How to Add Custom Backgrounds in Microsoft Teams

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In a Teams meeting, you can now replace your messy background at home with a more professional appearance.

As more and more people are working from home due to the Coronavirus, virtual meetings have become the norm. With a product like Microsoft Teams, you can set up video calls with colleagues, co-workers and others so they can see and talk to each other. But if you haven’t done a lot of work at home in the past, you may want to set up your videoconference in a makeshift (and messy) home office, perhaps in your bedroom, kitchen or basement. In that case, you may want to replace your own experience with something more professional. You can do this with Microsoft Teams, thanks to the latest release.

Previously, Zoom was the virtual meeting company known for its background options, so it’s a convenient option for Microsoft Team users.

Choose a Background Image in Microsoft Teams

To use custom backgrounds in Microsoft teams, follow these steps

  • Get an image you want to show in the background.
  • Open the Uploads folder in the file explorer.
  • Paste your image into this folder.
  • Make a video call with someone.
  • Click on the icon with the colon.
  • Select Show background effects.
  • Select the image from the list.

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What is missing in the ad is the ability for users to upload a custom background image of their choice for use in meetings. This feature has been widely discussed online, has been the subject of Microsoft press releases and has been demonstrated by Microsoft employees. Microsoft does not allow downloading now, but all indications are that this will happen “soon”.

At the Ignite 2019 conference, I was allowed to play with a demo to download a background image for use in a session (Figure 2). I really like this image because it looks like I’m sitting in front of a large window on a beach where a storm is brewing (typical scene in the west of Ireland).

More Features Soon to Microsoft Teams

In addition to custom backgrounds, Microsoft also strives to bring other convenient features to your team meetings. Here’s an overview:

  • To make video calls even more complete, the handshake feature we announced last month will be rolled out worldwide this month. This feature allows participants to indicate that they have something to say during a meeting by clicking on a show of hands icon in the meeting control bar.
  • Today, we offer meeting organizers the ability to end a meeting for all attendees by clicking a button. Meeting organizers will now find an option to “End Meeting” in the options on the Meeting Control Bar.
  • Meeting planners, especially teachers, often need to know who attended their team meetings. This month, you can download a Attendee Report, which can be found in the Attendee List and shows the times that attendees joined and left the meeting.
  • Later this year, we will introduce real-time noise reduction, which uses AI to reduce annoying background noises such as loud banging or dog barking in team sessions.

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