Email attachment problems troubleshoot

 We know that any computer file can be attached to an email and sent. Text files, Audio files, Video files or MS word documents, Excel sheets, PowerPoint files are some of the files that can be attached to an email as attachments.

These attachments use the Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension (MIME) format to send these attachments. MIME is used to send audio, video and image files. MIME protocol converts these binary format to text format and sends the file to the recipient. The email client software (such as outlook) of the recipient uses the MIME protocol to convert the text format back to the original format of the file.

To attach a file to an email

First find out the file name and the location of the file in your hard disk of the file that you want to attach to the file.

Open your mail editor. (For example outlook). Compose a new message. Now click the paper clip icon (button) or the link. Now a new dialog box will open. Now browse your computer hard disk and select the file you want to attach and click on ‘Attach’ or ‘Open’ button. In the mail editor a new field named ‘Attach’ will be now shown with the file name you just attached. If you want to add more files to the same email just repeat the same steps again.

Once you have attached your file, key in your recipient’s email address, type the subject and the body of the email and click the ‘Send’ button.

The email will be sent to the recipient together with the attached files.

To view attached files from your email

Let us assume that you have received an email with some attachments. When you open this email, you will see the contents of the email, but whether you will see the content of the attachments or not depends on the type of attached files and whether you have the appropriate applications installed in your computer to open them.

If your mail client can handle the attachments then the mail content will automatically show the content of the attachments. For example GIF, JPG, PNG files are usually handled by the mail client itself and hence these files will be automatically opened and shown within the email content.

If the attached file requires an external application to open the file then the ‘Attach’ section of your email will show the attached mail. Now double click on this file to open the file with the associated application. For example if a word document is attached, if you double click the file then the MS Word application will automatically opened and the attached file will be opened in it.

In some mail clients the attached files will have a few options such as ‘Open it’ or ‘Save it to disk’. Choose the options as you wish.

Important tips and problems while using email attachments

  1. Many do not like to open attachments from emails. The reason being the fear of viruses in the attachments. Therefore as far as possible try avoiding sending attachments in your emails. If it is un avoidable then make sure that the attached file does not contain viruses.
  2. If the size of the attached file is too big then the time taken to send these emails and the time taken to download this email by the recipient will be too long. So check that the attached file size is small.
  3. Do not send images in BMP (MS Paint default) format at it is too big. Try to convert bmp to GIF, JPG or PNG formats and then attach.
  4. If you have more than one file to attach then use a compression software such as WinZip or WinRar to compress to a zip or rar format and then send
  5. Those files that your recipient dislikes or unexpected should not be attached
  6. The text files are smaller in size compared to .doc file or .pdf file. So try using pure text files wherever possible.
  7. If you have a very big file and you HAVE to send it by all means then use some software such as splitter to split the file into smaller files and send it.
  8. Instead of sending too many files in a single email, you can send many files with few files in each mail.
  9. When you reply to the files with attachments make sure that the replied email does not contain attachments.
  10. When you send emails to news group or mailing lists avoid attaching files.
  11. When you sending a special file with a different extension which is not commonly used, check with your recipient whether he has the required application to open that file. If not try to convert your file to a more commonly used format and send it.

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