How to insert an internet/linked image into an Outlook email signature

How to insert an internet/linked image into an Outlook email signature

[Update]: This blog post was updated on March 30, 2020.

How to insert an internet/linked image into an Outlook email signature

In contrast to webmail clients like Gmail or OWA, Microsoft Outlook’s default behavior is to embed images in email signatures instead of only linking to images hosted on the Internet.

While linked images have several downsides (discussed in this article), they can be used in cases where reducing the size of the email is a priority. Below you will find the steps necessary to override Outlook’s default behavior and force it to use a linked/internet image.

Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013

To insert a linked image to your email signature in a newer version of Outlook (Outlook 2019, 2016, or 2013), follow the steps blow:

  1. In Outlook, edit your email signature.
  2. In the Signatures and Stationery window in the Edit signature section, position the cursor where you want to insert the image in the signature template and click the Insert Picture button.
Inserting image in signature
  1. In the Insert Picture window, go to the File name section and enter or paste a full URL of the image hosted on the Internet. Then, click the arrow next to the Insert button and select Link to File from the drop-down menu.
Link to File button

Outlook 2010 and 2007

In order to add linked images to email signatures in Outlook 2010 or 2007, a minor registry tweak is necessary.

  1. Open the Registry editor, and find the following key (the version no. is 12.0 for Outlook 2007 and 14.0 for Outlook 2010):
  1. Change the Send Pictures With Document value to 0.

The rest of the procedure is identical as in the case of newer versions of Outlook described above:

  1. In the signature editor in Outlook, position the cursor where you want to insert the picture in your email signature.
  2. Click the Insert Picture button and provide the full URL of the image hosted online.
  3. Select the Link to File option from drop-down menu next to the Insert button.

Outlook 2003

To insert linked images to email signatures in Outlook 2003, you need to:

  1. In Outlook, go to Tools > Options > Mail Format > Internet Format and uncheck the When an HTML message contains pictures located on the Internet, send a copy of the pictures instead of the reference to their location option:
Outlook 2003: Internet Format, When and HTML message contains pictures
  1. Click OK to save the changes.
  2. Now, open the email signature editor, position the cursor where you want to insert the image, click the right mouse button and select Insert Image.
  3. In the resulting window, provide the full URL of your image in the Picture Source box and click OK.

See also:

19 thoughts on “How to insert an internet/linked image into an Outlook email signature

  1. Amelia Forster

    I am attempting to add a linked picture into my Outlook 2013 email signature, but keep getting an error message after a try to ‘Link to file’

    “Path does not exist. Check the path and try again”

    I have checked the image url (hosted on google drive with anyone can view sharing settings) and it is correct and does show the image. Can you help?
    Thank you.

  2. sean

    Okay I have added the registry edit manually and set the value to 0…

    I have using outlook 16…. I have 3 little 64×64 icons under a larger picture in my signature…

    even after doing the registry step I click insert picture but it doesnt let me click on “link to file” OR “INSERT and link”

    now what

    1. Kamil Glaser

      Hi Sean,
      You should not have edited the registry – starting from Outlook 2013, the default behavior has changed. Please make sure that you click the dropdown arrow next to the Insert button. Clicking the Insert button itself does not work.

  3. Sandy

    I’m using Outlook 2016. If I link to an online photo following your steps and change the photo (keeping the same path and name), my understanding is that the picture should change in my email. However it does not. Am I misunderstanding how it works or is there a difference in Outlook 2016?

    1. Kamil Glaser

      Hi Sandy,
      You are correct, if you change the image, keeping identical url and name, the image should change in the email. However, it does not apply to messages which have already been downloaded along with the pictures.

  4. James


    I get a bunch of options once I choose link to file (Outlook 2013). It asks to convert file from, with a lot of different options. I tried jpg just to see and it rejects it.

    Any thoughts?

      1. Jean Pieter van Breda

        Hi Pawel, im experiencing the same issue with outlook 2010.

        It seems to want to convert the url link to a recognizable format like JPEG, metadata or other formats.

        1. Kamil Glaser

          Hi guys,
          I’m unable to recreate this problem. It would help greatly if you posted the screenshot Paweł requested.

  5. Nathasia

    Hi Pawel, I did all the steps you mentioned above for Outlook 2010 but cant find “send pictures with document” only (default) and “receipt response”. How do I fix this?

      1. Carl

        This is an excerpt from the above link ( you provided. For Microsoft Outlook 2007 and 2010 if the “Send Pictures With Document registry value” is not there you do not have to do anything. But if it is not working for you then add the value and set it to 1.
        ====== Excerpt ==========
        The steps to address the behavior vary depending on the Microsoft Outlook version. For “Microsoft Outlook 2007 and 2010:
        Remove the Send Pictures With Document registry value, or change the value of Send Pictures With Document to 1.

      2. Carl

        Paweł, I just realized in your original post above you state: “change the Send Pictures With Document value to 0.” Than in the reply to Nathasia you state: “change the value to 1.” . I also added a reply a few minutes ago (5.34pm) stating: “set the value to 1” based on the MS article link you provided: Now I’m confused. Would you please clarify for me and readers?
        Thanks in advance, Carl

        1. Paweł Krzemiński

          Hi Carl, My mistake – if you want to use a linked image (not actually attached to the email, but instead downloaded every time the recipient views it), the value should be 0. (correcting this in other comments)

  6. Caroline

    These are clearly articulated steps. However, when I run the Registry Editor and open option 14.0 for Outlook I don’t get the Mail option, just Word. Anywhere else this might be?

    1. Paweł Krzemiński

      Hi Caroline, Just to confirm – you have Outlook 2010 on your machine and you expand 14.0, then expand Outlook, then Options, and the only entry you find is Word?


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