Gmail attachments can be a great way to share information. If you need to send an original document or image, you’ll probably want to attach those files directly to a Gmail message, and send them off quickly.
How to Email Large Files as Gmail Attachments
What do you do though, if you have really large files to send?
There is a Gmail attachment size limit of 25 MB, so if you’ve ever tried to send a large file as a Gmail attachment, you know it can be difficult. Many Gmail users don’t understand how to handle large Gmail attachments, but there are ways to send them through Gmail.
In this tutorial, we explore the basics of Gmail attachments. We also tackle the issues that come up when you have really large files to send via email. Learn how you can send really large files using Google Drive or by zipping files.
How to Email Large Files in Gmail (Quick Video)
Start with the quick video screencast below or dig into the written tutorial instructions that follow. Learn how to work with Gmail attachments and leverage Google Drive to send large files via email.
Step 1. Basics of Attaching
Files in Gmail
You can attach files that are less than 25 MB directly to an email in Gmail. Here’s how:
1. Create a New Message
Start from within your basic Gmail window. Click the Compose button to create a new message.
2. Attach the File
Files less than
25 MB can be attached directly to a Gmail message. Click the Attach files icon at the bottom of the New Message form. (It looks like a
The File Upload window appears:
Navigate to the
folder where your attachment file is located. Make sure the file size is less
than 25 MB. If you are attaching more than one file, the file sizes added
together must be less than 25 MB.
Click the name of
the file you want to attach to your Gmail message. Then click the Open button in the lower right corner
of the File Upload window.
Note: If you cannot see the file size in the File Upload window, click the Change
your view icon in the upper right corner of the window.
The file selected appears as a link in your message:
attached your file, you can click the Send
button to send your message as usual.
For more detailed
instructions on how to compose and send a Gmail message, review this helpful tutorial:
Step 2. How to Deal With the
Gmail Size Limit
If you need to
send a file (or combination of files) that have a file size of larger than 25 MB as
a Gmail attachment, there are basically two ways to do it:
- As a Zip File – Zip files work well when you have many files that
add up to more than 25 MB. When you combine the files into a zip file, you are
also compressing the file size.
- Through Google Drive – If your zip file is larger than 25 MB or
if you have a single file that cannot be compressed, you can use Google Drive
to attach the file to your email message.
1. How to Send File Attachments
Using Zip Files
To zip multiple
files into a single file using the MS Windows operating system, open a File Explorer window and find the
folder that has your files:
Select the files
to be zipped. (Use CTRL + SHIFT to
select more than one file.)
the selected files to bring up a drop-down menu. Select the Send to > Compressed (zipped) folder option.
files are compressed together in a single .zip file. Click the file name to rename
it if you wish.
instructions in Step 1 to attach the .zip file to your Gmail message.
2. How to Send a File through
You can also use
Google Drive to send large file attachments or multiple files. Here’s how to do
First, copy the
files into your Google Drive. You can do this by dragging the files from the
File Explorer window into a Folder on Google Drive.
Next, click the Compose
button from within your basic Gmail window to create a new message.
Click the Insert files using Drive option at the
bottom of the New Message form. (It
looks like a triangle.) The Insert files
using Google Drive box opens:
Click the folder
where your attachment files are located. Select one of the following options:
attach the entire folder to your email, click the Insert button in the lower left corner.
attach a single file within the folder to your email, click the folder again to
open it. Click the file you wish to attach to your email and click the Insert button.
The folder or
file appears within your email message:
When you are
ready, click the Send button in the
lower left corner to send the message.
Step 3. How to Open an Attached
If you are on the
receiving end of a Gmail message with a file attachment, you may wonder how to
Before opening a
Gmail message with an attached file, always look at the sender’s name and the subject
line. If you don’t recognize the sender’s name and the subject line looks
suspicious, delete the message without opening it.
attachments are automatically scanned for viruses, there’s still a possibility
that the Gmail attachment you received contains a virus or malware.
If you recognize
and trust the sender of the email message, it’s probably okay to open the
message and the attached file(s). Here’s how to do it:
1. How to Open an Attachment in
Click the message in your Gmail inbox to open it. The
message displays on your screen:
appears at the bottom of the message. In this case, a thumbnail of the attached
image is visible.
Move the cursor
over the image and two buttons display over the image along with the file name
at the top. Click the Download
button on the left to download the attachment to your computer. Click the Save to Drive button on the right to
save the attachment to your Google Drive.
You are now ready
to begin working with the attachment file.
Note: The buttons that appear when you move the cursor over
the attachment vary. For example, if the attachment is an MS Word file (.doc),
an Edit with Google Docs button
appears on the right. If you click the Edit
with Google Docs button, the file opens in Google Docs where you can
perform various editing functions.
2. How to Open a Zipped File in
Opening a zipped file attachment in Gmail is not much
different from opening other attachments. First, click the message to open it.
The message displays on your screen:
appears at the bottom of the message.
Move the cursor
over the attachment and two buttons display over the image along with the file
name at the top. You can use these buttons to:
files to your computer
files to Google Drive
Let’s look at
each of those options.
Download the Files to Your Computer
Click the Download
button on the left to download the attachment to your computer. The zip file
appears in the lower left of the Gmail screen. Click the down arrow next to the
file name to display a drop-down menu:
By default, the
zip file downloads to the Downloads
folder on most computers with an MS Windows operating system. If you click the Show in Folder option, File Explorer opens and shows you the
zipped folder in the Downloads
folder. You can move or copy the zipped file to another location.
If you click the Open
option on the drop-down menu, File
Explorer opens and shows the contents of the zip file.
can copy individual files into another folder. Or, click the Extract option at the top to access the
Extract all icon. After you click
the Extract All icon, the system
prompts you to select a destination for the extracted files:
Use the Browse button to find the right folder
to save the files in. Click the Extract
button to extract the files to the selected folder.
Download the Files to Google
Move the cursor
over the attachment image and two buttons display over the image along with the
file name at the top.
Click the Save to Drive button on the right to
save the zipped attachment to your Google Drive. (It looks like a triangle.)
Note: If the attachment file is zipped and you are not using Chrome, it’s best
to download it to your computer first so that you can extract the files. Once
the files are extracted, you can copy them onto your Google Drive.
The system prompts you that the file has been downloaded
to your Google Drive:
Click the Organize link to move the zipped
attachment into a specific folder in your Google Drive.
After the zipped
attachment is in your Google Drive, you still need to extract the files. If you
are using Chrome, you can use Google’s
ZIP Extractor utility.
To use the ZIP
Extractor utility, right-click on the zip file in your Google Drive folder.
From the drop-down menu, select Open
with > ZIP Extractor.
If you’ve not
used ZIP Extractor before, you’ll be prompted to authorize ZIP Extractor to
access your Google Drive. Click the Authorize
button and follow the prompts to complete the authorization. Next, you are prompted
to extract the zip files:
Click the Extract now button to extract the files
from the zipped attachment.
downloaded and extracted the zip files, you are now ready to begin working with
the attachment files.
3. How to Open a Non-Zipped File
Sent through Google Drive
Click the email message to open it. The message displays on
your Gmail screen:
A hyperlink to
the attachment on Google Drive displays at the bottom of the message. Click the
link. Google Drive opens. If the
attachment was a folder on Google Drive, the folder opens:
Now you can work
with the shared files in Google drive, or you can copy them to your hard drive.
If you know about
the Gmail attachment size limit, you may think that you can’t email large files
using Gmail. However, there is a way to send large Gmail attachments using
Google Drive or by zipping files.
In this tutorial,
we’ve explained how to email large files and how to open an attachment in
Gmail. If your project requires that you email large files, follow the
instructions in this tutorial.
To learn even
more about using Google Drive, review the tutorial:
For a complete
guide to Gmail, study our multi-part tutorial series: Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Using Gmail, or get started with one of these tutorials:
GmailHow to Compose and Send Your First Email With GmailLaura Spencer
GmailHow to Filter & Block Unwanted Emails (Spam) in GmailLaura Spencer
Gmail14 Killer Gmail Features to Make Use of NowLaura Spencer
Make the most of using Google Drive and Gmail together.