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September 11, 2020

Microsoft Teams Backgrounds: More than a pretty picture

Updated June 2023

Microsoft recently released the capability for users and organizations to have custom background images in Microsoft Teams meetings. This feature can be useful because instead of choosing from a predefined list of backgrounds, as seen below, you can now upload your own images to use.

Download Now:  Teams 101 - Get the Most Out of Microsoft Teams 
ms teams
Image: Examples of Microsoft Teams background images.

We have been having a lot of fun uploading funny and amusing background images, but it got us thinking – is there a way to use Microsoft Teams background images for more than just a cool background? It turns out, our good friend Ruven Gotz already had this idea, so all credit for the concepts in this article goes to him.


Using a Microsoft Teams Background Image to Tell a Story About Yourself

Since we launched Orchestry, I have been having close to 30 meetings a week. They are often with people I’m reconnecting with after a long time or haven’t met before. So, I tend to share the following about myself:

  • I was born in Poland, grew up in Adelaide, Australia and now live in Vancouver, Canada.
  • We recently had a baby girl who is ten months old.
  • We have a French bulldog named Archie.
  • My favourite food is Laska, which is a spicy south-east Asian coconut-based soup (if you haven’t tried it then you should!)
  • The Orchestry Founding team is Denise, Sarah and myself.
  • We recently launched Orchestry after a previous successful SharePoint-based Intranet company.

Borrowing a cue from my friend Ruven, I created a Microsoft Teams background image which that covers all these points visually with a series of picture frames.


Creating a Microsoft Teams Background Image

ms teams background - blurred image
Image: Example of a personal Microsoft Teams background image.

This personalized Microsoft Teams background image spurs conversations with people that I haven’t met and it has been a compelling way to connect on a personal level.

The instant that I jump onto a meeting, I find that people are actively looking at the photos behind me, asking questions and engaging. It’s an excellent way to form a personal and professional relationship in an instant, and in this new world where everything is remote, it makes a big difference.


What Else Can You Use Custom Microsoft Teams Background Images For?

Here are some other ideas that I have seen from others out there:

  • Project Status Reports: Instead of presenting project status reports with slides, you could create a background and paste some KPI’s as images. This allows you to visually see your KPI’s without the need to present anything and encourages discussion.
  • Scrum Meetings: Create a background showing your progress or project status for a team catch-up meeting. An already short catch-up can be even quicker as you can immediately see the status of others without needing to ask.
  • Custom Office Images: One of our Orchestry partners has a series of background images that shows an image of their office location. It’s again a nice way to be able to connect virtually!

How Do I Create My Own Microsoft Teams Background Image?

Creating your own Microsoft Teams background image is easy but you can also use the one that we use!

Download Our Microsoft Teams Background Template

Simply download the template, choose the images that you want to use, and add them using a tool like Photoshop or Paint. The image is a pretty large size but this makes it easier to paste your own images in so you can personalize your background.

A Quick Note

When you upload your background photo into Microsoft Teams and start a meeting you will find that looking at your background you think that it’s reversed (as you can tell by my perplexed face below!). Don’t worry; it won’t appear mirrored and will look correct to the other attendees in your meeting or event.

ms teams background reversed
Image: Your Microsoft Teams background image may look reversed to you, but it will be the right way around to others.

We hope you enjoyed this guide to creating your own custom Microsoft Teams background image!

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