How to Add a Custom Background to Microsoft Teams

Hide your mess during your next video conference

If you're participating in Microsoft Teams meetings and video calls, you want to focus on the meeting, not worry about your coworkers seeing how messy your office or home is. Luckily, Microsoft Teams offers a feature that lets you blur your background and—even better—use custom Background Effects to add a little fun to your Teams video conference.

What You Need to Use Microsoft Teams Background Effects

Being able to use custom backgrounds in Microsoft Teams isn't available to everyone. Because Teams is usually administered by company IT departments, not everyone who uses Teams will be able to use Background Effects.

Essentially, while Microsoft Teams support the feature generally, it has to be rolled out within your company and made available for you to take advantage of it. In some cases, you may need to update Teams for the feature to show up. In other cases, the feature may just appear one day after your IT department releases it.

If you're using Microsoft Teams and don't see the custom backgrounds feature during video calls, check with your company's IT department to see if the feature is available or when it's coming.

How to Check If You Can Use Custom Backgrounds in Microsoft Teams

Want to check if Background Effects are available to you? When you're on a video call, click the three dot icon in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen. If you have the Show background effects menu item, the feature is available to you.

Even if you don't have Background Effects in Teams, you should still be able to blur your background. That's not very creative, but at least it's effective. Just click the three dot icon, then select Blur Video Background.

How to Add a Custom Background to Microsoft Teams 

Ready to use a custom background during your Microsoft Teams meetings? Just follow these steps:

  1. Join the meeting as you normally would and click the camera icon in the bottom toolbar to turn on your webcam.

  2. Click the three horizontal dots icon in the bottom toolbar.

    Screenshot of Microsoft Teams background effects menu
  3. In the pop-up menu, click Show background effects.

  4. A panel with the Background Effects options appear on the right side of the screen. Scroll through these backgrounds to find the one you want to use.

    Screenshot of Microsoft Teams background effects options

    The first option is no background and the second is a basic background blur.

  5. Click the custom background you want to use. To see what you'll look like against that background without actually showing it to your coworkers, click Preview.

    Screenshot of Microsoft Teams background effects preview

    When you're trying out custom backgrounds, your video is turned off.

  6. The preview appears at the bottom of the screen. If you don't like the way it looks, choose another Background Effect. To use the background you're previewing, click Apply and turn on video.

    Screenshot of Microsoft Teams background effects preview
  7. Now, any time you pop up on your coworkers' screens during this call, you'll have the background you choose behind you.

    Screenshot of Microsoft Teams background effects

You have to set your background on every videoconference individually. You can't set a default background that's automatically turned on for every call.

Can I Add My Own Background to Microsoft Teams?

So, while Microsoft Teams comes with a couple of dozen background options by default, you may want to add your own, totally custom backgrounds.

Unfortunately, as of this writing, that's not possible.

Right now, Teams doesn't have a feature to let you add your own background images. You'd have to assume the feature will be added soon, since other video conferencing tools like Zoom already support user-added backgrounds.

We'll need to wait for Microsoft to add the feature and for corporate IT departments to support it.

Potential Ways to Add Your Own Microsoft Teams Background

Some users say you can add your own backgrounds now. Check on your hard drive for the following folder path:

  • Windows: Users > [username] > AppData > Microsoft > Teams > Backgrounds > Uploads
  • Mac: Users > [username] > Library > Application > Support > Microsoft > Teams > Backgrounds > Uploads

If you can access that folder, you may be able to put your own images there, then select them following the steps above. You'll need certain access privileges on your computer to get to this folder, but not everyone has those.