Microsoft recently announced a new feature allowing users to customize their virtual meeting backgrounds. This follows on the heels of virtual meeting competitor Zoom’s similar feature which has been wildly popular. We’ve created a repository of free Microsoft Teams Backgrounds and explain how to change your Microsoft Teams Background.
We all go remote and virtual meeting tech like Zoom and Microsoft Teams become more important than ever
In a matter of weeks much of the white collar global workforce moved to a work from model. As a consequence, the use of virtual team meetings skyrocketed. Zoom has been getting most of the press lately – both good and bad press – but Zoom isn’t the only game in town. Microsoft Teams is a major player in this space and has quietly been doing what Microsoft usually does: appeal to the corporate market who typically seeks stability, security, trustworthiness and ease of implementation.
Many of those same companies already have made sizable investments in Microsoft products including Office, Exchange, Windows, Sharepoint and more and the platform integrations between these products and Microsoft Teams was an easy sell.
But, unlike Zoom, Microsoft Teams lacked the ability to change backgrounds. Until now. In the grand scheme of things this feature is not that important of a feature, but under the current work from home conditions it has become a significant bright spot for stressed and tired team. And Zoom was crushing it. Even Google Meet, a Zoom and Teams competitor, doesn’t have this feature (and as a Google user myself, it is irritating).
Best Microsoft Teams Backgrounds are here (finally)
Earlier this month, Microsoft announced a new feature that allows Microsoft Teams users to customize their backgrounds. Previously, Teams users had been able to blur their backgrounds which was marginally helpful, but this new capability allows users to replace their backgrounds with a different image they choose – just like Zoom.
Well, sort of. The currently released feature allow Microsoft Teams users to change their background to one of 24 preset images which are a variety of generic office backgrounds or some more creative ones. Currently, there is no supported way to change your background to a custom background. Unless you know how to hack the system…hehe.
As has been reported by a few outlets (including Practical365), there is a way to upload custom Microsoft Teams backgrounds into the system essentially giving you the ability to choose your own background. Undoubtedly, Microsoft will include a cleaner way of doing this at some point in the future, but for now, we have to cheat a little. But, don’t worry, it’s not that hard.
How do I change the background in Microsoft Teams?
To upload a custom Microsoft Teams background you need to the following:
- Open Windows Explorer
- Copy this address into the address bar: %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads
- In the Uploads folder, copy your custom Microsoft Teams Backgrounds into the folder
- Return to Microsoft Teams and change your background by navigating to Advanced Features | Show Background Effects
- Select your new custom Microsoft Teams Background…easy as pie.
Few important notes:
- Be sure to use higher resolution images – ideally 1920×1080 in size
- You will need the desktop version of Microsoft teams; the web or mobile version will not work here
- This only works on Microsoft Teams Version 1.3.00.8663
- For Mac users, use this address in your file system: ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams/Backgrounds
See…not that hard. Hopefully Microsoft makes it a little easier soon and I suspect they will. Users should be able to upload a custom picture themselves without having to navigate to the file system.
Now all that’s left is for Google step up and update their Meet platform…we are waiting….
If you have a relatively solid and flat wall behind your desk you might be able to get away without having a green screen (see our green screen guide here). However, to get the most out of your virtual background experience you really need to invest in a green screen. Fortunately, they can be purchased for relatively affordable price. Here are a few options:
- Good Value: Ravelli 6’x10′ Chomakey Green Screen Background (Check Amazon Price)
- Most Creative: Removable Green Screen Solid Wallpaper (Check Amazon Price)
- Most Affordable: Redshop 160x200cm Non-Woven Fabric Backdrop (Check Amazon Price)
Ok, let’s get to the good stuff…the free Microsoft Teams Backgrounds.
Best Free Microsoft Teams Backgrounds
As noted, Microsoft Teams Backgrounds now allow folks to choose from a few default images including some generic offices as well some nature or other scenes. In our list of free Microsoft Teams backgrounds, we’ve amped everything up a bit. Specifically we have a list of the following custom Microsoft Backgrounds:
- Funny Teams Backgrounds
- Modern Office Microsoft Teams Backgrounds / Hipster Backgrounds
- Funny Microsoft Teams Backgrounds / Hilarious Microsoft Teams Backgrounds
- Travel Related Backgrounds for Microsoft Teams
- Cityscapes Microsoft Teams Backgrounds
- Nature Backgrounds for Microsoft Teams
Shameless plug: if you are looking for ideas on how to lead your team remotely and even have a little fun, check out 5 Virtual Team Building Ideas to keep things light & fun while working remote
Funny Pandemic Microsoft Teams Backgrounds
Modern Office Microsoft Teams Backgrounds
Funny Microsoft Teams Backgrounds / Hilarious Microsoft Teams Backgrounds
Travel Related Backgrounds for Microsoft Teams
Cityscapes Microsoft Teams Backgrounds
Nature Backgrounds for Microsoft Teams
- Be sure to check out Free Zoom Backgrounds list as well
- Check out free Webex Backgrounds here
- Don’t forget Skype…we’ve got backgrounds for them too
Thanks, Stay Safe, and Wear Pants
Like many of us, you are probably struggling to find your new normal. Perhaps you’ve done that and are simply bored. We’ve got your back. Here’s a ton of recent content that revolves around what’s facing us today, including working from home ideas, what to watch, things to read, and how to avoid boredom. Enjoy.
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