How to change your background on Microsoft teams

Posted: August 20, 2020

How do I personalise my Teams Meeting background?

This was by far the most frequently asked question during training sessions I delivered in MS Teams training during NZ’s first lockdown. That and: ‘how do I set it so I can see more than 4 people’s video stream on my screen?’.

Perhaps driven from the shock of working from home and the real need to hide the mess of your life from the keen eyes of colleagues and clients, your background also reflects who you are and is an opportunity to express yourself without saying a thing.

And, as my trainee’s so eloquently put it: “you can change your background in Zoom”.

So, Microsoft have come to the party and you can now set up a custom background using any image you like.  They’ve also (somewhat) addressed your Zoom-envy by upping the number of active screens displayed to 9.

It’s now easy to set up your own background image.  However, I highly recommend you spend some time on this if you want a professional background. It’s simple to add any image, but if you want everyone in your company to use a standard image with your logo or a stock image, you’ll need to ensure you have the correct resolution. Consider using a design tool like Canva (see instruction below) to set up a PNG file at 1920x1080 resolution.

To change your background before you enter a scheduled meeting:

  • Click to join the meeting, but don’t select Join now just yet.
  • Turn on Video, then click Background settings.
Customize background in Teams
  • Select from one of the background options provided, or select Blur to blur your background. You can also click Add new to upload a customised background image (see ideas for creating a custom background below). Make sure you select a PNG, JPG or BMP file. Click Apply to set the selected image as your background.
  • Click Join now to enter your meeting with your personalised background.
Customize Microsoft Teams background

To change your background once a meeting has started (and from a Meet Now):

  • Click the Ellipses and select Apply background effects
  • Click Add new and follow the above instructions from step 3 onwards.

Note: If you’re meeting using Meet Now - you can only access Background settings once you’ve joined the meeting.

Create a custom background using Canva

Stuck for ideas for your custom backgrounds?

Check out Canva. It's an online graphic design platform that’ll help you create professional looking images to use as a background in Teams.

They have a gallery of Zoom virtual background templates ready to go, and these work beautifully in Teams as well, offering you even more choice when it comes to making your video meetings as fun or as professional as you like. They’re fully customizable and completely free.

If you don’t have an account yet you can sign-up for a free 30-day trial and start getting creative!

When you log into Canva, search for Zoom Virtual Background.

Canva virtual background templates

Find a background you like. You can further customise the template so choose one that you can work with.

Canva virtual background templates

You can now upload your logo and place it on the background, add extra elements or text as desired. Be as creative as you like. Canva saves automatically as you work so no need to click a Save button.

Canva virtual background templates

Once you are happy with your background, click the Download button, top right corner of the screen.

Select Download and make sure your file is a PNG file. Click Download again.

Canva virtual background templates

Your custom background file will now be downloaded to your computer.

You can now use this in the next Teams meeting you attend. Follow the steps above and click the Add new + option at the top of the Background Settings gallery.

Upload your file and then select it from the gallery and click Apply

Canva virtual background templates

This will now be your new custom background.

When you view your own camera feed, it is intentionally displayed mirrored (same with the front-facing camera on your smartphone), so your logo and text may look like it's flipped or back-to-front, but your colleagues will see it as it should look ?

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