in a recurrence, you cannot edit the individual meetings in the recurrence.

 Pre-assigning participants to breakout rooms using the web portal

  1. Login to the Zoom web portal by using your email address and password.
  2. You will be able to schedule a meeting once you click the Meetings button.
  3. Choose the Breakout Room pre-assignment option in the Meeting Options section and click Create Rooms.
  4. You can add as many breakout rooms as you need by clicking the plus sign beside Rooms.
  5. By hovering your cursor over the default breakout room’s name beneath the right panel, you will be able to rename it using the pencil icon.
  6. To add external users to the breakout room, enter their email address in the Add participants text box and then press Enter. You can also search by name or email address in the Add participants text box, or manually enter the email address of external users.
  7. Optionally, you can edit the breakout rooms and participants by following these instructions:
    • The order of the breakout rooms can be changed by clicking and dragging the email addresses of the participants.
    • In order to remove a participant from the current room, you need to hover over their name in order to see an option to move them to another room.
    • It is simple. Hover your mouse over the name of the breakout room on the left panel, then click the trash icon, which deletes the room.
  8. Click on the Save button.

 Pre-assigning participants to breakouts rooms using a CSV file

  1. Log into the Zoom web portal by entering your email address and password.
  2. You will then be able to schedule a meeting through the Meetings tab.
  3. Then you should select Breakout Room pre-assignment under Meeting Options and click Import from CSV on the next screen.
  4. Download a sample CSV file that you can fill out by clicking Download.
  5. Once you have downloaded the file, you should open it with a spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel.
    Note: In addition to specifying internal users within Zoom’s account, you can also specify external users outside Zoom’s account where appropriate.
  6. Specify the particular breakout room name in the Pre-assign Room Name column, and enter the email address of the participant who is in charge of the breakout room.
  7. Then save your files.
  8. Using the web portal, drag and drop your files into the space provided.
    If the email address that you enter does not have a Zoom account, Zoom will notify you.

 Editing breakout room assignments

You can edit the assignments for participants who have been pre-assigned to breakout rooms before you start the meeting, if you have already done so.

Note: The meeting can be managed in a way that breakout rooms can also be set up.

  1. Log into the Zoom web portal by clicking on the link below.
  2. You will be able to edit your meetings by clicking Meetings and selecting the necessary meeting.
  3. Under the Breakout Rooms section, you will see the details for the selected meeting.
  4. In order to edit the breakout rooms, make sure you make the necessary changes. For more information, please refer to the previous section.
  5. You will be prompted to save the file.

 Starting a meeting with pre-assigned breakout rooms

  1. Pre-assign breakout rooms to participants at the beginning of the meeting.
  2. For more information on using the breakout rooms you created, you can click on the Breakout Rooms link located in the meeting controls.

    • You may need to re-assign participants to pre-assigned breakout rooms in order to make sure they are assigned to their pre-assigned breakout rooms, if they are not assigned to the breakout room you specified when scheduling the meeting.
    • It is possible to manually assign participants to a breakout room during a meeting by using the controls for the breakout room.
  3. The breakout rooms are automatically started after you click on Open All Rooms.

 Recovering pre-assigned breakout rooms

It is possible to switch back to the breakout rooms assignment that you previously specified once the breakout rooms have been successfully launched. When using this function, you may find it useful if you leave a meeting before you have finished the breakout sessions, or if pre-assigned participants join the meeting after you have entered the meeting or started the breakout sessions.

  1. Pre-assign participants to breakout rooms at the beginning of the meeting.
  2. To end all breakout sessions, click Close All Rooms at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Recreate, followed by Recover, is the best way to return to the previously assigned rooms.
  4. When scheduling the meeting, you had the option of specifying the breakout rooms in which you would like the participants to be seated.