How to set virtual background in Microsoft Teams

2020 was a great year for video conferencing software. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet saw a massive increase in usage. With that, the developers of Microsoft Teams also saw that good was not good enough. They had to keep innovating at speed to keep up with the competition.

If you are in a video meeting you can choose to let your background showing your living room or office visible. But it is more discreet to use a custom background. Microsoft Teams recognizes your head and body. And will automatically replace the surrounding for your chosen image. Options for a virtual background are limitless. What about a virtual office, the cockpit on an airplane, or sitting on the moon?

In this post, I’ll show you how to set your background in Microsoft Teams in 2021.

Set a background in Microsoft Teams

Before attending a video meeting, you will be presented with a selection screen where you can configure your video and audio settings. This allows you to set a background in Microsoft Teams meetings:

  1. Make sure the camera setting is turned on (purple slide)
  2. Click Background filters to reveal the Background Settings sidebar
  3. In the sidebar, choose the desired background for your Teams meeting
  4. Before you can enter the meeting, you have to specify the Audio in/output.
  5. Click Join Now to join the meeting.
microsoft teams set custom background

If you are already in the meeting, it is still possible to set or adjust your background. To do this, do the following:

  1. Click on the 3 dots in the top toolbar
  2. Click Apply Background Effects
  3. In the Backgrounds Settings sidebar, you can again choose None, Blur, or a Custom background
microsoft teams set custom background during meeting

Blur the background in Microsoft Teams

Besides being able to set an image as the background, you can also blur the background. This ensures that only you are visible and that your surroundings are diffuse. This is a good choice for a business meeting, if your company does not prescribe a corporate identity background. To blur the background during a Microsoft Teams meeting, do the following:

  1. Assuming you’re not in the meeting yet, make sure the camera setting is turned on (purple slide)
  2. Click Background filters to reveal the Background Settings sidebar
  3. In the sidebar, choose Blur
  4. Before you can enter the meeting, you have to specify the Audio in/output.
  5. Click Join Now to join the meeting.
microsoft teams blur background

Again, it’s also possible to Blur during the meeting. To do so, click the 3 dots in the toolbar and choose Apply Background Settings

How to test background effects without attending a meeting?

Of course, you want to test this yourself first. You don’t want to spend 5 minutes in your next meeting figuring out how to set this up.
To test how to set background effects, do the following:

  1. Open Teams and click on Calendar at the left
  2. Click Meet Nowteams meeting test call 1
  3. Make sure your camera (and possibly microphone) are switched on
    Click Join nowTeams meeting test call 2
  4. You are now in your own meeting, without participants. Feel free to click all options to discover all the possibilities of Teams meetings.

How to set your own custom background in Teams

It can be even more fun! You can set your own background!

  1. Open Windows Explorer
  2. Make sure Hidden Items is turned on (under View tab)
  3. Go to %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds
    %APPDATA% is a placeholder for C:\Users\yourusername\AppData\Roaming\. You can also navigate to C:\Users\yourusername\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft \Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads\
  4. The Uploads folder is empty by default. Copy your desired image (.PNG, .JPG or .GIF) to the Uploads folder.
  5. The background effect is immediately available. You don’t have to restart Teams.

Unfortunately, animated GIF’s are not played in the background. That would have been terrific.

Good things to know

Microsoft keeps improving its documentation. For Teams, they’re doing well with this guide. However, still without any images or videos. Hopefully my blog post helped you out.

Also, let’s not forget Microsoft Teams is known for taking much CPU and memory. If you’re experiencing performance issues, make sure to read my post Easy fix performance issues Teams high cpu and extreme memory usage. And if you’re experiencing difficulties scheduling a meeting, view my other blog post on how to schedule a Teams meeting.

If this article did not help you solve your problem, please leave a comment! This website is visited thousands of times a day. There is a good chance that I or someone else has an answer to your question.

How do I blur the background in Microsoft Teams

microsoft teams blur background

Assuming you’re not in the meeting yet, make sure the camera setting is turned on (purple slide).
Click Background filters to reveal the Background Settings sidebar. Then choose Blur in the sidebar.
Before you can enter the meeting, you have to specify the Audio in/output.
Click Join Now to join the meeting.

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Chloe

Works okay .

Ridhima

I am clicking but it nis not working

Johnathon McCown

I don’t have the icon for background affects!

PRATEEK DAHIYA

I am a student of class 5 and show option is not available

priya umashankar

show backgroud effect option is not coming for me

Anonymous

Very good

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