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Microsoft Teams just made it simple to use custom backgrounds in calls

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Updated June 5, 2020: An update to Microsoft Teams makes it significantly easier to use custom background images. The new way to add them is listed first in this guide, and we’ve included the old way below in case you haven’t received the update.

Many video calling apps support background images. These allow you to set up an image behind you that’s different than your actual surroundings. They’re a great tool if you want to make a call look more professional by hiding a messy room or adding a company logo (more important than ever now a lot of us are working from home. Alternatively, you can add a silly background in a relaxed call to have a bit of fun. You can select from a collection of backgrounds built into Microsoft Teams or add your own custom backgrounds.

Products used in this guide

How to upload a custom background in Microsoft Teams (new way)

Following a recent update, Microsoft Teams made it much easier to add custom backgrounds. Here’s how to use your own images for backgrounds within Teams.

  1. Within a video call, select the More actions button (three dots).
  2. Select Show background effects.

    Microsoft Teams Custom Backgrounds

    Source: Windows Central

  3. Select Add new.
  4. Select the image you’d like to use as a background.
  5. Select Open.

The image is now avaialble to use as a custom background. We break down the steps on how to set a background below.

How to upload a custom background in Microsoft Teams (old way)

These steps will allow you to upload a background image even if you don’t have the “+” button in Microsoft Teams.

While there are some backgrounds available within Microsoft Teams that are built right in, you may way to upload your own images. You can do this by places images in the uploads folder for Microsoft Teams.

  1. Open the File Explorer.
  2. Click This PC.
  3. Select Windows (C:).
  4. Open the Users folder.
  5. Select your user profile.
  6. Click the View tab at the top of File Explorer.
  7. Check the Hidden items checkbox.
  8. Open the AppData folder. Note: this won’t appear if you haven’t checked to see hidden items.
  9. Open the Roaming folder
  10. Open the Microsoft folder. Do not go to the Microsoft Teams folder by mistake.
  11. Open the Teams folder within the Microsoft folder.
  12. Open the Backgrounds folder.
  13. Open the Uploads folder.
  14. Place the image you want within the uploads folder.
  15. Right-click on the Uploads folder and select Pin to Quick access (optional).

To save yourself time when uploading more images, you can pin the Uploads folder to Quick Access. That way, it will always appear on the side of your File Explorer.

How to set a custom background in Microsoft Teams

Whether you’re setting a background from an image you’ve uploaded or one of the images that’s built into Microsoft Teams, the process is the same.

  1. Within a video call, select the More actions button (three dots).
  2. Select Show background effects.
  3. Scroll down and select the image you’ve uploaded.
  4. Select Preview to preview how your background will look (optional).
  5. Select Apply or Apply and turn on video if your webcam is currently off.
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