How to set an animated background in Microsoft Teams without third-party software

You probably already tried to add a new background with a .mp4 or .gif extension, but soon realized that Microsoft Teams will only allow you to select from .jpg, .jpeg, .png, and .bmp files.

I thought to myself: what if I uploaded a .mp4 or .gif to wherever Microsoft Teams stores those custom uploaded backgrounds?

A quick search lead me to ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams/Backgrounds/Uploads.

I copied an animated.gif, which is the file I want to use as my background, and an animated_thumb.jpg to match, which is the little thumbnail I will click on to select the animated background. That said, while I could select the thumbnail, the background was still not applied.

My last hope was to rename animated.gif to animated.jpg to see if Microsoft Teams could be fooled into thinking it’s a static image, and low and behold, after selecting the thumbnail, the GIF actually played in the background.

Animated Microsoft Teams background

So if you have a MP4, just convert it to a GIF, because MP4s won’t work.

41 thoughts on “How to set an animated background in Microsoft Teams without third-party software

  1. Sven

    Just to complete the answer – the path to the background-images on a Windows-System: %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads

    Reply
  2. Ronald Schutte

    I am always getting a message that the format of the file is not right. What converter tool did you use for the mp4 to gif conversion?

    Reply
  3. Dominic

    Thank you for the little guide how to set animated backgrounds on Teams! I searched in like forever and you solved it πŸ™‚

    Reply
  4. Albert Koey

    I used this website to convert MP4 to animated GIF: https://ezgif.com/video-to-gif

    And then I made a copy of the animated GIF and renamed the file to include the words “_thumb” and copy the 2 GIF files to the UPLOAD folder. And I can use the animated background in Microsoft Teams.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  5. Ben

    hmmm..
    it always says couldnt add when I click on add new.
    I downloaded a few gifs and put them in the upload folder but they dont show up. and when I add them manually I get the cant add info. (I renamed them to jpg)
    any ideas?

    Reply
  6. Juan

    I tried uploading a GIF and it says “couldn’t add background”. I tried restarting Microsoft teams and it still didn’t work. Any Ideas?

    Reply
  7. Chelsea H

    I also got the message that it “couldn’t add background”, but when I scrolled down in the options it was there (successfully showing as a gif).
    However, I was not able to actually apply the background to my video πŸ™
    I tried restarting Teams

    Reply
  8. Mike

    First it didn’t work for me either, because I misread the instructions. But then I realized you need your file 2 times in the same “background” folder. the first time you need to rename the gif to for example “Name.jpg” and then duplicate this gif and name it “Name_thumb.jpg” (renaming both as png worked as well) … finally it works. Thanks a lot for this “hack” ryan

    Reply
    1. Eric

      You nailed it! Great instructions!! After re-reading original I see it what they were getting at but could have been worded better!

      Reply
    2. Meechie

      Didn’t work for me and I work with computers lol. I think Teams may have updated. It will let you know it can’t be added. You can see it as one of your options but when you select you will get a red message letting you know that one can’t be used. Even with restarting teams

      Reply
  9. Ramon

    I’ve tried uploading and adding directly to the folder. When adding to the folder I can see it as a background to select, but I still get the error message “couldn’t add background”. I’ve tried restarting Teams as well and no luck.

    Reply
  10. MrJ

    @mike – I realized the same thing. I wish I would have read your post rather than spending the 15 mins trying to figure out what I did wrong πŸ™‚

    Thanks @Ryan!

    Reply
  11. Jacob

    Didn’t work for me at first, was showing the thumbnail to select, but when I clicked it it said it couldn’t apply the background. I renamed the files from jpg to png and restarted teams and then it worked perfectly!

    Reply
  12. Nicholas

    No, for me I just can’t get it to work – can I check something very basic – when you say ‘rename’ do you mean you literally name it ‘Name.jpg.gif’ or do you mean you save it as a jpg?

    Reply
  13. Adam

    Worked for me, but only after using the ‘ren’ command in CMD to rename and emend the file extension. Changing the extension in windows explorer only edited the name (so in the directory it was actually image.jpg.gif). I believe in macOS this is simpler and you’d get a popup warning if you want to change the extension. I’m sure there’s an easier way in Windows, but I am not sure of it.

    Reply
  14. Ryan Sechrest Post author

    Nicholas & Adam, I think that there is a setting in Windows Explorer that shows/hides the file extension, so when one renames the file, it’s actually not changing the file extension (because it’s hidden), which could very well be the issue. See if you can find a setting to display the file extension.

    Reply
  15. Omie

    Hi Ryan,

    If I change the file extension from .gif to .jpg or .png preceding the filename, will it not entirely change the properties of the file and will no longer be animated?

    Reply
    1. Ryan Sechrest Post author

      To answer your question, it will not change the properties of the file. The extension is merely to help the OS to decide which program to open a file in, but the file’s contents are still the same.

      Reply
  16. Ali

    any ideas why the I get still image when i select the back ground. I have it working on one laptop but it doesnt seem to work on the second laptop.

    Reply
  17. imGok

    I struggled for 1 hour because it didn’t work after trying a lot of stuff (compressing, converting via different websites etc…).

    The problem was my version of Teams (december one), it finally worked after updated it to the last one.

    Thanks for the post btw

    Reply
  18. Max

    Hello Ryan!
    The trick is still working?
    I’d named both files *.png. Putted both in Uploads.
    Then after MS Teams restart I see animated thumbnail in Background settings tab but when I choose it the main background is still static ((

    Reply
    1. Ryan Sechrest Post author

      Hi Max, it is still working. I used it earlier today. Just to clarify, you have one file called test_thumb.jpg and another called test.jpg, where test.jpg is actually a GIF that was, for example, renamed from test.gif to test.jpg? When you open the test.jpg, is it animated?

      Reply
  19. Max

    Tnx for answer, Ryan.
    I took this gif – https://cdn.dribbble.com/users/1595839/screenshots/11700339/media/5b39c07a6a721b6b440288c6c6ec5cb1.gif then made a copy, renamed both files like you said 56_thumb.png, 56.png (*.jpg format acted the same) putted in Windows folder for Teams Background Uploads. After that in Teams I could see animated preview of 56_thumb.png but when I choosing it the background still static. When I open 56_thumb.png and 56.png from File Explorer both files are static. Microsoft Teams Version 1.4.00.8872

    Reply
    1. Ryan Sechrest Post author

      Hi Max! I tried the picture you linked above and it did work for me. I did use the JPG extension and not PNG– not sure if that makes a difference. And I put both inside Backgrounds/Uploads: One was called “test.jpg” and then I copied it and renamed the copy to “test_thumb.jpg”. Microsoft Teams version 1.5.00.2570.

      Reply
  20. Brian Chetelat

    Worked like a champ Ryan, thank you. Can I ask where you found that gif you used at the start of this article?

    Reply

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