Sending Email Attachments

Be careful you don’t send large attachments to people on slow Internet connections.

In most applications, you can attach any file on your computer to an email with an “Attach” button, menu item, or by right-clicking on the email, which brings up a standard file open window. Select the file you want to attach, double-click it or select the OK button, and you should see either a document icon or a header line indicating the file attached. Multiple attachments result in multiple icons (often at the end of the email) or multiple header lines. The attached file(s) will then be transmitted to the recipient with the email.

The first rule of attachments is to remember that large files take a long time to be sent or received on low-speed connections, such as dialup telephone modem connections. Therefore, a large attachment will tie up your machine while sending it if you have a slow connection, and more importantly will slow down the unsuspecting recipient’s machine if they have a slow connection. Therefore, you shouldn’t send someone a large file (say, over 300 KB, or 0.3 MB) unless you know they have a high-speed connection, or are sure they won’t mind taking the time needed to download it.

As a general rule, you should compress large files over several hundred KB with the WinZip or Stuffit applications before sending. You should also always give a file the “self-extracting” capability when you compress it, so the other person doesn’t need the compression program to decompress it.