Stop Showing Contact Pictures in Messages

Last reviewed on December 16, 2012

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

Written by

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

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