I’ve attached… Oops!

Have you sent an email that said “I’ve attached a …” and then sent the email without the attachment? Of course you have. Who hasn’t? (If you haven’t tried to send an attachment, I’ll talk to you at the end of this post. Stay with me.)

Well, if you use Gmail (Google Mail) you can reduce the chances of ever forgetting to attach a file ever again by enabling the “Forgotten Attachment Detector” feature.

Enable Forgotten Attachment Detector

  1. Sign in to your Gmail account
  2. Click “Settings” (upper right)
  3. Click “Lab” (end of the orange Settings bar)
  4. Scroll down to “Forgotten Attachment Detector”
  5. Select “Enable”
  6. Scroll down and click “Save Changes”

Forgotten Attachment Detector

By the way, there are many other “experimental” features listed here under the Lab area. You might want to try out some of the others ones, too. Maybe you need Mail Goggles? Questions about any Lab features? Feel free to ask me with the comments links below or through the contact form.

How Does It Work

In order for the feature to work, you have to mention in your email message that you are sending an attachment. The detector looks for phrases such as “I’ve attached” or “I’m attaching”.  It will ignore the word attach by itself, it also ignores phrases such as “I”m sending a file”. It also ignores the phrases if you misspell the words, or if you use email slang.

When you click “Send” the detector will check your email message to see if you mention “I’m attaching” or “I’ve attached” or some similar language. If it spots such a phrase it will then check to see if you did attach a file. If you didn’t, a dialog box will pop-up to alert you with the following message “It seems that you might have forgotten to attach files. Send this message without attachments?”

Forgotten Attachment?

Forgotten Attachment?

If you click “OK” the message goes out without an attachment, and you friends will wonder “Where’s the file?”, but if you click “Cancel” you’ll be returned to the composition window so you can attach the files.


Are you saying to yourself, “I’ve never sent an attachment because I don’t know how to.” I’ve even been asked, “What’s an attachment?” Don’t be embarrassed if you asking the same question now. Not everyone sends attachments. Even Senator McCain claims, “I’ve never felt the particular need to email.”

Fair enough.

When you use postal mail and you include a photo, or a news clipping, or some other item in the envelope beside your message, that item is called an attachment.

On your computer, and with email, an attachment can be any file stored on your computer. Anything that you place on your computer in the past by clicking a “Save” button can be used as an attachment. That includes word processor files, photos, videos, music files, spreadsheets, graphic images, etc.

It’s easy to add an attachment:

  1. When composing your email message, you will see “Attach a file” under the Subject line
  2. Click “Attach a file” and a box will appear above it with a button labeled “Browse”
  3. Click the “Browse” button. A “File Upload” dialog box will appear
  4. Locate the file to be attached on your hard drive, and click on the file’s name
  5. Click the “Open” button (lower right)
  6. (Optional) For adding more than one file, repeat steps 2 through 5

I always think it’s good email etiquette (or “netiquette”) to mention in your massage to the recipient:

  • that you’ve attached a file
  • what’s in the file
  • and what type of file is it (photo, music, video, word document, spreadsheet, etc.)

This gives them an idea of the importance of the attachment, or their ability to open it. After all, if they get the email on their mobile phone they might not be able to open a sound file or document at that time.

If you don’t use Gmail, and you have questions regarding attachments, please leave a comment or question with the links below. Or send me an email via the contact form.

Post Comments or Questions with the link below. Keep up-to-date with Skylarking: By Email or RSS Newsfeed or on Twitter. You can also send questions with my email form.

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