Email: Downloading and Attaching Files

Last month, Alyse wrote about printing from email. This month, let’s take a look at email attachments.

Many different things can be attached to an email – job applications, pictures, legal forms and more. Email attachments can replace faxing and snail mail when submitting important documents and forms.

In your email inbox, an attachment is indicated by a paperclip symbol next to email’s subject and preview.

Downloading Attachments from Email

To view attachments and print them out, they must be downloaded onto the computer. That means that a copy must be saved on the computer you are using.

Usually, attachments are located at the bottom on the email. The attachment may show a preview of the image (like below) or a simple box with a symbol on it.

Once you’ve located the attachment, it’s time to download it! Each email provider (Outlook, Yahoo!, Gmail, etc.) looks slightly different, but the process is mostly the same.

To download an attachment:

  1. Move your mouse over the attachment.
  2. Click on the Download, , or  button. If necessary, select Download again.
  3. The file will download to the computer. In Google Chrome, the file will appear at the bottom of the window.

To open the file, simply click on the file name. Other browsers may function differently.

Attaching Files to Email

Sometimes, you’ll need to attach your own files to an email. Only digital files can be attached to an email. If you printed out a form and filled it out, it must be scanned to create a file that can be attached.

To attach a file to an email:

  1. Create a new email message. Make sure fill out the To and Subject field.
    You can also reply to an existing email.
  2. Click on the paperclip icon. The paperclip is the universal symbol for email attachments.
  3. A new window opens.
    • Navigate to the file’s location, such as the DocumentsPictures, or Downloads folder.
    • Click on the file you wish to attach and click Open.
  4. The file is attached to the email. Finish up your email and click on the Send button.

Different email providers may have additional steps.

Tip: Documents can be uploaded to sites other than email. These include online job applications and cloud storage sites, such as Dropbox or Google Drive. Follow the steps above to add your resume or other documents to these sites.

To learn more about navigating the folder and files of computers and downloading and uploading files, check out the two-part Windows Basics series.

  • Windows Basics Part 1 will be held Tuesday, November 8 at 11am.
  • Windows Basics Part 2 will be held Tuesday, November 15 at 11am.
    • Registration for both classes begins October 25.

Sign-up for these and any other computer classes at or by calling (216) 932-3600. Registration opens two weeks before date of the class.

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