Published 22 Jun 2020

Microsoft Teams has played a key role in helping businesses to adjust to the new normal of extensive home working by allowing team members, customers, suppliers, and partners to still communicate face to face. One thing that some people may wonder about, however, is how to set a custom background for meetings.

While the default image templates provided by Microsoft serve the purpose of obscuring the realities of a home environment, it’s understandable that many people want to use their own backgrounds, especially if it’s going to accentuate your organisational brand. Fortunately, it’s relatively simple to do this, and Microsoft has recently made it even easier.

If you have an up-to-date version of Teams

If you’ve received the update from Microsoft, you will just need your new branded background in PNG, JPG or BMP format. Once you are in a video call, press the “…” button to access further actions and select “Show background effects”. On the most recent versions of Teams, you should see an “Add New” button above the usual pre-installed images. (If you don’t see this, you probably haven’t been distributed the update yet, but don’t worry, you can still do it the “old way”, as outlined below.) On pressing the button, you simply browse to the image you want to use and select it. It will now be available as a background.

Using your custom background is just a case of selecting it from the background effects and clicking “Apply” or “Apply and turn on video”. You may want to use the preview option first, though, to make sure you will get the desired effect.

If you have not received the update yet

If you haven’t received the Teams update yet for whatever reason, you can still add your own custom background, but you’ll need to take a few additional steps. First, you will need your desired background: Full-HD (1920x1080) images in JPG or PNG format seem to work best, although other resolutions also appear to work. You now need to use the file explorer to navigate to the relevant folder for Teams, which is, depending on your operating system:

  • Windows: C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads
  • MacOS: HD/Users//Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams/Backgrounds/Uploads

Note that in Windows, the Users folder is hidden by default, so a simpler way to get to the right folder is to copy (without the quotes) “%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads” into the address bar. Once in the folder, simply copy or drag your new background into it. When you next access the background settings in Teams, your personalised background should be available.

Microsoft’s relatively rapid response in adding this much sought after feature reflects the dynamic development of its Microsoft 365 suite of applications. Whereas the traditional software model relies on reserving new features for future versions, which come at a cost, the software-as-a-service model means that Microsoft 365 users can benefit from new features as they become available. At Pro-Networks, our office IT support services can ensure a painless migration to Microsoft 365 if you still haven’t made the leap, and we can even handle the administration, billing, and licensing for you if needed.

Adding a branded background to Micr...