Why is the Text in my Teams Background Back To Front

With Teams (and Zoom, and probably other video conferencing apps) as well as apps that add to the live camera image such Chromacam and Snap Camera in popular use, you might have noticed that all the example backgrounds have no text on them.

So what happens when you or your company roll out a set background to use that does contain text – for example, this mockup image:

Teams background mockup with text
Teams Background With Added Text

Now my graphics editing skills are not great, but this is just one of the included background images that come with Microsoft Teams and a logo added as if it were a picture on the wall.

So what happens when I use this as my custom background in Teams (or Zoom etc.) – the following is what I see:

Teams (Presenter View) on Desktop with Text In Background Meeting
Teams (Presenter View) on Desktop with Text In Background Meeting

You can see that in the view of the background I can see the text is back to front. This is correct, as the view from my camera that is presented back to me is usually mirrored for my convenience. This is because they way I see myself is in a mirror, and so to show me “unmirrored” so to speak would look odd to me. Also if I raise one hand or move to one side, the mirrored image of me from my camera shows this happening on the side of the screen I would naturally expect it to be on.

The downside of this is that any text we add to background images will appear back to front for us – but it will appear correct to all attendees, as the Teams will not show the attendees the mirrored image. Just as we expect to see a mirror image when looking at ourselves, others who look at us do not expect to see that, and the video conferencing apps will not show that to them – so they see your logo, or text or whatever, correctly as you intended.

Teams Attendee View (iPhone)
Teams (Attendee View) on iPhone, with text the correct orientation

Update: In the comments to this post that have been added since I first wrote it there appears to be some confusion – your image if it has anything directional in it (text/logo/etc) needs to be mirrored. It is added as your background and then your talking head and the image are flipped and sent to everyone. What you see in your preview is as if you are looking in a mirror but what your fellow attendees see is the correct view of you and your background – as long as you flip the source background first.

11 comments

  1. So if you were looking at yourself in the mirrored presentation on Teams and you wanted to point to the “t” in the name on your company logo, would you raise your left arm and point to your left, and behind you, or would you use your right arm and point right and behind you?

  2. I have teachers who are trying to writing on their whiteboards and the writing is appearing “mirrored” to them and to students. How can they make it appear correct for their students?

      1. Unfortunately that isn’t the case, the picture is mirrored for the other participants for me, too. It might be a bug in current versions of Teams (I’m on v1.3.00.21759 on Windows) but I can confirm that this is happening. Also, if I choose a custom background with text on it, it will show the right way around for me, but mirrored for the other participants – not the other way around as this article implies. I have to mirror my custom background before using it, if I want other people to be able to read the text.

        1. Your camera settings, which you cannot change in Teams, probably have mirror enabled on it. You can change the camera settings that expose mirror via Zoom and Skype for Business, but not a lot of apps. If you have turned on the mirror option deep in your camera settings then Teams will be the reverse of what I have written here. Fix the camera settings and Teams will do what it is supposed to do – show you your image mirrored and everyone else the view they would have if they were standing in front of you.

  3. Brian, Love that background, so simple and professional, is it royalty free, can I have a Hi Res copy if so?

    1. You have nothing to resolve – you will always see your image in mirror format and so all text always looks backwards to you. It is correct for everyone else.

  4. It is now October 21st – do we have a version of Teams that actually shows my background mirrored to the meeting attendees? Currently, it appears correct to me and backwards to all the meeting attendees. How to solve that? I don’t see control in the Microsoft Teams app. Any advice?

    1. You have your background the wrong way around. The camera image shown to you is always mirrored (as if you were looking in a mirror) and so any text on your background should be back to front for you so that the other meeting attendees will see it the correct way around.

      I know Zoom gives you the option to unmirror your camera but that causes other issues as what you then see is the reverse of what you normally see when you see yourself.

      So this being October has nothing to do with it – if you have text on your background you need to flip (mirror) your background in a graphics editor and the image you use is flipped so your fellow attendees see it (and you) the way they always see you.

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