As an IT professional you see every kind of issue throughout your career, and the one that I have encounter most often is a frustrated user. We all feel it and so we can relate, it is what drives our desire to help, fortunately there is usually several avenues to reach a solution that is causing this current frustration.

Today I was presented with an issue that has been around for a long time but likes to pop up to say hi from time to time so I decided to write this article to help. 


You’ve been hard at work and that large document you've been working on is finally finished. You pull up your email, attach it and send it off only to discover that the email kicks back with an error “Attachment size exceeds the allowable limit”, frustrating right? Below are few options for you to get past this frustrating issue that has been around since the beginning of email.

Why have a size limit in the first place you ask? In a word…security. Be it from malicious intentions or not, if no maximum email size limit was in place, the email server providing you the service would be at risk from being bombarded with very large emails, causing it to not work properly.

So, how to email large files as links vs attachments?


 Size limitations:

What are the size limitations to sending a file? It actually depends on the email platform you use. As well as the platform the receiver uses.  Here is a list of the more popular ones.

Gmail: 25 MB |  Yahoo: 25 MB |  Outlook: 20 MB |  Hotmail: 10 MB  
O365: 150MB |  WindStream: 25 MB  |  AOL: 25 MB  |  iCloud: 20 MB

Old Methods of sending large files:

Before the popularity of cloud services the way to get around these limitations of files exceeding the limits were:

Zip - Compress the file, Zip it up and chop it up in to several smaller files that were less than the allowed limit and send via multiple emails. The receiver would then collect all the multiple attachments and unzip them combining them all back together in the single file.

USB/Disk (AKA sneakernet) - If the file was too large and you were collaborating with other coworkers an easy option would have been to use a USB or other form of portable media. Copy the file and carry it over to the receiver. Not a great option for those external partners.

FTP site -  This was a valid option for transferring files of large size but it required your IT department to set up, ensure it was secure, manage accounts and access. Just not something that all companies or even individual people can or are willing to invest time in.

With the release and adoption of newer cloud base solutions becoming the standard, the above options are now mostly obsolete. Making way for better solutions for sharing, collaborating and co-authoring on large files. Complicated and slow solutions for sharing large files is a thing of the past.

If you have files that need to be shared, edited, reviewed by others, emailing files back and forth just complicates things, creating dozens (or more) copies, wasting excess space on your mail server, as well as your desktop from saving version after version, It is just all around inefficient. When large files exceed your mail server's limits, this issue can start to compound. A better solution would be integrated links and/or dedicated shared file solutions.

Let's have a look at some Modern day options that can help quickly and easily resolve this.

Modern Methods:

System integrated services:

Cloud storage does this great, Google Drive, OneDrive, and DropBox are all popular solutions and widely used and all have a free version of this service for you to use.  Simply sign up for the service, drop in your files and share the link via email. Even easier when using the integrated service ( with OneDrive, and Gmail with Google drive as they can guide you in choosing or uploading the file to the storage.

Google Drive - Using Google Drive cloud service is easy, as it integrates with Gmail and you can sync your files with your desktop with their sync tool.

·        Begin by composing a new message with Gmail.

·        Select the link at the bottom. Navigate to the desired file and insert it.

·        A link to the file will be added to the message.

·        You can now send out the email and the recipients can access the shared file even if they don’t have Gmail or Google Drive themselves.


If you are not using Gmail but any other email provider, this still works but slightly different steps.pic2 

·        Upload the large file to your Google Drive.

·        Open Google Drive.

·        Browse to and Right-click the file you want to share.

·        In the menu that appears, select the "Get shareable lin.

·        Copy the link and paste it into the body of your composed message.


OneDrive- Similar to Google Drive, using OneDrive cloud service is easy as well, as it integrates with the more recent versions of outlook and you can also sync your files with your desktop with their sync tool.  (Note this integration feature is only available with versions of office 2016 and newer.)

·        Open OneDrive.

·        Browse to the OneDrive file or folder that you want to share.

·        Right-click the file or folder you want to share.

·        Click “Share” for an OneDrive link.

·        Copy the link and paste it into the body of your composed message.


DropBox - Is another easy way to send larges file. Anyone you share the link with will be able to view or download a copy of the file, even if they don’t have a Dropbox account and you can also sync your files with your desktop with their sync tool.

·        Sign in to or navigate to your synced folder and find the file you’d like to share.

·        Hover over the file Or R-Click, and click the Share button that appears.

·        Enter the email addresses of the people you want to invite, and click Send. Alternately, you can copy the link and paste it into any email.


Dedicated solutions:

There are other more dedicated methods of sending large files that companies have created to try and simplify your sharing process. 

Jumpshare - Is a file sharing service which allows you to upload files from your device. It has a free version offered with limited storage but if you need additional space you can get a subscription account. After you have signed up for an account, it's simply a matter of installing the client. Keep in mind though, when you use an online service, you’re entrusting it with your data, if your files are sensitive in nature, you’ll probably want to shy away from uploading to a free service you haven’t heard of or have not thoroughly investigated.

To Use Jumpshare:

·        You drag and drop your files to the Jumpshare icon.

·        A link will be copied to your clipboard.

·        Paste the link into your composed email to share it.


Securely Send - Similar to Jumpshare, Securely Send helps to send large files up to 2gb in size and allows you to track deliverability of your files from start to finish.

To use Securely Send:

·        From there website, you Enter your email address and recipients email address(es).

·        Select options for you message (subject, message, read receipts, password protection, etc.).

·        Select file(s) to send, drag files onto the upload box.

·        Send it off.


Even though the old methods still work today, they are not as eloquent and easy as the more modern methods, a majority of people may not even know how to reassemble a chopped up Zip file or access an FTP site to get your file/s. In theory the most effective solutions are the ones simplest for the receiver to perform and all the above modern solutions mentioned are great options to use and most of them are free to use.
© 2024 - Allora Consulting