Direct link to a hosted image in email signatures

You might wonder how direct image links or direct URLs are related to email signatures. If you can use an embedded image, you do not have to worry about any links. However, linked images have some upsides (for example, they don’t increase the email size. What is more, there are situations in which linked images are the only available option. To add a linked image, you need a direct URL to it.

How to get a direct image link

Mind that it is always better to host images for email signatures on your own servers. If you do not own a server, your best bet is to use an image hosting service. The article below presents how to get a direct link in some popular image and file hosting services. As you will see, it requires more than just right-clicking the image and choosing copy image address. Click the name of an image hosting service below to learn how to get a direct image URL:

Mind that all specified methods work at the moment of writing this article, but there is no guarantee the procedure will not change in the future.

How to get a direct image link in Google Drive

Google Drive might be the most complicated image hosting service. At least if you want to get a direct link.

  1. First, let’s add an image. Either drag & drop your image and skip to Step 3, or click New>File upload.
    Direct image link in Google Drive 01
  2. Now choose the image you want to host in Google Drive:
    Direct image link in Google Drive 02
  3. Now, you can access your photo. Mind that this is not a direct link yet, it is a shareable link. A shareable link cannot be used as a source in email signatures. Copy this link, you will need it in a second.
    Direct image link in Google Drive 03
  4. Now, it is where things get a bit more complicated. When you copy the shareable link and paste it into any text editor, it has the following form:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=*img_id*
    Img_id is a case sensitive series of letters and numbers you will need for your direct link. You need to extract the whole part after the ?id= part. The direct link has the following form:
    https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=*img_id*
    After you substitute *img_id* with the value extracted from the shareable link, you get the proper direct URL. For example:
    https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1evNxiyU9A5yB8LYnUVsOq3--Y6hc4JJq

How to get a direct image URL in OneDrive

Getting the direct link from OneDrive is much quicker and does not require using any developer tools.

  1. First, use any method to upload the image to OneDrive:
    Direct image link in OneDrive 01
  2. Once the image is uploaded to your OneDrive, right-click it, and choose Embed from the menu. In the menu which appears on the right side, click Generate.
    Direct image link in OneDrive 02
  3. This generates a direct link.
    Direct image link in OneDrive 03

How to get a direct image link in Dropbox

Getting a direct link in Dropbox also requires a simple trick.

  1. Like with other image hosting services, start with uploading your image. Drag & drop your image or click Upload > Files and choose the image from your hard drive.
    Direct image link in Dropbox 1
  2. Once you upload the image, click the Share button located next to the picture.
    Direct image link in Dropbox 2
  3. In the newly opened window, click Create a link.
    Direct image link in Dropbox 06-2
  4. The bottom of the window changes. Click Copy link and paste it into any text editor (or into the address bar).
    Direct image link in Dropbox 07-1
  5. The last thing you need to do is to change dropbox.com to dl.dropboxusercontent.com or dl=0 to raw=1 and visit the new URL. Either method will result in a direct image link.
    Direct image link in Dropbox 08-1An example of the correct format of a direct URL:
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/1gxdgxvj49zajft/admins%20blog.png

How to get a direct picture URL in Imgur

In comparison with other image hosting services, getting a direct URL is a child’s play.

  1. Start with uploading the image you want to host. Like in other services, you can either drag&drop, or use the Add Images button.
    Direct image link in Imgur 01-3
  2. Next, click the uploaded image.
    Direct image link in Imgur 02
  3. And finally, copy the direct URL from the Direct Link field on the right. No tricks or other steps are required.
    Direct image link in Imgur 3

How to get a direct URL to an image in Flickr

In Flickr, direct image links are visible without any elaborate tricks.

  1. After you upload or find the picture you want to use, click the Share.
    How to get a direct URL in Flickr
  2. In the sharing window, go to Embed and copy the code from the box below. The direct link is the part between quotation marks, right after src=.
    How to get a direct URL in Flickr

How to use the direct image link in an email signature

Getting your graphics online is the first step. The next one is to use those files in practice. Below, you can see how to use them to create your own, professional email signature using direct image links.

  1. Once you upload your image and get the direct URL, go to our free email signature generator and choose the signature template that suits your needs best (you can use the < & > buttons to see more available templates).
    Free email signature generator - choose template
  2. Next, fill in your data and go to the Graphics section. Replace Logo URL and Banner URL fields with the right direct links you have acquired before. The logo/banner linking to fields specify which website will open when the logo or banner is clicked in the email signature. Leaving those fields empty will not add any hyperlinks.
    Free email signature generator - insert graphics
  3. On the right side, you can see the signature preview. When you finish making changes and the signature looks well, click apply your signature and follow the instructions specified for your email client.
    Free email signature generator - preview

A few good tips:

  • For best results, use images of the same shape as the sample logo or banner. Using a rectangular logo when the sample logo is square will usually result in deformed graphics.
  • Mind the recommended width and height values. It is best to use exactly the same dimensions, or their multiplied values. This way, when a picture is resized, it shouldn’t become blurry.
  • After you apply the signature, send a test email to yourself. If you are using image hosting services, links might break or change. It is possible for a picture to show up in the signature preview and disappear after applying the signature.

Useful links:

13 thoughts on “Direct link to a hosted image in email signatures

    1. Kamil Glaser Post author

      Hello Jacqueline,
      I would love to help you, but I would need more information to be able to do so. Which hosting service have you used? What is the direct link you have generated? Have you set the image to be visible for everyone?

      Reply
  1. Chris Smith

    As far as I can tell the direct link option has been removed from imgur. I could be missing something however. If you get the chance you may want to confirm this finding.

    Reply
    1. Kamil Glaser Post author

      I have just checked, and I can still see the direct link field. Make sure you are in the Image section of settings (To access it, you can click your profile name in the top-right corner and go to Image. If you are looking at a post, and not an image, right-click the graphic and choose Copy image address from the context menu to get the direct link.

      Reply
  2. Ahmed AboKhozim

    Good day
    i need to make fixed shared link to be enable to change the photo in it and the link is notchanged
    to be able to distribute this signature contain this photo link on many PCs and when change the photo in the sorce changed on this many PCs

    Reply
    1. Kamil Glaser Post author

      Hello Ahmed,
      As far as I know, it’s impossible with image hosting services. With your own website – it depends heavily on what tools you use, but should be as easy as uploading an image via FTP and then replacing it with another image, using the exact same path and file names.
      By the way, if by “shared link” you mean “shareable link” – it will not work in email signatures. Only direct links will do (as stated in the article).

      Reply

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