Outlook automatically download external images

New Contributor III

HI we want to set the Controls for download of pictures in the reading panel. GUI Preference > Email > Reading > Security to 2 = In all messages.
Ive followed the info from here https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ESX5td0y0OP3jdzZ-C2SItm-TUi-iA_bcHCBvaoCumw/edit#gid=0 (defaults write com.microsoft.Outlook AutomaticallyDownloadExternalContent -int 2) it writes to the plist but can not get the value to change does anyone know if this is supported in 16.23 ? or if there is something I am missing ?
Thanks for the help :)



I don't see anything wrong with the defaults command you've used here. And you're using the correct key for the Outlook version you specified. (This specific key use to have a typo, but was corrected a while back. It use to be AutomaitcallyDownloadExternalContent. Oy!)

I was able to set this using your command in Terminal. It works, but you must do it only while Outlook is quit. If you're testing while Outlook is running, then it'll override the plist and revert the change as it's saving its settings.

Because you're running this from Jamf Pro, you must also script this to run for each user. Otherwise, it'll run for the root account and you won't see any change in behavior.

I've tested this script minimally, but you should be able to add it to a policy in Jamf Pro to set the key/value for every user on a Mac. I recommend running it at Login to ensure Outlook isn't running for anyone.


# create a list of all users with UIDs over 500
userList=$( /usr/bin/dscl . list /Users UniqueID | awk '$2 > 500 { print $1 }' )

# create or modify existing com.microsoft.Outlook setting
for aUser in $userList
    # run the defaults command as a user
    su "$aUser" -c '/usr/bin/defaults write com.microsoft.Outlook AutomaticallyDownloadExternalContent -int 2'

    # test whether the command was successful and report
    if [ $? = 0 ] ; then
        echo "Setting Outlook key 'AutomaticallyDownloadExternalContent' to '2 = In all messages' for user $aUser."
        echo "Failed setting Outlook key 'AutomaticallyDownloadExternalContent' to '2 = In all messages' for user $aUser."

exit 0

New Contributor III

thanks @talkingmoose great explanation! :) makes perfect sense and appreciate the script

Valued Contributor

Could it be deployed by Configuration Profile as well?


@mhasman, if you're running Jamf Pro 10.18 or later, it's already built in!

  1. Log in to Jamf Pro and navigate to Computers > Configuration Profiles and click the New button to create a new profile. Name it something like "Outlook Settings".
  2. In the list of payloads in the middle, scroll down to the Application & Custom Settings payload and click the Configure button. Choose Creation Method > Configure settings. Source > Jamf Repository. Preference Domain: com.microsoft.Outlook and choose the latest version.
  3. In the list of settings below, configure "Download embedded images".


Valued Contributor

@talkingmoose Thank you!

I just tested by uploading the XML file, it also works... File location
I deleted everything but AutomaticallyDownloadExternalContent key

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">
<dict> <key>AutomaticallyDownloadExternalContent</key> <integer>2</integer>

New Contributor


Curious to know if we can modify the json to only apply these settings to one specific internal email address? Any thoughts? 


Our communications team is testing a email campaign right now and would like for those images to download automatically, however, security will no allow us to auto download images for all emails. 

I haven’t tested in a long time, but it used to be that Outlook would automatically download images for addresses added to the Contacts list.