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.

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.

15 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 🙂

    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 🙁
    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
  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 🙂

    Thanks @Ryan!

    Reply

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