Last reviewed on April 21, 2014   —  35 Comments

Applies to: Microsoft Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, Outlook 2007

Background: You can add photos (or logos) to contacts in Outlook 2003 and up. When you add the photo (#1 in the left screenshot below), it displays in the Business card layout and also in the business card view in Contacts.

Many users want the photo display disabled because they don’t want to send their picture with the email they send. This does not happen. The photo comes from Contacts, the GAL, or Social Connector providers. The photo is only seen by people who have your photo on their copy of your contact, access to your GAL, or if you have your profile public at Facebook, LinkedIn, other social sites supported in Outlook.

In Outlook 2007, 2010, and 2013, the photo is also displayed in the message header (#2) in both the reading pane or an open message and on Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2013’s Contact Card that pops up when you hover over an email address.

Outlook's contact card

If the people pane is enabled you’ll see a small thumbnail of the photo (#3) when the people pane is minimized. When the people pane is open, the photo displays in the people pane instead of the message header, as seen in the screenshot on the right.

Expanded people pane Contact pictures display in Outlook messages

If you don’t want to see the contact photo, you have two choices: don’t add photos to your contacts (and don’t use the social connector) or configure Outlook to hide the photo and photo placeholder. In Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013, display of contact photos can be controlled in File, Options, People (Contacts in Outlook 2010). In Outlook 2007, you need to edit the registry. Administrators can use Group policy to disable contact photos.

Contact photo options in Outlook 2013

If you disable photos, this affects the display of contact photos in the header of email messages, in the people pane, and the contact card. It’s “all or nothing” when it comes to displaying contact photos.

TurnOffPhotograph Registry Value

To edit the registry, go to Start menu, Run (keyboard shortcut: Windows key + R) and type regedit in the Run field then press Enter.

You need to restart Outlook for the change to take effect.

Outlook 2013

DWORD: TurnOffPhotograph
Value: 1 or 0

Outlook 2010

DWORD: TurnOffPhotograph
Value: 1 or 0

Outlook 2007

DWORD: TurnOffPhotograph
Value: 1 or 0

Value of 1 = Contact photos are not displayed in the People Pane. If you are using Outlook 2010 or 2013, they are also not displayed in the header of email messages and the Outlook contact card

Value of 0 = The Outlook Social Connector displays contact photos where supported.

Administrators can apply this change using Group Policy or by setting the TurnOffPhotograph registry value.


DWORD: TurnOffPhotograph
Value: 1 or 0

Do It For Me

If you don’t want to edit the registry, we have a reg file you can download and run that will turn the photos off for you.

Turn off Contact pictures in
Outlook 2013Outlook 2010Outlook 2007


  1. Victor says

    Didn't work for me.

    I also tried this



    and this

    Click on File > Options > Contacts

    In the left pane (Online Status and Photographs section), uncheck "Show user photographs when available)

    to no avail.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      What type of account and where are the images coming from - the GAL, contacts, or the social connector?

  2. Mandy says

    and when it's set to grey that means all fields are not available and the checkmarks inputed from a admin ? How to hack this rights ? thx

  3. Diane Poremsky says

    When the checkbox is disabled, its controlled by group policy and not user-editable. You can verify by checking the registry for keys in this path: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\14.0\common.

  4. wb640 says

    the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Common doesn't work for me

    But THIS works ((Win7/Office 2010) :
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Common TurnOffPhotograph=1

    Great. Thanks !

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Either key should work, i have no idea why it didn't, but almost all keys under \policies\ can be used in the standard hive too.

  5. Peter Bogle says

    Thank you for this information. Will we ever be able to print the thumbnail Contact Pictures when we print Email, to keep the entire printed output just like the Email shown on the screen?

  6. Kacy says

    This turns off the image from being seen in my outlook, however my sent emails to others still have the picture attached. Is there a way to turn that feature off and on within the registry? Mine is actually working but we have others asking how I turned it on and I don't know. As a side note, I did not add my picture through AD I added it locally.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      The picture is not attached - it shows in other mailboxes because they have the feature enabled and have your picture from somewhere, either in their own contacts, or from social networking, or if using Exchange its from the GAL. They need to disable it in Contact options or use the TurnOffPhotograph registry value. It can be set using Group policy, if you want to disable it for all users.

  7. Kacy says

    My problem isn't actually that I want to turn it off (except if I can figure out how it will help me solve my issue of not being able to turn it on) The feature is working for me, my picture shows in Lync, Outlook, Portal, GAL and the message header when I send email. I have a user that wants to enable this and we have gotten them to show in Lync, Outlook, Portal, GAL. They can see the picture in the header of their sent email, however when I get the email I don't see their picture, leading me to believe I have missed a setting somewhere. I do have this enabled and I see pictures for other users who are working.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Ah, ok. This person's image is in lync, the GAL and your contacts, but not shown in email he sends you? If its working for some, but not all, there is something wrong. The Show pictures when available is all that is needed, well, and a source of pictures.

      If multiple sources exist, Outlook will look in the Contact Address Books for the user photo. If this is not available, Outlook will look to the OAB/AD if available. You can change it so Outlook looks at the OAB/AD first, then contacts. Using LinkedIn and Facebook social connectors will take precedence over the contacts/OAB if they are enabled.

      That said, there is a bug where pictures don't always work if using cached mode - it's cause by a problem with the OAB. You can try using classic online mode and see if his picture comes up. If it does, then the OAB is the problem.

  8. john curtiss says

    i have office 2013 at home and at work. at work, I have an exchange account, gmail (imap), and Hotmail (activesync) accounts. i have contacts in exchange and Hotmail. at home, I only have the gmail and Hotmail account. hotmail contacts show up at work and at home, with contact photos, but at work the hotmail contact photos do Not show up on emails (again, they DO show up on contact cards). at work, contact photos are displayed on emails from exchange contacts.
    at home the Hotmail contacts show up on contact cards AND emails. thoughts?

  9. Robert Alverson says

    I have Outlook 2013, the options -> People show user photographs selection is unchecked, regedit confirms the TurnOffPhotograph entry is 1, but I still have a people pane at the bottom of received messages. I have exited and restarted outlook multiple times.

  10. Deborah Gray says

    I am desperate. I have Outlook 2013, but no hotmail or gmail account. I did not have a problem with photos showing up on recipients emails until I signed up for Google+. I can't see it in my emails and wasn't aware anyone else could see it, until people started saying "cute dog"! I know Google+ is where the photo came from because it's the only place I had used a photo of my dog as the profile. I never used any features of Google+ because it was never relevant to me, so I deleted the account. That didn't help anything. These are my business clients who are receiving this email. I don't want them to see ANY photo, much less of my dog. I did all that you suggested in the Outlook account, unchecking the boxes, but the recipients still see it. I am livid that Google+ has co-opted my life and that I can't seem to regain control. Please help.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Outlook doesn't connect to Google + so I'm not sure how its getting it, unless you also shared it on Facebook or linkedin or set it as your profile picture. If you have Facebook or LinkedIn account and your business address is linked to the social network, anyone who is logged into the network in their outlook will see your profile picture, if they are your friend, they can see your posts.

  11. Deborah Gray says

    Thank you so much for responding. I am on Facebook and Linkedin but this photo has never been shared on either one, and the email addresses are different in each case. (I have a couple of websites and a blog, so I own several different email addresses) I have no doubt you are the expert, but it didn't start happening until I joined Google+. I experimented at first by changing the Google+ profile photo and asked one of my email recipients what they could see in their email and they saw the new photo. Then I deleted the account and it was still there. Is there any way I can undo this?

    • Diane Poremsky says

      What email address did you set up with google+ - the email address that sent the message or a gmail address? Does the recipient use Gmail? Google now does more to link google+ and gmail and gmail users can see sender's google+ pictures.

  12. Deborah Gray says

    None of my email addresses are gmail, but I just checked and the recipient has gmail. That narrows it down somewhat since I see why he can see the profile photo - although I never agreed to sharing it when signing up for Google+, but since I deleted the account, why would it still show up? Is there an extra step I can take to get rid of Google+ or am I doomed to live with this forever?

    • Diane Poremsky says

      I'm pretty sure sharing photos is enabled by default and it's probably buried in the google TOS. AFAIK, deleting the account should delete the photos and prevent others from seeing them, but it could be cached for this person and it'll stay on his computer until the cache expires.

  13. Curtiss says

    so you do not have a gmail address, but you joined google+? and you are not sending these emails from a gmail account? I agree with Diane: i am curious what these recipients are using. are they all gmail users? if you are not using any google services on your end, the only thing I can think is that you joined google+ with this photograph, and your recipients are using google services that have attached the photograph to your email address. so it's on the google side/recipient side, and I don't think outlook has anything to do with it. you said when you changed the picture in google+, the recipient saw the new picture, right? what happens if you just remove the profile picture from the google+ account (after you re-enable the google+account).

    • Diane Poremsky says

      As an FYI, you can sign any address up for a google account, just like you can a Microsoft account. If you use the account with, say, google shopping (whatever it's called), you have a google account and can use it with google+ or other google features.

      I have a google calendar account for my email address hosted on Office 365 Exchange Online because a service I use syncs with google calendar - I subscribe the calendar to outlook for one way sync.

  14. Deborah Gray says

    Curtiss, I joined Google+ because I'm always open to social media options for business exposure . I'm on LinkedIn (amazing for my business), Facebook (hate it), Twitter (not bad), have two websites and a blog. And yes, the recipient emails I checked were gmail, I know that these individuals are not on Google+, so it must happen by default.

    I think Diane is onto something with the cached explanation. BTW, it wouldn't let me did delete the photo or change the email address (to a personal address) before deleting the account - or at least I didn't know how to interpret their options - but since the photo is now of my business book, which looks more professional, I guess I'll have to live with it. I would rather have no profile photo, and no way for Google+ to just co-opt my life without permission, but this is the new reality. Much appreciated.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Yeah, i feel the pain. Businesses have to be involved in social media sites but they are a time suck and just another place to check or another app to keep open. :(

  15. Jeff Mathews says

    Hi there. While searching for a way to remove photos from received colleagues in the web-based version of Outlook I stumbled into this thread. Is there any way to remove pictures from the web-based client? I know the people with whom I communicate - I don't need a mug shot reminder...

  16. Robert J von Gutfeld, PhD says

    Stop sending this popup . I've asked this several times and you keep sending it. I have contacted the FCC and intend to sue you for this relentless intrusion!.
    RJ von Gutfeld, PhD
    Columbia University

  17. Steve says

    Thanks for explaining this clearly. I unchecked the "Show pictures" from File, Options, People (Contacts in Outlook 2010) and restarted my Outlook. It worked like a charm!

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