Outlook for XP (How to embed images into HTML email without absolute linking)

Posted on 2006-11-13
Last Modified: 2010-05-18
I'm trying to embed some images into my HTML file so that when I setup a new template with Outlook's "Stationery Picker..." I can select the HTML file I wish to use and the images will be embeded rather than pointing to the web server to download them when the user opens the received email.

I cannot find out how to do this at all and I have scoured the internet for DAYS!

I've been trying to find out more about CID: (Content-ID) but it all seems very complicated and I can't understand (or find any information on...) how to change a absolute URL like into a CID: url?

All other ways of embedding an image seem to require server-side code to embed the image, but I'm not sending my email from a server using server-side code but sending via the Email client (Outlook software) with a HTML file.

If anyone can help me out here as this is now starting to drive me bonkers! and the client is screaming down my neck to get a solution sorted (because currently we are pointing the images to the server absolutely - i.e. - and the client is unhappy with having absolute pointing images as the recipients cannot view the email images without an internet connection).

Please help.

Kind regards,
Question by:sPuff_Programmer
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:David Lee
ID: 17934076
Greetings, sPuff_Programmer.

The CID tags are created internally by Outlook.  The simplest way to embed the images is to have them in the same folder as the HTML file, which is exactly what you see with stationery.  You can then refer to the image by its name with no need for a path.  Outlook will automatically embed those images.


Author Comment

ID: 17936612
Hi BlueDevilFan,

Thanks for the quick response.

I've got a folder on my desktop called "Converso" (converso being the client), within this folder is another folder called "Test" and within this test folder is my HTML file and all the images.

The images in my HTML file just refer to the image names as the path is the same as the HTML file (e.g. <img src="header.gif">).

Now if I go to the Stationery Picker in Outlook and setup a new stationery with this HTML file I have the pictures do not appear when I click on "New Message"? I right click on the broken image and select "Properties" the "Picture Src" says "outbind://6/header.gif" should I change this to just "header.gif" or leave as "outbind://6/header.gif" ?

At the moment the image is broken if I leave it as "outbind://6/header.gif" but if I change the src to "header.gif" not only does the image stay broken but the size of the image shrinks down to a small square which obviously is even worse so I'm assuming I have to leave it as "outbind://6/header.gif"?

I sent the email twice to myself, once with the Picture Src left as it was "outbind://6/header.gif" and the second time I sent it I changed the Picture Src to just "header.gif".

The first email didn't embed the pictures. I viewed the source of the email and the HTML showed that the image src was still exactly like the HTML (i.e. not a CID: converted name - <img src="header.gif">).

The second email also didn't embed the pictures. I viewed the source of the email but the HTML was slightly different and showed that the image src was now <img src="file://header.gif">.

But regardless, neither way embeded the images!?

Also, in my Outlook I have a specific option selected, if you go to "Tools > Options..." then "Mail Format > Internet Format...", I have the first section "HTML options" checkbox selected (i.e. "When an HTML message contains pictures located on the Internet, send a copy of the pictures instead of the reference to their location"), will this cause problems or not?

Thanks again for your quick response, hopefully you can help me resolve this issue.

Kind regards,
LVL 76

Accepted Solution

David Lee earned 500 total points
ID: 17937209
Hi, Mark.

For Outlook to embed the image it has to be able to find the image file.  Take a look at any of the HTML files in Outlook's stationery folder (C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Stationery).  You'll notice that the "src" of each image is just the file name.  If you create a message based on one of these stationery files you'll see that the image are all turned in to embeded images (i.e. prefixed with CID:).  That's because Outlook sees that the src is a filename and the image is in a folder that Outlook can see.  Outlook should also embed the image if you use a local path (e.g. C:\MyImages\Image.gif).  If the image path contains a URL (e.g. http://myserver/myimages/image.gif), then Outlook will ink to it not embed it.  An alternative approach is to follow the instructions listed on this page:

If you are creating stationery, then the simplest solution is to copy all the files, HTML and images, to Outlook's stationery folder.  If instead you are creating a newsletter or something along that line, then you can use local file paths.  

Does that help?
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Author Comment

ID: 17957043
Hi BlueDevilFan,

This has worked!

I had to make sure the images were in the same folder as the HTML otherwise it didn't work (e.g. I had created a folder called "images" within C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Stationery - and changed the image paths in the HTML to point to that sub folder - "images/header.gif").

Thank you so much.

Kind regards,
LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:David Lee
ID: 17968019
You're welcome, Mark.  I'm glad I was able to help out.  If you're satisfied with the answer, then please don't forget to close the question.

Author Comment

ID: 17977656
Sorry, stupid question, how do I close the question?


LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:David Lee
ID: 17978694
When you view the question there should be buttons labeled "Accept" next to the various posts.  Click the button next to the post that you feel answered or contributed most to answering the question.

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