How to Use Background Effects in Microsoft Teams Meetings

Use Blurring or Background Images to Improve Your Video Feed

Updated March 23, 2023

Microsoft introduced background blur for Teams meetings in September 2018. If your workstation hardware supports blurring, Teams can isolate your image from the background and apply a mask (like a green screen) to the background to remove the distraction of a cluttered office. Announced in Office 365 notification MC208577 on April 3, (Microsoft 365 roadmap item 62890), Participants in Teams meetings can choose a custom background (an image) instead of a simple background blur. Microsoft rolled out the custom backgrounds feature in April 2020.

Background filters (also called background effects) are available on Windows and Mac workstations. The Teams desktop client for Linux supports background blur but doesn’t support background images. The Teams mobile clients support both blurring and background effects. In September 2021, Microsoft introduced background effects for Teams browser clients.

Users can choose from a set of curated images provided by Microsoft or upload a custom image of their own or images from many web sources (see below). Tenant-level administrative control is available for background filters is available through the VideoFiltersMode setting active in Teams meeting policies. The setting allows tenants user-level control over the ability to use different types of background filters and uploading of custom images. You can also apply policies to stop users having any access to background filters (and take some fun out of their working lives).

Tenants can distribute their own curated set of background images to users. This is a preview feature that will require Teams Advanced Communications licenses when it becomes generally available in early 2022.

Hardware and Client Requirements

Three conditions must be met before you can use background filters:

  • Your workstation supports the necessary hardware. Background filters depend on the hardware supporting the AVX extensions. AVX2 used to be the requirement, but Teams changed to support AVX (see user voice announcement of June 9, 2020) for background filters.
  • Your Teams desktop client supports the feature. Use the Check for Updates function in Teams Settings to grab the latest version. Version or above should work.

Background filters are unsupported when Teams runs in a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) environment no matter if the underlying platform supports the necessary graphic extensions.

Choosing a Background Image

Background filters are supported in personal and channel Teams meetings, including Meet now in a channel. Filters aren’t supported for Teams Live Events. Users set background filters through the meeting pre-join screen (Windows client) or after the meeting starts. During a meeting, click the […] in the menu bar and then select Apply background effects (tip: use the CTRL-Shift-P combination to reveal the option to choose a background filter on a Windows PC). You can then select from the available filters:

  • None (blank).
  • Blur (same as background blurring).
  • Green screen with a suitable backdrop.
  • One of the set of curated images chosen by Microsoft.
  • Custom images uploaded by you (see below).

A user’s ability to apply background filters can be controlled by a setting in the Teams meeting policy assigned to their account. For example, they might be limited to use background blurring only. See this post for more details.

When you select one of the standard images, Teams downloads a copy from a content delivery network to create a local copy on the workstation. If you can’t reach that network (perhaps because VPN settings prevent access), you won’t be able to see or download the standard background images. To test if this is true, try to access one of the standard images, like the contemporary office scene.

After you select a background filter, Teams remembers your choice and applies it to every meeting you use with video enabled until you choose a different filter.

Together Mode

Together mode is where Teams takes video feeds from meeting participants, isolates their heads and shoulders, and combines the feeds with a selected background to create the impression that everyone’s in the same place. Together mode is only available when five or more participants are in a meeting. This article explains more about together mode and the available background images for that mode.

Uploading Custom Images

Custom images span an immense spectrum of possibilities. I like the image shown in Figure 1 because it seems like I am sitting in front of a large window onto a beach with a storm rolling in (typical scenery from the West of Ireland).

Teams displays a Background Image in a Meeting
Figure 1: Teams displays a Background Image in a Meeting

Update: If you’d like a copy of my background, you can download the beach image from Microsoft’s gallery of Teams backgrounds.

The first implementation of custom images involved a manual upload to a specific folder on the client PC (described below). This is still useful because you can exploit the technique to upload many custom images at one time or do the job with a PowerShell script or other programming language. In June 2020, the Teams client was updated to support the option to update a custom background.

To upload a custom image via the Teams desktop client, access the Apply background effects option in a meeting and click Add New (Figure 2). Browse to the folder holding the image file and select it. Teams then copies the file to %AppData%\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads. The original file name is retained.

Uploading a custom background  image to Teams
Figure 2: Uploading a custom image to Teams

Once copied to the Teams folder, you can select an use the image in a meeting. If you make a mistake and copy the wrong file, you can remove it by hovering over the image to expose a … menu. Select Remove (Figure 3) and Teams will delete the image from the Uploads folder. If you decide to delete a file from the Uploads folder, make sure that you delete its thumbnail as well to avoid the potential of displaying a thumbnail in the gallery and the actual background can’t be loaded. You can’t remove one of the standard images provided by Microsoft.

Removing a background image from Teams
Figure 3: Removing a background image from Teams

I have uploaded large high-fidelity JPEG photos to the Uploads folder and used them as a background. Usually, I size images at 1920 x 1080 pixels (the same size used for Microsoft’s standard backgrounds) with a graphic editor (Paint can do this). You can use full-fidelity images, but it’s probably a good idea to downscale them so that images are around 1 MB. Note that the display of any graphic image can be adjusted to match the dimensions of a screen. If something in an image is really important to you, make sure that it’s positioned in the center.

Microsoft’s recommendations are a minimum size of 360 x 360 pixels (this will not look good) and a maximum of 2048 x 2048 pixels. BMP, JPEG, and PNG formats are allowed. I have uploaded and used significantly larger images. Teams resizes these images before using them as a background.

Note: when you test a background image before using it in your video feed, you’ll notice that the image is reversed. This is normal and the image will be seen the right way round when viewed by others.

Private Preview

Another way of seeing a preview of your background effect is to move the mouse over the camera in the meeting bar. If you’re using the Teams desktop client and your video feed is disabled, Teams turns on the camera to preview what the video feed will look like if you turn it on for the meeting (Figure 4). You can adjust the background effect using the preview. No one else in the meeting sees the video feed until you enable the camera for the meeting.

Using the private preview feature in the Teams desktop client to test a video feed
Figure 4: Using the private preview feature in the Teams desktop client to test a video feed

No Roaming Images

If you use Teams on several devices, you’ll also find that images don’t roam across devices. You must upload and maintain images on each device.

Video Bleeding

Background filters work by isolating the person from the video feed and inserting blurring or an image around the person. Sophisticated AI techniques are used to make sure that a clean merge happens between the background and the person, but sometimes “bleeding” happens. Usually this occurs where the AI can’t distinguish the precise dimensions of the person’s image and can be caused by spectacles, wearing a headset, or even fluffed hair. You won’t be able to eliminate bleeding as some will occur at the edges where the background and person meet, but you can minimize it.

  • Use a plain background to make it easier for the AI to differentiate between background and person.
  • Wear clothes with a contrasting color (no stripes) to the background.
  • Use good lighting to increase contrast and sharpen the image.

Video (Moving) Backgrounds

Apps like Snap camera can generate images for Teams backgrounds using filters. This are static images and some would like dynamic images. I’ve seen this done using tools like XSplit Virtual Cam where people tape a video lasting a couple of seconds and play it on a constant loop as their background. Virtual Cam can generate other filters, so clearly there’s some pretty interesting techniques to explore here in an attempt to turn fellow workers wild with envy.

The free Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) can also be used to create moving background filters for Teams. Here’s a post explaining how to use OBS for this purpose.

Manual Upload of Custom Backgrounds

While the GUI makes it easy to upload a background image, you can also do this manually. First, make sure that the target folder to hold the custom images exists. The easiest way to do this is to sign into Teams and start a meeting (in a channel or personal chat). Now use the Apply Background Effects option from the meeting menu and select one of the standard images. This action creates the folders used to store images on your workstation. Exit the meeting.

On a PC, you can now select some suitable images and copy them to the %AppData%\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads folder (Figure 5) and will then be able to select those images for a meeting background.

Where to upload background Teams images to on a PC
Figure 5: Where to upload background images to on a PC

On Macs, the images should be copied to:
/users/<username>/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams/Backgrounds/Uploads

You may need to hold down the OPTION key before you choose GO from the Finder Menu to get the Library to appear.

Finding Sources for Background Images

Given the popularity of background images across all video conferencing platforms, it’s unsurprising that companies publish images for people to use. For example, Star Wars fans looking for themed background images can find them here. Quite a nice collection is available, even if I look unsure about the runs of the Death Star in Figure 6.

In the ruins of the Death Star
Figure 6: In the ruins of the Death Star

In December 2020, Microsoft launched its own gallery of background images for Teams, including the ability for people to submit their own images to be considered for inclusion in the gallery. The latest set of images (the “Nostalgia” pack) includes the classic Windows XP desktop image and one featuring Office Clippy.

The Wallpaper Hub site is a rich source of images that can be used as background images. These images are created for use as PC desktop wallpaper but many of them make excellent background images for use with Teams or other conferencing software.

Another example is the IKEA collection, complete with IKEA-assembly style instructions (Figure 7). IKEA has a large Teams deployment, so it’s totally understandable why issue their own take on background images.

How to assemble Teams backgrounds by IKEA
Figure 7: How to assemble Teams backgrounds by IKEA

The Fox TV Twitter feed includes links to images from several popular shows such as the couch from the Simpsons, Pixabay has many free to use Harry Potter themed images, and Pixar has made images available from films like Toy Story and Up. In general, any images published for use as a background with Zoom will work nicely with Teams. posted a nice set of background images suitable for the 2020 holidays. Microsoft has also released a set of custom background images for the 2020 holidays in a ZIP file (Figure 8). A set of holiday SharePoint-themed images looking like the knitted sweater much beloved by some are also available.

Microsoft holiday custom backgrounds for 2020
Figure 8: Microsoft holiday custom backgrounds for 2020

Finally, MVP Michel de Rooij has posted a set of background images that you might find some inspiration from, including a version of the Microsoft ugly sweater design featuring Exchange, Teams, and Outlook (Figure 9).

Christmas holiday background for Teams Exchange and Outlook
Figure 9: Fancy running a holiday meeting with this background

Using Bing Images

Bing publishes a daily photo which it uses as the daily background for its home page. The daily photo varies from market to market and often makes an attractive background. A script to fetch images from Bing can be downloaded from GitHub.

The Office 365 for IT Pros eBook includes lots of information about how Office 365 features work. It’s an essential tool for anyone managing an Office 365 tenant.

253 Replies to “How to Use Background Effects in Microsoft Teams Meetings”

    1. As the article says, it will roll out in April. It will take time for the change to be deployed everywhere.

  1. Zoom already has this feature active and running. suprised to see Microsoft is playing catch up. there option is to choose any picture what you like.

    1. You’ll get the same ability to choose your own picture very soon. The difference between Microsoft and Zoom is that Microsoft needs to pay attention to the needs of large corporations (like Accenture, with 400K users of Teams) who don’t want employees using inappropriate background images in video calls. Zoom has a more diverse base with lots of consumer users… and that’s a very different audience to deal with.

  2. You can manually add custom backgrounds in Teams now by dropping an image file here:


    1. You’re absolutely right. I removed text about this when Microsoft decided to release the feature with curated images. They never removed the ability to copy images to the folder because they’ll probably use the same folder when they release the admin framework to control image uploads. So seeing you mention it, I’ve restored that text to the post.

      1. You’ll need to get the code. Microsoft is deploying the update to Teams users in mid-April.

      1. My initial response was no, but since then I’ve seen people using XSplit Virtual Cam to record videos that they’ve used for a background, so I have updated the post.

      1. JPEG images work just fine too. The Star Wars backgrounds that I point to in the article are all JPEG.

  3. I don’t see that directory on my PC. %APPDATA%\Roaming\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads

    1. %APPDATA% is a Special Windows folder. You won’t see this literally as %APPDATA%. Windows 10 resolves/expands %AppData% to C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming. See for more details on other special folders.

      So don’t browse File Explorer expecting to see an %APPDATA% literally. Copy and paste %APPDATA%\Roaming\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads directly into the Address Bar of File Explorer (press Alt-D as a keyboard shortcut to take you straight to the address bar) and hit return. If it exists, you’ll see the Uploads folder as being empty.

      1. This worked for me; you may have to “help” it along by typing C:\Users\ and then your user name (if you’re on a company computer for example) then add \AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads – feel free to copy/paste into an explorer window and you should be able to find it. As Sayeed pointed out above, you can’t just browse in an Explorer window for your C: Drive and find it (thanks, Microsoft)

  4. Thanks Tony….not sure what that means but I assume I won’t be able to upload a background if I don’t have the directories locally. It’s weird because I can start Teams locally.

    1. What is means is that I guess the folder wouldn’t be there unless the software had created it, and if you don’t have a version of Teams which supports background images, it won’t have created the folder…

      1. I’ve got the version stated in the article and the folder doesn’t exist. Manually creating that directory and providing jpg images doesn’t add the ability to choose a background. Sounds like you might be an outlier, not the norm.

      2. I just had the same problem. There was no uploads folder. Now I tried a solo call with myself and tested the background images. And just afterwards the folder “upload” was created automatically.

  5. I see. Welp….guess I just wait along with everyone else until MS decides to roll out the feature.

    1. No, it probably means that the software hasn’t landed in your tenant yet. Microsoft says that deployment will start in mid-April.

  6. What version is this working on? I currently have “ (64-bit). It was last updated on 4/9/20” on Windows 10 (1909), but cannot see this feature yet. Eagerly waiting to get it.

    1. Both client and server components are needed to enable the feature. It is impossible to say when your tenant will be enabled. Be patient!

  7. Is there some way to preview your own video in Teams, without being in a call, showing the background?

      1. How do you preview the video feed, showing you with the background behind you, without having to be in a call? That is what I can’t figure out.

      2. In a meeting, select background effects, select the image you want to use, and then preview… You’re the only one who can see the preview. You can’t preview outside a meeting.

  8. I’ve done similar when I want to check my video before actually entering a meeting. I just go to the calendar in Teams and select ‘meet now’. Boom…there I am….so long as I don’t invite anyone I can see what the video looks like, and if/when we have the custom background feature, that’s what can be used to test.

  9. All the A B testing does cause confusion and make supporting users more difficult and I really don’t understand why things cannot roll out at the same time or at least have a button to force the update check. For around a year Office 365 switched backwards and forwards between new and old icons depending if new icons had hit that specific PC. A PC may have new icons but after being re-imaged would be back to old icons.
    I am pleased this is coming though. I just wish you could view the whole team on a video call like you can on Zoom but I believe this change is also coming at some point soon? Please just make the change for everyone at the same time without making some users wait for months whilst others have the functionality.
    (posting this again as reply didn’t seem to work)

  10. Is this only for x64? I’ve currently got Version (32-bit) from 3/31/20. Also, I don’t see the option for developer preview. Is it also x64 exclusive?

    1. I don’t believe so.

      The thing about Teams features is that few are just client-dependent. Most need bits enabled in the client and some in the server. You get the server bits when software is deployed to your tenant. It takes time for Microsoft to roll out updates across the millions of Office 365 tenants, so be patient.

  11. Just started using Teams. One thing that is bothering me is the amount of background blur. Its too much, I find it weird. When they roll out the custom background, I might create background with already a good amount of blur to use it with. Let’s see.

  12. Hi Tony, changed the background to the balloons during a party meeting, this morning. However… no one saw it because it appears that the back camera was then used instead so no-one could see me and the balloons AND now it’s stuck like that. I have googled it but found nothing. Hope you can help

  13. Worked like a charm! Levelled up in Teams usage and impressing colleagues all day today!

  14. Just trying… When I opened Teams again there was an update. I think it’s fixed itself because it is working again now. Ph.
    ew! That wouldn’t look very good for my first lesson next thursday – thank you so much for coming back to me

  15. I don’t have this folder (Backgrounds) for Teams in AppData. Is there an update in the meanwhile and the images are located somewhere else?

  16. If there is any possibility or option to set some background as a default for all new video call?

  17. when i click on the three dots the option to select a background is not there. Others my team have this option

  18. When I click on 3 dots there is no option for background. My colleagues all have this option but I don’t.

    1. If your colleagues have the feature, it’s available in your tenant. That leaves two other variables. First, your Teams client software might need to be updated. Second, your PC doesn’t have the necessary hardware to support background images.

  19. Hi, Just wanted to add some info for anyone waiting for this update to land. I checked my version of Teams this morning and have Microsoft Teams Version (64 bit). It was last updated on 14/04/2020. This version contains the update for setting background effects, but I noticed that the folders didn’t appear in the ..\roaming\microsoft\teams\ location until I’d actually started a call, previewed the feature and selected one of the pre-canned backgrounds. Each one you select is then downloaded and its when the first one is applied that the folder is created. There’s also an Uploads folder created, where you can put your own images and they appear at the bottom of the list of available backgrounds that can be chosen from within the Teams client


    1. First, find the Caps Lock key on your keyboard and turn it off to stop shouting. Then follow the guidelines in the article to join a meeting and access background effects to cause Teams to create the folder…

  21. Check if your CPU supports AVX2, if no, it is not available for you (google it or use AIDA64 sw). Otherwise it is quite simple: if you have the option – you can use it, if not, it is not available for you.

  22. Is there a way to make the background my default? I don’t want to have to pick a background every time I start a video call.

  23. Hi, Tony,
    Our company wants to make a background with a logo.
    Can you write the technical requirements according to which the design should be prepared?

    1. Use any graphic editor (Paint, Adobe PaintShop Elements, etc.) and create a new file measuring 1920 x 1080 pixels. Compose the graphic image. Save as either JPEG or PNG. Apply in Teams… Easy!

  24. Thanks Tony for posting this! Works like charm BUT when I us a jpeg with wording in it, it displays backwards. I noticed the default backgrounds display reverse as opposed to what is displayed in the thumbnail… Are you experiencing this on your end as well?

  25. Tony, as a solution to the last message I sent, if you flip the image the logo or wording will be displayed correctly when used as a background in Teams… Thanks again for posting this tip!

    1. That’s exactly true. When you test an image, you see it reversed. But it is fine when displayed “for real.”

  26. i have uploaded a new picture for the background but in teams the picture shows upside down. do you know why and how to fix it?

      1. I have them both ways. Upside down and right side up. Both pictures are visible but BOTH are upside down!

    1. check the image in a decent editor like GIMP. I had a college who had the same issue and when I looked at the image it contained Exif metadata to correctly orient the image and Teams apparently can’t read that so it presents it in original orientation, which in this case was upside down

  27. I have found the pictures and they are upside down! They are not from an Apple product, they were sent from both Google photos and an Android. I have tried to flip the photo and they are still appearing in the TEAMS folder upside down. Any ideas?

    1. I would open the JPEG or PNG files in a photo editor and check their orientation. It sounds like they are 180 degrees out. I use Adobe Photoshop Elements for this kind of manipulation.

  28. I have Teams client version (64-bit). It was last updated on 4/16/20. I resized 2 images (1920×1080) and dropped into C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads folder. I tried joining a meeting invite and looked for switching to my image, but they wouldn’t show up.
    Any idea, if i am missing something else? I have the default 14 images from the Backgrounds folder though, but just not my custom images.

    1. Did you look at the end of the set of standard images? That’s where the custom backgrounds are found.

      1. Interestingly, there are 10 more default background images as of this morning that weren’t there last night. Along with those are my 2 images now. I am not sure if it required computer to be restarted to reflect these. But good that i see my images now. thanks

  29. Virtual background doesn’t seem available using iPad? I see the option on my desktop but not iPad. How can I change the background on the ipad?

  30. It worked for me for a few images (put into the Upload folder), all fine. Then, suddenly my background images would show up in Teams no longer. No matter how I would remove them from Upload, replaced them, nothing! In Teams there are currently 25 background images to choose. In the C:\Users\…\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds folder there are just 5 files. Where are the other 20 default image files?

    1. You can’t unless you’re in the meeting app. But as another comment says, you can test before joining,

    2. If you click “Join” but before then confirming with “Join Now” where you can set mute options, etc you can also select video and blur and preview the backgrounds before actually joining the meeting (you can do this on a meeting in the past aswell)

  31. Just added a couple of background pictures using the method you suggest for my MAC. method worked perfectly – thank you for the tip.

  32. Adding functionality to upload custom photos, without an equivalent administrative option to disable it, has caused a nightmare for us.

    Out techs of course immediately started using custom backgrounds (sometimes inappropriate: alcohol/religious symbols/cartoons/jokes). If this wasn’t bad enough, regular users now constantly ask how to do it.

    As most regular users usually have a hard time understanding the concept of user profiles and system paths, let along graphic formatting etc., now they’re asking for support.

    It would be nice to tell them “Sorry, we do not allow custom backgrounds within our organization”, yet it is difficult to do this when we have no way to stop more computer-savvy users from taking advantage of the feature… causing a discrepancy between what different users get to have as their experience.


  33. Tony, do you know if there is a group policy that blocks custom backgrounds? I have the exact same laptop model as my coworker, but his machine has a different group policy set assigned to it. He is able to see custom backgrounds on his machine, but i am not. We are both running the same version of Teams.

    1. Not at present. I know some people are looking at this but I don’t expect anything will happen until Microsoft delivers the promised management for custom backgrounds.

    1. And waiting… and waiting….

      And we will keep waiting…. Teams support in linux is just a joke, I am sorry.

  34. I was unable to add this feature on the version running on the organisation’s workstation that I am using. What should I do please?

  35. I have a strange situation where I can see the backgrounds when signed into the Teams app on my laptop but not from with in my VDI environment on persistent desktops. In the Teams logs I see a reference to “vdimode”. Do you think they are disabling the feature on VDI’s? We have blur avaliable so i do not think that would be the case. Also, my host processor runs the skylake architecture which is capable of AVX2.

    We are on the latest Citrix LTSR 1912 which has support for Teams optimization however we turn it off via policy as I do not feel it is ready for production yet.

      1. I would appreciate that, its strange that background blur does work as I feel that would be more taxing on processors than a static background. If you are able to find a list of things that are disabled when the Teams client detects its running on a VDI that would be very helpful. I really hope they don’t disable the 3×3 meeting window on VDI’s when it is eventually released.

      2. The Teams development group tell me that background blur (and effects) is not supported on VDI platforms. They are going to update the documentation.

      3. Hi Tony, thanks for checking with the development group but that’s just not true, background blur has and continues to work in my VDI environment. I just cant use custom backgrounds.

      4. I said “not supported” not “doesn’t work.” Not supported means that the development group cannot test all the available VDI platforms to be confident that a feature will work reliably.

  36. I have Teams on two different machines and neither have a backgrounds folder. I uninstalled and re-installed with no success. Why do i not have the folder?

    1. Have you attempted to use a custom background? Teams creates the folder the first time you try and set a background effect.

    2. It’s possibly to do with your graphics capability? I have Teams installed on several different machines. All have the same software version, but my oldest machine doesn’t show the control to change the background and it doesn’t have the Backgrounds folder. I’m assuming it’s just not capable enough.

    3. usually you need to press windows key and the “R” key to get a file search the search %appdata% and click microsoft not the microsoft teams folder then in the microsoft folder. click the teams folder then there it is in backgrounds.

  37. I have the latest version of Teams but I don’t have the Background option at all or the folder for Backgrounds. I am using if for work. All the other collegues have the option but I do not, so I know it’s not an option that was blocked by my company. What is VDI? I see these comments popping up.

    1. VDI = Virtual Device Infrastructure.

      It’s hard to know what the problem might be with your PC. It could be a hardware issue as your device must be able to support background blue before background images are supported.

      1. Hi, Tony. How do I recognise that my PC support background blur? Or, if I do not see background icon, it means that my computer doesnot support This feature, and it means I’!ll better change the computer? I have 2 devises: a PC (an old one) , and a new laptop. I use browser (googlechrom and installed versions) but there are no background setup menu at all :(.

  38. hi Tony! cheers from Brazil. I copied the pics PNG file into the folder you mentioned above in a Mac, restart and nothing. Its not allowing me to pick different backgrounds. I missed something maybe?

    1. I found this on another page:

      Anyways, if you’re on a Mac, it’s this. Just tried it and it worked.

      Macintosh HD -> Users -> Library -> Application Support -> Microsoft Teams -> Backgrounds

      For security reasons, library is hidden by default in MacOS. You can get to it by clicking on your desktop, choosing Go, and then typing out this -> ~/Library

      Once there, just follow the path as above and drop your image in the uploads folder and you’re good to go 😀

  39. Do you have to use the command prompt to upload the custome background? Really not good at programming like that. LOL

    1. For now, yes. It’s a simple copy. Later you’ll have an option to upload in the GUI.

  40. I’ve uploaded the files and I see them when I select the command prompt (and in the file directory) but when I go to use Teams I cannot see the new backgrounds. Any idea?

    1. Have you updated the software to make sure that you’re running the most recent version? Have you tried to set any other background? Does that work with one of the standard backgrounds?

      1. Microsoft Teams Version (64 bit). It was last updated on 2020-04-24. Yes, I’ve tried setting (resaving) backgrounds without success. Oh well.

    2. I had the same problem, but once I entered a real Teams meeting (no one has to be on it but you) and accessed the default backgrounds within the Teams meeting menu (the ellipses button), I was able to go back to the C:/ drive folder and navigate to the Backgrounds/Uploads folder.

  41. I suspect our tenant has not been updated yet, because we do not yet have the background feature (only blur) (nor some of the other features recently released). I have admin access to Office365/Teams: do you know of any way to find the update status / planned landing date for the new ‘tenant-server-side’ release? I have the correct client, but without the back-end tenant update, the client version appears to be unaware of the new features it is supposed to support.

  42. Very commendable. Good to know the work from home era is seriously making majority think outside of the box. First it was Zoom, and now Teams

  43. Uploading images to the Uploads folder does the job, but if I want a moving background image (wind in tress or waves on shore) can I upload a short video or animated gif, or something else that would do the job?

    1. As I say in the article, there are video capture tools that can do what you want… but think about it. Do you want to distract everyone in a meeting?

  44. I was hoping there was an easier way but good point about the distraction. Still perhaps it’s better they see what’s going on behind me rather than hear the nonsense I’m saying!

  45. This is good but wish they would add the ability to see more than 4 of the team at once as need to remember what they look like! Is there a site for Star Trek backgrounds? Maybe what we need next is the ability to switch clothing then could overlay a suit to save us getting changed! Or a starfleet uniform of course.

      1. Thanks, also what would be really useful would be a way to share an Excel document on Teams/SharePoint with track changes turned on as currently enabling track changes leads to a lot of confusing messages in the web version and then even after you explain to people about right-clicking to open in app, only 1 person can edit at once. Not great when a whole college need to collaborate to rank student grades for GCSEs and A Levels.

  46. Just tried this and some strange effects. 1. All photos are reversed, so American cars are driving on the left, like here in Australia. 2. Higher quality photos become blurry – will try to downscale them a bit more.

    1. Are you looking at the photos in preview? If so, it’s a preview and they are reversed. I have not noticed any problems with quality for photos scaled to 1920 x 1080 pixels.

  47. Hi. I have just tried uploading custom images, but couldn’t find the Background and Uploads folders. I then uninstalled and re-installed MS Teams, and am now back to only having the background blur, the set background images from MS Teams have disappeared. I have version, so this should have the images. Any thoughts…? Thank you.

  48. Hi, I used Teams first time yesterday and was could not change the background. The blur feature was greyed out inTeams and it was a scheduled video conference. I use Windows and prefer web version. What am I missing?

    1. I do not believe these features are available in web version.

      Three conditions must be met before you can use custom backgrounds:

      Your workstation supports background blur. Blurring and background effects depend on the hardware supporting the necessary AVX2 extensions (see this page for details). Background effects aren’t available in the Teams browser client.
      Your Teams client supports the feature. Use the Check for Updates function in Teams Settings to grab the latest version. Version or above should work.
      The update has been deployed to your tenant

      1. As the article says, background blur and effects are not available for the browser client.

  49. Thanks so much for this. It seems like making a common set of backgrounds available for a company using Office 365 would be a familiar request. It should be something the Admin can do in the Teams Admin Dashboard.

  50. My Teams is under C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads

    (I added the folders Background and Uploads myself) still unable to select a background, no option available in the advanced settings tab (within the
    ‘ … ‘ settings)

  51. I manged to upload a JPEG image as my custom background and successfully activated it during a Teams meeting and when the meeting ended and I was on another video call with my colleague the background file was not in the Teams “Change Background Effects” folder to allow me to select it again. I tried to replicate it but to no avail. What seems like the problem?

  52. I really don’t know how to answer this Tony because in Teams I don’t have access to verify this except when in an actual call where I can select the (…) to see if this works or not…not sure if this helps.

    1. You can start a call in a channel or personal chat and use it to test background effects.

  53. Right. So here’s an example of how this product is rather half baked. This is just one issue- but it is a good, simple stand-in for how the product is not finished.
    What order are the pictures displayed in, when you go to Background Settings? Ordered by date? Size? Filename? I can’t figure it out. I shouldn’t have to. But along with the inability to pin an entire team, only a channel and other navigation oddities; the way in which there’s only one Teams window; the way in which searching for content in teams isn’t even a joke- it just doesn’t work….
    This “who knows what order they are in” is one simple example of many of this this product has just been released to the public and promoted and pushed and- it’s half baked.

    1. Dear Annoyed, AFAIK the images are sorted alphabetically in two sections: the first are the images from the Teams CDN, the second are your custom files. Please take a chill pill.

  54. I video called a colleague and I looked but couldn’t see my uploaded file image in the Background section of Teams….what a disaster I must say!

    1. Can you use background blur? The problem might be that your workstation doesn’t have the necessary video extensions to support background effects.

    2. Be sure to check if you put it into “backgrounds” or “uploads”. Your custom backgrounds only appear when they are in the “uploads” folder.

      1. That’s true. The Uploads folder is for custom images, the Backgrounds folder holds copies of the standard images downloaded from the Teams CDN.

  55. It did work well during my mid-day meeting as my colleagues were all excited to see my new look background however after that when I tried to show my other colleague and even now it doesn’t work at all…the file is in the correct folder but doesn’t show up in the Teams folder.

    1. Agreed with Tony. I had it happen once where the backgrounds stopped showing up (even the Blur function died). I closed Teams and restarted, and it seemed to recover okay.

    2. Thanks for your blog, Tony. The same issue has arisen with my version (running in which non-stock backgrounds no longer are selectable. Using a bit of experimentation, I totally removed the stock backgrounds out of my user profile and moved them to the C: drive, logged out of teams, rebooted and re-started Teams.

      Confirmed that the stock backgrounds are sourced out of a CDN as they appeared in my profile “Backgrounds” folder as each was selected as a background. However, I can no longer select any custom backgrounds within the Uploads folder. Although I now suspect that the ability to apply custom backgrounds are now limited by corporate IT, my other colleagues are able to use custom backgrounds.


  56. Ok guys I’ve got news for you…while I was calling my colleague on Teams & taking him thru the process of uploading his custom images, he erroneously uploaded a file into the Background folder and not in the Upload folder within the Background folder….& he managed to activate his custom background effect. He told me what he did & I thought well let me try that scenario but to no avail….so I deleted the image from the Background folder and left the initial one in the Upload folder…The great concern is that one isn’t able to test if it works unless you call someone which is a bit disturbing as I don’t want to inconvenience another colleague Appreciate if anyone has a positive workaround given the circumstance….

    1. Go to your calendar and select Meet Now then you can try out your background picture without actually having to join the call.

      1. Sorry, I posted this same question just a moment ago before seeing that it had already been asked. Please disregard and thank you so much for your insight here!

    2. I have just uploaded an image on Teams and had to use a png file – that worked for me – a jpg didnt.

  57. Hi Tony thank you for this information it’s really useful. Do you know how to have the custom background “fixed”? I have to select an image every time I get on a call, which is anoying. Zoom automatically uses the last image as background, so you don’t have to do it again. Thanks!

  58. Do you know any way to remove the stock backgrounds from Microsoft? Just deleting them from the backgrounds folder does nothing and strangely there are more images available than there are files! I’d like to have more custom backgrounds but it really slows down the time to open the selector so I’d like to eliminate the ones I’ll not use.

    1. You can’t remove the standard images. They are stored on a CDN managed by Teams and the client looks there if the images are not on the PC.

  59. Looks like you were able to preview your custom background in Teams without being in a meeting? How did you do that? 🙂

  60. This is working wonderfully for me. But I discovered a small oddity. When I added images to my Uploads directory (and have deleted and added others), they are all visible. However, there is one background option showing a “missing image” logo. The logo is between the CDN-managed images and my images. This is happening on MacOS version of Teams, if that matters.

  61. I want to add a company background to all users’ devices so they have it as an option when they select their background. I imagine this can be done with some scripting and pushing the file. Do you know if that would be the only option or is there something at the Office administrator portal that could implement this?

    1. This isn’t possible right now. We’re waiting for Microsoft to build out the admin framework around background effects. It’s very manual at present.

  62. Seems like this stopped working, i cannot see my custom backgrounds anymore in Teams client. Anyone else has the same problem?

  63. Hello, I have an issue on Mac, that when I go to “Show background effects”.
    Although, there are pictures in the folder.
    Is worked before with the same account.
    MS Teams was reinstalled. Issue is the same.
    This is a Mac.
    Could you please advise?
    Thank you in advance.

      1. I thought, maybe you could have some ideas, what had happened. Btw, do you know, how to contact Microsoft in this case? 🙂

      2. I don’t use a Mac so I would be puffing hot air in your direction if I tried to help. Your tenant admin should be able to create a support case with Microsoft to seek their help.

    1. My experience (I’m on Mac too) is that I had to close Teams and restart it. Somehow it got “confused” and when I restarted Teams, it could see the custom images again. (And if that doesn’t work, then restart the computer entirely. Ugh.)

      Presumably, there are not admin controls that would dis-able background images. The only way background images don’t work is if the computer itself is not capable of dealing with background effects. One assume the built-in backgrounds and blur works okay for you.

  64. I don’t have option to set background in team. How to enable & set the background? please advise
    using laptop with MS Windows 10

  65. Hi,
    I don’t see an option to add a background in a live Team meeting; background effects aren’t available in the queue or live frames. Is the correct?

    1. Live Events are very different. You can use different video production equipment to generate backgrounds, but not background images produced by the client.

  66. This is not working on my mac desktop client version date 5/7/20. My mac supports AVX but not AVX2.

    1. Your client looks as if it needs to be updated. Microsoft didn’t make the change to support AVX until early June.

  67. Great function for branding the company while having Teams meeting 🙂 Is it possible to manage the background picture in the Teams Admin module for setting default background image for all employees.

  68. Is there a way to upload custom images within the Teams admin center to provide company provided to its entire Teams user base?

  69. Hi, thanks for this! I’ve uploaded images but they seem too big and don’t fit the screen, how do I scale them to fit the screen? thank you.

    1. Open the images with a graphic editor and make them 1920 x 1080 pixels and they will scale nicely on most screens.

  70. The background works good on my version but I cannot delete pictures I add. I found one article that says I can hover over the picture and a menu is suppose to appear but it doesn’t. I have clicked on photo and hit delete, I have tried hitting windows key and “R” and other suggestions but can’t delete an added picture. Any more ideas?

    1. Are you sure that you’re running the latest version of Teams? Check for an update just to make sure. The way you describe is accurate (hover over custom image and then take remove option that appears).

  71. Hello Tony, as you mentioned above. The background are sorted by name in two sections. Can we show the custom backgrounds section first?

  72. Some of the photos I uploaded to teams flip orientation from portrait to landscape. Is there a way to correct

  73. Has there been any update that you know of that allows removing some or all of the MS-provided custom backgrounds?

    Or are you aware of how one could re-arrange the order of the selections?

    If using a GP might be a way to constrain the MS options from the selection, I’m all ears (and eyes) on how you would set that – Thanks in advance!

  74. I am a school teacher I have to take classes from my home for a pandemic situation. But video meetings are not always useful at home. I hope your post will be of great use to me for using custom backgrounds. Thank you so much Tony for your awesome post.

  75. Hi Tony, I am using Teams in a grade school setting for student run announcements. The backgrounds work fairly well for 1 person seated but when we have 2 people standing for the pledge one student, head, arm, body disappears and reappears. How do we fix this so that our student reporters are securely onscreen without disappearing? We have tried green screen as a background and a whiteboard. Both have the same effect.

    1. You can’t affect how the AI software works to isolate a body from the background and bring the two together. The problem you face is that the AI “loses” and “regains” bits of bodies as they move. The only way you can have stability is to a) make sure that the two people stay in the one place and don’t move forward or back or b) use a third party software package like OBS to create the video feed. Coaching people to do a) is the first step I would take.

  76. Hi Tony. Every time I open Teams I have to re-apply my background – nice beach seen. Background is defaulting to what ever is really behind me. No one wants to see a messy lounge room hahaha.

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