Insert files using Google Drive in Gmail

If you'd like to send a file in Gmail like a photograph or word document, you can either attach the file from your computer, or insert the file into your message using Google Drive.

Why should I insert using Drive instead of attaching a file?

Send larger files
When you're attaching files from your computer, you can only attach files up to 25 megabytes (MB) in size. By inserting files using Drive, you can send a file up to 15 gigabytes (GB). If you're paying for a storage plan, you can send a file up to 1TB.
Simplify collaboration

You might be used to sending attachments to collaborate on a project. For example, you might send your résumé to friends, family, or advisors to revise and comment on. However, this means you'll likely end up with several versions of the document taking up space in your inbox--one from your friend, one from your family, and one from your advisor--that are difficult to keep straight. By inserting a document using Google Drive, you can avoid all that. Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides let you see each other’s edits and comments in real time and any changes collaborators make to the file are immediately visible to the people you’ve shared it with, so there’s no need to reattach new versions of the file and send them out again.

By inserting using Drive, you can also collaborate more efficiently on files. Everyone has access to the same content, including image, text, and video files that can be viewed using Google Drive viewer. You can even edit or use these files online by installing Chrome Drive Apps.

When you send the message, Gmail checks to see if your recipients have access to the file and will prompt you to adjust the sharing settings on the file(s) you've inserted, if needed.
Keep control over who sees your files
Once you send an attachment, anybody can see it. Inserting files using Drive allows you to share files only with the people you want to share them with. You can delete the file or update the sharing settings on your file at any time. Learn more

Insert a Drive file (desktop):

  1. At the bottom of the email you're writing, click the Google Drive icon insert from Drive. In the window that appears, you can upload a file to Google Drive, as well as navigate to or search for files you've stored in Drive. For files stored in Drive, select the checkboxes next to the files you want to insert.
  2. Here, you have two options:
    • Share the file through Drive (default option). This works for files created in Drive like Google Docs or Sheets, and for other files like PDFs you've downloaded.
    • Send the file as an attachment by clicking Attachment. This only works for files that weren't created in Drive (so Google Docs, Sheets, etc won't work).
  3. Click Insert.

Gmail then adds a link to your message so recipients can click the link to view your file.

Insert a Drive file (Android):

  1. Touch the Menu icon (three gray dots, or your device's menu button).
  2. Touch Insert from Drive.
  3. Find and touch the item you'd like to attach.
  4. Touch Select in the bottom-right corner.
  5. You should then see the file in your message, inline.

Insert a Drive file (iOS)

  1. Start writing an email.
  2. Touch the paperclip icon.
  3. Touch Insert from Drive.
  4. Choose the file you'd like to send.
  5. If the Drive file is not shared with the people you're sending the email to, you'll see a box asking if you'd like to change the permissions after you touch the Send button.

Vivian is a Gmail expert and the author of this help page. Leave her feedback about this help page.

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