How to use the Automatic Picture Download Setting feature to determine how Outlook 2003 blocks external HTML content

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SUMMARY

You can configure the Automatic Picture Download Settings feature in Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 to block or unblock pictures or other content that is contained in HTML e-mail messages. By default, Outlook 2003 blocks the automatic download of pictures and other content from the Internet in HTML messages. You can block the content from all senders, or you can specify that all the HTML content in e-mail messages from certain senders and domains will not be blocked. When you forward, ,reply, edit, or print an e-mail message that contains blocked HTML content, you must first download the content.

INTRODUCTION

This article describes how to use the Automatic Picture Download Settings feature in Microsoft Office Outlook 2003. You can use the Automatic Picture Download Settings feature to determine how Outlook 2003 blocks pictures and other content from the Internet that is contained in HTML format e-mail messages.

MORE INFORMATION

How to understand the "Don't download pictures or content automatically in HTML e-mail" option

By default, Outlook 2003 blocks all HTML content that is referenced by an external location. Many junk e-mail senders put an image URL in the e-mail message. The image URL notifies the junk e-mail senders' Web server when you read or preview the e-mail message. This type of image URL is also known as a "Web beacon." An example of a Web beacon image URL is: <img src=http://myserver/cgi-bin/program?e=your-e-mail-address-here>. If you preview or open an e-mail message with this type of an image reference, this action may make you a target to receive more junk e-mail messages.

To prevent this type of Web beacon, where an HTML e-mail message contains references such as links and banners to an external URL, the Outlook 2003 HTML viewer does not automatically render the external content. Instead, when you view the e-mail message, areas in the e-mail message that should have a picture appear as a red X placeholder. Also, you receive the following InfoBar message that indicates that the HTML content has been blocked:
Click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of some pictures in this message.

How to turn off the "Don’t download pictures or other content automatically in HTML e-mail" option

You can turn off the Don’t download pictures or other content automatically in HTML e-mail option. When you turn off this option, no content from the Internet in HTML e-mail messages is blocked. When this option is off, the download behavior of Outlook 2003 is like the inline content download behavior of earlier versions of Microsoft Outlook.

To turn off the Don’t download pictures or other content automatically in HTML e-mail option, follow these steps:
  1. Start Outlook.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  3. Click the Security tab, and then click Change Automatic Download Settings.
  4. In the Automatic Picture Download Settings dialog box, click to clear the Don’t download pictures or other content automatically in HTML e-mail check box.
  5. Click OK two times.
Note If you clear the Don’t download pictures or other content automatically in HTML e-mail check box, the Permit downloads in e-mail messages from senders and to recipients defined in the Safe Senders and Safe Recipients Lists used by the Junk E-mail filter check box and the Permit downloads from Web sites in this security zone: Trusted Zone check box are left in their current state. However, the Permit downloads in e-mail messages from senders and to recipients defined in the Safe Senders and Safe Recipients Lists used by the Junk E-mail filter check box and the Permit downloads from Web sites in this security zone: Trusted Zone check box appear dimmed and do not respond to mouse clicks and keyboard access.

How to define Safe Senders to unblock external content from specific senders and from specific recipients

Another option available in the Automatic Picture Download Settings dialog box, is the option to Permit downloads in e-mail messages from senders and to recipients defined in the Safe Senders and Safe Recipients Lists used by the Junk E-mail filter. By default, this option is turned on. When this option is turned on, Outlook 2003 will not block external HTML e-mail content if you add the sender or recipient to one of your Safe Senders or Safe Recipients lists.

When you receive an e-mail message from an internal Microsoft Exchange server e-mail address, Outlook 2003 always trusts the content received from an internal Exchange user. This trust is limited to e-mail messages that are received from the internal Exchange address of the sender. If the e-mail message is routed externally, and then received from the sender’s Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) address, Outlook 2003 blocks the external HTML content.

If you want to receive external HTML content from a specific sender, follow these steps:
  1. Add the sender’s SMTP address to your junk e-mail Safe Senders list, or create a contact record for the sender in your default Contacts folder.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Options .
  3. Click the Preferences tab, and then click Junk E-mail.
  4. Click the Safe Senders tab, and then click to select the Also trust e-mail from my Contacts check box.
To add the sender's e-mail address or the sender's domain name to the Safe Senders list, follow these steps:
  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. On the Preferences tab, click Junk E-mail.
  3. Click the Safe Senders tab or click the Safe Recipients tab.
  4. Click Add.
  5. In the Enter an e-mail address or Internet domain name to be added to the list box, type the e-mail address or the domain name that you want to add, and then click OK.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for each e-mail address or each domain name that you want to add.
For more information about the Safe Senders option in Outlook 2003, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
817883 Information about the Safe Senders option in Outlook

How to forward, reply to, or edit an e-mail message that contains blocked external content

If you have the Don’t download pictures or other content automatically in HTML e-mail option turned on, and you want to forward, reply to, or edit an e-mail message that contains blocked external content, you must download the full body contents of the e-mail message. When you try to forward, reply to, or edit an e-mail message that contains blocked external content, you receive the following warning message:
To complete this action, Outlook must download content from a server other than your e-mail server. This could verify to the sender that your e-mail address is valid and increase the amount of junk e-mail you receive in the future.


If you click OK to the warning message, and subsequently download the previously blocked content, Outlook 2003 does not provide any method to block or re-protect the message as it was originally presented. After you download the content, the next time that you try to close the e-mail message, you are presented with an option to save the changes to the message. If you click No to this question, this prevents permanent changes to the e-mail message, and leaves the original e-mail message with the content still blocked.

How to print an HTML e-mail message

When you print an HTML e-mail message, Outlook must first download the full contents of the message.

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Article ID: 831608 - Last Review: December 23, 2005 - Revision: 3.3
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2003
Keywords: 
kbhtml kbconfig kbemail kbhowtomaster kbinfo KB831608

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