You can't see contact photos in Outlook, Skype for Business, or Lync

Original KB number:   3049193

Symptoms

In Microsoft Outlook 2010 and later versions, you discover that contact photos are missing from email messages and from contacts in the global address list (GAL). The following screenshots show an example of this issue in Outlook 2016.

Email displaying no contact photo

You expect the contact photo to be displayed in Outlook, resembling the following.

Email dispalying contact photo

You also discover that contact photos are missing in Skype for Business or Lync, as shown in the following screenshot.

Skype for Business displaying no contact photos

Cause

This issue occurs when the Show user photographs when available check box is cleared in the Outlook Options dialog box.

Outlook Options Show user photographs option

Resolution Method 1 - Outlook Options

  1. On the File menu in Outlook, select Options, and then select People (or Contacts in Outlook 2010).
  2. Enable the Show user photographs when available check box.
  3. Select OK.
  4. Close and restart Outlook, and Skype for Business or Lync.

Resolution Method 2 - Group Policy

If you are using Group Policy to manage this setting, disable the Do not display photograph policy setting.

To update an existing policy that's configured to disable the Show user photographs when available option, follow these steps:

  1. Start the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC).

  2. Under User Configuration, expand Administrative Templates to locate the policy node for your template.

    • When you are using the Office16.admx and Office16.adml templates, this node is named Microsoft Office 2016.
    • When you are using the Office15.admx and Office15.adml templates, this node is named Microsoft Office 2013.
  3. Under Contact Card, double-click Do not display photograph.

    Contact Card Group Policy

  4. Select Disabled or Not Configured, and then select OK.

  5. Select OK for the rest of the dialog boxes.

The policy setting will be applied on the client computers after the Group Policy update is replicated, and then Outlook and Skype for Business or Lync must be closed and restarted for the setting to take effect.

More information

The Do not display photograph setting is managed by the following registry data:

  • Without Group Policy:

    Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\software\Microsoft\Office\x.0\common
    DWORD: TurnOffPhotograph
    Value: 1

  • With Group Policy:

    Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\x.0\common
    DWORD: TurnOffPhotograph
    Value: 1

Note

The x.0 placeholder represents your version of Office (16.0 = Office 2016, Office 365 and Office 2019, 15.0 = Office 2013, 14.0 = Office 2010).