Microsoft Teams is a video call platform similar to Zoom but with different controls, menus, and features. Teams integrates well with the Microsoft 365 suite of business software, making it a popular choice in the corporate world.
Teams allow users with admin privileges to upload custom virtual backgrounds that anyone in the call can select and use, provided they have a Teams Premium license. Users without a Teams Premium license can still choose an image as their virtual background, but they will not have access to the admin's custom background menu.
What Is a Custom Background?
Microsoft uses the term "Custom Background" to refer to backgrounds an employee with administrative privileges selects for their team or organization. Usually, these backgrounds are high-resolution image files featuring the company's logo or branding. Branded background designs are generally simple to minimize distractions and keep the focus on the subject of the call.
Colloquially, a custom background can be any image file a user uploads into the Teams app to use as a virtual background. Users don't need to use a traditional green screen to achieve the same effect, as the video call software can accurately distinguish the user's body from the background.
Anyone using Teams can upload their background image file before or during a video call. Only users with Teams Premium can select one of the administrator's pre-selected backgrounds. The administrator can require participants to use one of their pre-selected background images if they desire.
Can You Save Your Custom Backgrounds to Teams?
Using Microsoft's Custom Backgrounds feature, administrators can easily save their background image files to Teams. Those without a Teams Premium license must upload their preferred background whenever they enter a meeting.
In the older versions of Teams, users could navigate to the folder where the application stored the default backgrounds and slip their custom backgrounds into the standard menu. However, this is no longer possible on the newer version of Teams.
How To Use a Custom Background Without a Teams Premium License
One way to easily access your preferred custom background on Microsoft Teams is to keep the image file on your desktop or in an easy-to-search folder. Before you enter a Teams meeting, the pre-meeting screen allows you to set any image as your background.
Turn on the webcam and select "Background Filters" beneath the video preview. The default background menu will appear on the right side of the screen. Select "add new" and click on your image file.
Though you can no longer save background images in Teams without a Premium license, you can still easily use your image on video calls. Simply keep the image file close at hand.
How To Save Your Custom Background
You can save up to 50 custom backgrounds through the Teams admin center if you have a Teams Premium license and administrative privileges. In the Customization Policies section of the admin center, select Meeting Backgrounds and turn on the option to use backgrounds from your organization. The admin center will prompt you to add custom images in PNG or JPG format.
Users with a Teams Premium license will see every custom background on the Teams option from the admin center when they enter meetings. The administrator can restrict callers to only these backgrounds in the admin settings.
Where To Find Your Previous Backgrounds in the Platform
Unfortunately, only Teams Premium users can select previous backgrounds, provided they are in their admin's folder of organization-approved options. Non-premium users should keep their preferred background image in an accessible location on their computer to select it on the pre-meeting screen.