Image of user excited by multiple background image options.

How To Use Custom Background Images in Microsoft Teams

Josh Logozar
Josh Logozar
August 28, 2020

Let's learn how to change our Teams background image to set match our current mood. We will show you the basics of how to change it to a standard background, and how to customize your own.

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Are you sick and tired of seeing the back wall that you stare at in every single Teams meeting? Gloomy day out and want to feel like you are on a beautiful sunny beach, or maybe you want to be on the moon? Maybe your office is messy, and you want to hide it during a meeting.

I know these are things that you probably can’t do right now, but I have a way to show you how to at least make it look like you are somewhere amazing, and not just in your office.

Step 1: Download the Desktop App

First of all, you will not be able to customize your Teams background image if you are using the web application or mobile. Make sure you have the Microsoft Teams desktop application installed. If you don't have it installed yet, you can download and install the desktop app from Microsoft's website.

Image of the Microsoft Teams landing page to download the desktop app.
You can download the desktop app through the Microsoft website.

Step 2: Join Your Meeting

You can join meetings in a variety of ways such as links from an email invite, or via the notification before the meeting begins. We can also find the scheduled meeting in our calendar and join the meeting from there.

Image of joining a Microsoft Teams meeting through the calendar.
Joining a Microsoft Teams meeting via the calendar.

Step 3: Turn On Background Effects

Updated: This step has been modified with the latest experience of joining Teams Meetings.

The Pre-Meeting screen gives us a chance to double-check and update of preferences before jumping into the actual meeting. In this screen, let's turn our camera on, and click on the Background Filters link. Doing so will display the Background Settings panel on the right side of the screen.

Image of the pre-meeting screen before joining a Microsoft Teams meeting.
The pre-Meeting screen gives you a chance to configure your camera and background filters before joining a meeting.

Using Standard Backgrounds

As I spoke about on my first ever blog post, we discussed how to use the standard background options in Teams. Let's do a quick recap (just in case you missed it.) The Background settings panel on the right, provides you with numerous background image options to choose from, including skyscapes, video game themes, and beautiful beach layouts.

This is also where you can select to Blur your background if you have something behind you, such as family, pets, or anything else you may not want your meeting participants to see.

Image of the backgrounds settings and standard background image options for Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft Teams' standard background image options.

Step 4: Upload Custom Backgrounds

Don’t like any of the backgrounds provided to you? Then let’s discuss how you can setup your own custom Teams backgrounds! In the same Background settings panel, let's upload our own background image by clicking Add New. Doing this will allow you to search your local files to find the perfect custom background image that suits your taste.

Image of the Add New button to upload a Microsoft Teams custom background image.
Clicking the Add New button will allow you to upload custom background image.

Best Practices for Custom Background Images

There are a few image guidelines you need to know before you uploading your custom image to get the best results.

  • The image must be a minimum of 360 Pixels by 360 Pixels in size.
  • The image can be a maximum of 2048 Pixels by 2048 Pixels in size.
  • The image must be a .JPEG, .PNG, or a .BMP file format.
  • Use a landscape photo over a portrait style picture.

This means that you may have to do some editing of the photo, or you can download numerous optimized images from the Microsoft website directly. If you decide to download from an external website, just remember to verify that the image parameters in any image editing software.

Setting Tone in Your Meetings

So that’s it, now you have yourself a new Teams background image. I know we are working in times now where you don’t get to see much more than your household, but this is at least one way to change up the scenery (literally.) Don’t forget to find a background that best represents you, and have some fun with it, but only when it is the right time.

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