Staff Guide: How to pre-assign breakout rooms in Zoom

Zoom has breakout rooms which allow students to work collaboratively in groups in a Zoom meeting.  In addition to creating breakout rooms during a Zoom session, you can pre-assign users before the session starts.


Note that you can also Use your Canvas groups as the basis of your breakout rooms.



  • You can only pre-assign participants that have a Zoom account (internal or external Zoom users).
  • When pre-assigning participants using the web portal, you can only pre-assign internal Zoom users that are in the same account.
  • To pre-assign participants that are external Zoom users, import a CSV file (as below).
  • Up to 200 participants can be pre-assigned to breakout rooms.
  • If you scheduled recurring meetings, the pre-assigned breakout rooms will only work if it's applied to all meetings in the recurrence. You can't edit a single meeting in the recurrence and apply a unique pre-assignment.
  • The recording will only record the main room, regardless of what room the meeting host is in.
  • The email address added to the import csv needs to be in the format not the format.
  • When joining a meeting with pre-assignments, participants need to be signed in to their Zoom account for pre-assignments to be applied.
  • Participants will not be pre-assigned if they join from the web client.


Step 1. Creating the Zoom meeting in Canvas

Please follow these steps to create a meeting in Canvas


Step 2. Visit the Zoom website to create your breakout rooms

  1. Visit the Zoom website at Please sign in using SSO.
  2. Click on Meetings on the left of the screen.
  3. Find your meeting and hover over the name. Click the Edit button that appears.
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select the Breakout Room pre-assign option.


You have two options:

  1. Create Rooms - Use this option to manually create the rooms.
  2. Import from CSV - use this option to upload a csv file containing the names of the rooms in one column, and the users in the second column.



Breakout Room pre-assign



Choosing the Create Rooms option gives you the following page where you can create the rooms using the plus icon, and then type the name of the students:

Create Rooms pre-assign



Alternatively, the Import from CSV option allows you to import in bulk. A template is available to download. Once you have edited the template, upload this back into Zoom. Once this is done, click Save to finish, and the breakout rooms will be available to use in your Zoom session.



Fig 6. Interface showing the pre-assigned breakout rooms uploading process

CSV template for breakout rooms can be downloaded from this link

Step 3. Opening your breakout rooms in Zoom

In your Zoom session, once all of your participants are in the session, click on the Breakout Rooms in the meeting controls to access the breakout rooms you created.

Breakout Room button


Breakout Rooms settings


Click Open All Rooms to start the breakout rooms.


Top Tip: Use your Canvas groups as the basis of your breakout rooms.