Showing Presence Information In SharePoint Web Parts

If you’ve visited a SharePoint site, you’ve probably noticed the Messenger-style icons in front of people’s names corresponding the IM status. When you hover the mouse pointer over that icon a lot of additional Messenger and Outlook functionality becomes available: you can send an email to that person, plan a meeting, … Isn’t the SharePoint – Office integration great? A nice example is the Members web part:

Patrick Tisseghem showed already in a demo during the Belgian Dev&IT-Pro Days, how you can use this functionality in your own web parts. but I couldn’t find any information on the net that showed how to do this. Well in fact is quite simple to accomplish this and you can easily test this in a SharePoint site. Just drag and drop a Content Editor web part on a SharePoint site, open the tool pane and click the Source Editor button. In the text entry window type following HTML:
My presence information:<br>
<img border="0" height="12" width="12" src="/_layouts/images/blank.gif" onload="IMNRC(
'')" id="IMID1" ShowOfflinePawn=1>&nbsp;Jan Tielens

The result (the menu showed above pops up when you hover over the image) is:

The magic happens in the IMNRC client-side Javascript function that’s called when the OnLoad event of the image is triggered. This function can be found in the /_layouts/1033/owsbrows.js file. Make sure your put span tags around image and the text, otherwise you’ll end up with some unexpected (but funny) behaviour. Also remember that you need to generate a unique id value for each presence information block. Finally, if you don’t want the offline image to show when the user isn’t online, you can omit the ShowOffLinePawn tag.


  • Ahhh, this gives me a HUGE clue as to issues I've been seeing with the out of box web parts! I have many questions as to why pawns aren't shown sometimes for offline users. Sounds like ShowOfflinePawn is dropped every so often.

  • Great post, Jan! Just to clarify - this still requires that the end user have Office 2003 installed to get the presence information, right?

  • Yep, as well as Messenger.

  • I saw this in the HTML and have been experimenting using it in my non-Sharepoint webpages too (i.e. intranet webpages that know about user identities), as long as I load the appropriate JS pages in the HTML header (owsbrows.js, ows.js, menu.js and ie55up.js) then I can use this from any webpage.

    I don't know what the MS situation is with doing this tho - the licensing position is not obvious, so I haven't actually put it into production yet, but the wow factor is impressive. The next stage, I know, is to replace those webpages with Sharepoint, but this is a quick win.

    Anyone know what the legal position is on calling this code from non-Sharepoint generated pages ??

  • I'm a beginner to all this, so maybe this is a stupid question, but when I do this, there is no presence icon until you mouseover? Is there a way to have the presence inciator there regardless?

  • Great!
    I have been looking for ANY information regarding this for a while.
    Now, my next question is, what is the best way for utilizing this in my own custom webpart?

    I am using the CreateChildControls() method to output the content in my webpart. Can I use this to output the presence information of the users my webpart handles? If so, how? Or do I need to do some combination with the Render() method?

    Any clarifiaction will be greatly appreciated :-)

  • To clarify my last question:
    I need to do this programatically (in code-behind) as my webparts that will use this handles everything i code.
    Currently I am experimenting with using TemplateColumn and trying to put the html for the presence of a user dynamically into each row of a datagrid. My I seem to come up short of a good solution.
    Please help!

  • this is an excellent Help, i coud implement that, but i dont know how i can put a SPAN roud a cell in a dataGrid, sorry, excuseme, could you said how can i do that


  • Why the members webpart shows several users that are online, and do have Office 2003, as offline? I have a wss site with a members webpart and several users that are showing online on Communicator, appears as offline in the webpart.

  • Lucy! Please call me,Lucy! Please call me

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