What is an Email Attachment?

Melanie Balke
March 15, 2023

Many internet and computer users do not clearly grasp the importance of an email attachment and how powerful it can be. When you write your email message, attaching text files or images makes your overall message more impactful.

Whether you send attachments to prospective clients, customers or on a job post, an email attachment is much easier to browse, download, and access. Other than that, it is also a powerful tool that you can effectively utilize to your advantage.

This article will discuss how you, as users, can level up your email messages so they do not become spam to your recipients. You will also learn more tips to improve your emails and set them as an extension of you!

What are Email Attachments?

An email attachment is a file or document sent with an email, such as a computer file, photo, or PDF. Particularly, the file size must be within the mail server limit (usually 25 MB).

Users can send attachments in different formats, including PDFs, documents, pictures, databases, presentations, and more. Email attachment is a valuable communication tool for presenting your portfolio, product, or service to clients or customers.

Different Formats of Email Attachments

There are certain types of email attachments. Understanding each type allows you to choose files wisely.

Image Files

One of the most commonly used types of email attachments is image files. Images include any picture on your computer file, including:

  • JPEGs
  • TIFFs
  • PNGs

Image files are also often used when attaching cover letters and resumes to job applications. It's important to ensure that any images you choose file attach are not too large. Otherwise, they may not go through correctly or take too long to download on the other end.

Document Files

Document files are another popular type of email attachment. This includes any text-based documents, such as:

  • Word documents (.docx)
  • PDFs (.pdf)

These files are often used for sharing presentations, reports, contracts, and other professional materials with colleagues or clients via email. Sending text files to email servers can also be used for your personal message or writing samples.

Video Files

Video files are becoming more popular as technology advances, and people become more comfortable sharing videos online. Video formats include:

  • MP4s (.mp4)
  • WMVs (.wmv)
  • MOVs (.mov)
  • FLVs (.flv)
  • AVI's (.avi)
  • WEBMs (.webm).

These email attachments can be used to share home movies with family members or even business videos with potential customers or investors. However, when sending very large files, ensure they don't take too long to download before sending the link.

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing an Email Attachment

Attaching files to emails is essential whether you send documents, apply for a job, or share photos with friends.

Sending Attachments in Gmail

If you use Gmail as your email client of choice, follow these steps when attaching files:

  1. Open your Gmail account and click Compose.
  2. Enter the recipient's address and type out your message.
  3. Click the paperclip icon at the bottom of the window (the attachment icon).
  4. Select the file you want to attach from your computer or Google Drive.
  5. Click Open or Insert at the bottom right corner of the window.
  6. Your attachment will now appear below the subject line at the bottom of your email.
  7. When finished, click send message button and wait for confirmation that it has been successfully sent!

Sending Attachments in Outlook

If you use Outlook as your email client of choice, follow these steps when attaching files:

  1. Open Outlook and select New Email from the top left corner of your screen (alternatively, you can press Ctrl + N).
  2. Enter recipient information in the appropriate fields and then compose your message in the body field below those fields.
  3. Click Insert at the top ribbon menu bar and then select Attach File (Alternatively, you can press Ctrl + O).
  4. Select one or more files from their saved location on your device by clicking on them.
  5. Once selected, click Insert at the bottom right corner of that window.
  6. Your chosen attachment will now appear beneath the subject line.
  7. When finished, click Send at the top ribbon menu bar and await confirmation that it was successfully sent!

Tips When You Write Email Messages with Attached File

Other than understanding how an email attachment works, it is also important to ensure that you're sending it in the most efficient manner possible.

Mention the Email Attachment in your Email Message

To ensure your message is understood, don't forget to remind your recipients of the attachment in your email. Clarifying instructions for handling the included file will help them use it more effectively.

Consider the File Size

As you attach documents to your email servers, remember that larger files cause hiccups in your email correspondence. It may never pass if the file you attach is too big for email providers. So, evaluate the size of your attachments when you send emails!

Use Storage When Sending Very Large Files

For large attachments, consider just sending text files with a link instead. Cloud storage services like Google Drive or Dropbox, instead of attaching them immediately to an email message, make life much easier. This will save you and your recipient time when downloading and opening files.

Ensure Appropriate File Format

When you send attachments, ensure that the attached file format is accessible. It's useless when the recipient of your email message cannot access your text files, a PDF, photos, or other files attached because it is not in a common file format.

How to Download Email Attachments from an Email Message

Struggling to download your attachments? Here's an easy-to-follow guide that will get you through it in no time:

Download to Computer File

  1. When you receive an email with an attachment, you usually only need to click on the paperclip icon at the top of the email message.
  2. This will open up a menu where you can choose which file or files you want to download.
  3. Once you have selected the file(s), you wish to download.
  4. Then, click “Download” to save them onto your computer.

Download to Smartphone

If you’re using a smartphone, it may be slightly more complicated than downloading them onto your computer. Depending on your device and which email app you are using, for example, there may be a few extra steps involved:

  1. The first step is usually opening the email message itself;
  2. Once that’s done, look for a paperclip icon or an “Attachments” tab within the message.
  3. Tap this icon or tab, and it should open up a menu that allows you to select which file you want to download.
  4. After selecting your desired attachment, tap “Save or Download” and wait for them to finish downloading.
  5. Depending on your device type and operating system, you should find them in your Phone Storage or Downloads folder.

Wrapping Up: Get Your Message Come Across!

Different mail programs have distinct procedures for sending emails with large attachments. Due to this reason, there may have certain limit rules when you upload or download your file. Understanding the attachment process helps you choose file size, formats, and other features when sending mail messages.

Whether you send emails to family members as casual mail or use them to draw prospective clients, e-mail programs connect your message powerfully. Use them appropriately and effectively in your favor to avoid your customers from unsubscribing from your list.