Before reading this tutorial you should understand the following:

  • You will require some patience with the technology as it is a bit buggy and finicky
  • You will require experience in making clean comma-separated value (CSV) files using either Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets
  • You will have to require students to have created free Canisius College Zoom Accounts
  • You will have to require students to sign into their Canisius College Zoom Accounts before they join the Zoom Meeting
  • If you do not feel like going through the hassle of pre-assigning breakout rooms, you can request students join the meeting roughly 10 minutes beforehand and manually assign breakout rooms as in this video

If you are planning on using Breakout Rooms in Zoom, you may want to pre-assign rooms so that you do not have to waste valuable class time. Before we continue, there are a few things to note. The first is that you have followed the steps indicated in this video to activate Breakout Rooms for your account. The second is that you have the option "Allow host to assign participants to breakout rooms when scheduling" checked as in the image below.

When you go to create a new meeting or edit a meeting, a new checkbox titled "Breakout Room pre-assign" will appear under the Meeting Options section. Make sure it is checked.

We recommend using Create Rooms to manually input users' email addresses into rooms. The CSV file can be problematic and seems to be buggy on Zoom's end. You can, once you have the rooms assigned, export the assignments as a CSV file. However, if you really must use a CSV file because it is easier for you to do that, please read on.

You can use the following CSV file as a template and then follow the steps to create pre-assigned breakout rooms quickly or you can manually add rooms and type in emails by clicking on "Create Rooms". The emails must be attached to accounts but do not necessarily have to be attached to the email (though it is recommended).


NOTE: The CSV file needs to be set-up properly for it to work. You cannot set-up your CSV file in the following way:

Pre-assign Room NameEmail Address


It must be set-up as in this example:

Pre-assign Room NameEmail Address


Note as well that I moved test2 and test3 so they were in the proper rooms.

You can also upload the CSV file and then click on the room you want to add more students to, type in the email, hit enter, and keep going from there.

Also, if you need to go back or want to check on the breakout rooms later, you can:

  1. go to
    1. You may have to sign-in to your account if you are not already
  2. Go to Meetings.
  3. Find the meeting you want and click on Edit
  4. Scroll down until you see meeting options and then, under Breakout Room pre-assign (which should be checked), there is Edit (or, if you have not assigned breakout rooms yet, this is upload CSV)
  5. When you click on Edit, you can review your breakout rooms.

You can find additional information here:

Allow Participants to Choose Breakout Rooms

You can allow your meeting participants to choose which breakout room they wish to join.  

Simply create breakout rooms, and your users can join them.  If you create breakout rooms using the pre-assign feature, do not assign any users to a breakout room.  Be sure to develop a suitable naming convention for the rooms, so participants can easily choose the appropriate room.

When it is time for users to enter breakout rooms, the host should announce that the rooms are open.  Users then access the list of rooms by clicking the Breakout Room icon.  

Before the meeting begins, instruct each participant to update their Zoom desktop or mobile app to the latest version.  Only later versions allow users to choose a breakout room.  If they are using a version older than 5.3.x, a host or co-host will need to add them to a room. 

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