How to Email Multiple Files Using a ZIP File

Sending lots of files over email is much easier with a ZIP file

Illustrations of a green, yellow, blue, and red folder with a zipper
ewg3D / Getty Images

Sending one or two files over email is no big deal, but if you're emailing several, and especially dozens or more, the best way to do it is by first putting all the files into a ZIP file.

ZIP files are much like folders, except they act like files. This means you can put all the files you want to send into this special folder, and when it's time to send them off, your email client will treat it like a file, meaning that just one file (the ZIP file) will be sent.

Emailing ZIP files keeps everything neatly organized in one folder. Once the recipient receives your email, they can open the ZIP file to see all the files and folders you stored inside.

01
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Put Your Files Into the ZIP File

Screenshot showing how to make a ZIP file from folders in Windows 10
Making a ZIP File in Windows 10.

 Heinz Tschabitscher

Locate all the files you want to include in the ZIP file. You can do this for your internal hard drives like the C: drive, flash drives, external hard drives, your Desktop items, documents, images, etc. 

It doesn't matter how many files you want to include in the ZIP file; the steps are the same:

  1. Select the files and/or folders you want to compress.
    1. They'll become highlighted to show that they've been selected.
  2. Right-click one of the selected items.
  3. Go to Send to > Compressed (zipped) folder.

If you have several files from different locations that you want to include in the same ZIP file, make just one to start with. Then, drag and drop the rest of the files into the ZIP file and they'll be copied to it. You can drop them in one at a time or several at once.

Note: The method above is how you make ZIP files in Windows without using a third-party program. 7-Zip, PeaZip, and Keka are other ways to make ZIPs in Linux, Windows, and macOS.

02
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Name the New ZIP File

Screenshot showing how to rename a ZIP file in Windows 10
Renaming a ZIP File in Windows 10.

 Heinz Tschabitscher

Type the name you want the attachment to carry. Make it something descriptive so that the recipient can understand what's inside.

For example, if the ZIP file holds a bunch of vacation images, name it something like Vacation Pics 2002, not an obscure name like the files you wanted, or photos.

The option to rename the ZIP file will be available right after you complete Step 1 above, but if you don't see that option, right-click the ZIP file and choose Rename.

Note: The ZIP file you made in the previous step is stored in the same folder where you selected the files and folders.

03
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Attach the ZIP File as an Email Attachment

Screenshot showing how to attach a file in an Outlook.com email
Attaching a File to an Outlook.com Email.

  Heinz Tschabitscher

Every email client is a little different when it comes to composing messages and including attachments. No matter what program you use, find the area where you can add files as attachments, and then select the ZIP file you created.

For example, this is how you'd email the ZIP file from Outlook.com:

  1. Click New message.
    1. If you're sending the ZIP file as a reply to an existing message, open that email and click Reply.
  2. Click the paperclip (attachment) button at the bottom of the message.
  3. Click Browse this computer.
  4. Locate the ZIP file you created, and click it.
  5. Click Open.
  6. Click Attach as a copy.

Note: If the ZIP file is too large to send over email, you can upload it to OneDrive first and then send the recipient a link to download it.