How to Send a Big File through Gmail

How to Send Large Files as “Attachments” in Gmail

Need to send a film you made, the full data and graphics of your latest study, or another big file? You can do it by email. Find out here how to send a big file through Gmail.

First, Sea-to-Sea Village

St. Lawrence’s valley was home to an Iroquoian language that has long disappeared… safe for one word it seems, which everyone who has ever looked at a map of North America will promptly recognize.

A word similar to kana:ta (which appears in many a present-day Iroquoian language) probably meant “village” and, latinized, became the name of the country.

Now, with a village that stretches from ocean to ocean under our belts, let’s turn to files that stretch from top to bottom of an email—and then some:

How to Send a Big File as an “Attachment” through Gmail

Using the Gmail Web Interface on the Desktop

Time needed: 2 minutes.

To send large files through Gmail using Google Drive:

  1. Create a new email in Gmail

    Gmail keyboard shortcut: Press C to start a new message in Gmail.

  2. Click Insert files using Drive.

    Start with “Insert files using Drive” to start sending large files through Gmail

  3. Go to the Upload tab.

    Files already in Drive: To send files already uploaded to (or shared with you on) Google Drive, do go to the My Drive or Shared with Me tabs.

  4. Drag and drop the file over Drag files here.

    Sending more than one big file: You can drag and drop multiple files at a time.
    Attach a folder: You can also drag and drop a folder to upload, “attach” and send all files in the folder.
    Drag and drop files to upload to Google Drive

  5. Select Drive link under Insert as.

    Choose “Drive link” to send files using Gmail and Google Drive

  6. Click Upload.

How to Send Large Files Using the Gmail App for iPhone and Android

To send a large file as an email “attachment” using the Gmail apps for Android and iOS:

  1. Make the file available in Google Drive.
    Not in the Gmail app: You cannot upload files to Google Drive in the Gmail app.
    Here’s how: Open the Google Drive app, tap the + followed by Upload.
  2. Tap the attachment paperclip icon while you compose a message in the Gmail app.
  3. Select All under Drive.
  4. Tap the document or large file (or small file) you want to send.
    Search: Use the search looking glass, of course, to find the document.
  5. Compose and send the message.
    Always on Google Drive: Note that sending files from Drive in the Gmail apps will always send the link, not attach the file as part of the email itself.

How to Send a Big File as an “Attachment” through Gmail: FAQ

Can I email a folder in Gmail?


You can drag and drop a folder to attach it in Gmail using Google Drive. All files in the folder will be sent as “attachments”.

If I attach a folder, will subfolders also be attached?


All files from an attached folder and from all folders in it will be added to the email. Google Drive and Gmail will not differentiate the different folders’ files in any way, though. They all appear as individual files attached to the message (not as individual folders).

Can I send a small file as a Google Drive attachment?


To send a file 25 MB or smaller using a Google Drive link, follow the steps above and specifically make sure Drive link is selected.

How long will large file attachments sent through Google Drive be available for download?

Big (or small) files that you send as Gmail “attachments” through Google Drive are available for download as long as they are available in Google Drive.

  • Google Drive attachments do not automatically expire after a certain time or number of downloads.
  • A file attached through Google Drive are available until they have been removed from Google Drive Trash.
    In Google Drive Trash: While a file is in the trash, recipients can still download it.

(How to a big file as an “attachment” in Gmail updated March 2023)

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