Let’s face the fact: backgrounds can make or break your video calls. Most of us are working out of our living rooms or bedrooms (heck I have even taken calls from my kitchen and bathroom) as we manage home and work simultaneously. Our meetings have turned virtual too, whether with video or audio. While audio meetings are mostly manageable, in the eccentric mid-COVID routine that we have, video meetings require substantial preparation. While that preparation works well for self-presentation, often, the apt place to make a professional call from home doesn’t appear so well kept. That’s where custom Microsoft Teams background comes in.
The best alternative to boring or monotonous setups? Sweeping the scene for every speck of mess or changing the setting of your room? No.
Well, Microsoft Teams has come up with a better and easier solution – use a Microsoft Teams custom background to obfuscate the mess around you. And even if you are not messy, using a fun custom background brings your personality to the meeting, might get some giggles and will surely get you noticed.
Note: We still advocate cleaning, but desperate times call for desperate actions. So have some fun with Microsoft Teams backgrounds!
How to change your background on Microsoft Teams?
If you’ve been searching for ‘how to change my background on Microsoft Teams’, well, look no further. Here’s how you can get your background crisp while having video meetings on Microsoft Teams.
Step 1: Start up
The first step, obviously, is to fire up the Microsoft Teams application, using Mac or Windows application, depending on the device you own. Unfortunately, the background changing feature is not yet available on the web, so you will have to download the application. Once you have started the Microsoft Teams application, join your respective meeting.
Step 2: Background selection
Time to change the Microsoft Teams background!
Click on the ‘Advanced Features’ icon (the three dots) and select ‘Show background effects’ to access the Microsoft background changer. Now, there are two ways in which you can do this. Microsoft Teams already has a recent feature of ‘Blur background.’
If you are comfortable with it, you can use that. On the other hand, if you wish to change your background completely to something different from the available Microsoft Teams images, you can choose a custom image using the previous option of background effects.
In short, there are 4 options offered for changing the Microsoft Teams background:
- All-natural – if you don’t do anything, by default people can see your true background and if you wanted that, then you won’t be reading this, right?
- Blurred background
- Curated images by Microsoft
- Custom image of your choice
You can also choose an image as your Microsoft Teams background, in advance for a scheduled meeting. However, the only downside is that you will have to repeat the procedure for every call. You cannot choose a custom image as a background for every subsequent meeting. You will have to choose a background every time.
Hey Microsoft, are you listening, we want you to enable persistent custom background image!
PS. It’s always a good idea to ask ‘Can I change my background’ before you do. Some of your team members or management may not appreciate using images of custom backgrounds. So make sure your entire team is on the same page.
You can also request or give your HR the idea of creating and setting up a custom team background on Microsoft Teams for everyone.
Step 3: Take the call
Well, after you have logged in and uploaded the respective background, you can go on about your normal call on Microsoft Teams. We’ve been enjoying the video call background change over the last few weeks – it just peps up the motivation level of the team.
Microsoft Teams background issues: How to tackle?
While the custom background feature of Microsoft Teams is amazing, one cannot overlook its shortcomings, and there are a few. Here’s how you can tackle some of the most common issues faced by users.
Issue 1: Moving background
There are two types of backgrounds that can be used, if you are a tech geek and would like to add some flavour to your mundane Microsoft Teams calls: static and dynamic. While static backgrounds are just fixed images that offer no issues, dynamic backgrounds are the ones to watch out for.
Often, these are few-seconder videos that have been created using external filters and applications and imported on Microsoft Teams. While this is an interesting feature to explore and show off one’s geek skills, it can become a little annoying for the ones on the other side of the camera. After all, most of the team meetings are conducted to discuss formal matters, and backgrounds like these can prove detrimental to the concentrating abilities of some.
Nevertheless, moving backgrounds are quite interesting and can be used for casual and semi-formal office get-togethers.
Issue 2: Video bleeding
Usually, a good AI can combine the person and background quite effectively, giving a seamless output on the screen. However, in certain cases, especially when there are other elements, such as spectacles, open or ruffled hair, headsets, and more, there can be confusion, often leading to video bleeding. This bleeding occurs in the form of issues on the edges where the person and the background meet.
Here are a few ways in which you can combat video bleeding on Microsoft Teams:
- Wear contrasting clothes and avoid patterned ones
- Try and use plain images as your background as it is easier for the AI
- Use good lighting, which is a mandate for any visual output
Here’s a good video tutorial on Microsoft Teams background selection for video calls:
How to source images for Microsoft Teams backgrounds?
Given meetings on Microsoft Teams are an internal matter and not a public one, usage rights are not an issue. You can pick and choose any image you want from any source, even to the extent of customizing it as per your fandom, viz. Star Wars, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and more.
If you are interested in more generic images, you can either pick the ones available in Microsoft Teams or even use the daily photo published for background use, by bing.com. Choose whichever, your wish. However, if you wish to be safe, use license-free platforms such as Pixabay, Pexels, and more.
Looking for some fun Microsoft Team background images that will get you noticed? We found 62 of them on The Android Soul.
Here’s a glimpse at some of the Microsoft Teams backgrounds available on their site:
But don’t forget to check out their entire collection of cool Microsoft Teams backgrounds. The collection includes funny Microsoft Teams backgrounds, Disney backgrounds, office space backgrounds and more. Click here for more backgrounds!
If you use Zoom alongside Microsoft Teams for some of your meetings, you can use these images to set up a custom background image there as well. Here’s a guide on setting up a Virtual Background on Zoom.
Now if you’re someone who’d rather keep things simple, you can opt for the Microsoft Teams blur background instead. No Microsoft Teams background is also a background, after all!
Microsoft Teams or Zoom: Whose background effect should you go for?
Microsoft itself offered a varied and detailed explanation of why it should be preferred over the more popular Zoom app. However, even though it’s popular, Zoom has had the users complaining over various issues, the most major one being that of security.
Given most of the official calls are highly confidential in nature, it is imperative to have an application whose usage does not compromise your data. Microsoft Teams trumps here.
Here is a flowchart which explains the same:
Microsoft Teams addition of blurring or changing the backgrounds is just another addition which can induce many to shift from Zoom. It’s a Zoom alternative with the capabilities of a full-fledged team collaboration platform.
Microsoft Teams background change is imperative, especially considering how and where each one of us is working from. While remote working isn’t new, not many are comfortable sharing their home setup or office workspace.
Are you using custom Microsoft Teams backgrounds for your team calls? Do you have a separate Microsoft Teams background for the client or customer-facing calls? We’d love to see them!
Share your team meeting pictures with us on Twitter by tagging @HarmonizeHQ.