Attach a file to an email in Outlook for Windows

It's easy to attach pictures, files, contacts, and many other items to your Outlook messages. Outlook keeps track of the documents you’ve recently worked on, whether they're stored on your computer or saved in OneDrive (cloud only). And no matter where they're stored, Outlook lets you quickly choose whether to send the document as a traditional attachment or upload it in OneDrive. You also can upload these attachments and save them in OneDrive and set permissions that allow message recipients to share them.

What would you like to do?

Outlook keeps track of the files you've worked on recently and suggests them whenever you decide you want to attach a file to an email message. Some file types are blocked from being attached. See Blocked attachments in Outlook for the complete list.

  1. In Outlook, create a message.

    Note: For an existing message, click Reply, Reply All, or Forward.

  2. On the ribbon, click Attach File and choose one of the following:

    • Recent items
      Lists the files you've worked on recently. They might be stored on your computer, inOneDrive, on a SharePoint site, or in a group document library.

    • Browse Web Locations
      Locations include OneDrive, a SharePoint site, or other locations such as a groups document library that you've accessed before.

      Browse Web Locations in Outlook

    • Browse This PC
      Opens a File Explorer window where you can choose a file from your computer.

When you attach a file in a cloud location such as OneDrive or SharePoint, Outlook will send your recipients a link to the file. Permission to access the file is granted automatically to every recipient. This makes collaboration easy because you don't have to worry about attachments being dropped, and you can be sure that everyone is collaborating on the same (and most up-to-date) version of the file.

  1. In Outlook, create a message.

    Note: For an existing message, click Reply, Reply All, or Forward.

  2. On the ribbon, click Attach File, and choose Browse Web Locations.

  3. Choose OneDrive, the file you want to attach, and then choose Insert.

  4. In your email message, choose the down arrow for the attachment.

  5. Choose Change Permissions, and then choose one of the following:

    • Recipients can Edit if you want recipients to be able to modify the file.

    • Recipients can View, the default option, if you want recipients to be able to read, but not modify, the file.

    Change Permission options include Recipients can edit and Recipients can view

If you'd prefer to send your attachment as an individual copy rather than as a link to a shared file, follow these steps:

  1. In Outlook, create a message.

    Note: For an existing message, click Reply, Reply All, or Forward.

  2. On the ribbon, click Attach File, and then choose Browse Web Locations.

  3. Choose OneDrive, the file you want to attach, and then choose Insert.

  4. In your email message, choose the down arrow for the attachment, and then choose Attach as Copy.

When you attach a document that is saved on your computer and not in an online location, you also can choose to upload the document to your OneDrive before sending the email. Uploading the attachment makes collaboration easy. You don't have to worry about attachments being dropped, and you can be sure that everyone is collaborating on the same (and most up-to-date) version of the file.

  1. In Outlook, create a message.

    Note: For an existing message, click Reply, Reply All, or Forward.

  2. On the ribbon, click Attach File > Browse This PC, and choose the file you want to attach.

  3. In your email message, select the down arrow for the attachment.

  4. Choose Upload to OneDrive, and then choose the desired location for the file.

    Upload to OneDrive options include OneDrive and group document libraries

    Note: You might see choices such as the OneDrive location for your work account, the OneDrive location for your personal account, and document libraries for various groups you belong to.

  5. In your email message, select the down arrow for the attachment again.

  6. Choose Change Permissions, and then choose one of the following:

    • Recipients can Edit if you want recipients to be able to modify the file.

    • Recipients can View, the default option, if you want recipients to be able to read, but not modify, the file.

    Change Permission options include Recipients can edit and Recipients can view

  1. In Outlook, create a message.

    Note: For an existing message, click Reply, Reply All, or Forward.

  2. On the ribbon, click Attach Item , and then choose one of the following:

    • Business Card
      Choose an electronic business card from your contacts list.

    • Calendar
      Choose Date Range, Details, and other options as appropriate.

    • Outlook Item
      Choose one or more email messages from any of your email folders.

What would you like to do?

  1. Create a message, or for an existing message, click Reply, Reply All, or Forward.

  2. In the message window, on the Message tab, in the Include group, click Attach File.

    Attach File command on the ribbon

  3. Browse to and click the file that you want to attach, and then click Insert.

Tip: When composing a message, you can also attach files by using the commands on the Insert tab in the Include group, or drag files from folders on your computer and drop them on the message window.

You can attach Outlook items, such as other email messages, tasks, contacts, or calendar items to a message. This is the easiest way to forward multiple items or messages.

  1. Create a message, or for an existing message, click Reply, Reply All, or Forward.

  2. In the message window, on the Message tab, in the Include group, click Attach Item.

    Attach Item command on the ribbon

  3. Do one of the following:

    • Point to Business Card, and then click Other Business Cards. Click a contact, and then click OK. To select multiple contacts, press and hold Ctrl as you click each contact.

    • Click Calendar. Choose the calendar, date range, and detail to include. For Advanced options, click Show. Click OK to add the calendar to your message.

    • Click Outlook Item. Browse through your folder list to find the folder that contains the item that you want to attach. Under Items, click the item, and then click OK.

      Attach Outlook Item command on the ribbon

Tip: When composing a message, you also can attach files by using the commands on the Insert tab in the Include group. Or move files from folders on your computer to the message window by using a drag-and-drop operation.

What would you like to do?

  1. On the File menu, click New, and then click Mail Message.

  2. On the Message tab, in the Include group, click Attach File.

    Attach File

  3. In the Insert File dialog box, browse to and choose the file that you want to attach, and then click Insert.

    Unsafe attachment warning

More information

  • If you don't see the file that you want in the appropriate folder, make sure that All files (*.*) is selected in the Files of type box, and that Windows Explorer is configured to show file name extensions.

  • You also canattach file from the new message's Insert tab.

  • By default, Outlook blocks potentially unsafe attachments (including .bat, .exe, .vbs, and .js files) that might contain viruses. If you attach such a file to an e-mail message, you will be asked whether you want to send a potentially unsafe attachment. If you answer Yes, Outlook will send the attachment. If you answer No, you can then remove the potentially unsafe attachment.

  • You can attach multiple files simultaneously by selecting the files and dragging them from a folder on your computer to an open message in Outlook.

  1. On the File menu, click New, and then click Mail Message.

  2. On the Message tab, in the Include group, click Attach Item.

    Image

  3. In the Look in list, click the folder that contains the item that you want to attach.

  4. Click the item that you want, and then click OK.

Tip: You also can attach an item from the new message's Insert tab.

Where attachments appear in your message depends on the format in which you compose the message.

  • If the message format is HTML or plain text, attachments appear in the attachment box below the Subject line.

    Attachment line

  • If the message format is Rich Text, attachments appear in the body of the message. Even though the file appears to be embedded in the message, it is actually still a separate attachment.

    Attachment in message body

The format in which a message is composed is indicated in the title bar at the top of the message.

Message

Outlook does not impose any size limit on attachments. However, most e-mail server administrators and Internet service providers (ISPs) do set limits on the overall message size, which is the sum of all attachments plus the content of the message itself. Typically, premium-level services provide more e-mail file storage space and allow larger messages than standard-level services. For more information on the maximum allowed message size, contact your ISP or the e-mail server administrator in your organization.

If you're attaching a very large file, you should first compress the file by using a zip program. Outlook files that are saved in the default Open XML Formats with the following file extensions are automatically zipped: .docx, .dotx, .xlsx, .xltx, .pptx, .potx, and .ppsx.

If files that you attach are zipped when you do not expect them to be, check to see whether a .zip utility has been installed in Outlook as a COM add-in. You can disable this sort of add-in by doing the following:

  1. On the Tools menu, click Trust Center, and then click Add-ins.

  2. In the Manage list, click COM Add-Ins, and then click Go.

  3. In the COM Add-ins dialog box, clear the check box next to the add-in name, and then click OK.

Look for answers or ask a question in the Microsoft Office Community.

See Also

Attach files to email messages and calendar events in Outlook.com or Outlook on the web

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