How to Send ZIP Files Through Email

Send a compressed ZIP file over email to share lots of files at once

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The best way to send multiple files over email is to create a ZIP file. ZIP files are like folders that act as files. Instead of trying to send a folder over email, just compress the files in a ZIP archive and then send the ZIP as a file attachment.

Once you've made the ZIP archive, you can easily send it through any email client, whether it's an offline client on your computer, like Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird, or even an online web client like Gmail.com, Outlook.com, Yahoo.com, etc.

Note: If you're wanting to email a ZIP file because you've sending really large files, consider using a cloud storage service to store the data. Those websites can usually handle much larger files than what the average email provider supports.

How to Create a ZIP File for Emailing

The very first step is creating the ZIP file. There are numerous ways this can be done and it can be different for each operating system.

Here's how to create a ZIP file in Windows:

  1. The easiest way to compress files into a ZIP archive is to right-click a blank space on the Desktop or in some other folder, and choose New > Compressed (zipped) Folder.
  2. Name the ZIP file whatever you like. This is the name that will be seen when you send the ZIP file as an attachment.
  3. Drag and drop the files and/or folders that you want to include in the ZIP file. This can be anything that you want to send, whether they're documents, images, videos, music files, etc.

    You can also make ZIP files with a file archive program like 7-Zip or PeaZip.

    How to Email a ZIP File

    Now that you've made the file that you're going to email, you can attach the ZIP file to the email. However, much like how creating a ZIP archive is unique for different systems, so too is it different sending email attachments in different email clients.

    There's a separate set of steps to send ZIP files with Outlook, Outlook.com, Gmail.com, Yahoo Mail, AOL Mail, etc. However, it's important to realize that sending a ZIP file over email requires the exact same steps as it does to send any file over email, whether it be a JPG, MP4, DOCX, etc. - the only difference is seen when comparing the different email programs.

    For example, you can send a ZIP file in Gmail using the small Attach files button at the bottom of the message box. The same button is used to send other file types like pictures and videos.

    Why Compressing Makes Sense

    You could avoid sending a ZIP file and simply attach all of the files individually but that doesn't save any space. When you compress files in a ZIP archive, they use less storage and are usually then able to be sent.

    For example, if you don't compress several documents that you're sending over email, you might be told that the file attachments are too large and that you can't send all of them, resulting in you having to send multiple emails just to share them. However, if you were to compress and ZIP them first, they should take up less space and the email program might then let you send them all together in the one ZIP file.

    Fortunately, many documents can be compressed to as little as 10% of their original size. As an additional bonus, compressing the files packs all of them neatly into a single attachment.