Personalize your plans with smart backgrounds

Published 01-12-2021 07:00 AM 7,648 Views
Senior Member

Planner enables us to visualize our work in a fun and flexible way. But it can be difficult to identify which plan you are in, especially when you’re a member of 50 different plans that look the same.


That’s why we’re excited to begin rolling out smart backgrounds, which lets you customize your Planner boards to make them your own and help others quickly find the right plan. We’re starting to roll out smart backgrounds in Planner for the web this week.


With smart backgrounds, you can choose from a variety of image recommendations to liven up your Planner boards. Smart backgrounds is powered by the same Designer feature that suggests creatively designed templates in PowerPoint. Designer works in the background, trying to match the title of your plan with relevant and unique high-quality background images, like a coffee scene for your Coffee Store plan, a business backdrop for your Online Marketing plan, or a city skyline for your Town Hall Meeting plan.


To access recommended background images, click on Plan settings from the dropdown menu under (). With one click or tap, you can personalize, differentiate, and more easily identify your plans and task cards.




Smart backgrounds is currently only available in the Planner web experience.


Tell us what you think! We love hearing feedback from the Planner community, so leave a comment below or head over to Planner’s UserVoice to vote on and share new ideas. And keep checking the Tech Community Blog site for the latest Planner updates and other task management news.

Occasional Visitor

Thank you for adding this. 


I would like the option of selecting just a solid color background, like a solid gray / solid black. 

Occasional Contributor

This is great, thank you!  Is there any way to see ALL background choices, rather than just the "suggested" ones?  (looks like suggestions differ based on the plan name?)

Occasional Visitor

Ist es möglich diese Funktion generell abhzustellen?

Occasional Visitor

With 'Smart Background' You have introduced a very sophisticated feature. But I would just like to select a solid colour or a customised (uploaded) image as background. Such a feature has been perfectly integrated in Trello for a long time, can we please have this in Planner?

Occasional Visitor

As a workaround to get a wider selection, change the board temporarily until 'Smart Backgrounds' suggests a background you like. It seems that it will be retained if you change your board title back to the original title.

Occasional Visitor

I don´t understand why we not are able to select our own background?!

I am not interested of having backgrounds that almost give you an epileptic attack every time you open the Planner.


I only need a calm one-colour background or our companys logo in the background. MIss that feature.



New Contributor



A less smart feature would be even more appreciated. In other words: ability to upload custom backgrounds.

In the meanwhile, I think that blank backgrounds will be a suitable alternative, especially for people having visual disabilities or in case of very formal context where activities are carried out.



Occasional Visitor

A welcome feature, no doubt.


An enhancement would be providing each member with the option to set their own background i.e. without it affecting the choice of others. If such an option is not used as the default setting, another option could be added for the plan owner to choose whether other members can or cannot change the background set by the owner, though freedom of choice is more than welcome here, as each member could personalize their own background regardless of what others are using. The feature is good, but it could be great!



Occasional Contributor

That is a nice update, however, the best visual change imo is to allow for a dark theme. I have dark themes for almost everything and Planner is one of the few exceptions.

Occasional Contributor

@Martin Meraner :  As a work-around, you can add Planner as an app within MS Teams... and if you have Teams set to dark mode, your Planner boards will load within that dark mode.  (Obviously not as convenient as simply being able to change to a dark mode w/in Planner... but at least it's a way to do it.)

Occasional Visitor

Thanks great idea, when would I be ability to upload custom backgrounds mostly project related?

Please allow users the following options:

  • "Dark Theme" option (same as other Microsoft products)
  • "Custom Background" (upload your own image)

Thank you


Is this available for GCC High?

New Contributor

In addition to uploading your own background, I'd like to see the option to pin favorites to re-use. Currently, just typing in the same search term (in Planner title) does not return the same "suggested backgrounds". Thanks. 

IMO, Microsoft should scrap this version of planner, then throw Millions at and incorporate their code.  No offense to the MS programmers, but it seems like they still have a way to go to catch up with similar offerings.   Unfortunately, my team / co-workers have pretty much abandoned planner as a whole so I'm not really sure how to get them back into using this tool unless they are forced.  People would literally write things down on a paper napkin.  

Occasional Visitor

Why can't people choose a solid background color or their own background? The light grey background in the app is far better than the horrible desktop backgrounds. When I can choose my own background color on both desktop and mobile then we will use Planner. 


I'm in total agreement with @MatthewWagner.  Microsoft can't figure out how to make it possible to edit comments in planner, but you're taking the time to do this instead ?  Talk about rearranging the chairs on the titanic.   Planner is totally unusable for most of our use cases because it's missing stupidly simple features that can't be that hard to implement given that they're in every other competitive product.

Besides Trello, I've also used Redbooth with another 3rd party agency and found it to be incredibly useful when tracking a project and communicating with the agency's team.  Simple things like adding a file attachment were head and shoulders much more user friendly than Planner is currently.  I WANT PLANNER TO BE AWESOME -- Thank you

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‎Jan 11 2021 02:11 PM
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