I have implemented an ECL provider which generates thumbnails of my images. I would now like to show some form of overlay to indicate whether the item is checked out (in the external system), published, and eventually add a restricted watermark.

Are there any examples of overlaying the standard checked-out or published icons on ECL items, or samples of how to use the GetThumbnailImage() method with the IList<IThumbnailOverlay> thumbnailOverlays overload that I see in the ECL API docs? Would this be an appropriate way to implement such functionality, or should I just manipulate the byte array which is returned by the GetThumbnailImage() method of my class implementing IContentLibraryContext?

1 Answer 1


You can get the overlay icon like this:

int actualSize;
byte[] iconData = Library.HostServices.GetIcon(
                      out actualSize);

As CreateThumbnailOverlay requires a stream, you need to create a memory stream. So the code will look something like this:

using (MemoryStream iconStream = new MemoryStream(iconData, false))
    // This implies item is a MultiMediaItem already loaded and GetContent
    // returns an actual image, if not you need to get the main thumbnail
    // image by other means
    IContentResult content = item.GetContent(null);
        IList<IThumbnailOverlay> overlays = new List<IThumbnailOverlay>
            // maxWidth and maxHeight specifies the requested thumbnail size,
            // so this icon is placed in the lower left corner.
                 maxHeight - actualSize,

        return Library.HostServices.CreateThumbnailImage(

Tridion thumbnails do not display overlays for checked out etc. This is the reason ECL doesn't add the overlays automatically.

You can of course manipulate the bytes directly - but as ECL runs in a Windows service you can't use the classes within System.Drawing. You can use the WPF classes, but these require an STA thread.

There might be a third party library you can use to manipulate images on a MTA thread, but unless you require something more than just overlaying images I would recommend sticking to the methods provided by ECL.

  • Thanks Lars, this code explains a lot, but I am still not sure where I should be putting this? I am also not clear how this can get the existing Published and CheckedOut overlays. Are there some specific "your-icon-name" values for this? Jun 18, 2013 at 13:39
  • This is pretty much a complete implementation of IContentLibraryContext.GetThumbnailImage - the only part that is missing is where it initialize the item variable - Which could simply be a call to GetItem. There are no easy way to get hold of the checked out etc icons - Either include them with your provider, or try to locate them on the server. But again: Tridion normally does not display these overlays on thumbnails - so do you really need them or do you just think you need them (like I did)? :) Jun 18, 2013 at 14:58
  • Sorry, I missed the part where you mention it's checked out on the remote system you want to display. I would consider not using standard Tridion icons for this, after all the item can also be checked out in Tridion. Jun 18, 2013 at 15:05

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