Why is Outlook not showing images in your emails?

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For many people that use Outlook as their email program, it’s very frustrating when you get an email that’s supposed to have pictures in it, but Outlook doesn’t display those pictures – it only shows a red “X”.

Outlook red X


And in all of Microsoft’s wisdom, they didn’t create a clear or intuitive way to fix this problem. But here’s how you do it.

(Note: the instructions and screenshots here are for Outlook 2016, but they are very similar for Outlook 2013 or 2010. If you are using an older version than that, you really need to upgrade anyway.)

In Outlook, click on File, then Options.

outlook red x


In the new window, click on Trust Center:

outlook red x


Then click on Trust Center Settings:

outlook red x


Now go to the “Automatic Download” section and UNcheck the box that says “Don’t download pictures automatically in HTML email”

outlook red x


Then click OK in the two open windows, and you’re back in Outlook. You might need to restart Outlook in order for this to take effect. And, this change may only apply to new emails that come in from now on, not the emails that are already downloaded. But that should solve the “Red X” problem in Outlook.

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August 1st, 2016

Big Outloook user here, Scott. I have 2007. Well, both desktop and laptop with W7Pro are about 5 years old and going strong.

Thanks for this informative article.

Question for you on my Outlook calendar. I use it extensively for recurring events like birthdays and also for entering one-time events. I went back to look at October 2015 to see something made a very annoying discovery: every one-time entry prior to 1-1-16 is wiped out. The recurring stuff is there. Is this a known issue with Outlook 2007, that it only keeps one-time entries until Dec 31 of that year and then poof, they’re gone?

Scott Johnson
August 2nd, 2016

I have not heard about that being a known issue with Outlook 2007, but then again I haven’t used that version in quite a few years. I have a feeling if you asked Microsoft about it, the answer would be that you just need to upgrade to the newest version of Outlook. Which would probably be a good idea anyway. Personally, I use the Google calendar for everything since it doesn’t require any software installation and it easily syncs across all my devices.

This web page has some info – not exactly the same problem as you described but similar, so maybe there’s a solution in there somewhere – https://www.msoutlook.info/question/503

Joe Horwitz
August 6th, 2016

I do not have Outlook for my mail client. How about WLM?

Joe Horwitz
August 6th, 2016

Many photos from emails I receive are useless to forward. “pictures will not appear”
is stated before I send.
Windows 10, Windows live mail.

Scott Johnson
August 6th, 2016

One thing to check on is that you are sending emails in HTML format, rather than plain text format. Beyond that I would need to research it since I don’t use Windows Live Mail personally.