Microsoft Teams Background: How to change background, add your own, and download free images

One of the most popular collaborating applications on the planet, Microsoft Teams, is widely lauded for its easy-to-master, intuitive UI and user-friendly features. Microsoft has taken great care in creating an application that caters to all your business needs, and that alone could’ve easily helped it become one of the best apps in the segment. Microsoft, however, is far from being complacent.

Microsoft Teams takes great pride in making you or your organization appear more professional. And avoiding accidental background bloopers, while working from home, is an absolute necessity. So, to make sure there is nothing embarrassing or distracting going on when you’re on a conference call, Microsoft lets you blur the background or choose a custom background.

Can you have a custom background in Microsoft Teams

Yes, finally!

Via an update released on April 9th, Microsoft Teams now lets you choose a custom background for your meeting. The option is part of the ‘Background effects’ menu. See the ‘How To’ section below to see how to add a custom background to your Microsoft Teams meeting.

Background Effects

Microsoft has added a new feature called Background Effects in its Teams software that lets you choose an image as background. But you can’t use a background of your choice yet, let alone us a video as background. That’s sad, because we know you love custom backgrounds of your own based on your interest, but at least this is a start.

Microsoft says they are working on allowing you to select your own image as background in the future.

How to change a background in Microsoft Teams?

You can change the background of your Microsoft Teams meeting while in the meeting. We wish Microsoft also allowed us to choose a custom background before the meeting started, but well, let’s hope they bring the feature later on.

Here’s how to select a custom background on your Microsoft Teams meeting.

Step 1: Join a meeting. You can start the meeting with the Blur effect applied, BTW.

Step 2: While in the meeting, click the 3-dot menu button in the bottom bar.

Step 3: Now, click background effects.

Step 4: You will get the ‘Background settings’ menu in the right pane. It has a list of custom backgrounds as well as the Blur option. Click on the background to select it, and then click on the Preview button at the bottom of the right pane to get a preview of that background. You can try different backgrounds.

Step 5: To apply the background, make sure you have selected it, and then click on the Apply button.

Can I add a background to Microsoft Teams?

Well, yes. See the next section on how to do that easily once you have the custom backgrounds feature enabled.

However, the feature is still not available officially. While you can use your own custom background on Zoom, you don’t have that option in Microsoft Teams software yet. But Microsoft says that they are working on the feature to bring it in the future.

How to add background to Microsoft Teams

However, there is a little hack available that lets you add your own custom background for use in MS Team meetings.

How to add a custom background in Microsoft Teams quickly

You can click the link above to see a detailed article in adding your backgrounds to Microsoft Teams. But the guide below is enough to get you through.

Step 1: Navigate to the Uploads directory of Microsoft Teams on your PC:

  • For macOS: Go to Users > (username) > Library > Application > Support > Microsoft > Teams > Backgrounds> Uploads
    (Shortcut: copy this text to the address and hit the enter key: ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams/Backgrounds/Uploads)
  • For Windows: Go to C Drive (or where Windows is installed), then go to Users > (username) > AppData > Roaming > Microsoft > Teams > Backgrounds > Uploads
    (Shortcut: copy this text to the address and hit the enter key: %appdata%\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads)

Step 2: Copy your favorite images that you wish to use as background in your Microsoft Teams meetings to the ‘Uploads’ folder and close the File Explorer.

Step 3: Open the Microsoft Teams app on your PC. Initiate a video call or meeting. Click on the ‘3-dot’ menu button in the calling bar at the bottom and then click on ‘Show background effects’.

Step 4: This will load the backgrounds on the right side of the screen. The backgrounds you copied to the Uploads directory above on your Windows PC or Mac will also be available there. You may need to scroll down to find your own background. Click on the background to select it, and then click the Apply button to use it as your custom background.

Download Microsoft Teams background images

We have a ton of free background images that you can use as a custom background for your Microsoft Teams meeting. Check out the links below:

Microsoft Teams custom background overview video

Check out this video by Microsoft Teams’ Mike Tholfsen, Product Manager on the #MicrosoftEDU team, that gives you a good overview of the feature.

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How to blur the background in Teams video call

Microsoft is all about ease of use, and this feature isn’t an anomaly. There are two ways you can enable background blur.

Before joining the call

Before you join a Microsoft Teams conference, you can toggle in background blur, making sure you’re going in prepared.

To do so, simply tap on the Video Blur Toggle located on the final screen before your conference call connects.

During a call

You can, of course, also opt to toggle in background blur while you’re on a video conference. Apart from the conventional click-and-select, there’s a handy keyboard shortcut.

Keyboard shortcut

Press  CTRL+Shift+P  to toggle on background blurring.

The conventional way to blur background

Step 1: While on a video call, click on the Ellipsis (vertical three-dot) icon. Then click on Show background effects. (There used to be a ‘Blur my background’ option right here before Microsoft introduced custom background feature. Now, Blur has been grouped with custom backgrounds only).

Step 2: You will get the ‘Background settings’ menu in the right pane. It has a list of custom backgrounds as well as the Blur option.

Step 3: Click on the Blur option (right on the top) to select it, and then click on the Preview button at the bottom of the right pane to get a preview of it on your video. Click Apply to get the blur effect on your video.

Your background will be blurred instantly.

Why background blur is not working for me on Microsoft Teams

Special note: Background blur is an AI-driven feature that uses AVX2 to recognize your facial outlines. So, if you have a decade-old PC or tablet, chances are, background blur won’t work as advertised.



A mediocre engineer hoping to do something extraordinary with his pen (well, keyboard). Loves Pink Floyd, lives football, and is always up for a cup of Americano.