Import User Pictures (links) from Active Directory (AD) into SharePoint (MOSS)

A project on which I am currently working on is moving content out of Vignette and into MOSS. This blog has nothing to do with the Vignette migration but actually on user profiles. Maybe in a later post, I may publish Vignette to MOSS information.

The client had different locations/data sources for user information and not in Active Directory since ‘not all users had a computer’. We decided to make Active Directory as the master copy of information for all employees. Added the non-computer users – created a network account with a password known only to help desk – did not create an Exchange Mailbox, plus disabled the newly created account. MOSS will import disabled accounts and display in People Search. Since the particular user does not have a computer, no need to create mailbox, as it will be confusing to others when searching for that person and attempting to send an email. MOSS won’t show the email if no mailbox exists. THINK, PLAN, REVIST.

The advantage of moving all user information into AD is we can easily access it with SharePoint web services, if needed for other applications (non Microsoft). Plus it looks way ‘cooler’ than custom phone lists. There are other ways of extracting AD user info, but since this is a MOSS related topic, we would go with web services for argument sake.

Common requirement is a company phone list. Sometimes the organization issues ID/badges with the staff picture. The security office obviously has a list of those pictures.

What if client wanted to use the pictures from the ID/badges into MOSS? Plus, users should not be able to edit their pictures.

Else you might get some really ‘cool’ pictures that totally defy the HR and makes them go a bit overboard.

OK, coming back to our solution (click on thumbnail to view image):

  1. On the portal home, create a Picture Library called “Staff Pictures”
  2. Give appropriate permissions to security office or the help desk to update this library and others to read. How to implement the business process is upto your and the client requirment. You could also uncheck “Allow items from this picture library to appear in search results” from Settings, Advanced Perms; search results will not show content from this library.
  3. Upload pictures with some unique identifies, we plan on using the Employee ID as “1233621.jpg” or “nkelkar.jpg”. Use 100 pixels by 75 pixels resolution.
  4. Open Active Directory Users & Computers (with Exchange Server add in)
  5. Select properties of user you want to edit
  6. Click on “Exchange Advanced” tab
  7. Click on “Custom Attributes”
  8. For “extensionAttribute1” (or other) update it to http://moss_name/Staff Pictures/1233621.jpg
  9. Open MOSS Central Admin, then Shared Services
  10. Under “User Profiles and My Sites” section, click on “User profiles and properties”
  11. Open “View profile properties”
  12. Edit the “PictureURL” property
  13. Under “Edit Settings” select “Do not allow users to edit values for this property”
  14. Under “Property Import Mapping” map it to “extensionAttribute1”
  15. I also unchecked “Show on the Edit Details page” under “Display Settings”. If user cannot modify why show them the property in the first place. Food for thought. For this example, I left it on, see #17 to view how it looks to the end-user.
  16. Do a full profile import.
  17. If a user edits their own profile, notice how the pictureurl gets a read only.
  18. If you search for that user, the same old search page is shown, except now, the picture is from our “Staff Pictures”

On my test environment, currently if the property is mapped by the user before performing this setup, it gave me error. Just an FYI. Plan it before deploying.


6 thoughts on “Import User Pictures (links) from Active Directory (AD) into SharePoint (MOSS)

  1. Tye Peel

    Hi. We are attempting to do this same thing on our new corporate intranet using MOSS 2007. We have it all working fine except for the search results page (peopleresults.aspx). For some reason this is the only page where the staff pictures that were imported from AD do not show up. Instead the generic display image is shown. Do you have any thoughts on how to work around this? I’d appreciate any insight you might have.



  2. nkelkar Post author

    Under the “User profiles and properties” if your “Picture” property is set as “Indexed” (ie appear in search results) then the picture will show up on peopleresults.aspx page – I think you may have unchecked the “Indexed” parameter and thats why it is not showing up.

    Nilesh Kelkar

  3. rany

    This a very helpful and easy to follow article but I would like to know if we can automate the process more.

    We want HR to have access to the image gallery (note: HR don’t have access to the AD).

    We don’t want the helpdesk to add the image link manually.

    IS there a way that we can link to the image gallery for all users and set the photos with smithj.jpg

  4. nkelkar Post author

    Hi RANY,

    Two steps:

    1. When creating the document (or image) library to store all the pictures, give access to the HR (person or the security group). Document Libraries in sharepoint can have custom security setting.

    2. Implement a business process to ensure when HR uploads e.g smithj.jpg (with correct dimensions), they notify the help desk. When help desk receives notification, they edit the appropriate network account with the url of smithj.jpg – ALSO if HR deletes an image they need to notify help desk too – else “image not found” will be seen for the deleted picture.

    This setup is not possible without a business process – you need to implement a process in place to ensure everyone is working on their individual roles and responsibilities.

    Nilesh Kelkar

  5. rany

    Thanks Nilesh, I know what you mean but I don’t want to add more work to the helpdesk officers.

    Our other problem is that some of the staff names are not in the AD.

  6. annie

    i have loaded pictures (PP Slides) in Picture library
    It is a single PP with 110 slides ( the slides did not load in order) what can I do to put images in order. Can you guide me thru the steps
    i want to link the images from Picture library to the Wikki page ( add the picture image link to Wikki page)
    Guide me thru the process step by step.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s