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Attaching Files to Emails

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.

Covered here is  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 paper clip icon, the universal image for attachments in email programs.


( A )

( B )

( C )

( D )

The process is pretty much the same for all desktop email programs.

Outlook 2010 is used as an example here, but the general process should also work for earlier Outlook versions such as Outlook 2007 and later versions as well.

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 left click on the "Attach File" menu item (( A ) it has a paper clip icon beside it).

In the new file browser window ( B ), navigate to the folder ( C )  that has the file or files you wish to attach and left click on the file to select it ( D ).

Click the "Insert" button ( E )  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".)

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 Web-based email applications and from Windows/File Explorer.


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.

In the most recent versions of browsers like Chrome and Firefox, you can also simply drag and drop files into Gmail's Compose window upload an attachment.

Yahoo! Mail

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.

Hotmail and other Microsoft owned web emails.

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). There are also handy shortcuts for inserting Office documents, photos from the web or your own album, and stuff you can find from the Bing search engine.

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".

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  from Windows Explorer 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 ( A ).  For example, Windows Explorer or Mac's Finder.

Select the option to Send the file ( B1 ) to an email recipient( B2).  

This is a quick shortcut to opening up a new email message window for your default desktop email program e.g. Outlook and inserting the file as an attachment.


( A )

( B1)

( B2)

( E )