Take me off beautifully: how to enable custom backgrounds in Skype video calls

Microsoft has added a cool new feature to the Skype video messenger, which allows you to add a custom background during a video call. This makes it possible to hide the, what is behind you in the room.

Although the function of adding a background to a video is not new, and other video calling platforms already offer similar functionality., this, definitely, a long-awaited addition to the Skype arsenal. This is especially important, when during the days of self-isolation and remote work, many people communicate with colleagues from home, they would not like to show the home environment.

It is worth noting right away, that custom backgrounds are only available for the desktop version of Skype, which can be installed in Windows, Linux and macOS. In a special application for Windows 10, which you can download and install from the Microsoft Store, there is no such function yet.

On the other hand, all versions of Skype, including that, which is intended for Windows 10 users, have background blur support. Therefore, even if you can’t use your image as a background, option to hide that, what’s going on in the background, still available.

The new background setting function can be configured in various ways

For example, you can configure it from the original wizard, which is displayed after the first installation of Skype on a new device. Thus, all your calls will use the customized background from the very beginning, without additional configuration.

Besides, you can turn on the background directly from an active video call. To do this, simply hover the mouse pointer over the video button in the main window of the program or click on the three-point ‘Advanced’ button in the upper right corner. Next, just click on the ‘Select Background effect’ option and add a new image to use as a background.

And, of course, you can do all this from the Skype settings screen, following this path:

Main program window Three dots in the top left column Settings Choose a background effect Add…

The preview screen in the same window will show you, what will you look like in a video chat, and the background in the background will be dynamically cropped to fit your profile. So you will be able to select an image, which better matches your mood. Most image formats are supported, including JPG, PNG, GIF and TIFF. Microsoft, however, recommends users to use images in high quality, which are stored on your computer.

  • Operation

Custom background settings in Skype

If your version of Skype does not have options for blurring the background or adding your own image, this may be due to some hardware limitations on your computer. Microsoft explains it like this:

‘When the focus of the webcam is pointed at you, and not on the furnishings of your room, you have the opportunity to blur the background or adjust your background right during a Skype video call. To blur the background in Skype, your computer’s processor must support Advanced Vector Extensions 2 (AVX2) technology. For more information, contact the manufacturer of your computer.’

Most likely, It’s just a matter of time., when will Microsoft also update the Skype version from the Windows 10 App Store, in which similar functionality will appear. The company has not yet provided plans for, when can this happen, but, taking into account, that this client already has a background blur option, there is no reason not to add the ability to set a custom background.

At the same time, anyone can simply turn to a desktop client for custom backgrounds. However, this cannot be done in Windows 10 in stripped-down mode., where only applications from the Microsoft Store can work.

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