How to Add Custom Backgrounds to Video Meetings Software

Adding custom backgrounds to your conference call is a fun way to improve on the way meetings are done on a massive scale. Most virtual backgrounds don't even need a green screen to look good (but using one will make it look even better). Here, we'll show you how to add a virtual background on popular platforms Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Download a Background First

Before figuring out how to upload your photo, you first need to find one. Since using a background falls under fair use, you can use virtually any photograph - within reason. You may need to keep your backgrounds royalty free if you're streaming the meeting or putting it on the internet for Facebook or Youtube. We recommend using background images from Hello Backgrounds due to their 300+ high quality and beautiful photos, ranging from private offices, skylines, and home interiors.

Zoom Virtual Backgrounds

Recommended Setup

View the Zoom website's system requirements before continuing, but you likely have the specs to run virtual backgrounds as this feature doesn't take a lot of power. A higher-quality image is recommended, use good lighting, and don't wear the same color as the background, or you'll be a floating head. 

Enabling Virtual Background

You can enable the virtual background feature for all users in the account by following these steps (plus a few optional settings to add):

  1. Sign in to Zoom as an administrator so you can edit account settings.

  2. Click Account Management then Account Settings in the navigation menu.

  3. In the Meeting tab, click Virtual Background to check if it's enabled.

  4. Lock the icon if you want this setting to be mandatory for all users.

  5. Click Manage virtual background to upload images available for all group members.

Add Custom Background

Once you select the Virtual Background tab, you can view all backgrounds you've uploaded or the default backgrounds included with the software. To add a new image or video, click the plus (+) sign beside Choose Virtual Background and click either Add Image or Add Video. Then, you can upload your custom background to make remote work more enjoyable. Download time will vary on image or video size.

Microsoft Teams Virtual Backgrounds

Recommended Setup

View the system requirements on the Microsoft Teams website before continuing, but you likely have the specs to run virtual backgrounds as this feature doesn't take a lot of power. A higher-quality image is recommended, use good lighting, and don't wear the same color as the background, or you'll be a floating head. 

Enabling Virtual Background

Unlike Zoom, virtual backgrounds are accessible during the call itself instead of within menus outside of your meetings. You can enable the virtual background feature for all users in the account by following these steps:

  1. While in a Microsoft Teams call, click the three dots on the meeting settings bar.

  2. Select Show Background Effects and scroll through the settings to pick yours.

  3. Choose the background you want from the background settings pane. 

  4. You can choose to preview the background or apply it to enable it on the live call.

  5. Click Files and add path %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds in the file explorer navigation bar to upload a custom background.

Add Custom Background

Adding a custom background on Microsoft Teams a bit more complicated because you must add path %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds in the file explorer navigation bar. Within that folder, click into the file titled Uploads and drag the custom backgrounds you want to upload onto the software. Then, you can add that custom graphic during called by following the steps in the Enabling Virtual Background section. 

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