Imagery in SharePoint News Posts

With all of the changes happening in Office 365, it can be difficult to know how a particular thing works at any given point in time. I find myself doing little experiments all the time so I’m sure the information I give my clients is true – at least when I tell them! I figure some of the experiments might be useful for others, so why not do a quick blog post with the results?

Today’s question was how to determine which image in a News Post will be displayed as the thumbnail. The experiment showed me my assumptions would have been correct, but it’s always better to check than to assume.

When you create a News Post, you get a canvas to work with which looks like this:

You have two places where you can add an image in a News Post (or any modern page, really):

  • Header – This is the large area at the top of the News Post which has a dummy background image to start.
  • Body – This is the “meat” of the News Post – basically everything below the header.

In my experiment, I tried every combination I could think of. I used the same images from a Web Search for each test to ensure the images themselves wouldn’t come into play.

Header Image
Internal Image One
Internal Image Two

Here are the results.

  • Header Image Only – With only a header image, this is the image used in the News Web Part. No surprise here.
  • Internal Image Only – In this case, the internal image (added using the Image Web Part) was shown as the thumbnail. This was the variant I wasn’t totally sure about when I started.
  • Two Internal Images – With two Image Web Parts in the body, the first one was used as the thumbnail.
  • Header Image and Internal Image – With both a header image and an internal image, the header image was used as the thumbnail.
  • Image Gallery Only – When I used the Image Gallery Web Part (rather than the Image Web Part), the first image (leftmost, not necessarily the first one I added) in the Image Gallery was used as the thumbnail.
  • Header Image and Image Gallery – With both a header image and an internal image using the Image Gallery Web Part, the header image was used as the thumbnail.

So, no big surprises. But guess what? You can totally throw those rules out if you want to! You can change the thumbnail which is displayed in the Page details of the News Post itself when you edit the page. It can be one of the images you’ve already used (these are available in the Site Assets library in a folder like SitePages/Page-Name) or something entirely different.


There is a potential downside to the way the images are stored when you use the Web Search to find them. Each page gets its own folder in the Site Assets library, so if you reuse images – like I did in my experiment – you end up with multiple copies of each image. This is good because you can edit or alter each copy of the image for your needs. But it’s bad for image reuse.

Regardless how you think about this, it’s important from a content management perspective to understand the visual vocabulary you’re using in your site(s) so you can provide some consistency for your users and you can manage the corpus of imagery well.

from Marc D Anderson’s Blog