It might not necessarily make that early Monday morning video call more fun, but Microsoft Teams will now let users upload their own photos for custom backgrounds, the company announced in a blog post. Custom images and other background effects are only available for scheduled Teams meetings, Microsoft says.

Teams has a background blurring effect and a library of pre-installed images to allow meeting participants to conceal their messy home offices. But it’s still playing catch-up with rival Zoom, which has seen huge growth during the coronavirus pandemic (despite multiple security issues), as people have been working and schooling remotely. Zoom already allows the use of custom images for meeting backgrounds. Microsoft said Teams saw a brisk uptick in users during the pandemic as well, and has continued to roll out new features.


One caution about using background images in Teams: the company says using the blurring effect or a custom image may not prevent others on a video call from being able to see sensitive information.

In addition to the custom images, Microsoft also rolled out some new features for free users of Teams, including the ability to schedule meetings and send out invites instead of just using the “Meet Now” option. Free users of Teams also can now add live captions to their calls. And Microsoft says it’s adding Pride-themed images to its collection of custom Teams backgrounds, which will begin rolling out June 16th.

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