How to add a custom background to Microsoft Teams

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Judit Llordés
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Hide the mess in your home during your next videoconference. If you're attending meetings and video calls with Microsoft Teams, you want to focus on the meeting, don't worry about your colleagues seeing how cluttered your office or home is.

Fortunately, though, Microsoft Teams offers a feature that lets you blur the background and, even better, use custom background effects to add some fun to your Teams video conference.

What you need to use Microsoft Teams wallpapers

The ability to use custom backgrounds in Microsoft Teams isn't available to everyone. Because Teams is typically administered by the company's IT departments, not everyone who uses Teams will be able to use effects in the background.

Essentially, while Microsoft Teams supports functionality in general, it needs to be implemented within your company and made available to take advantage of it. In some cases, Teams may need to be updated for the feature to appear. In other cases, the feature may appear only after the IT department has configured it.

If you're using Microsoft Teams and don't see the custom backgrounds feature during video calls, check with your company's IT department if the feature is available or when it will arrive.

How to check if you can use custom backgrounds in Microsoft Teams

Do you want to check if the background effects are available for you? During a video call, click the three-dot icon in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen. If you have the Show Background Effects menu item, the feature is available.

Even if you don't have Background Effects in Teams, you should still be able to blur the background. It's not very creative, but at least it's effective. Just click on the three dots icon, then select Blur Video Background.

How to add a custom background to Microsoft Teams

Ready to use a custom background in Microsoft Teams meetings? Follow these steps:

1. Join the meeting as you normally would and click the camera icon in the lower toolbar to turn on the webcam.

2. Click the three horizontal dots icon in the bottom toolbar.

3. In the pop-up menu, click Show Background Effects.

4. A panel with background effects options appears on the right side of the screen. Scroll through these wallpapers to find the one you want to use.

5. The first option is no background and the second is a basic background blur.

6. Click the custom background you want to use. To see how you will look on that wallpaper without showing it to your colleagues, click Preview.

7. When you try custom wallpapers, your video is muted.

8. The preview appears at the bottom of the screen. If you don't like the way it looks, choose another background effect. To use the wallpaper you are previewing, click Apply and activate the video.

Now, whenever you appear on your colleagues' screens during video calls, you will have the wallpaper of your choice behind you.

You need to set your own background in each video conference. It is not possible to set a default wallpaper that activates automatically for each call.

Can I add my wallpaper to Microsoft Teams?

So while Microsoft Teams comes with a couple of dozen wallpaper options by default, you might want to add your own totally custom wallpapers. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, that's not possible.

Currently, Teams doesn't have a feature that lets you add your own background images. You should assume that the feature will be added soon, as other video conferencing tools like Zoom already support user-added wallpapers.

We will have to wait for Microsoft to add the functionality and for corporate IT departments to support it.

User update

Some users say that you can now add your own wallpapers. Check your hard drive for the following folder path:

  • Windows: Users > [username] > AppData > Microsoft > Teams > Backgrounds > Uploads
  • Mac: Users > [username] > Library > Application > Support > Microsoft > Teams > Backgrounds > Uploads

If you can access that folder, you may be able to put your images right there, then select them by following the steps above. You will need certain access privileges on your computer to access this folder, but not everyone has them.

  • Come and Microsoft Teams

Further Reading:

  • How to use the whiteboard in Microsoft Teams
  • How to remove your profile picture from Microsoft Teams on mobile and PC
  • What is Microsoft Teams?
  • How to blur the background in Microsoft Teams
  • How to install and use Microsoft Teams on Fire Stick

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