Picture This

Dear Mr. Presence,

I love the contact details and presence information that Lync provides to me about all my colleagues!  However, sometimes I’d just like to see someone’s face to remind me who they are before I call them.  Is there a way to see someone’s picture in Lync?  And how can I control my own picture?

-Missing the Big Picture



Dear Missing the Big Picture,

You are in luck!  With Lync 2010 you can view pictures for all your colleagues and even control you own picture and whether others see it at all.

To set your own picture you can either click on your picture in the Lync 2010 “Me Area” or you can navigate to the “My Picture” tab in Lync Options.

Lync Options "My Picture" tab


You can choose one of three options:  do not show others your picture, show others your corporate picture (from Active Directory) or show others a picture from a publically accessible web address.

Your corporate picture is stored in your company’s Active Directory.  This means whether it exists or not is primarily up to your enterprise.  In addition, whether it is editable or not is purely within the control of your corporation’s policies and procedures.  Lync 2010 does not have a mechanism to edit the Active Directory picture.

If you choose to use a web address, it should point to a picture on a website that is publically accessible so that others viewing your picture will have access to it.  This option will make your picture visible even to contacts outside of your enterprise that you may work with (e.g. a partner company or vendor that also uses Lync).

That’s all there is to it!  Now others can see your picture, and you will be able to see theirs!

NOTE:  If you don’t see all the radio button options, or if the “My Picture” tab is missing entirely, this could be due to the type of deployment your enterprise has chosen to make.  Lync 2010 pictures can be disabled in whole or in part by your administrator.


How Lync 2010 Implemented Pictures
Here are the details of how Lync 2010 implemented their contact picture solution.  Read on if you are curious about the inner workings!

Lync 2010 makes use of two different sources for contact pictures:

1. Your enterprise Active Directory
2. A URL set via Lync Presence

In either case, Lync publishes information via Presence to let your contacts’ Lync system know about the picture.  Even in the case in which you choose to not share your picture, this information is communicated to your contacts via Lync’s Presence model.

Lync Presence information is formatted as XML and made available to any “watcher” that searches for you or adds you to their buddy list in Lync.  Below is an example of what this information actually looks like:

<photo type="default" updated="2012-0602T04:26:27Z"><uri>http://webdomain.com/picture.jpg</uri><hash>4187450727l</hash></photo>

Notice that the XML contains a Boolean flag first (displayADPhoto) that indicates whether picture should be displayed at all.  It then gives an indication of the type of picture, the web address for the picture and a hash of the picture.  The hash is useful as it tells your contacts when they should go to the trouble of re-downloading your picture and allows Lync 2010 to cache the picture.
When Lync gets the presence information, it will act on it appropriately.  The Presence URL photo is fetched directly from the web address given (Note that any HTTP Auth Proxies could block the fetching of these photos).

The Active Directory picture (the corporate picture) is actually fetched directly from a Lync Server component called “Address Book Service” (or ABS for short).  ABS must be configured by your administrator to synchronize the “thumbnailphoto” attribute from your enterprise Active Directory.  Once this is configured, Lync can fetch this photo from any location (inside or outside the corporate firewall) by going to ABS directly.  Note also that ABS is the same Lync Server component that allows contact search for your entire enterprise.

Finally, it is useful to understand that settings on Lync Server (configured by your administrator) can override or affect which picture options you have available to you.  The most relevant two settings are “MaxPhotoSizeKB” and “PhotoUsage”.  MaxPhotoSizeKB determines how large a picture can be in kilobytes before Lync stops downloading it (to avoid downloading unnecessarily large files).  By default this is set to 30Kb.  PhotoUsage determines which picture options are available:  none, AD only, or both AD and Presence web address.

That is probably more than you ever wanted to know about pictures, but I hope it ultimately helps make Lync 2010 a more engaging and social experience!

-Mr. Presence

Comments (5)

  1. @Jonas – You have to use the Presence URL photo to share photos with external contacts.  As far as troubleshooting the AD picture – I'd double check that the right attribute is set in AD and that it is in the GC (should be the thumbnailPhoto attribute I believe).  Also I'd double check that the photo is small enough (perhaps that user has an outsize photo?).  Most likely problem, though, is a misconfiguration of the user's individual profile in AD (especially since it is working for other users).

  2. Jonas Mellquist says:

    Hi Mr. Presence 🙂

    Do you know of a way to "share" (make available to external contacts) the AD pictures?

    What would be your way of troubleshooting a users AD picture not being shown in the Lync Client? I have a user who's picture is not showing while all other users' pictures are just fine..

    All pictures are uploaded with the freeware tool called Exclaimer Outlook Photos 2.0.50123.3 25.01.2012

  3. pesospesos says:

    Hi guys, speaking of aesthetics and Lync, it appears that Lync is not properly written to scale when altering the text size in control panel…  The incoming call window disappears at the 150% setting! I have duplicated this myself: social.technet.microsoft.com/…/3ec46146-1df6-42ea-8a8e-4c15e4b0f1ea

  4. Honeywell employee says:

    Mr. Presence: I don’t seem to have the option for the web address photo. I do currently have a picture under my Corporate Picture option, but I want to update that picture to show in Lync. Is there a way to update the Corporate picture or will it always
    stay the same since Web address photo is not one of my options?

  5. show box says:

    Thanks for the great info. I really loved this. I would like to apprentice at the same time as you amend your web site, how could i subscribe for a blog site?
    For more info on showbox please refer below sites:
    Latest version of Showbox App download for all android smart phones and tablets.
    http://movieboxappdownloads.com/ – It’s just 2 MB file you can easily get it on your android device without much trouble. Showbox app was well designed application for android to watch movies and TV shows, Cartoons and many more such things on your smartphone.
    For showbox on iOS (iPhone/iPad), please read below articles:
    Showbox for PC articles:
    There are countless for PC clients as it is essentially easy to understand, simple to introduce, gives continuous administration, effectively reasonable. it is accessible at completely free of expense i.e., there will be no establishment charges and after establishment
    it doesn’t charge cash for watching films and recordings.
    http://www.showboxforipad.org/showbox-apk/ Not simply watching, it likewise offers alternative to download recordings and motion pictures. The accompanying are the strides that are to be taken after to introduce Showbox application on Android. The above
    all else thing to be done is, go to the Security Settings on your Android telephone, Scroll down and tap on ‘Obscure sources’.
    Movie Box, an esteemed movies application in which you can find stacks of programs and films. The guide is given here to download Movie Box app to Android and to Apple iOS 9.0.2, iOS 8.4/8.3 and also for the lower versions without Jailbreak.
    Please do login to Showbox application with the help of Ymail. You can login in Ymail from here –
    Sign Up & Do registration for latest movies on Showbox application

Skip to main content