Today, your unkept office landed you here to learn how to blur background in Teams prior to joining your meeting. There are countless reasons why your home workplace ends up in disarray. And by now, we have all experienced days when our home office is simply not suitable to be on camera.
Fortunately for you, Microsoft (MS) Teams offers a simple solution.
What is Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams, a part of the Microsoft 365 product line, is a business communication platform introduced in 2017. The platform allows for workspace chat and videoconferencing capabilities, in addition to file storage and sharing.
Shared workspace software usage has exploded during the pandemic. Main competitors to MS Teams include Slack, Google Workspace and Cisco Webex Teams.
These platforms enable remote employees from small and larger companies alike to effectively communicate and make decisions.
Virtual backgrounds were first introduced for Microsoft Teams in April 2020.
Initially just a handful of pre-selected backgrounds were available. Today up to 30 pre-selected options are available including the blur background effect.
It is important to note that while blur and other custom backgrounds can be extremely useful, they do consume additional bandwidth and have been known to slow Teams down.
How To Blur Background in Teams
To blur background in Teams, at the “Choose your audio and video settings” starting screen, turn your camera ON. Next, select the “Background filters” button. Your “Background settings” have now appeared. Lastly, select the “Blur” background option conveniently located at the top of the screen.
Like magic, your messy home office is now concealed! Interested in learning how to add the Blur background after you have already joined your meeting? More of a visual learner?
Read on for further instructions with step-by-step screenshots.
How To Blur Background Before Microsoft Teams Meeting
Prior to actually joining your Teams meeting, you will start at a screen titled Choose your audio and video settings.
Here you will first need to turn your camera ON. To do this, select the camera icon toggle on the left-hand side of the screen. Don’t worry, you have not joined the meeting at this stage. Your audience cannot see you yet!
Related Reading: Best camera position for video conferencing
Once you have turned on your camera, Teams will automatically activate the Background filters button. The Background filters option is just to the right of the camera icon toggle. You will know the Background filters button is activated when the text changes from light gray to bolded white.
With Background filters selected your Background settings will appear on the right-hand side of the screen.
Here you can select from 30 different pre-loaded background options. Select the Blur background option.
That’s it – you are now ready to join the meeting!
Let’s use some visuals to break this down step by step.
- At the starting screen titled Choose your audio and video settings use the camera icon toggle to turn your camera ON. Go ahead and make a goofy face. You haven’t joined the meeting yet – no one can see you!
- Ok great, your camera is working (don’t mind my 5am morning look!). Teams will now automatically activate the Background filters button. Notice how the Background filters button text has changed from light gray to bolded white? That means it is activated. Go ahead and select it.
- With Background filters now selected, your Background settings have now appeared. The Blur background option is conveniently located right at the top. Select it!
You’re all set and ready to join your colleagues. They will never know just how disorganized your home office has truly become!
How To Blur Background During Microsoft Teams Meeting
In this scenario you have already joined your Teams meeting, BUT you have not changed your background yet. No need to panic!
If you’d like you can select the Turn camera OFF option prior to taking the steps below to add the Blur background. Notably, these steps will work regardless of whether your camera is ON or OFF.
Start by selecting the More actions ellipses symbol (…) at the top of your screen.
Next, towards the bottom of the drop-down menu, select the Apply background effect option.
Once the Apply background effect option is selected your Background settings will once again appear on the right-hand side of the screen.
Finally, select the Blur background option and click Apply.
Visual step-by-step breakdown incoming!
- Start by selecting the More actions ellipses symbol (…) at the top of your screen. As mentioned, you can choose to first select Turn camera OFF while you add your Blur background. In these examples I will leave my camera on for illustrative purposes.
- Next, select the Apply background effect.
- Finally, select the Blur background option and click Apply.
Ok, fine. Maybe your colleagues caught a quick glimpse of your laundry pile that’s been sitting there for a few days. It was only a quick glimpse!
When working from home, we often do not want our colleagues to see how messy our home office has become. Knowing how to add the Blur background in Microsoft Teams can help you avoid embarrassment during your next presentation.
Blur Background Before Microsoft Teams Meeting:
- First, at the “Choose your audio and video settings” starting screen, turn your camera ON.
- Next, select the “Background filters” button.
- Your “Background settings” have now appeared. Select the “Blur” background option conveniently located at the top of the screen.
Blur Background On Microsoft Teams Meeting:
- First, select the “More actions” ellipses symbol (…) at the top of your screen.
- Next, select the “Apply background effect” option towards the bottom of the drop-down menu.
- Finally, select the “Blur” background option and click “Apply”.
The Blur effect in Teams is an excellent option to generate a distraction free background. BUT, it is not the only Teams background option to choose from.
With 30 pre-selected MS Teams backgrounds available, you have plenty of options. There are also many free backgrounds to choose from, or you can even upload you own custom company backgrounds.
Choose a professional background that minimizes distraction and confidently get back to videoconferencing today!
Chelsea Ashbrook is a Senior Manager of Corporate Digital Experience at Genentech. Chelsea received her B.A. from the University of Connecticut and has spent the last 10 years working in the technology field.
Her professional experience spans information technology services, web content management, and platform development.
For the past decade, long before the work from home revolution truly began, Chelsea has been working in the technology field remotely.
This blog is her outlet to share her findings with you.