One of the fundamental uses of email is to share photos and other files with friends, family, or colleagues. But people who are new to email might not yet know how to attach and send files in email. Here are some beginner instructions you can share.This edition of our easy-to-email tech support guides is all about email attachments. We'll cover how to attach a file in both desktop and web email applications.
In all of these options—Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, Outlook, and Mail—you'll want to keep an eye out for a a paperclip icon, the universal image for attachments in email programs.
The process is pretty much the same for all email programs:
- Open a new email message window, usually by clicking the "New Message" or "Compose Email" icon or the CTRL + N keyboard shortcut.
- Click on the menu item with a paperclip icon that says "Attach a file" or something similar (e.g., "Attach Files")
- Browse through your computer's folders and click to select the files/folders you want to attach. In most cases, you can select multiple files by holding down the CTRL key while clicking on each file.
- Click the "Open" or "Choose File" or another similar button to attach the file to your email.
- Then continue composing your email (put the email address of the person you want to send the attachment to in the To: field, add a subject and message in the body, and hit Send).
Here are some more specifics for the most popular email applications.
The video above shows you how to compose a new email in Gmail (click on the "Compose email" button) and attach a file when you click on the "Attach a file" link in Gmail. Find and click on the folder or files you wish to attach, then hit "Open" and you should see the attachment added to your message.
Yahoo! has a similar method of attaching an email. Click on the "New" button in Yahoo! Mail to compose a new message. Then click on the "Attach Files" button that's right under the subject line. Instead of immediately bringing you to your documents, Yahoo! will present you with several "Choose File" buttons. For each file you want to attach to your email, click on one of these buttons and browse for the file you wish to send.
Click on the "New" link to compose a new email. Beneath the Subject line, you'll have an option to insert attachments (a paperclip icon, again) or Office documents, photos from your computer, and other Windows shortcuts. The most straightforward method is to click the "Attachments" link. From the Windows Explorer window that opens, select the file(s) you wish to attach and click "Open".
We're using Outlook 2010 as an example here, but the general process should also work for earlier Outlook versions such as Outlook 2007.
- Click on the "New E-mail" button in Outlook's ribbon menu (or use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + N) to open a new message window. Then click on the "Attach File" menu item (it has a paper clip icon beside it).
- In the new file browser window, navigate to the folder that has the file or files you wish to attach and click on the file to select it
- Click the "Insert" button and you should then see the file in a new "Attached:" line in your email. (If you change your mind and want to remove the attachment, right-click on it and select "Remove".)
On Apple's built-in Mail app, create a new email message by clicking the "New Message" icon. In the new message window, click the paperclip icon to add an attachment. From the drop-down folder browsing window, navigate to and select the file(s) you wish to attach and then click the "Choose File" button. You should then see your file(s) added to the body of your email message.
Using the Send To Menu
In addition to using the built-in attachment options in your desktop email program, you can also right-click on a file in your computer's file manager (Windows Explorer or Mac's Finder, for example) and select the option to Send the file to an email recipient. This is a quick shortcut to opening up a new email message window for your default desktop email program and inserting the file as an attachment.