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How to send large files in Gmail - up to 10GB

Ever run up against Gmail's 25MB file size limit? Here's an easy way to get around it. (This tip works with other email clients, too!)
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
SOPA Images/Getty Images

Every email provider has different limitations for attachment sizes, which means if a file exceeds the limit, you won't be able to send it. For example, the Gmail file size limit is a mere 25MB. This can be problematic when you have a file that needs to be sent and the recipient doesn't use a service like Dropbox

I often must send files exceeding that limit. While Gmail cannot be configured to allow you to bypass that limitation, all is not lost.

Also: The best cloud storage services: Expert tested

Thanks to Google Drive, you can send files larger than 25MB via Gmail (or any email client, for that matter), but don't think you have to switch back and forth between Gmail and Drive to make this work. Google has built the feature right into Gmail, and it's super simple to use. With this handy workaround, you can send files up to 10GB in size. 

Yes, you read that correctly: 10GB.

If you need to send something larger than 10GB, you're out of luck. You'll have to snail mail a USB flash drive.

So, how is this done? Let me show you.

Also: How to unsend an email in Gmail

How to send large files in Gmail

What you'll need: All you'll need is a valid Google account and either a web browser or the Gmail mobile app. (I'll show you how to do this from both.) That's it. You don't even have to first upload the file to Google Drive -- Google will do that for you.

That's it. Let's send some massive attachments.

1. Open Gmail

The first thing to do is go to https://gmail.com in your default web browser. Once there, click Compose to create a new email.

The Gmail web compose window.

The Gmail compose window includes several features you might not have noticed.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

2. Attach a file from Drive

At the bottom of the Compose window, you'll see an icon for Google Drive. Click that icon and then, in the resulting popup, click the My Drive tab, navigate to the folder housing the large file you uploaded to Google Drive, and click Insert. If you haven't already uploaded the file to Google Drive, simply click the paper clip icon and then, from the resulting file picker, locate the file on your local drive that needs to be sent. Google will automatically upload the file to your Google Drive and create a link for the recipient.

The Gmail web compose window.

The Gmail compose window includes several features you might not have noticed.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

3. Compose your email

With the file attached, compose your email and send it. The recipient will receive the email, which will include a link to the file.

Also: How to quickly create a Google task from an email in Gmail

All they have to do is click the link to download the file.

How to avoid the 25MB limit in the mobile Gmail app

This method is just as easy. All you have to do is launch the Gmail app and start composing a new email. In the Compose window, tap the paper clip icon and, from the drop-down, select "Insert from Drive."

The Gmail mobile app compose window attachment drop-down.

Attaching a file from Google Drive in the Gmail mobile app is easy.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

From the new page, tap My Drive, navigate to the large file you want to send, select the file, and tap Select. Google Drive will automatically generate the link and Gmail will add it to the email. Finish composing, tap the Send button, and you're done.

The Gmail mobile app file picker.

You can select files from anywhere in your Google Drive account.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Also: Less typing, fewer mistakes: How Gmail Snippets can save you time and effort

And that, my friends, is all it takes to avoid the 25MB file limit in the web and mobile versions of Gmail. Enjoy sending those large files!

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