Getting more out of Microsoft Teams: Everything about Teams backgrounds

Arif Bacchus

Updated on:

Microsoft Teams meetings

If your workplace or school has just come on board with Microsoft Teams, then there’s a whole new world of meetings and chats ahead of you. However, Teams is quite unique and you can do a lot with the service that goes beyond just video calling and chats.

It plugs in with other Microsoft services and gives you one central place for your productivity. Usually, though, getting familiar with Teams takes some digging through settings so you can get organized.

That’s what we’re here for, and in our new series, “Getting more out of Microsoft 365,” we’ll cover how you can get organized and set up, and to fine tune your experience. To begin our series, we’re recapping everything you need to know about backgrounds in Microsoft Teams.

Choosing the pre-set backgrounds

First up we’re going to recap how you can get to the choose the pre-set background options in Teams during a video call. This is where you’ll likely spend most of your time as you sit through meetings and virtual class sessions, so it will be quite important if you’re just getting started.

There are two ways to do change the background in Teams. You can either choose backgrounds on the join a meeting or call page, or during the call itself. The easiest way is to choose the background on the join meeting page, as you don’t want to have to navigate menus during your call.

To choose a background before the call, you’ll want to look for the icon of a person, with a square in the background. It’s the third icon from the left under your video feed. Once you click this, you should see a list appear on the left, with pre-set backgrounds from Microsoft. There’s a total of 24 you can choose from. As you click them, your video feed changes with the background. When you’re ready you can close background settings, and click the Join button.

To choose a background during the call, you’ll want to hover your mouse to the top of the screen. From there, you’ll see three dots. Click these three dots, and then choose Apply Background Effects. You should then see the list of backgrounds. Just be aware, that as you click to preview backgrounds, others won’t be able to see your video. Simply click the one you want, and then choose Apply.

Choosing custom backgrounds

Now that you understand the generic backgrounds, it’s time to spice things up a bit. Sometimes the generic images just don’t cut it and you want your background to be fancier so you can stand out from your coworkers during a call. Perhaps you have an old image of your office you want to set? Maybe even an image you have saved? Well, if that’s the case, then you can upload your own background image to Teams.

To upload your own custom background in Teams, you’ll have the follow the same directions as we explained above for adding background images to Teams. You can either do it before the meeting on the join page or during the meeting. However, this time, After clicking the backgrounds button, you’ll just have to choose Add New. After you do this, you can navigate to where your image is saved, and click the Open button. Then, Teams should automatically choose it.

While you’re at it, if you’re looking for some of the best Teams backgrounds, then we have some picks for you. We’ve explained how you can use the Bing daily images as your custom background, and we’ve even got some picks for some of the most exotic backgrounds, too. Check out our full list of Teams backgrounds, here.

Blur your background

Teams Blur Background

Final on our list is the ability to blur your background in Teams. If you prefer not to have a background in your call, then blurring the existing background is the way to go. With this option, you can mute our background and keep only your face in focus during the call. It’s perfect if your room is messy, if you don’t have an office, or if you just want to protect your privacy.

Again, just as before, you can blur your background on the join the meeting screen, or during your call. You can do this at any time by clicking the square icon with a person in the background. It’s the third icon from the left. Once you click that, there should be an option that says Blur. Click that, and then your background should instantly blur out! You can always turn this off at any time by repeating the steps and clicking the button next to Blur.

Stay tuned for more!

Again, we’re planning to do an entire series on how you can get organized and set up in Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365. Backgrounds are just the beginning, and we’ll also get into audio, chat, webcams, and a lot more over the next few weeks. Keep tuned for more, and check out our Microsoft 365 hub for your Office or Teams news and information.