There are all the time something new in Microsoft Teams that can help make life easier. Something organizations have been asking is a ability to share organization “official” meeting video backgrounds for employees. It has finally rolled to Microsoft Teams, so admins can get stared with the capability.

The quick list:

  • Advanced Communication add-on license is needed for each user who uses these
  • If you don’t have Advanced Communication already set up you can get it from Microsoft 365 Admin Center and Purchase a trial. Assign licenses to users in a standard fashion (Users-Licenses and Apps)
  • Settings for background pictures are done in TAC (Teams Admin Center).
  • A bit of waiting when it rolls out to users

Advanced Communications 180-days trial

First, you need to purchase or trial Advanced Communications add-on. This will be allowing you some meeting tailoring capabilities as well as premium manageability and custom policy packages. In the add-on page it states that only 60 day trial is available, but when I was testing this out I was able to pick 180 days trial. To do this just go to Purchase services and search for Advanced to see what is available.

Using the trial you get to test out Advanced Communications for 180 days with 25 users. There isn’t currently too much included in the add-on but more options should appear over time. Just for pure testing it out a separate short-term test-environment might be a good idea.

After you have purchased the Add-On trial you can assign licenses to your users in M365 Admin Center.

Then it is time to open TAC – Microsoft Teams Admin Center and navigate to Meeting policies main page. There is a button Customize meeting images. Admins don’t need to have an Advanced Communication add-on to set this up.

Set custom meeting background images

Just switch custom images on and you can start adding them.

What is of course interesting is “Customize meeting images” text that tells that this same dialogue will be used for setting meeting lobby background and/or company lobby. There doesn’t seem to be any options for those available yet. But custom meeting backgrounds can be set once it is on.

+ Add opens a side-panel where images can be uploaded.

Note that there are some guides for image size. It needs to be between 360×360 and 3840×2160 pixels.

Once you are done just hit Close and then Save on the main customize dialogue.

And then you are done on the admin side

After a short wait (took a few hours, but I wasn’t testing it all the time) your users can use the new image.

In the meeting

When user is selecting a background image they can see organizational backgrounds first in the list of available images.

This is very straight-forward way to get started with organizational images. Personally I feel this is just a nice extra touch (saves some manual work from everyone in the org) to make meetings more unified and should be included in all organization licenses. At the same time I of course understand why Microsoft wants to create add-ons like Advanced Communication and Microsoft Viva packages: they are creating products and adding features to them all the time.

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