Breaking down large attachments

I need to send a large file but it gets stuck in the Outbox and I get errors that the message is too large to be submitted.

How can I still send this large attachment?

Attachments buttonE-mail is an easy medium, but usually not the best choice for sending very large files. Even though ISPs are drastically increasing their limits today, so are the sizes of many files that get created.

For instance, the quality of digital pictures is still increasing but so is the file size and we’re taking more (holiday) pictures than ever which we want to share.

Picture attachments

Pictures buttonActually, picture attachments are not really the issue here; they easily let themselves be resized in any photo editing tool so that they still look good on a screen and you can easily send many of them in a single e-mail.

Outlook offers a solution for that, there are special add-ins for it and there are many picture websites which offer sharing as well like OneDrive, Instagram, Flickr.

Compress and/or break up attachments in multiple parts

Zip File buttonSome file types can be reduced in size quite a bit by means of a file compression tool such as WinRAR, WinZIP or 7ZIP.

If the file is still too big to be send, some of these tools also allow you span a file over multiple compressions archives of a size allowed by your ISP. You’d then send these individual files by separate emails, and the receiver can put them back together again by a similar decompression tool or automatically depending on which type of archive you created (look for an option named: self extracting archive or SFX).

There are also tools which integrate with Outlook and can do this for you all automatically such as MAPILab’s Attachments Processor (discount code 4PM76A8) or DirectXchange from Pergenex.

Unlike resizing a picture, compressing a file does not decrease its quality, so for instance the video file or CAD-file that got compressed or split in two, still would be the exact same file once unpacked.

Cloud Storage and other alternatives

OneDrive Attachments buttonAs stated earlier, e-mail might not be the best way of transferring large files. As an alternative, you could upload the files to Cloud Storage such as OneDrive from Microsoft or Dropbox.

Outlook as part of Office 365, as well as Outlook 2016 and Outlook 2019 offer native support to send files as “Cloud Attachments” where an attachment gets automatically uploaded to OneDrive or Dropbox and a sharing link is sent instead.

When you are in a corporate network, your company or the company of the recipient might also offer alternatives via OneDrive for Business, a collaboration website (like SharePoint) or a (secure) FTP server to exchange large files.

Note 1: If your message got stuck in your Outbox, you’ll find instructions on how to remove it in the guide; Message stuck in Outbox.

Note 2: You can configure Outlook to prevent large messages getting stuck in your Outbox as well.

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