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April 22, 2007

Gmail Attachments

While Gmail is a great web mail service, the way it treats attachments might confuse some people.

In Gmail, you can't send executable files (.exe, .cmd) or ZIP archives that contain executables. To bypass this limitation, you need to rename the file and change its extension (don't forget to mention this to the person that receives your mail).

Although Google says you can't send attachments larger than 10 MB, Gmail is quite forgiving and lets you send files up to 13-14 MB, so you don't have to worry about size. [Update (May 2007): Gmail has increased the maximum attachment size to 20 MB. ] If you need to send bigger attachments or you send your files to a lot of people, consider uploading them to a file hosting site (like DivShare, mihd or QuickSharing) and including the URL in the mail. For documents that require collaboration and reviews, Google Docs is a good solution, while Picasa Web and Google Video are better options if you need to share photos and videos.

It's a good idea to select the files you want to attach before writing your email, because Gmail starts to upload them immediately, saving you precious time. If you want to be reminded to attach a file if you talk about attachments in your email, this Greasemonkey script is fairly good. To upload the files using drag and drop, install this Firefox extension.

Now that you sent your message, you may wonder how to retrieve it in the future. To search for emails that contain attachments, use: has:attachment. If you know some words from the title of an attachment or its extension, add them: has:attachment filename:pdf or has:attachment filename:author filename:review. Unfortunately, the only searchable attachments are text files, so you may want to upload a plain text version of your documents if you need to search their content later.

Google offers you the option to view online a lot of file types: Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint files, PDF, RTF and even edit Word and Excel files using Google Docs. This is a simple way to convert all these file types to HTML. You can also listen to MP3 files directly from Gmail.

While Gmail offers plenty of space (almost 3 GB), it's not a very good idea to use it for storing files. There are tools that make it easy to upload files to Gmail (the most well-known are the Firefox extension Gspace and the Windows application Gmail Drive), but Gmail was not created for this purpose, so they're just clever hacks. If you upload too many files, Google could even lock your account for 24 hours.

63 comments:

  1. While Gmail can be forgiving about 10mb rule, other services aren't quite up to it. This can result in a lot of undelivered emails.

    Just something worth mentioning.
    P.S. It would be really cool if Gmail could have a warning when the reciever with known provider (ex. Yahoo, Hotmail) will get the email bounced because of the attachments rule. This way Google could also increase it's attachments limit, thus attracting more people into using Gmail (and probably result in other email services lifting the limit after a while).

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  2. Most servers have a 10MB limit.

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  3. >>If you need to send bigger attachments or you send your files to a lot of people, consider uploading them to a file hosting site

    I dont understand this...
    Is Google that dumb to create multiple copies of same attachments sent to different mailboxes? I won't buy that.

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  4. No, of course not, but it's pretty inefficient. Your mail will arrive much later if you send a 10 MB file to 100 people.

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  5. I love GMAIL!!! And so does Pottstown, PA.

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  6. Hm, I think the point of using other services for sending large attachments was to get around the size limit. Sending huge attachments in email is bad netiquette, imho. I use Senduit.

    The next killer feater would be to delete only the attachments for archived emails while keeping (and indexing) the rest of the message. This would help preserve precious disk space (and my quota) as well.

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  7. It's not that dumb that if you send a 10MB attachment to 10 people, it won't eat up 100MB, but it IS that dumb if you forward a message with a 10MB attachment 10 seperate times.

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  8. Now, (this is getting interesting)

    Even if I send the SAME mail with a 10 MB attachment to 10 different mailboxes separately, there is still ONE existent copy of the attachment. Google should manipulate pointers and not copy contents.

    Full space is allocated to attachments only when they are uploaded, and never after that.

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  9. No theres 10 copies, one for each person. Having one copy just isn't the way email works. Every piece of mail is handled separately.

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  10. What?
    Forwarding a mail 10 times creates 10 copies for its attachment? Are you meaning this?

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  11. wow Gspace will save me lots of hassle
    thanx man

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  12. I managed to upload 2 x .exe files, with a total size of 11mb in an .rar compressed file then I downloaded them again and there was no problem?

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  13. GMail is awfully accomodating for
    getting mail IN.

    For getting mail OUT of gmail
    it's considerably more problematic.

    Works fine with NEW mail.

    You can tag your mail, but
    can't do a whole hell of a lot with it.

    Especially if it's OLD mail.

    Suppose you ONLY want to deal
    with OLD mail?

    Sorry, no such help.

    So what do you do with OLD
    mail that has attachments?
    Especially if you have a LOT
    of it?

    Answer?

    Not much.

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  14. I have a problem, how do I save documents sent to me via Gmail to mhy documents file?

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  15. In Yahoo mail one can drag photos attached to emails directly to a photo storage area. I cannot seem to find a place like this in gmail and I can't figure out how this can be done in Picasa other than perhaps going through the hassle of uploading to the computer first then to Picasa but that is a lot of work. Is there a better solution?? Chryssydavid.

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  16. I think running a search for has:attachments didn't work. Why might this be? I know there are many many emails in my account with attachments. Help?

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  17. I want to save MP3 music on my puter how do I do this with G-Mail?

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  18. Has anyone had trouble sending a large file (<10MB but >2MB)through Outlook? Mine doesn't work. Outlook says it doesn't impose any limitations on the size.

    I need help!

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  19. I can't find an answer to this question on this link posted in August. HELP "I have a problem, how do I save documents sent to me via Gmail to my documents file?"

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  20. The same way you download any other attachment: click on "Download" next to the attachment. For documents, Google offers other options: view online or edit the documents in Google Docs.

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  21. To get the attachment I need to click on Download at the bottom of the message. Problem: No Download button nor HTML button. So tell me how or where are the words Download or HTML

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  22. Can you post a screenshot? Upload it to a site like ImageShack and paste the link here.

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  23. I have no Download at the end of my messasges to click so I may get the attachments. Where is it?. I just signed up with Gmail and it is too hard to find things. I am getting disillusioned and may returned to my previous account.

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  24. What kind of attachment you have? For Word documents, it should look like this.

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  25. I like most of Gmail features. What really bugs me is how do I save an e-mail or its attachment to disk?? I cannot always be online, and have several manuals that I have paid for, and cannot save them to disk so that I can use them out in the field. What gives guys???????

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  26. How come you can't save the attachments? At the bottom of the message, you should see "Download" links next to each attachments. If the message has more than one attachment, click on "Download all attachments" to download a ZIP archive that contains all the attachments.

    To backup all your messages, use an email client like Outlook, Outlook Express, Mozilla Thunderbird and configure POP3 or IMAP for your Gmail account.

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  27. I use Apple's Mail software at work and send a lot of .doc and .pdf attachments to people using gmail accounts. When I send a .doc file from Mail, the attachment is received by gmail accountss labeled as NoName and is unopenable. I find this strange as others copied on the same message who don't have a gmail accounts get the attachment fine. Any suggestions or ideas why this happens?

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  28. My wife has been having the same issue. When she send Word files (not through Gmail) to Gmail users, they can't download them or they come through garbled, while any other server has no problem. One factor I noticed is she's got MS Office 2000 for Mac (OS X). I have no problems sending docs made with Office 2004 for Mac. Maybe that's the issue?

    My other problem is similar, but about downloading attachments into Apple Mail 2.1.1. I have IMAP enabled, which I love, but occasionally certain attachments (.doc, .pdf files) come through as long screens of text garbage rather than an attachment. Anyone know what's up with this?

    I can't find either of these mentioned in the Help section or documentation.

    Thanks!

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  29. one comment to say to everyone that currently uses Gmail or intends to use it in the future. Its about the best free web mail service I've seen since the web was all text..nt . Long before any browsers were available. The most important piece of advice I could share with anyone is that they thoroughly read all available on each tool offered by Google and if they intend to use any of the add-ons they should also thoroughly read all available data on each and every add-on they intend to use and be absolutely sure that they clearly understand the pro's and con's of each before using the add-on. I have always considered my self fairly intelligent when it comes to these types of matters after all I am the CEO of a High-Tech company and I was fooled by the Gspace add-on for gmail. It was something I thought would work well for my personal lap-top when I'm traveling -- easy storage from any ware and easy access for retrieval. I was never aware of the negative aspects such as restriction to normal use of your gmail account etc. I would like to see some thing posted on the gmail home page that would either have a link to another page or a posting that would make unsuspecting bone-heads like myself aware of the impending issues when you use this tool.

    Regards

    Robert Maillet
    rmaillet@gmail.com

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  30. All of a sudden I am having problems with the download to microsoft word and excel. I have only been able to see these attachments using google.docs and I want them in word and excel on my hard drive. I can only save to hard drive through pdf read only file. I have office 2007 but have had it for over a year now. Anyone have a clue?

    J

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  31. Google usually checks the attachments for viruses before displaying the "Download" link, so maybe there's a problem with that.

    Some workarounds:

    * Non-AJAX version of Gmail
    * click on "View as HTML" next to the attachment and then click on "Download the original attachment" at the top of the new page.

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  32. Hi, need some help please. How do i reduce the photo file size when sending by gmail. Lots of complaints from friends receiving photos from me, that down loading time is to long?

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  33. HELP! How do I send an Email or an Email attachment to multiple contacts? With Earthlink, I could click on Address book, click a box to the left of however many contacts and they would be inserted into the send to: of the Email or attachment.

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  34. I also can't save attachments. There is no download button or link or anything else. When I recieve an html file as an attachment it shows up in the message body, but there is no way to get to the source. Ridiculous. Back to yahoo! for me.

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  35. Apparently a lot of people can't download attachments. Could you at least mention what browser you use? Did you try the suggestions I posted?

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  36. @Jennifer who said:

    << I think running a search for has:attachments didn't work. >>

    You should search for has:attachment.

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  37. Now a days I can't send any attachment mail frm my gmail...if it is v small file or big file both are i can't...y?
    if am forwading its sending but not attaching.....mail sending....[plz anyone can hep me?
    mail me plzz msali43a@gmail.com

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  38. man...gmail is slow while sending large attachments...yahoo is ten times faster at least these days in this matter

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  39. @Ionut Alex Chitu,

    I tried your suggestion about the non-AJAX version of Gmail, but I still don't see a way to save an HTML attachment. I is displayed inline with no apparent option to save just the attachment.

    What I did was to view the original document (i.e. the email source), copied the HTML attachment, and pasted it into a new file. A PITA if I have a lot of them, but it does work.

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  40. Message to Ionut Alex Chitu :

    I have the same problem sseing Word & Excel attachements, and I tried one of your workarounds:
    * click on "View as HTML" next to the attachment and then click on "Download the original attachment" at the top of the new page.

    This works, but do you know how I can open my attachements without doing this workaround?
    Thanks

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  41. Hello I am having the same problem : My Gmail will not open my attachements either, nor can they be saved... I can neverthless open them in the Google Docs program

    On another PC that I have at home Gmail is opening the attachements corectly..

    What can I do to fix this problem ???

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  42. this has happens to me very often. all i do is go back to the inbox (or the respective label) and re-open that mail, after which i can see the 'download' option. works every time for me.

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  43. Has no one (Google included...) found a real solution to this problem??

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  44. @Pieter who said:
    How do i reduce the photo file size when sending by gmail. Lots of complaints from friends receiving photos from me, that down loading time is to long?

    Use Picasa to reduce the size. Select picture, go to File>E-Mail (Ctrl E) and write your mail in Google.

    QED.

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  45. Outlook express/ MS Outlook cannot download large attachments (more than 1 MB) from google mail (google apps). But it's fine with the attachments less than 700-800Kb. Please give a solution for this problem ASAP.

    It would be great if you please e-mail me the solution.
    msaniat@yahoo.com

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  46. I too am having trouble downloading large attatchments to outlook express. It seems to just give up half way through the message. Any ideas?

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  47. GMail is awfully, awfully slow at big attachments, and woe beget you if your internet connection is slower. by the time gmail sent a couple of photos, i had finished charging my digital camera.

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  48. Clearwire switched to gmail for their email provider; so I was using them as my outgoing mail (SMTP) server through Outlook Express. It seems to still apply the "no .exe" rule, but it does so silently. The server accepts the message and then discards it, instead of refusing it and triggering an error in OE.

    It also silently rewrote my email address to ...@clearwire.net, because the From: address I had been using hadn't been configured with that account. Since I never check that mailbox, I spent about a week wondering why no one was answering my mail.

    I understand that they're trying to be secure, but this is really horrible behavior--you get no indication whatsoever that they're dropping or mangling the messages.

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  49. You can overcome the limitations of attaching DLL's, .Exe's and .Zip files that contain the aforementioned by using Wormhole, free at www.harmlessaddiction.com

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  50. I sent a gmail email with a small attachment (a Word .doc file) to about 55 recipients from a Thunderbird 2.0.0.21 email client. The email went out but the attachment disappeared and was not sent. No error message to that effect. I copy myself, and when I look at the email in my gmail inbox on the web (I use Firefox 3.0.10), it doesn't show up there. It is there in my sent mail file on my client. So it looks like it got stripped out in the process of being routed through gmail's outgoing smtp server. Or maybe later somewhere, but definitely in gmail. Any idea what's going on? Any idea about workarounds?

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  51. i just uploaded 19.4mb of pics..

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  52. I am having the same problem with downloading docs through gmail

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  53. Has anyone found a solution to the download problem? When I open word or excel docs through gmail I ALWAYS have to "save as" and then reopen in order to be able to view. At least I can open them...but it takes alot of time and is annoying! I am getting a thing that says it is being saved under Local/Microsoft/Windows/TemporaryInternetFiles... is there a way to save it right to my Documents folder in oredr to get around the extra steps???

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  54. Why do some video email attachments show up in my Gmail labeled Noname?

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  55. For people having trouble downloading...please post what browser you are using. I have been using gmail in Internet Explorer for windows, Firefox, and more recently Chrome, for years and have never run into this problem, but I'd love to try and duplicate it!

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  56. This might be just my PC, but when I've noticed gmail getting slower when using the Internet Explorer, I've downloaded Chrome just for email purpose. It worked well, and gmail is now faster than ever before.
    The issue of "download" button not appearing seems to occur during gmail checking the attachemnt for the virus. It takes longer on IE while on Chrome it just takes a few seconds. If you are using IE, try gmail on Chrome. Wait and see if the "download" button appears in few seconds.
    Hope this might be of your help.

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  57. I am rather frustrated with gmails inability to upload attachemnts. Surely you guys can get this fixed. I'm looking around for another email client so you had better hurry or you will loose another customer.
    Dave Powell

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  58. > When I open word or excel docs through gmail I ALWAYS have to "save as" and then reopen in order to be able to view.

    I have this same problem when I use Firefox 3.6.2 on Windows 7. This problem doesn't appear with Internet Explorer. On my PC is installed Open Office 3.1 and Microsoft Office 2007 evaluation.

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  59. The same problem above is with Firefox 3.6.3. On my PC there's McAfee

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  60. Wait.. in shadow being a curmudgeon.. in the case of file attachments, I am assuming a good number of these files are family/friends' photographs and important work/school files.. in this case, they are valued more highly than your average MP3 or porn.. and I'd like to argue redundancy of multiplying the amount of sound copies is a good thing for these sorts of files, and for the people sending/receiving them.

    Any opinions?

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  61. Hi. Can anyone answer this, please: Where are downloaded files from gmail stored by default - if I've hit Save, instead of Save As (in Word, Vista)? I need to retrieve the saved file, not the original download. I've run the searches, I for sure saved...but no trace of it. Muchly appreciated if anyone knows!

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  62. To be sure, there's no trace of it even in shortcuts - I had hit ctrl + S two times though, in Word, so it has to be somewhere, right??

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  63. I am not able to attach anything to my e mail ! Why

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