Whetheryou're sharing photos, reports, or other documents--sending attachments throughMicrosoft Outlook email is a convenient way to get files to others. But if youtry to email large files using Outlook email you might run into trouble. That'sbecause there's a default Outlook file size limit.
Whatis the limit for an Outlook email attachment? The email system defaults to 20MB. If you try to send a larger file or a group of files totaling more than 20MB, you'll likely receive an error message. Fortunately,there are ways to get around the Outlook file size limit if you know what todo.
In this tutorial, we'll examine the Outlook attachment sizelimit closely. You'll learn the basics of sending Outlook email attachments.And we'll discuss workarounds for how to email really large files using MSOutlook.
How to Email Large Files in Outlook (Video)
Startwith the quick video screencast below or dig into the written tutorialinstructions that follow. Learn how to work with Outlook attachments and zipyour files are share them through Microsoft OneDrive.
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Now let's take a closer look at how to email large files using Outlook:
1. How to Attach a File to MS Outlook
Beforeyou can attach large files to your MS Outlook emails, you need to understandthe basics of attaching a file to a message. Let’s review that process:
Step1. Create a New Message
Tostart, open Microsoft Outlook and createa new message:
Type the text of your Outlook email message. You’re nowready to attach a file.
Step2. Attach the File
Fromyour new message, click the Attach Fileicon in the ribbon. A list of items you’ve used recently appears. If the fileyou want to attach isn't on the list, scroll to the bottom and click the Browse this PC option. File Exploreropens. Navigate to the file you want to attach to your Outlook email:
Clickon the file you want to attach to your email to select it. Then click the Insert button. The file is attached tothe email. You’ll see the file beneath the email subject line (in this case, athumbnail of the photo I attached):
Step3. Send the Message
Onceyou’ve attached the file, review the text of your message carefully. Then clickthe Send button on the left to sendyour message.
2. How to Deal With Large File Attachments in MS Outlook
Whileit’s easy to attach a file to an MS Outlook message, there's an attachmentsize limit of 20 MB. If you exceed the Microsoft Outlook attachment size limit,you’ll get an error message:
Theattachment file size limit is cumulative. So, in the example above, the errormessage appears when an additional file is being attached. Even though none ofthe files attached exceed the limitation by themselves, they total over 18 MB.The additional file is another 4 MB—making the total attachments over 22 MB.
Inaddition to the Microsoft Outlook attachment file size limit, it’s important toremember that some mail providers have a limit on the size of attachments theirsystem will receive. So, if your email has a large attachment (or multipleattachments), your message may not be delivered.
Thereare several methods to get around Outlook attachment file size limitations, including:
- Usingautomatic resizing. Outlook offers automatic resizing for imageattachments.
- As a zip file. Zip files are especially useful if you've got more than one file to send.
- Through Microsoft OneDrive. Microsoft offers cloud storage to anyone with aMicrosoft account.
Hereare instructions on how to use each of these methods:
Method1. Use the Outlook Automatic Resizing
Ifyou're using image file attachments, you can use Microsoft Outlook’s automaticresizing feature to reduce the size of the image. To use the feature, click theFile tab on the top left of yourmessage window. You’ll see the following screen:
Clickthe toggle button to the left of the Resizelarge images when I send this message to have Outlook automatically resizeyour image files.
Note: The image files are resized when you clickthe Send button. So, in the exampleabove you still wouldn’t be able to add the additional file.
Toget an idea of how much the image sizes were reduced, here’s a look at the sentmessage:
As you can see, even the largest file which was 5 MB,Regional (6).jpg, is now only 284 KB (.277 MB).
The automatic resizing feature only works whenthe photo images are attached to your email message and sent. If you’ve embedded theimages into your message, they can’t be resized using this method. So, you won't be able to send a large image file with this method. But it can reduce the size of the images you're sending, which increases the likelihood that they'll be accepted by the recipient's email system.
Method 2. Zip File Attachments to Combine and Compress Them
Outlook’sautomatic resizing feature is very useful, but it won’t work for some types offiles. For example, suppose you had a large spreadsheet or other large documentyou wanted to send by email. The resizing feature wouldn't work. Video files are another type of file thatfrequently exceed the Outlook email attachment limit, but that can't be resized using the resizing feature.
Theanswer the answer for these large file types is to compress them using a zip file before you attach them to your Outlook email. A zip file can also combine multiple files into a singlefile.
Creatingthe zip file automatically compresses your files, but it isn’t useful for filetypes that are already compressed. For example, .jpg—a popular image format—isalready in a fairly compressed state. So, zipping files of this type won’treduce the size much.
Whenthe recipient receives the zip file, they simply extract the files from the zipfile. Let’s get started. In this example, I’ll show you how to email large files of this type through Outlook email.
Step 1. Create a Zip File
Thefirst thing you need to do to is zip your large files. Go to Windows File Explorer and find the files youwant to zip. Use CTRL+Shift toselect multiple files. Here’s an example of selected files:
In this example, I'm using large video files. Notice thattogether the selected files are slightly over the 20 MB limit. Right-click on theselected files to bring up a pop-up menu:
Goto Send to > Compressed (zipped)folder. The system automatically creates a zipped file containing all thefiles you selected:
Noticethat the zip file size is smaller than the combined total of the originalfiles. If you want, you can now rename this file
Step2. Attach the Zip File to your Outlook Email
Onceyou’ve created your zip file, you can attach it to an Outlook email messageusing the steps to send an attached file that I described earlier. When you're ready, click the Send button.
Step3. Extract the Files from the Zip File
Onceyour recipient has received the email with an attached zip file, they simplyneed to extract the files. It’s easy if you know what to do. Here’s an emailwith an attached zip file:
To access the files in a zip file from a received Outlook email, click the down arrowat the right of the file. Select the SaveAs option:
Savethe zip file to the folder on your computer where you want to store it. Next,use Windows File Explorer tonavigate to the folder where you’ve stored the zip file. Click on the file toselect it. Then right-click to bring up the pop-up menu:
Select the ExtractAll menu option.
Choosethe location for the extracted files and click the Extract button. The files are extracted to your selected location.
Method3. Send the File Through a Cloud Service
Youcan also put a large file in a cloud storage area and then share it. Commoncloud storage services include Dropbox,GoogleDrive, and OneDrive.
OneDriveis Microsoft’s cloud storage area. It’s built into Windows. If you've got a Microsoftaccount, you can store up to 15 GB on your free OneDrive account. You can find OneDrivein your Windows File Explorer (notice the icon that looks like a cloud):
Step 1. Copy Your Files to OneDrive
Let’sexamine how to share large files using Microsoft OneDrive. In the exampleabove, I’ve already created a few folders, including one called Shared Files. To share the filesthrough OneDrive, I open two instances of File Explorer on my PC. I click onthe files I want to share to select them and then drag them into the OneDrivefolder:
Step2. Get the Sharing Link
Oncethe files are in the folder you want share, right-click on the folder name tobring up a pop-up menu. Select MoreOneDrive Sharing Options. The OneDrive window opens with the Share ‘Shared Files’ dialog box:
You’llsee a variety of ways to share the files in your folder, including throughsocial media. To share the files through Microsoft Outlook, click the Copy button to copy the link shown tothe clipboard.
Step3. Add the Link to an Outlook Message
OpenMicrosoft Outlook and create a new message. Press CTRL+V to paste the link into your email message:
Whenyou're ready, click the Send buttonto send your email message. When message is received, the recipient can clickthe link in the email to access the large files you shared.
In this tutorial, you've learned how to email large filesin Microsoft Outlook. You’ve even learned how to send large video files throughOutlook.
Ifyou need to send large files through email, it's important to understand aboutthe MS Outlook file size limit. With the methods you learned in this tutorial,however, you can share an Outlook attachment even if it exceeds the Outlookfile size limit.