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How to: use your own backgrounds on Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams app logo iOS
Microsoft Teams

Teams has the functionality to use your own custom backgrounds in meetings - learn how to

With lockdown not going anywhere anytime soon, video calling services like Microsoft Teams have seen a huge rise in its usage over the past few months as business meetings and casual friendly meet ups have had to become virtual.

Microsoft Teams has recently rolled out a new feature to allow you set backgrounds that Microsoft have pre-loaded into the Teams application. Think of it as having your own green screen where you can change your own background to make it look like you're somewhere you aren't.

This is great for business meetings to hide a messy house, or the kids doing their homework behind you, for example.

Pre-installed backgrounds from Microsoft include a classroom setting, background blur, a beach, an office setting, just to name a few.

It's super easy to try the backgrounds out, too! Here's how to do it:

1. When you're in a video call

2. Select the three dots (also known as 'More Actions'. Click 'Show background effects'

3. A pane will show on the right hand side and you'll be able to select a pre-installed background of choice

4. Select the background you'd like to use and hit 'Apply'.

That's all fantastic, but what about being able to upload your own backgrounds?

Well, the good news is, you can. Do use your own backgrounds, you'll need to be using the Microsoft Teams desktop client on your Mac or PC. Most modern PCs and desktops will be able to take advantage of this feature.

This next part can get a little complicated, so tread carefully. It's important to note this method isn't supported by Microsoft. We're been looking on Microsoft's official support website and they only mention about how to apply their own. We expect, though, Microsoft will add an 'official' option in the future to be able to upload your own backgrounds.

To upload your own backgrounds, using Windows:

1. Open File Explorer

2. Select 'This PC'

3. Select 'Windows (C:)'

4. Open 'Users'

5. Select your username

6. Click on the 'View' tab toward the top of File Explorer and tick the 'Hidden Items' box, if not already done so

7. Open 'AppData'

8. Open 'Roaming'

9. Open 'Microsoft' - NOT the 'Microsoft Teams' folder

10. Open 'Teams' which is within the 'Microsoft' folder

11. Open 'Backgrounds'

12. Open 'Uploads'

The 'Uploads' folder should be empty as you won't have added anything in there before. This is where you can upload your own backgrounds to use in Teams meetings and video calls.

To use the backgrounds in your Microsoft Teams meetings that you've added to the Uploads folder, see above where we mention how to bring up the pane on the right hand side of screen.

If you want to skip the above steps, you can just copy and paste the following into the search bar in File Explorer: %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds - The 'Uploads' folder is stored in here.

To upload your own backgrounds, using Mac

It's slightly different on a Mac but you'll need to navigate here: ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams/Backgrounds

What images should I upload?

You can upload almost anything you want as they'll be your images but the one thing we would say is make sure they are you own the rights to the images so that you don't get caught up in a copyright crossfire.

Make sure you upload .PNG, .JPG or .JPEG images into the folder. As most of the images will be, this shouldn't be an issue.

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