Icons appearing instead of Thumbnails for some picture files

Whilst I did not really notice this problem until I upgraded to RM9 and could see all the images in one place, I now realise it existed in RM8.

I have a large number of picture files (c.7,500) in my tree but in the Media Tab about 20% show as the generic blue and white “mountain” icon. All the “icon” pictures I checked displayed properly if I clicked on the magnifying glass or pencil. The new “Build Thumbnails” in More Options (three vertical dots) at the top of the Media Tab does not achieve anything in my case and in fact crashes the program.

After quite a lot of checking I found that all the 8 bit images were displaying as thumbnails but with the 24 bit (colour) images if the picture size was greater than 5,000,000 pixels, then it displayed as an icon. To check this I selected an image greater than 5,000,000 pixels, used a picture editor to reduce the size to below 5,000,000 pixels and it then showed as a thumbnail.

I have used a work around for this by identifying all the large 24 bit images and then using a batch image resizer program to reduce the size, but I have kept the original size files in an unrelated directory in the event that I can find a better solution.

My real question is whether anyone else has experienced this problem as my solution is a clumsy one and as I have resized about 2,000 images, I cannot be certain that I have not spoiled some of them in the process. It also means that any pictures I add in the future will need to be checked first for size or the batch image resizing routine run again.

Of course it does raise the question as to the usefulness of thumbnails or whether I should just put up with the icons but that is a different subject.

Roy Harris

I could be off track here but seem to recall something from way back about .jpg and .jpeg file extensions. Are yours all .jpg or are the icon ones .jpeg? Maybe it is just the size as you have ascertained.

Check that the Media Type is set to Image. If you have File selected it will just show the icon for the file extension.

Yes it is. The strange thing here is that the issue seems revolve around the pixel size of those images which are 24 bit. About 20% of the images are 24 bit and were more than 5million pixels and showed as icons in the media tab whereas the other 80% of images most of which are 8 bit showed as thumbnails. I ran an image batch resized to change the dimensions of these 24 bit files so that the pixel size became less than 4million pixels. Once I did this all the media files which had been showing as icons changed to thumbnails.

A similar problem was posted in facebook last year and resolved by scaling back the image size. I was surprised that they stated that the problem image was <2 mb in size. They did not mention whether it was an 8-bit or 24-bit image.

[Edited] I am not very skilled in matters of digital photography or image metadata and my initial post referenced 8-bit color images >5 million pixels (for example a 600 dpi color scan of an 8x10 inch image or a photo from a current mobile phone). These are actually 24-bit color images and they attach and display thumbnails just fine in RM. So I’m not sure what’s going on with your files.

Some programs won’t display a thumbnail if the thumbnail file size is too big. Perhaps that’s what you are bumping in to. I’ve been looking for a good tool to extract thumbnails from exif data but have not found any local tools that let you view/replace thumbnail details.


Thanks for the link. This described exactly what the issue is and the suggested work around of resizing the files is basically what I have already done. However, I do not believe it wholly relates to the size of the file as implied on the Facebook piece. Of course bit size and resolution are influences on file size.

I have looked into this further this morning and played around with a number of images. Like you I have no problems with 8 bit files, it is only 24 bit files which create the issue.

I have concentrated on a couple of image files:-

File A Size 7.94MB Pixels 19.9m

File B Size 193KB Pixels 7.2m

Both files when uploaded to Roots Magic show as Generic Image Icons.

If I resize each file to just below 5m pixels and upload the resultant new files to Roots Magic then they both appear as Thumbnails.

This tends to confirm my initial observation that the issue revolves around the resolution of the image.

Resizing the image is in fact helpful in that when you open the file in the Roots Magic Viewer or Edito as the image tends to fit the viewer.

My main problem, I suppose, is that as I use Ancestry for a lot of my research and then use Ancestry Tree Share to bring the information and associated images into Roots Magic, I will need to constantly check any image files downloaded to see if they need resizing. It is not a huge chore but would be better fixed.

I have already raised a ticket with Roots Magic support so I suppose I will have to wait to see if it is perceived as something which is sufficiently important to require addressing.

Thanks for your interest and help.