Attachments are files such as word processing files or spreadsheet files. Attachments are not really part of the email message you are sending, but are attached to it. Attached files are not usually text files like the email message itself, instead they are usually binary files with a specific internal format for a specific software and must be encoded before they are sent. Common attachments include word processor documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and images. Please note that incoming attachments will be located in a separate directory or file system than the email.
Only when necessary. Keep your recipient in mind when sending attached files. They may not be running the same kind of software as you, and handling the attached file may be cumbersome. Attachments usually require the recipient to do something extra to get to the information. Whenever possible, remove the formatting by saving the file as a text file or by cutting and pasting into the message portion of the email message instead of sending a file attachment.
One thing to keep in mind when sending attached files is that attachments will add to the overall size of the email message. PowerPoint files and other files that contain graphics can add several MB to the overall file size of the email message.
Here are some examples of when it is appropriate to send a file attachment:
Most software (word processing, spreadsheets) allow you to save a file in different formats. You should always choose a format that is compatible for your recipient.
Here are some common software applications and the associated file extensions:
|Software Application||File Type||File Extension|
|Text editor / word processor||Plain text||.txt|
|Word processor||Rich Text Format||.rtf|
|Adobe Acrobat||Portable Document Format|
|Web-friendly image||Graphic||.jpg, .gif, .png|
|Web Page||HTML||.htm, .html|