Profile Photo - Question Mark icon

Dean Gross
Respected Contributor

All of a sudden, I have a small green Question Mark "?" over the profile photo that displays in the top right corner of the Office Suite Bar. Does anyone know what this signifies?

PhotoWithQuestionMark.pngQuestion Mark Icon

47 Replies

Do you mean in the web UI bar?

No idea, I have only seen this on my Microsoft (P-SELLER) account and I still don't know what does it means

Same issue here. Also this UI element changed as well. It was just the image before, now it shows the name as well.

When you click the image, the side pane border sits flush with the Notifications symbol.

I think it means you have been flagged by microsoft as a "questionable character"


I still have only the picture and not the name.

Anyway, the question mark seems connected to Skype for Business presence, correct?

Does it appear on all bars (i.e. OWA, OdfB, Sharepoint etc.) ?

I do have Skype for Business, and when I open that app, it shows my presence with a Green checkmark.


Dynamics shows my Picture without the ?

The EXO apps (Mail, Calendar,  Tasks, and People ) all show my Picture with a small gray circle




You idea about it being related to Presence make sense, and it appears to be another buggy implementation of a feature in O365.

It's presence in my OWA.


I'm not really sure why I would want to know my own presence all the time, I know if I'm busy.


For @Dean Gross it does kind of look like he's eating something grey and round, maybe a macaroon? marshmallow?

Well, given that it is Skype presence, why in your case it is grey and/or a question mark?

Does it mean that your actual presence is offline/invisible?

i think it is determing if you are online in the browser skype..
I'm seeing the same behavior in my tenant.

Many of us are supposed experts and MVPs in the Industry. If we can't figure it out, I'm not sure how users would be expected to be able to figure it out. Wish these things were simpler to understand..

Same here. so far unsolved

Maybe related to this, my SfB ceased to work in the browser a few weeks back and now I just get no presence. This site seems to explain why:



'To configure instant messaging (IM) integration between Skype for Business Server and Outlook on the web in Exchange 2016, you need to use the Exchange Management Shell. This is different than previous versions of Exchange where you needed to edit the web.config file. If you edit the web.config file instead of using the steps in this topic, the settings are ignored and Outlook on the web users receive the following error message:

There's a problem with instant messaging. Please try again later.'


We are seeing this as well (SharePoint Online, gcloud in our case). All users show up as just question marks icons, no matter what their Skype status is.

it is interesting to note that it seems the status works in some services (like OWA), but not others (like SharePoint online).

As far as I can remember, the SfB presence hs never worked in SPO powered web UIs.

It has worked only in EXO powered web UIs.

My guess is that the question mark simply means that the SfB presence cannot be determined in that web UI (i.e. in SPO).

Same here...?

I've had  the same for the last few days. Today surprise surpise it suddenly disappeared and turned green again.


I wonder if this is related to which Online presence is being picked up.


SO in my situation I've been logged in:

- on my phone in the Skype app.

- my desk top in skype for business

- and today while the icon turned fully green I was running a meeting in my teams app.


So I wonder if online presence now depends on Microsoft teams instead of your local SFB instance. Or maybe it's about multiple applications where my phone fell asleep and my desktop is active and Office 365 gets confused.




We're still experiencing that small question mark.

A few months ago before the name was preceding the Picture we had a small vertical bar between the picture and the online help icon. That bar was also at the same place in OWA (mail/calendar/people) and switched color depending on your availability. In Sharepoint however the bar was always 'gray' as if the it was no possible to determine your availability.

In OWA this interesting feature provides you the possibility to quickly change your availability (in case you receive a phone call or somebody shows up at your desk for a conversation) and is still working fine today (instead of a bar we now have a small bullit/dot to indicate the presence).

Like to find out how we can make that feature also working in Sharepoint.

This showed up for me after I changed my password. It seems to have something to do with my having two clients (desktop, Android) and not being signed in on both.

Nope, that wasn't it. I logged back in on the Android client but the question mark persists.

This issue just started appearing in our environment this morning so if anyone has any idea what this is and how to address would love to be included.

Same problem on our tenant, although I only see is using Windows 10 (office 216) not on my Windows 7 (office 2010) client?

Same for us, showing a question mark in SharePoint Online, but green in OWA. Started yesterday.

Opened simultaneously the same SPO home page and have



Opera Neon:







Please notice that in Edge you have the question mark, while in Opera Neon you have the grey vertical bar.

IMHO in both cases the meaning is the same: you are in a service (i.e. SPO) which is not able to determine your Skype presence.

And for Exchange related apps both browsers shows exactly the same - photo in circle and small grey circle like Skype status

This should mean you are not present in Skype for Business.

Try to login and you should see a small green circle instead.

Yes, exactly, Skype status is not determined in all cases, but the behavious how to show that depends not only on app, but on browser as well

To summarize:

  • in SPO related web UIs, the Skype status cannot be determined and therefore is shown as a question mark or a grey bar (depending on the browser)
  • in EXO related web UIs, the Skype status can be determined and therefore is shown accordingly


Then why does it show a question mark over my profile photo, but show my green Skype status next to my name everywhere else (for example, in the created by column of a document library)? This is clearly bugged, and they need to fix it so I can get my users off my back. :)

The second doesn't work with me - i'm always on in Skype for Business (desktop and 2 mobiles), but OWA shows grey circle.

Desktop client:


In my case, Skype for Business is showing me as Available, SPO shows the ? and Outlook Web services all show the empty circle,

Dean, i have exactly the same

In my case, this is OWA (in Edge):

2017-01-25 16_44_11-Program Manager.jpg

and this is ODFB (in Edge):

2017-01-25 16_45_12-Program Manager.jpg

i.e. exactly as expected.

BTW, when in OWA it shows a grey circle, can you please click on the photo and open the menu? Which is the Skype status?


We started seeing this green question mark yesterday. Our experience at our tenant is similar to everything stated already in this conversation. Any answers from Microsoft yet?

It's also undefined (empty circle). I may change it on any status from the menu, but after the refresh it goes back - undefined in both places

Hi Sergei, sorry to hear this: in my case, as I already said, everything is working properly.

Anyway, for the sake of this discussion, I would stress that while the empty (i.e. grey inside) circle in OWA (and other EXO related web UIs) is certainly a bug (if the actual Skype presence is green), instead the question mark in SPO related web UIs is, at the moment, "normal".

Just my 2 cents...

I can also confirm that we`ve had this question mark in SP Online for the last two days although Skype shows the correct status. It seems there`s not too many people talking about this at the moment. Has anybody learned something new?

I found what People app shows Skype status correctly, no one more

No solution here; I'm only adding to the experience matrix:


We have SharePoint Online, Skype for Business (O365) and an unused on-premises SharePoint 2016 Server farm, which is set up for eventual hybrid search of on-premises databases once Microsoft enables 2016 hybrid features for our licensing.


The Office 2016 Skype app properly displays my presence, i.e. according to calendar availability. Visiting SharePoint Online pages shows a circle with question mark, regardless of browser: IE 11, Edge, mobile Safari. Visiting these Office 365 pages -- mail and calendar -- via outlook.office365.com/owa shows a grey circle; vising the people Office 365 app displays a green circle with checkmark.


Last: Visiting SharePoint Online libraries that include presence indicators correctly displays presence color indicators.



My Admin account for Office365, which does not have Skype, has the ? mark showing on the picture.

My Regular account, which does have Skype, shows the same ? mark even when logged into Skype.

Same here. Maybe it is because we have a separate SfB provider - but presence information in all other places is OK.

We too have the green question mark.  Annoying because it used to work.

We're seeing the same issue. Skype is working fine. Person fields are working fine. But the header always has the question mark.

It might still be relevant for someone, so here's an update:

I spoke with MS support because we're still seeing the place holder icon in the top right of the O365 nav bar. Apparently, the documented reason is that this happens to those tenants that do not use Exchange Online but Exchange on premise like we do. EXO is the distributor of those profile pictures across multiple O365 applications. The reason a profile photo can still appear in SPO and Delve is because SPO has a fallback store where you can upload the pictures and override the placeholder icon that would otherwise appear in SPO / Delve as well.


There's no workaround as far as the MS support technician knows and no change in logic planned.


Hope this helps.



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