How to Send a Picture on Gmail

Spiral Notebook

uncle-rico/Getty Images

You can describe the look on your friend's face as she got your birthday present—but would it not be nice to show a picture, too?

In Gmail, you can send pictures as attachments—but would it not be even nicer to put that image right in the body of the email alongside your imaginative description?

The process of sending a picture on Gmail will differ slightly whether you access Gmail in a browser on the desktop or through a mobile app.

How to Send a Picture on Gmail

To add an image or photo inline to an email you are composing in Gmail on the web with a desktop browser:

  1. Make sure the message you are composing is open and visible in Gmail in your browser.

    You can hold down the shift key while clicking full-screen in the composition pane to open it in a separate browser window.

  2. Drag and drop the picture from its folder on your computer to the desired position in the message.

In most recent browsers (including Google Chrome, Safari, or Mozilla Firefox), you can also paste the image at the desired location in the email from the clipboard using control+V (Windows, Linux) or command+V (Mac).

While this is the most simple and fastest way to send a picture using Gmail from the desktop, you have more options.

Send a Picture From the Web or Google Photos on Gmail

To use an image you found on the web, or to upload one from your computer if dragging and dropping does not work:

  1. Position the text cursor where you want the image to appear.

  2. Click the insert photo icon in the message's formatting toolbar.

  3. Make sure inline is selected under insert images to have the pictures appear inside the email.

    Choose as attachment here to ensure pictures do not show inline with the message text and are solely sent as attached files.

  4. To upload an image from your computer, go to the upload tab. Click choose photos to upload and open the desired graphic.

    Images you have uploaded from your computer remain available in the Insert Image dialog while you compose the message (but not for other emails).

  5. ​To insert a picture already uploaded to Google Photos, go to the photos tab. Make sure all images you want to insert are checked.

    On the albums tab, you can find the pictures as organized in your Google Photos albums.

  6. To use an image found on the web, go to the web address (URL) tab. Enter the image's URL under paste an image URL here.

    Images from the web will always appear inline with the message; they will never be sent as attachments, and if the recipient has remote images blocked, they will not see the image.

  7. Click insert.

After insertion, you can resize and move images easily.

How to Send a Picture Using the Gmail App

To send a photo on Gmail using the iOS or Android app:

  1. While composing a message or reply, tap the attachment paperclip icon (📎).

    On iOS, Gmail needs access to Photos; make sure photos is enabled under Gmail > ALLOW GMAIL TO ACCESS in the settings app.

  2. Tap the desired image from your camera roll.

    Tap the camera icon to take a new picture for sending with the email

    By default, the picture will be sent inline with the message text.

  3. To send as an attachment, tap the image to bring up its context menu and select send as attachment from that menu; to send inline, tap the attached picture and select send inline from the menu.

How to Send a Picture on Gmail in a Mobile Web Browser

To send an image using Gmail's mobile web interface (from a browser on a mobile device such as a Kindle Fire tablet):

  1. While composing an email, tap the attachment icon (📎) next to the subject: line.

  2. Now select attach a file.

  3. Select from the choices available to take a photo or find an existing image on the device or a web service. Choices will depend on the device and operating system; they will typically include:

    ​​Take Photo

    Photo Library

    iCloud Drive



    Prime Photos​​

  4. ​Find and tap the desired image to insert it.

Gmail mobile will send the picture as an attachment, not inline with the message text.