Reduce the size of pictures and attachments

When you send a message that exceeds the message size limit for either your or the recipient's mail server, the message will be returned to you and not delivered. This is often called a "bounced" message.

Optimizing the size of pictures and attachments for e-mail helps to avoid exceeding the maximum message size limits associated with most e-mail accounts.

 Note   Messages increase in size while in transit through the Internet beyond the actual sum of the size of text, graphics, pictures, and attachments. Encoding of a message for transmission through the Internet leads to a size increase of approximately one-third. For example, if your Internet service provider (ISP) (ISP: A business that provides access to the Internet for such things as electronic mail, chat rooms, or use of the World Wide Web. Some ISPs are multinational, offering access in many locations, while others are limited to a specific region.) allows you to send messages up to 5 megabytes (MB) and you include a 4 MB attachment, you will probably exceed the maximum message size.

In addition to a per-message size limit, many e-mail accounts include a mailbox or account storage limit. Large attachments can not only fill a recipient's mailbox but increase your own Outlook data file size and mailbox. By default, a copy of each message that you send is saved to the Sent Items folder in Outlook.

What do you want to do?


Automatically reduce the size of pictures included with an e-mail message

There are two ways to select pictures to automatically reduce them in size and include them as an attachment to an e-mail message — in Microsoft Office Outlook 2007, or from Windows Explorer.

 Note   Your original picture will not be modified. Only the copy of the picture being sent will be reduced in size.

In Outlook

  1. Create a new e-mail message in Outlook.
  2. On the Insert tab, in the Include group, click Attach File.

 Tip   You can also drag and drop a picture from Windows Explorer. The picture file will be attached to the e-mail message.

  1. On the Insert tab, click the Include Dialog Box Launcher Button image.
  2. In the Attachment Options pane, under Picture options, in the Select picture size drop-down list, click the size of the picture you want to include.

Attachment Options pane

 Note   If you embed the picture in the body of the message by using the Picture command in the Illustrations group, the automatic picture resize feature is not available.

  1. When you are finished composing your e-mail message, click Send.

In Windows Explorer

  1. Open Windows Explorer by clicking Start, and then double-clicking Computer.

 Note   Double-click My Computer in Windows XP.

Keyboard shortcut  To open Windows Explorer, press Windows logo key+E.

  1. Navigate to the folder that contains the pictures you want to send.
  2. Select a picture. To select multiple files, press and hold CTRL as you click each file.
  3. Right-click a selected file, point to Send To, and then click Mail Recipient.

The Send Pictures via E-mail dialog box appears.

  1. Click Make all my pictures smaller, and then click OK.

Send Pictures bia E-mail dialog box

 Note   To specify the exact size to make the picture, click Show more options, and then click the size you want.

A new Outlook message window appears with the attached picture.

  1. Enter the recipient information in the To, Cc, and Bcc boxes (To, Cc, and Bcc boxes: A message is sent to the recipients in the To box. Recipients in the Cc (carbon copy) and Bcc (blind carbon copy) boxes also get the message; however, the names of the recipients in the Bcc box aren't visible to other recipients.).
  2. If you want, change the subject information in the Subject box.
  3. If you want, change or enter any information you want to include in the message body.
  4. Click Send.

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Make a file attachment smaller

The amount of reduction possible depends on the type of file format and content. For example, a Notepad .txt file will compress considerably. A Microsoft Office Word 2007 document in the .docx file format is already compressed; further compression will have little impact on the file size.

  1. Open Windows Explorer by clicking Start, and then double-clicking Computer.

 Note   Double-click My Computer in Windows XP.

Keyboard shortcut  To open Windows Explorer, press Windows logo key+E.

  1. Navigate to the folder that contains the file you want to send.
  2. Select a file. To select multiple files, press and hold CTRL as you click each file.
  3. Right-click the selection, point to Send To, and then click Compressed (zipped) Folder.
  4. Select the newly created compressed .zip file.

The file name will match the original file's name but will have a different icon. If you have configured Windows to display file extensions, the file name will end with an extension of .zip.

  1. Point to Send To, and then click Mail Recipient.

A new Outlook message window appears.

  1. Enter the recipient information in the To, Cc, and Bcc boxes (To, Cc, and Bcc boxes: A message is sent to the recipients in the To box. Recipients in the Cc (carbon copy) and Bcc (blind carbon copy) boxes also get the message; however, the names of the recipients in the Bcc box aren't visible to other recipients.).
  2. If you want, change the subject information in the Subject box.
  3. If you want, change or enter any information you want to include in the message body.
  4. Click Send.

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Review best practices for size management when sending pictures and attachments

The following is a list of best practices to use when sending pictures and attachments:

  • Post or publish large attachments     If you're sending attachments or pictures to someone within your organization, use a file share on your computer or a shared network resource. You can include a link to that location in your e-mail message. Or, if your organization uses Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, post the attachments in a document workspace or in a SharePoint library and point users there. Either way, everyone uses only one copy of the files.
  • Limit your attachments to under 2 megabytes (MB)     This is a general guideline; for slower, dial-up connections you should use a much smaller size, such as 250 kilobytes (KB). If you must send larger attachments, verify the maximum size of the message that you can send. Your mail server administrator or ISP can tell you this. Likewise, ask the recipient what their maximum limit is. Finally, consider the recipient's Internet connection speed. Downloading a large attachment on a dial-up Internet connection can take a long time.
  • Send multiple attachments by using several e-mail messages     Multiple smaller messages have a higher likelihood of being delivered versus one large message. This technique might help you avoid per-message limits, but the recipient's mailbox limit can still be exceeded. Any messages received after a person's mailbox has reached its storage limit are typically rejected.
  • Use compressed graphic file formats     There are far too many graphic file formats to list here, but of the most commonly used, the best picture file formats for e-mail are .jpg, .png, and .gif. The largest graphics file formats are those that are not saved in a compressed file format, such as .tif and .bmp (the default file format of Windows Paint).
  • Use smaller original files     The size of a photo taken by a digital camera is typically large, even when saved in a compressed file format such as .jpg. It's not uncommon for a single picture to be several megabytes. Remember that the size of the e-mail message will increase by approximately one-third while in transit on the Internet. Use a lower resolution setting on your camera when taking a digital photo. Use compressed file formats such as .jpg. In a graphics program, crop photographs to the essential content. Use the automatic picture reduction feature in Windows and Microsoft Outlook.
  • Use a file compression utility     In addition to third-party utilities, Windows XP and Windows Vista include a file compression utility that uses the compressed .zip file format. Many attachment file formats can be reduced with the use of a compression utility. The amount of reduction will be minimal with some file formats that are already saved in a compressed format. For example, a Notepad .txt text file will reduce dramatically, while a .jpg image will not. The .jpg file format is already a compressed file format. You can find more information about using file compression in Windows Help.
  • Review your Sent Items folder     By default, a copy of each message that you send is kept in the Sent Items folder. This increases the size of your Outlook data file, which can, with certain accounts, count against your mailbox size limit because the sent items are saved on your mail server.

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Applies to:
Outlook 2007