Users’ profile photos management in Office 365 and on-premises Exchange

Why manage users' photos centrally

Both Office 365 and on-premises Exchange Server enable the option to include users’ corporate photos in a number of places. Outlook, OWA, SharePoint, Skype for Business, OneDrive, Planner, Office 365 Groups – all those services can view pictures of employees.

You might be wondering, what is the use for that. Here are some of the reasons to use profile pictures in an organization:

Here are some examples of where users' profile pictures can be seen:

Users' photos visible in Skype for Business client.

Users' photos visible in Skype for Business client.

Users' photos can also be visible in a conversation window in Skype for Business

Users' photos can also be visible in a conversation window in Skype for Business

Users' profile pictures in Outlook in your organization.

Users' profile pictures in Outlook in your organization.

You can also see the images of your users in Office 365 Groups.

You can also see the images of your users in Office 365 Groups.

The same pictures can be displayed in Outlook on the Web

The same pictures can be displayed in Outlook on the Web

Contact tab with user's profile picture included.

Contact tab with user's profile picture included.

The problem is, managing users’ photos in an organization may become a bit of a challenge. Uploading users’ profile pictures to Active Directory, or to Office 365 is not as easy as you might think.

Users can upload their photos to Skype for Business, Outlook or Office 365 profile on their own. However, in this case, administrators do not have much control over the quality and the size of the picture. What is more, the users’ image will not be unified throughout the organization, especially when some users forget to upload their own picture. As a result, the admin will have to intervene anyway. The right solution is to manage users' photos from a single place, right from the start. One person can verify whether a unified image is ensured throughout the organization and the administrator uploads them to the server so that they can be visible in all the places listed below:

Guide User Photos in Office 365 and Exchange xs

Uploading photos using PowerShell

Both in Exchange Server and Office 365, you can roll up your admin’s sleeves and use a Set-UserPhoto cmdlet which uploads your user’s photo. Look below to see the syntax of this command:

Set-UserPhoto "John Example" -PictureData ([System.IO.File]::ReadAllBytes( "C:\John.Example.jpg" )) –Confirm:$false

The cmdlet uploads the photo of John Example to the respective account and the –confirm:$false switch shortens the process slightly, as PowerShell will not prompt you to confirm the new image setting.

Learn more about -Set-UserPhoto cmdlet on TechNet

No big deal. Just remember to prepare the photo in a graphics editor, so that it has the correct size. Now repeat the steps for your whole organization. You can also use a script - ForEach-Object loop should get the job done. Just remember that you have to ready a list of all users in CSV format, prepare all the pictures and format their names right so that the script uploads the avatars to the right users. You will surely have something to keep you busy, right? There is another way, though:

Bulk upload using a convenient GUI

You can use a freeware tool to upload those pictures to:

Office 365
 

On-premises Exchange Server
 

This solution is much easier and quicker than doing the whole process using PowerShell. Using the free tool for your environment, you can forget about scripting and just click the Import button. After a quick configuration, the program will auto-match photos to users and perform the upload. And if you miss a dot or misspell a name while naming the files, you can drag and drop them manually. Or reconfigure the auto-matching pattern to cover the remaining users.

Key features:

Click on the buttons to learn more about the free tools which help with users' profile pictures management:

CodeTwo User Photos for Office 365
 
Tools for Exchange - ADPhotos 2

Active Directory and Office 365 photo editor

What about editing photos? CodeTwo Active Directory Photos and CodeTwo User Photos for Office 365 let you adjust photos so that the target server accepts them and lets you rotate them if there is any problem with their orientation. This feature removes the need for using a separate program, just to make necessary changes to the users' photographs. Our freeware tools edit the pictures in bulk, significantly simplifying and speeding up the whole operation.

Click on the buttons below to download those free tools:

Guide - User Photos Management Office 365
 
Guide - User Photos Management on-prem Exchange
 

User photos in email signatures

With users’ photos already uploaded to your organization, you can go a step further and add them to email signatures. Such email signatures will let you automatically personalize email signatures and create a friendly image for your customers. See this short video to see how you can do it:

See the guides below for more information:

How to add email signatures with Active Directory photos to Exchange mail
How to add email signatures with Office 365 users’ photos to Exchange Online mail