(Pocket-lint) - Like Zoom, Microsoft Teams is constantly improving with new updates to help us work and communicate remotely. One such update is the ability to add backgrounds to your calls to hide the mess and chaos of your world or just jazz things up a bit.
If you're wondering how to add backgrounds to your calls, then you've come to the right place. We're going to show you how to select a new call background and which backgrounds to use for the best results.
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How to blur your background in Microsoft Teams
If you don't necessarily want to use a fake background, but also don't want people on your call seeing your kids wandering around or your less than professional backdrop then Teams has the answer.
Using a basic setting you can simply blur the background of your call while keeping yourself in focus.
The process of blurring your background is simple enough. When you're about to start a call on Teams you'll see a purple slider the bottom next to the video option. Simply use that slider to blur your webcam background before the call starts.
If you're already on the call then you can just hover your cursor near the bottom of the call window and you'll see a menu icon appear. Click that and select the "blur my background" option.
Using a default Teams background
If background blurring isn't quite cutting it, then you can go a step further with the help of the default backgrounds available within Teams. There are a number of backgrounds to choose from whether simple office scenes or something a bit more luxurious.
To use a pre-installed Teams background is simple enough too. When you're connecting to a call on Teams you'll see an option with a slider next to the camera icon. Using that you can turn virtual backgrounds on and you'll then get the ability to select the background of your choosing.
How to use your own backgrounds in Microsoft Teams
Microsoft is working on the ability to upload and use your own custom images for backgrounds in Teams. This feature is in development and coming in May according to the roadmap. But the good news is there's currently a fairly straightforward workaround you can use to add custom backgrounds now.
In order to do so, all you need to do is add images to the right folder on your Windows PC or Mac and then you'll be able to access them in the same way you would the default backgrounds.
Practical 365 wrote about how to do this.
If you're on a Windows machine, use explorer to search for this folder:
This should take you to the folder where the default images are located. If it doesn't show it might be hidden, so click on Explorer again and click view, then tick the box that says "hidden items" - that should let you see the rest. Alternatively, this forum post might help.
If you're on a Mac, then the process is similar and the files are stored within a folder located here:
Add your images
Once you've found the appropriate folder, the next step is to find some nice images to add to it. The images need to be a good size for the best result - 1920 x 1080 seems a sensible choice. They should also be either JPG or PNG.
Upload your images to the folder. Then when you next have a call, follow the same process that you would to choose a default image. Click the slider next to the camera icon and the default images should appear as normal. Scroll through them and you'll see the ones you added. Select the one you want and you're away.
Best custom backgrounds for Microsoft Teams
We've already put together a list of the best backgrounds to use for Zoom calls, so it makes sense to recommend some good ones to use for Teams as well.
Of course, your Microsoft Teams calls might be a tad more on the professional side, being mostly work calls, but that doesn't mean you can't use some classic images to make things a little more interesting.
If you're using Microsoft Teams, it only seems fitting to be using a Windows wallpaper as your backdrop and which is more recognisable than this classic view from the hazy days of Windows XP. The operating system might be long dead, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy the scenery.
Another classically inspired Microsoft view. This time a little more blocky, but nonetheless awesome. If you like this one, you could even go one better by getting some snaps from the awesome Minecraft with RTX beta.
A perhaps more professional backdrop, but one that still has a little dose of humour in it comes in the form of this image from The Office. At first glance, it looks like a standard office background, but it's so much more. Fans of the show are bound to approve.
If your backdrop is a touch on the messy side, then how about a view that implies your home is much neater and consists of well-ordered surroundings. This pretty living room is bound to imply an organised and collected mind - one that's ready to get down to business.
Show off your slightly more playful side with a custom backdrop from the instantly recognisable cartoon family home. Then when the call is done you can go and fetch a cold Duff from the fridge.
Everything is fine
The classic meme is perfectly suited to the madness that's unfolding in the world at the moment. Hopefully, your meetings will go better if you can start them off with a smile. It might not be the most professional Teams background, but it's certainly a good one.
The distracted boyfriend meme
Another meme, another Teams background. Hopefully, the distracted boyfriend isn't too distracting for the rest of the people on your call. Another one that might not be the most professional background, but is bound to get a chortle or two.
Show off your inner geek with a clean scene from the Star Trek universe. Engage your call and be on the lookout for fellow Trekkies appreciating your custom background.
If you're more of a Star Wars fan than Star Trek, then don't despair as there are other options open to you. Like this backdrop which features a scene from a Rebel base.
Something a little cuter comes in the form of this classic Pixar scene from Toy Story. Instantly recognisable and unlikely to offend anyone. What more could you want?
Had enough of being on dry land? How about an under-the-sea view? This image is taken from Finding Nemo and is certainly a chilled out view of the ocean that will hopefully have people daydreaming of pleasant trips to the beach.
An empty office
Show your dedication to taking business seriously by using this backdrop that makes it look like you've gone to the trouble of actually going to the office, all on your own. We're not sure it's an efficient use of office lighting or resources, but it sure looks professional.
Pretend you're carrying out the ultimate in social distancing by holding your Microsoft Teams meeting from the surface of the moon. Just remember, in space, no one can hear you scream but they sure can on Teams.
A clean office backdrop
Another custom Teams background that's bound to give off a professional air while making for a nice view that isn't distracting, overly cluttered or just plain awful.
Family Guy living room
A less professional background, but one that's bound to please fans of one of our favourite animated shows. We'd love to see Brian make a special guest appearance on the call, rather than the usual cat or dog that's popping up in Teams meetings around the world currently.
A calming scene
A more believable view of a tidy office space that could easily be your home. Or at least it'll do if you want to pretend it is while you're on your Teams call.
Business as usual
Nothing to see here. Just a man and his banana. Perfect backdrop fodder if you ask us.