How to install a virtual background

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A custom-branded virtual background from ESS

Our design experts will make you a custom virtual background with your logo / branding!


Many of our clients have asked for assistance with installing virtual backgrounds, so we created these instructions for the most popular virtual meeting clients (apps). We figured we'd share them with everyone - we hope it helps you, or someone you share this with 😊



Installing Zoom virtual backgrounds

Zoom’s popularity and use increased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now ubiquitous for virtual meetings, remote teaching, online school and many more! To install a virtual background on Zoom:

  1. Download an image you want to use, and remember where you saved it on your computer. On mobile you may need to save it to your photos.
    1. You can find some freebies here, or order a unique, custom-designed virtual background here.
    2. You can use GIF, JPG / JPEG and / or PNG files.
    3. Zoom likes a ratio of 19:9, and a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels.
    4. You can get away with a smaller resolution of 1280x700 pixels, but the higher the resolution the better it will look to other people, especially when you’re full screen!
  2. In Zoom, find “Background & Filters”:
    1. Desktop: Find Preferences (in the settings menu for Windows), and look for “Background & Filters”.
    2. Mobile: Tap “Settings” at the bottom of the screen
  3. You should see “Virtual Backgrounds” (or “Background” on mobile devices). There are some pre-installed backgrounds, and you can add your own by clicking the plus (+) icon on the right hand side.
  4. During a meeting, if you need to change your virtual background, click on the “caret” (^) next to Start/Stop Video. Click Choose Virtual Background, and pick a background! On mobile, tap the three dots for “More” and you’ll see “Background and Filters”



How to install Microsoft Teams virtual backgrounds

Fully integrated into Microsoft’s 365 product family, with a host of collaboration tools and connectivity features, MS Teams is the client of choice for many companies. Here’s how to update your virtual background in Teams:

Before a meeting starts:

  1. When setting up your video and audio before a Microsoft Teams meeting, click “Background Filters” just below the image.
  2. To use one of your own images as a virtual background, click “Add new”.

During a meeting:

  1. In your meeting controls click “More actions” (three dots) and “Apply background effects”
  2. To use one of your own images as a virtual background, click “Add new”.
  3. You can “Preview” it to see how it looks, and then “Apply” it if you’re happy.


  • Linux and VDI users aren’t able to use virtual backgrounds in Microsoft Teams yet. 
  • Teams may appear to crop your virtual background. That’s usually only for you, other people should still see it full width.



Installing Cisco Webex virtual backgrounds

Before a meeting starts:

  1. Click “Change Background”
  2. Click the plus (+) icon to use your own image for a virtual background

During a meeting:

  1. In the self-view window, click the “Video options” icon
  2. Click “Choose Virtual Background”
  3. Click the plus (+) icon to use your own image for a virtual background

Note - Your Webex site administrator needs to enable virtual backgrounds.



GoToMeeting Virtual Backgrounds

GoToMeeting doesn’t natively support virtual backgrounds. You’ll need to use a third party app. GoToMeeting recommends



General points to note when using Virtual Backgrounds

  • Not all computers can support virtual backgrounds. 
  • The processing required when using a virtual background will increase your computer’s CPU usage, and potentially drain your battery faster.
  • ESS can make you stunning unique, branded virtual backgrounds.
  • Green Screens can help, especially if you have long hair. If you don’t have a green screen, then sitting in front of a blank wall or even hanging a sheet or blanket behind you can improve your computers ability to distinguish you from whatever is behind you. 



Some terminology used when talking about virtual backgrounds

We thought you might find these definitions useful, as they're often used when talking about virtual backgrounds.



Image showing pixels enlarged

A pixel is an individual dot of color on the screen. Nowadays they are so tiny you can’t see them! Pixels are how computers measure image sizes, because a pixel is always a pixel. An inch on one screen could have more or fewer pixels than an inch on another screen. Pixels are often abbreviated to “px”, so 400px means 400 pixels.

⏪  Each square block in the enlarged circle is one pixel.




Image of a turtle showing width and height in pixels

The resolution of an image or screen is how many pixels are used. This is simply the number of pixels wide multiplied by the number of pixels tall. So an image 400 pixels wide by 300 pixels tall would have a resolution of 400 x 300 pixels, or 400px x 300px.



Aspect Ratio

Image showing different aspect ratios

The aspect ratio is the relationship between the height and the width. 1:1 means square - the height is equal to the width. So if the width of an image was 400 pixels, the height would also be 400 pixels, or 400px. An image 800px wide would be 800px tall with a 1:1 ratio. (1:1 is said “One to one”.)

If the ratio is 4:3 (like older TV’s), then it would be slightly wider than taller. Again, using the example of an image 400px wide, the height would be 300px (divide by 4, and multiply by 3). An 800px wide image would be 600px tall.

16:9 is a very common ratio - not just for virtual backgrounds but also for many movies and screens. A ratio of 16:9 the width is nearly twice the height. A 400px image with a 16:9 ratio would be 225px tall. An 800px image would be 450px tall if its ratio was 16:9.


The most common resolution for a 16:9 ratio is 1920px wide by 1080px tall. This is also the best size for most virtual backgrounds.



Grab a free virtual background, or treat yourself to a unique, personalized virtual background to stand out in virtual meetings and video conferences!

Also check out our virtual meeting and streaming bundles - we've done the research and testing so you don't have to! 





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