Add a picture from SharePoint to Outlook emails using a special macro

I’d like to continue our tour in Shared Email Templates and tell you some more about inserting pictures. Our add-in supports another online storage you may use for your images - SharePoint. I’ll tell you about this platform, teach you placing images there and show how to insert them in an Outlook message.

Get to know Shared Email Templates

I’d like to devote the first chapter of this tutorial to a small introduction to Shared Email Templates. We created this add-in so that you could avoid repetitive tasks like pasting or typing the same text from email to email. There is no need to re-apply the lost formatting, re-add the hyperlinks and re-paste the images. One click and you’re all set! One click and you have a perfectly formatted email ready. All the necessary files are attached, the pictures – pasted. All you need to do is to send it.

Since this manual is dedicated to inserting pictures, I’ll show you one of the ways to embed an image into a template to paste it to your Outlook message. You’ll learn how to work in SharePoint, share files and folders there and add them to your Outlook using a special macro. Trust me, it’s harder said than done :)

Let’s see how it looks on a simple example. As we are about to celebrate Christmas holidays, it would be nice to send a lovely note to all your relatives, friends, colleagues, to everyone else in your contacts. But a thought of pasting and coloring the same text, then inserting and resizing the same image may drive you crazy. Sounds like a super-dull task to handle on a festive season.

If this case sounds even a little bit familiar, Shared Email Templates is for you. You create a template, apply the necessary formatting, insert the picture you like and save it. All you need to do is to paste this template into your message. You’ll get a ready-to-be-sent email in one click.

An email with formatting and image pasted from Shared Email Templates

I’ll walk you through the entire process – from opening SharePoint to pasting an email with the macro to embed an image – so that you could make sure there is nothing difficult in saving time :)

How to create a personal SharePoint group and share its content

Today we’ll be pasting images from SharePoint, an online platform provided by Microsoft. It's a less widespread yet convenient platform to store files and share them with your colleagues. Let’s place some pictures there to see how it works.

Tip. If you know for sure the users you’ll need to share the files with and want to create a common group for all of you, skip the first part and jump right to creating a shared group. If however, you’d like it to be a shared folder in your personal group, go on reading.

Create a personal SharePoint group

Open office.com, sign in, and click on the app launcher icon and choose SharePoint from there:
Open your SharePoint

Click on the Create Site button and choose either a Team site (if there are some particular people you’d like to share the files with) or Communication site (if you’re creating a workplace for the whole organization) to proceed with:
Choose a site to create in SharePoint

Give your site a name, add some description and click Finish.

Hence, a private group available solely to you will be created. You’ll be able to add files for personal usage and share the folders with others if necessary.

Add files into your SharePoint folder

My advice would be to have all the images gathered in one folder. It would be much easier for you to find and paste them into a template and if you decide to replace or remove some, it won’t be a problem at all.

For you to have all the images gathered in one place and have them ready for using in Shared Email Templates, create a new folder on the Documents tab:
Create a new folder in SharePoint

Then upload the necessary files in your new folder:
Upload new files to your SharePoint

Alternatively, you may simply drag and drop the files in your SharePoint folder to get them added.

How to share a personal SharePoint folder with colleagues

If you are not the only one who is going to use those images in the templates, you’ll need to share them with your team. If you have already added them as owners/editors when creating a site, you’re good to go :) Skip this step and go right to inserting this image into Outlook.

If however, you’ve forgotten to add other members to your site or there are new users you’d like to share some files with, keep up reading.

As I’ve already mentioned, it is much more convenient to have all the pictures you’d like to use in templates in one folder. You’ll be able to quickly find and edit them if necessary. And if you want others to use the very same templates with those images, you’ll just need to share the whole folder with them:

  1. Choose the necessary folder, hit the three-dots icon, and choose Manage access:
    Manage access to a SharePoint folder
  2. Click on the plus sign and enter the teammates’ names or email addresses granting them access (viewer or editor, up to you) to your special folder:
    Manage accounts and permissions for the SharePoint folder
Tip. If there are just a few pictures you’d like to share with your colleagues, open the folder, find the wanted images and share them one by one. The procedure will be the same: three-dots -> Manage access -> the plus sign -> users and permissions -> Grant access. Unfortunately, there is no way to share a few files in a go, so you’ll have to go over this process several times.

Create a shared group for all the team members

If you know for sure what people you are to share the templates with and want to have a common place to store your data, just create a shared group. In this case each member has access to all the content and there would be no need to share folders of files separately.

Open SharePoint and go to Create Site -> Team site and add additional owners or members to your team:
Add members to your team site in SharePoint

Tip. If you want to share data with the entire organization, create a Communication site instead.

Now you may start uploading the files. There are two ways to go:

  • Go to the Documents tab, add a folder and start filling it with the files to use in Shared Email Templates.
  • Click New -> Document Library and fill in the library with the desired content:

Create a document library in SharePoint

In case you have some new group members or need to remove a former teammate from your shared group, click on the Members button at the top-right corner of the window and manage the group membership there:
Modify membership of a team site in SharePoint

Once you are ready, let’s get back to Outlook and try inserting some images.

Insert a picture from SharePoint in an Outlook message

Once your images are uploaded and shared, you need to take one more step to add them to your templates. This step is called the ~%INSERT_PICTURE_FROM_SHAREPOINT[] macro. Let me guide you from here:

  1. Start Shred Email Templates, open a new template and choose ~%INSERT_PICTURE_FROM_SHAREPOINT[] from the Insert Macro list:
    Choose the macro from the Select macro list
  2. Log into your SharePoint, guide to the necessary folder, choose the photo and hit Select:
    Select the necessary illustration from your SharePoint to paste

    Note. Please keep in mind that our Shared Email Templates supports the following formats: .png, .gif, .bmp, .dib, .jpg, .jpe, .jfif, .jpeg.
  3. Set the picture’s size (in pixels) or leave it as and click Insert.

If you can’t find the correct image, please recheck if it matches the supported formats and if you are logged under the correct SharePoint account. If you see that you’ve mistakenly logged into the wrong account, just click on the “Switch SharePoint account” icon to relogging:
Switch a SharePoint account in Shared Email Templates

Once the macro is added to your template, you’ll see the ~%INSERT_PICTURE_FROM_SHAREPOINT macro with random characters in square brackets. It would be the file’s unique path to its location in your SharePoint.
A ready template with the macro pasted

Although it looks like some sort of a bug, the perfectly normal picture will be pasted in your email body.
A template with the macro and SharePoint image pasted

Forgot something?

We’ve done our best to make our add-in as user-friendly as possible. We’ve created a tool with a clear interface, simple yet convenient options and gentle reminders in case you’ve missed some step.

As we are talking about the shared pictures from shared folders, there may be a few notifications that may appear. For example, you’ve created a personal folder in your SharePoint, created a team in Shared Email Templates and created a few templates with the ~%INSERT_PICTURE_FROM_SHAREPOINT[] macro. If you read this article carefully, you must have noticed that there is something missing. Yes, the folder hasn’t been shared with the others yet. In this case, the add-in will warn you when pasting a template, you’ll see the following message:
Warning that the file you paste isn’t shared

It’s just a friendly reminder to share the files with the others or choose another picture from the shared folder instead. As for the image, no worries, it’ll be added to your email as soon as you click Close.

If however, this is you who’s pasting the template with an unshared image, the message will look differently:
The error you get if the file you paste hasn’t been shared with you

No image will be inserted till the owner of the folder grants you the corresponding permissions.

That’s all I wanted to tell you about the ~%INSERT_PICTURE_FROM_SHAREPOINT[] macro today, thank you for reading. If you decide to give our Shared Email Templates a go, feel free to install it from Microsoft Store. If you have any feedback to share, please leave a few words in the comments section ;)

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