Why You Should Compress Files Before Emailing Them

Don't waste your recipients' time by attaching huge files

Zip file illustration

 Alex Belomlinsky / Getty Images

No one likes to wait for a long download; large email attachments cost the recipient time, space, and money. Be considerate and compress any attachments you send with your email.

A lot of the download time generated by the attached files is unnecessary. Some file formats are not space-conscious. Documents created by word processors such as Microsoft Word are notorious for wasting space on your computer or handheld device. It takes just seconds to compress, stuff, or zip them.

Compress Files Before Sending them as Email Attachments

You can prevent large files from wasting network resources by compressing them with one of the utilities on the market for this specific action such as:

  • WinZip (Windows, Mac)
  • 7-Zip (Unix, Mac, Windows)
  • StuffIt (Mac, Windows) 
  • bzip2 (Unix, Mac, Windows)

Many word processing documents can be compressed to 10 percent of their original size. The recipient may need the expander unless his computer or device already supports the compression expander.

Compress Files With Operating System Software

The current Windows and Mac operating systems include compression software for compressing large files. In macOS, control-click any file and choose Compress from the menu options to reduce file size. In Windows 10: 

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Right-click the file you want to zip.
  3. Click Send to > Compressed (zipped) folder.

The recipient expands the compressed file by double-clicking it.

Don't Send Huge Files via Email

If the file you want to attach to an email surpasses 10MB or so even after compression, it's better to use a file sending service or cloud-storage service rather than attach it to an email. Most email accounts place limits on the size of files they accept.