Skype just stole one of Zoom's best features

Skype video chat
(Image credit: Skype)

Zoom’s custom backgrounds for its video calls have become a sensation, with people posting snaps of how they’ve seemingly carried out a call from a sun-soaked beach or the bridge of an Imperial Star Destroyer. And now Microsft’s Skype is getting in on the action. 

Microsoft is rolling out support for custom backgrounds for its Skype video calls, allowing you to change your current background - handy if you haven‘t tidied up - by adding a custom image from your PC. Support for the custom backgrounds extends across Skype on Windows, Mac, and Linux. 

Adding a custom background to Skype is pretty easy. While on a video call, you simply hover your cursor over the video camera button and click on the more button, which is denoted by a trio of dots.

From there you can click on the choose background effect option, which then allows you to either blur your actual background or add a custom image to be superimposed over your real background, either by uploading a new image or using an image you have previously used in Skype.

Microsoft recommends you use the background images in landscape orientation. And the blurred background effect is only currently supported in Skype for Windows 10 - sorry macOS fans.

As various social distancing measures are likely to remain in place for a good part of 2020, if not the whole year, we can expect the likes of Zoom, Houseparty, and Skype to build out video call features to keep those under lockdown engaged and entertained.

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.