Managing Office 365 Photo’s – Centralized Photo Management

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For all the Office 365 Administrators out there who are asking “What is the best method or option for managing Office 365 Photos?”, this post is for you!

Since the beginning of Office 365 users are able to submit photo’s into Office 365, for use in displaying in Outlook/OWA, Lync Client, SharePoint Site Collection Members, etc.  However there is confusion on whether each service manages their own photos and/or if there is a Best Practice on managing these in one central location!

Best Practice

Instead of having end users submitting photo’s into the different online services, such as:

  • Microsoft Online Portal
    • Office 365 Settings –>Me –> Edit my “About Me” page, which takes you into SharePoint Online –> Edit Profile page
  • Instant Messaging & Collaboration
    • Lync Client – Tools –> Options –> My Photo, which is uploaded into LYO for use
  • Messaging
    • OWA – Options –> Account –> My Photo
  • Note – If someone submits their photo into Exchange Online via the above path, all other Office 365 Services will pick up this photo and use it in their particular service (i.e. Post to EXO and is picked up by SPO and LYO). If you as an Administrator cannot update your Active Directory thumbNailPhotos attribute and values, to be synchronized into Office 365, then this method is the best option, as EXO is the gateway into pushing photo’s into Office 365 and being picked up by all the other cloud services (i.e. SPO, LYO, etc).
  • Collaboration
    • SharePoint – OneDrive –> About Me –> Edit Profile –> Picture

Instead of using these different options, Office 365 Administrators can centralize the end-user photo(s) into Active Directory and allow Directory Synchronization to push this into Office 365, to be picked up by all the different online services.

Solution

Use the steps noted in this other Blog Posting, which will provide you with a way to inject user photos into Active Directory, using the thumbNailPhoto attribute and value:

  1. https://msryanph.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/unable-to-post-photo-to-microsoft-online-office-365-portal-mop/
  2. Once Active Directory has been updated with user photo’s, either allow DirSync to run, every 3 hours, or manually run DirSync to push all the user photo’s into Office 365.
  3. Once posted into Office 365, each service will reference these photo(s) and display in the web UI (OWA, SharePoint, etc) and Rich Applications (Lync Client, Outlook, etc.).

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