Sourcing images from the new SkyDrive

UPDATE 10 December 2011: SkyDrive has been updated, URLs are again easily accessible. See Sourcing photos from SkyDrive is now easy.

Illustrating blogs with images makes them more interesting and informative and Live Writer makes the process of inserting pictures very easy. You can use photos from your computer and Live Writer takes care of uploading them to your blog file store. Images can also be sourced from other locations on theimage web. My post “Sourcing blog post images from SkyDrive” explained the process in detail.  The recent facelift of SkyDrive introduced changes that necessitates these revised instructions.

The look of the new SkyDrive has been handsomely improved, more of that is covered in my post “The new SkyDrive – Bouquets and Brickbats”. When you display an album the thumbnails are larger and show the image in correct proportions. The next level is similar to the slide show view in the previous version.


There is no additional view, as before, that shows the image in an otherwise empty browser window. That is where one got the image URL in the past.

Sourcing with “Embed” code

REVISED AFTER POST – The “embed” code does not work! It is stripped during publishing.


Before inserting an image from your SkyDrive, make sure that the album containing the photo is shared publicly. imageThe easiest way to bring a picture from SkyDrive to a blog post is the “embed” method. Note the Sharing group in the information pane to the right of the photo. There is a link “Embed”. Click it to obtain the code. In the next page click in the code box. It will be selected, highlighted, and you can copy it with Ctrl+C to the clipboard. Then, in Windows Live Writer, just place the pointer where you want the image and press Ctrl+V to paste it in. You don’t need to do this in Source view, this works fine in Edit view. Here is what you get:

It looks like this and there is a hyperlink to the SkyDrive page of this image. It work in Preview, but during publishing the code appears to get stripped.


Nice, quick, you couldn’t ask for more. Or could you? Click on the image and the tools in the Ribbon are greyed out. There is no Picture Tools tab. You cannot change the size, location, nor specify text wrapping. Yes, clever blogging geeks can make changes to the code in Source view, but even that is a rather aggravating. If you can be happy with an illustration as shown here, you can use this method. There is one nice feature: A hyperlink is already present that takes the reader to the full view of the image in SkyDrive, with access to the other pictures in the album (and other public albums and files). If this is not to your liking there is another way.

When this is published all you get is an URL text that may or may not connect to something. So this method does not work! Here in Windows Live Writer is an image that looks right and works in preview, but see what you really get in the actual published post:×6826.jpg?cid=d2dab0a6f31577f8&sc=photos


Sourcing the image directly

To get control over the image size and placement you can get the address to the iimagemage – sort of. In the full view SkyDrive, right-click the image. You may see Copy image location, or Copy image URL, or Copy image address. Some browser do not offer the image address (URL) directly, including Internet Explorer, but you can get it by clicking Properties at the bottom of the menu and then copying it from the properties listing. This address can be used in the Live Writer Insert Picture dialog. imageClick Picture in the Insert group of the Ribbon, then click From the web… In the next dialog paste (Ctrl+V) the address of the image. A preview of the image will be shown. If you don’t get the preview, you did not get the address correctly.

Click Insert and the picture will be inserted full size into your post. It likely will spill over beyond the post margin. Click on the picture to select it, the Picture Tools tab will be displayed. Click Lock aspect ratio, then select a size, Small, Medium or Large. You can manually set the size, of course. You can set the alignment and margins around the picture and a simple frame, or none, as is usual with web-sourced images. Do not attach a hyperlink to the address you used for the picture. It will not work. You cannot show the image full-size in a browser window. You can get the address of the image in SkyDrive from the browser address bar. This will give your reader access to that image in your SkyDrive and all other public material.image

If you do not wish your reader to have access to your SkyDrive album (and more), simply set the link setting in Picture ToolsProperties to No link.

Sadly, the self-running slide show feature is no longer available in SkyDrive. Let’s hope that this is just a temporary shortcoming.


© 2011 Ludwig Keck

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  1. #1 by Greg Edwards on June 26, 2011 - 9:47 pm

    Great post, Ludwig. I just cleaned out a whole bunch of miscellaneous images from and old SkyDrive folder that I’d previously used in Windows Live Group discussions (which sadly, have also been retired). Figured with the discussions and group deleted, there was no point in keeping them around. There’s a lot to love about the new SkyDrive, but as you noted, some excellent features got the ax, too. I don’t know whether you’ve checked, but a bunch of older comments on my SkyDrive items have gone MIA since the upgrade.

    • #2 by Ludwig on June 26, 2011 - 10:48 pm

      Thank you Greg. Be sure to take another look at the post as I had to revise it once I saw it “live”. The embed code obtained from SkyDrive apparently gets stripped. Maybe by WordPress. It is no longer there in the WordPress file. There are strange things happening in our world!

  2. #3 by Noel on June 28, 2011 - 8:38 pm

    I’ve only found one, tortuous way to extract the URL of the untarnished image on a SkyDrive folder. Most of the URLs you find (and there are many different ones for each image) will be on the domain. When you access one of these, using IE at least, the source adds a MIME header saying Content-disposition: attachment, meaning that it won’t display in the browser but gives you the option of saving it or opening it in your own default program for the file type. This may be why WP doesn’t like the embed code.
    One place to access the original image is in the download link, but it’s well hidden. I found it by examining the page source of the SkyDrive page where the single image is displayed. Search for https:\/\/public (\/\/ is backslash slash backslash slash); the URL you want is the bit from https up to but not including ?. Copy it into a text editor and strip out the backslashes before use. You can also drop the s from https. This URL refers to a file on, which doesn’t add that ridiculous MIME header.
    I think they don’t want you to get links to your own original images.

    • #4 by Ludwig on June 28, 2011 - 9:12 pm

      Thank you Noel,
      I will try your scheme. So far the addresses that I have gotten (in properties usually) all are to reduced size images. For blogs that’s ok. But I would also like to use my images in and such things. I think you are right about Microsoft not wanting us to get to our own stuff!

  1. The new SkyDrive – Bouquets and Brickbats | This 'n That
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