Microsoft announces custom Teams backgrounds, new features for free users

Microsoft Teams PC
Microsoft Teams PC (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft today officially announced a few new features for Microsoft Teams.
  • It's now easier to use custom backgrounds in meetings, while free users can now schedule meetings and use live captions.
  • Some of these features began rolling out and were spotted last week.

It seems like Microsoft Teams gets new features nearly every week, and this week is no different. This week, Microsoft announced the addition of a much easier way to add custom backgrounds for calls. There are also a couple of new meeting features for free users that should make them more accessible and easier to schedule.

Microsoft added the ability to change your background in meetings several weeks ago, but adding your own backgrounds outside of the ones provided by Microsoft was a bit of a pain. Now, it's much easier with the addition of an "add new" button in the background settings menu. This option first started to show up last week, but Microsoft made it official today.

Additionally, free users can now schedule meetings and send invites out to attendees in advance. The meeting link is then provided to anyone with an invite, and it can be automatically sent out to Outlook or Google calendar. This feature is rolling out now, Microsoft says.

Another new feature for free users is the ability to turn on live captions during meetings. Teams will automatically identify who is talking, then provide captions for what they are saying at the bottom of the meeting screen. This is a big deal for attendees with hearing impairments or differeng language proficiencis, but it can also help anyone keep up with what's going on in a meeting.

Live captions are currently available as a preview in U.S. English only, Microsoft says.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl