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Contact picture synch for Outlook.com contacts

I’ve added pictures to my Outlook.com contacts in Outlook. However, when I look at my Contacts on the Outlook.com website or in Outlook on another computer, I don’t see the contact pictures I added.

How can I get the pictures to synch to Outlook.com so that they look the same on all my computers and on the Outlook.com website?

No contact pictureUnfortunately, contact pictures are not being synched via the Outlook Hotmail Connector. Synching them via the EAS protocol only provides limited support.

The real intention of Outlook.com is that the contact pictures are being taken and updated automatically from the user’s Microsoft Account and any social network providers you are connected to such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

Microsoft Account profile picture

As you might have noticed, you can’t add or change a contact’s picture via the Outlook.com website at all.

The main source of contact pictures on Outlook.com is coming from the profile picture which people have selected for their own Microsoft Account. You’ll see this picture when you are connected to this person via Windows Live Messenger or Skype.

This requires you to be both connected to Skype and each other based on your Microsoft Account and not via Skype usernames.

When you are connected to each other via Messenger, you’ll see a Messenger icon below the contact’s picture.

  • To send an invite to someone via the Outlook.com website, you can select that contact from the People hub and choose: Manage-> Invite on Messenger

To see the Microsoft Account profile pictures in Outlook, you must use the Windows Live Messenger Social Connector Provider (see below).

Social Connector for Facebook, LinkedIn and more

Similar to being connected via Messenger to retrieve the user’s Microsoft Account profile picture, you can connect Outlook and Outlook.com to other social networks to retrieve the profile pictures from these services.

To connect yourself to a social network on Outlook.com, you can use the main page of the People hub on Outlook.com. Current options are Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Sina and Twitter.

In Outlook, you can connect to these social networks via the Outlook Social Connector (also known as the People Pane) and install and configure the corresponding Social Connector Provider.

  • Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007
    Download: Microsoft Outlook Social Connector
  • Outlook 2010
    tab View-> People Pane
  • Outlook 2013
    File-> Account Settings-> Social Network Accounts

Note: Updated Social Connector Providers will be released for Outlook 2013. Currently, only Facebook, LinkedIn and SharePoint are supported in Outlook 2013.

Limited Contact picture synching support over EAS

Outlook.com Contact pictures can be synched between devices which are connected via the Exchange Active Sync (EAS) protocol but this also has to be supported by the client itself.

In practice, this usually comes down to that contact pictures for Outlook.com contacts only sync between Outlook 2013 clients.

These pictures aren’t even being exposed on the Outlook.com website itself and usually don’t show on any smartphones either nor in the People app on Windows 8. The Outlook Hotmail Connector is unaware of these contact images as well.



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