Sending E-mail Attachments 
by: Jeremy Trogg

You've put learning about email attachments as long as you could, but now you have that scanner you received for your birthday installed and people are asking why you haven't scanned the pictures and sent them via email.  Take heart, sending attachments isn't hard at all.  If you can click a couple of buttons, you have all the skill you need to get it done.  And even if you didn't do it right, you cannot break anything.  

So just how do you get those things into the email anyway?  Actually, it's pretty simple and once you've done it, you will wonder why you haven't done it before.

There are numerous email programs out there.  The more popular ones are Outlook, Outlook Express, and AOL.  If you don't like those, then there are a few free web-based email applications like Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, or just Mail.  They all have a few differences in how they look, but they all operate about the same and with about the same reliability.  

Online web services now often come with virus protection and check your email for you.  You can still get a virus, but if you do, it is probably that you have just chosen to not heed their warning.

Sending an attachment

First, you must open or compose a new email just like you would otherwise.  You address it, give it a subject line and write your letter just like you would if there were not going to be any attachments.

Before you send it however, you must attach your file.  Look near the top for an icon that looks like a paperclip or just says Attach, Attachment, or something similar (web-based email attachment buttons may be somewhere else on the page but they work the same way.  The button on Hotmail says Add/Edit Attachments).

Press that button and a box will open up that will allow you to navigate to where you have stored the file that you want to send.  I find it much easier to put any file that I want to attach on my desktop so that I can find it right away. 

Click on that file name and then the Insert button (might say "open", "browse" or "attach" or something similar).  Then click the send button.  You've just sent an attachment.  Web based email usually requires one additional step but the procedures are pretty obvious.

Almost any document type can be sent to someone else but that doesn't mean that all files sizes can be sent.  Email servers have limitations on the file attachments that they receive.  Most of these limitations are about 1.5-3 Megabytes in size.  If you are not sure what that means, not to worry.  Pictures or any kind of text document should not be a problem unless they are enormous.

Can the user open my file? 
Although most any file can be sent, that doesn't mean that someone can open it on the other end.  They must have the program necessary to open the file.  In most cases, pictures are not a problem, but you would run into an issue if you send a Word document to someone that doesn't have Word on their computer.

What if my file is too big to send?
Should you send an attachment that is too big, the only thing that will happen is that you will get an error message back that indicates that the file size is too large.  

In that case, it is possible for you to zip up the file (or compress it) and send it out as a smaller file.  Depending on the type of file, you can make that file much smaller and let it slip under the file size quota.  Click here for more information on zipping files.




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