Funny videos. Massive spreadsheets. PDF contracts longer than Lord of the Rings.

What do these things have in common?

They make for absolutely colossal email attachments. And they might make you hit the Gmail attachment size limit.

If you’re just sending a simple document or a couple of images, you won’t have to worry. But in some cases, you may end up flirting with the upper size limit of Gmail attachments.

Yes, there’s a Gmail attachment size limit. Even Google doesn’t offer unlimited, infinite capacity.

How to Attach Files in Gmail

Attaching files to Gmail is simple.

Open a Compose window. Down at the bottom you’ll see an icon with a paperclip.

Click that icon and you’ll be able to browse your device for any and all files you want to attach.

gmail attachment

You can also drag and drop files from your desktop into your email directly – like magic!

How to Attach an Email in Gmail

Did you know you can also attach entire email conversations into another email in Gmail?

It’s an Inception-style technique that’s admittedly a bit outdated, but it can work well if you want a recipient to get up to speed on a conversation you had with someone else.

Again, you’ll need to open a Compose window.

From there, you can browse your inbox on the left. Find the email conversation you want to attach, click it, then drag it into the body of your email. Gmail makes this process intuitive, so you shouldn’t have trouble completing it.

What is the Gmail Attachment Size Limit?

The Gmail attachment size limit for incoming emails is 50 MB. That means you can accept emails from other people of up to 50 MB.

But when it comes to uploading files and sending an email, the upper limit is 25 MB.

But that 25 MB limit is based on the actual size of your email message – not the size of the file on your disk. When you upload a file into Gmail, your attachment needs to be re-encoded into a new format (MIME).

Because of this, the size of your attachment can practically double. That means the “real” Gmail attachment size limit is roughly 12.5 MB on disk.


Fortunately, there are a few ways around this limit.

How to Get Around the Gmail Attachment Size Limit

Alright, here are four easy ways to get around the Gmail attachment limit:

Option 1: Use Google Drive

The easiest and most accessible alternative strategy is to send your files through Google Drive.

When Gmail notices that you’re trying to upload something too big, it will automatically add your uploads to Drive. After you’re done uploading, you’ll get a download link in your email automatically.

gmail attachment too large

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This is super convenient and it works well in most circumstances. That’s partially because you have a Google account already, which means you’ll have access to 15 GB of Drive storage space by default – for free.

However, this can also be a pain if you’re trying to manage multiple files or if you want to stay organized long term.

You can also access Google Drive independently and upload your files there as you see fit, using folders or whatever other structures you need to stay organized.

Whenever you’re ready, you can open an email composition window and upload from Drive using the triangular Drive icon at the bottom of the screen.

Option 2: Make Your Files Smaller

If your files were obese, you’d support them in losing weight, right?

An easy way around the attachment size limit is to – presto – reduce the size of your files.

On your desktop, you can compress files easily. Highlight all your intended files, then right-click and highlight “Send to.” Then, send all these files to a compressed (.zip) folder.

compress to zip

This will reduce the functional size of your attachment, oftentimes getting under the Gmail attachment size limit.

You may also be able to reduce the size of your files by lowering the quality – though this isn’t always in your best interest. Nobody likes blurry photos!

If you’re reducing the size of a photo, you can do this in Microsoft Paint or a similar program, artificially reducing the dimensions. If you’re reducing the size of a video or a PDF, you can lower the quality settings in your editing program of choice.

Option 3: Send Your Files Across Multiple Emails

If you’re running into a size limit issue because you have multiple files to attach, there’s an obvious solution you might be forgetting – send your files separately, in different emails.

Yeah, it’s a bit of a pain. It takes more time to put together and send. It takes more time to open and is harder to organize. But in a pinch, it works.

Still, I’d recommend the Google Drive option for 95 percent of these scenarios. It’s much more streamlined and you don’t need to make much of an effort to do it since it happens automatically by default.

Option 4: Send Using a Different Platform

If none of these options are attractive to you, you’ll have to send your attachment files using a different platform entirely.

For example, you may be able to upload your files to a project management platform or share using an internal company server.

Or, you could try, a service that lets you send large files easily and conveniently.

Improving Your Email Experience

If you’re here, email is probably a big part of your job. And getting around the Gmail attachment size limit is only one of your many concerns.

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