The easy way to email a huge file

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What would you do if you had a large file on your computer, and you needed to send it to someone by email? For example, you used your phone to take a video of your dog doing some tricks, and you want to email it to your friend who lives 500 miles away? To send an email by regular attachment, most email services have a strict limit on file size – and most video files are fairly big. But thanks to Google, there’s an easy way to do that now. You can use Google Drive.

Google Drive

For this example, I’m going to use my Gmail account. Google owns Gmail, and Google obviously owns Google Drive, so they all work together perfectly.

Google Drive is basically just data storage space that Google gives you as part of your Google account. You get 15 gb total, which is quite a bit of space. Keep in mind, however, that this 15 gb is used for your Gmail account (including any attachments such as pictures), Google Docs, Google Pictures and your Google Drive general storage. But to put things in perspective – I have had my Google account since Gmail first became available back in 2004, and I archive most of my emails. And even now after 11 years, I am using less than half of the 15 gb of space I am allowed.

And if for some reason you need more space, Google sells it cheap:

  • 15 gb is already free with your account
  • 100 gb is $1.99 per month
  • 1 tb (1000 gb) is $9.99 per month

So the first step is to get your Google/Gmail account if you don’t already have one. If you want to, you can install Google Drive on your computer (you can get that free at drive.google.com). That just makes it easier if you want to put files or folders there on a regular basis, but having it on your computer is not necessary for sending a large file by email.

If you already have the large file stored in Google Drive, that’s fine. But for this example, we’ll assume you just have the file stored on your computer and not yet in Google Drive.

Here’s how you email the large file:

1. Go to gmail.com and log in to your email account.

2. Click on “Compose” in the top left, to create a new email. Put in your friend’s email address and the subject line, and any text you want to include in the message area.

3. Now you need to attach the video. Look in the bottom row, and you’ll see the Google Drive icon:

Google drive

 

4. Click on the icon. That opens a new window, and one of the options is “Upload”.

Google drive

 

5. When you click “Upload”, a new window opens. You want to click on “Select files from your computer”.

Google drive

 

6. Now you need to find the dog tricks video, wherever that is stored on your computer. When you find it, double click on that file.

Google drive

 

7. Now you will see your video file is listed as the file that will be inserted. It even shows the file size (in this case, 65 mb). If this is showing correctly, click the “upload” button at the bottom of the screen.

Google drive

 

8. You will see the progress bar as the file uploads:

Google drive

9. When it’s done (usually pretty quickly, depending on the file size) you should be back to your email “Compose” window with the file listed. If you want to, you can click to attach another file. When you are done adding files to this email, just click the “Send” button:

Google drive

 

10. Since you just now uploaded that video file, you might get a window that comes up telling you that this particular file is not currently “Shared” with the person you are sending it to. That’s no problem. Just click “Share and send”:

Google drive

 

And that’s it! Usually within a few minutes it will be waiting for your friend to check email and find it in their inbox, waiting to read.

But here’s the great thing – since it wasn’t actually sent as a traditional “attachment”, your friend doesn’t have to wait for it to load in his email inbox. All he sees is a link to click on. When he clicks that link, he will see your video, in your Google Drive folder. He can watch the video, or he can save it to his computer if he wants to.

Google drive

 

So even though Gmail limits file attachments to 25 mb or smaller, you just sent your friend a 65 mb video file. And by using this method (sending via Google Drive) you can send up to TEN GIGABYTES of files (that’s 10,000 mb)! You might not need to do that, but it’s nice to know that you can if you run into that situation.

There are definitely other methods for transferring large files from one computer to another one over the internet. You can use Dropbox and share a file. You could upload the video to YouTube, and then send your friend the link to it. Using Google Drive is just one option, but it’s a very simple one. And simple is usually good.

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Jim Robertson
May 4th, 2015

Scott:

Two questions/comments

#1
Thanks for the info re sharing large files. I have used Google Drive for many years, but I must admit I never knew about using such attachments in Gmail.

However I have had issues with using Google Drive to share files, not using Gmail. I have had a small number of cases (including with very computer literate people) when I upload a file and set up the sharing in Google Drive and then send the link to someone via non-Gmail e-mail, they claim they can’t access it. (even though others I sent the same link to could)

I’ll have to give it a try via Gmail as you set out above, but I am wary given past issues.

#2 presumably using Gmail with the Google Drive attachment means the file will reside in Google Drive permanently unless I go and delete it after a while. Correct ?

Thanks

Scott Johnson
May 4th, 2015

Yes, since you are uploading the file to Drive, it will be there until you remove it from Drive.