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Feature Focus: Custom Background Effects for Microsoft Teams

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Microsoft Teams Custom Background Demo

Be honest: how much time did you spend in your last video studying your colleagues’ surroundings?

Whether you’re trying to work out the precise composition of a teammate’s book collection, or simply attempting to decide whether it’s a goldfish or a lizard in that tank… all of these factors can add up to a big distraction.

Thankfully, Microsoft Teams has the answer.

What began as the simple ‘Blur Background’ feature has now evolved, with the option to choose from various built-in background effects, or even upload your own. With video calling fast becoming the norm in the modern workplace, this feature will help your team stay focused while collaborating via Microsoft Teams.

So, if you’ve ever wanted to discuss quarterly forecast reports from the depths of deep space or the jungles of the Amazon – now’s your chance.

Let’s dig into the detail.

What is the Microsoft Teams background effects feature?

Following the June 2020 update to Microsoft Teams, you’re now able to replace your background with either one of the preset backgrounds provided within Microsoft Teams, or a custom image of your own which you choose from your own computer. Prefer to maintain an air of mystery? You can also use the Background Blur feature, just as you always have.

You don’t need a green screen or any special equipment to get the feature working, just a relatively modern PC or Mac and the dedicated Microsoft Teams app.

For the more technically minded out there, you’ll need a CPU which supports AVX2 running on Windows 8.1 or higher. In plain English? If your computer is newer than 2011, and has an Intel Core i3, i5, i7, or certain AMD processors, you should be good to go.

How to change your Microsoft Teams background

So, we’ve covered the background (if you’ll excuse the pun), but how do you actually use the feature? Here’s a quick step-by-step.

  1. First, join your meeting via Microsoft Teams.
  2. In the ‘waiting room’ for your call, you’ll see a few different buttons below your camera preview.
  3. Click the background button in the middle to open up the backgrounds menu on the right of the screen. You can also use this button to toggle the feature off entirely.
    Microsoft Teams Background Button Screenshot
  4. Next, you can scroll through the existing list of background presets and click one to preview it.
    Microsoft Teams Background Settings Screenshot
  5. If you’d prefer something a little more you, click the + Add New button to open a file selector. From there, choose an image from your computer to use as your background.
  6. Once you’ve selected your file, you should see it appear behind you in the camera preview. Like what you see? Click Join now and let your teammates see it too.

That’s all there is to it! Just follow these steps to add a custom background to Microsoft Teams before joining a call.

If you’re already in a call and you’d like to change or remove your background, that’s a breeze too. Just click the three dots on the toolbar, then choose Show background effects to open the background menu again and make your changes.

Don’t worry – you can use the Preview button to see what a background will look like before you share it with your team. Your camera will switch off briefly while you’re deciding on your next look.

Need more help with Microsoft Teams?

Here at Get Support, we know that Microsoft Teams is quickly becoming one of the go-to platforms for the modern workplace. We also know that there’s a lot to learn in order to use it to best effect.

If you’re having trouble with any aspect of Teams – from video backgrounds to organisation management – our expert team of IT specialists is here to help.

Call us today on 01865 59 4000 and we’ll help your business make the most of Microsoft Teams and the entire Microsoft 365 suite.

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