We have the thumbnailPhoto attribute in Active Directory populated with a 96x96 photo of each staff member, this adds richer functionality to Outlook and Cisco Jabber for our staff who can see at a glance who they're communicating with. We've also configured the User Properties in SharePoint to import the thumbnailPhoto attribute into the Picture property of users in the User Profile Service application. The problem with this though, is the maximum image size in AD for that attribute is 10KB and the picture as previously mentioned is 96x96 pixels. When these are shown on Mysites and even in pop-up tool tips for people's names in SharePoint they look dreadful because they are blown up to a much larger size. How do I do any of the following?:

  1. Constrain images of users in SharePoint to the 96x96 which looks alright everywhere else it's used
  2. Import larger photos into SharePoint (can I load larger images into a different attribute in AD and import those instead of thumbnailPhoto?)
  3. Configure the user profile service to not overwrite existing photos and manage them separately, which would only import the low quality ones if no better alternative was provided
  4. HR have been manually loading images into a document library for staff for another purpose. Is it possible to configure the user profile service to somehow search that library for an image for the user?

Thoughts and feelings appreciated.

1 Answer 1


Instead of importing the thumbnailPhoto from AD you can set the User Profile picture to import a URL.
But thumbnailPhoto must be an image, can not be a URL.
So you can use an AD extensionAttribute to hold a URL and link that to the User Profile Picture (the image in the document library HR allready maintains)

But it is thumbnailPhoto or a URL to another picture. The Picture setting in the User Profile is one global setting. Unless you allow the user to override the setting

If you have a fixed naming scheme for photos, Powershell can be used to maintain that extensionAttribute in the AD

  • "Instead of importing the thumbnailPhoto from AD you can set the User Profile picture to import a URL." And then maintain a web server to serve the images? Nov 2, 2015 at 5:12
  • with #4 in your original question you allready have those photos Nov 2, 2015 at 9:04

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