Unable to Activate Site Feature “SharePoint Server Publishing” when PublishingImages Library Already Exists

I’ve run into problems at times when trying to activate the SharePoint site feature “SharePoint Server Publishing”. In the instance below, essentially the problem boiled down to the fact that there was already a “PublishingImages” library. As it turns out, this is simply a library by the name of “Images”. To resolve this, simply rename the library to some other name, then try to reactivate the feature.

Rename the “Images” Library

  1. Start by going into the Site Contents listing

  2. In the list, look for an “Images” library.

  3. If you have an existing Images library, we’re going to need to rename the library. If you have existing images using the files in the library, you can move them into the new library (after it’s created in a section below), or you can update your references to point at the new name (if necessary).
  4. In the library, go into the “Library” tab and choose “Library Settings”

  5. In the settings, choose “List name, description and navigation”

  6. Rename the library to something other than Images (such as ImagesOld)

Now Activate the Site Feature

  1. Next, return to Site Settings and under “Site Actions” choose “Manage site features”

  2. Scroll down and find the feature “SharePoint Server Publishing” and choose “Activate”

    Important note: There may be NO UI responsiveness for up to a minute. DO NOT click the button again, just wait for the process to complete in the background.

    Additional note: This is where the new “Images” library is created, so if you have images from earlier which need a new library to live, they can be moved into this library if necessary (from the ImagesOld library).

One response to “Unable to Activate Site Feature “SharePoint Server Publishing” when PublishingImages Library Already Exists

  1. Holy Cadudies!!! Thanks Colin.

    They (Microsoft) designed their own product and cant even distinguish between the names of libraries in errors???

    Wow. During this long weekend I’ve sat down and tried to do three separate tasks in SPO and none, zilch, nadda worked as expected.

    If it wasn’t for your blog I’d be in the support section AGAIN for the nth time in as many days.


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