Image thumbnails not showing in SharePoint Server 2019 modern/new library experience

One of the best perks of upgrading to SharePoint Server 2019 from previous versions is the introduction of the modern/new list, library, and page experience. Modern web parts and layouts become available, lists look sleek and closer to what users are seeing in O365 in hybrid environments, etc.

It recently came to my attention, however, that the new list experience in picture and document libraries doesn’t render image thumbnails. According to Mike Lee in this thread, thumbnails in the modern/new experience rely on a cloud-based microservice that is incompatible with SharePoint 2019. Users, instead, just see image icons where thumbnails should be:

The only workaround in SharePoint 2019 to see image thumbnails in picture and document libraries is to revert to the classic experience. Each user can do this for themselves if we leave the default experience setting, but we want to force all users to use classic and not have the choice of using modern if we want them to see thumbnails.

Go to User Voice and vote for this issue to be resolved, adding support for image thumbnails in SharePoint 2019 modern experience views. In the meantime, here’s how you can change a library’s default experience back to classic:

Set library view to classic experience

1. Go to Library settings (settings wheel in upper right > Library settings).

OR if you’re already viewing classic experience, Library settings is found in the Library ribbon menu.

2. Click Advanced settings.

3. Scroll to the very bottom and for List experience select Classic experience.

4. Click OK.

Now all users will see the classic experience and not have the choice of toggling back to modern where thumbnails cannot be shown.

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