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How do I put an image in email message?

How do I put an image in email message?

Hey, I wanted to know if it’s possible to put an image in an email – I mean directly embed an image in message and not as an attachment. Can this be done?
Marc O’Pharrow

As you probably know, any digital file can be sent with email. The standard practice is to send the file (or files) as an email attachment. But is there a way to put an image “inside” an email message and not as an attachment? Yes, there is! In fact there are many! And in this post I shall be detailing two methods to do this with links to a few more!

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Put an image inside a Gmail email

There is no direct option in the Gmail interface to put an image in an email – you can only attach a photo or a picture. However, a simple solution is available that takes just a few seconds to execute and involves using Google Docs. The steps are detailed below and check the image slideshow (below) for screenshots.

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  1. Sign in at your Gmail account.
  2. Click the “Documents” link close to the top left.
  3. A new browser tab/window opens with Google Docs. If you are using this Google service for the first time, don’t be intimidated. Google Docs is like an online version of Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint. You can explore this in detail later; right now we are concerned only with the text-editor feature and hence click the “Create New” button and select “Document“.
  4. Once again a new browser tab/window opens; this one has an empty document. A quick inspection will tell you that it’s a much simplified version of the Word software – only it’s online (and, yes, owned by Google not Microsoft).
  5. From the “Insert” menu, select the first option, “Image“.
  6. There are two ways to insert an image – Upload one from your computer or provide the URL of an image which is already online. We would be moving ahead with the first option because I suppose this is what most people would like.
  7. With “From this computer” option selected, click the “Choose File” button.
  8. A window pops up showing a directory on your computers’ hard disk. Move to the folder in which the image resides and double click on it. Now hit the “Insert” button and the image will start to upload to Google Docs. The time taken for the process to complete will depend on the size of the image and the internet connection speed.
  9. Anyway, you shall soon see the blank document with the image. If you want to put more images – go ahead – select “Image” from the “Insert” menu and repeat the steps.
  10. Now comes the interesting part. Click the “Share” button (close to top-right) and choose “Email as attachment“. A pop-up is displayed with various fields. Before doing anything else, select “Paste the document itself into the email message.” option.
    Update: Actually there is no need of using the email functionality of Docs. To save a few seconds, you can quickly grab the image by first selecting it (Ctrl-A), copying it (Ctrl-C) and pasting it directly into the message box in Gmail (Ctrl-V). If you choose to do this, you can ignore the following steps because you would already have put the image in the email.
  11. As you would have guessed, you can send an email to people directly from Google Docs with the embedded image. However, I recommend a little twist. Send this email ONLY to yourself – preferably your Gmail account which would be open in another browser tab/window. Once the email with the image arrives at your inbox, you would be able to edit it as you want (not that you can’t do it in Docs…. I just like to do it this way). Type in an email subject and a short message [optional] and click on the “Send” button when done.
  12. Moving to the browser tab with your Gmail account, you should see the email has arrived. If not, click on “Inbox“.
  13. Open the message to see the embedded image. The image doesn’t show up? Don’t fret, click “Display images below“.
  14. Congratulations – you have successfully been able to put an image directly in an email message.
  15. You can now forward this email to as many people as you want. You can even add and make changes to the text as required.

Use Windows Live Mail to put image in email

The second method is to use the Photo e-mail feature of the free Windows Live Mail email client. This program comes installed on Windows 7 computers – at least I got it on my VAIO. You can also download Windows Live Mail and install it on Windows XP and Windows Vista based machines. Read “send photos over email using Windows Live Mail” for detailed instructions with screenshots on how to use Photo e-mail feature of the email client. FYI, you can also attach photos to email the normal way in Windows Live Mail via the “Attach” link/button.

What about Yahoo and Hotmail users? How can they put images in emails?

At the time of writing, there was no option in Yahoo or Hotmail to put an image into an email unless the image is already online. Thus, you need to first upload the image on the web – I suggest using a photo sharing web site such as Flickr (owned by Yahoo). By the way, your email message with the embedded image will appear fine to both Hotmail and Yahoo recipients.

For more information, read how to put photos in Yahoo mail.

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Your comments
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  • Radhika on January 1st, 2011 11:53 pm

    When I try to put an image directly in gmail email, I get this error messgae when trying to upload the image (.jpg, 2.2 MB) from my desktop: The image you selected could not be uploaded. Please try again. Why do I get this error message?

  • Nick on March 23rd, 2013 11:25 pm

    Excellent instructions which even I understood. Loved the slide show.

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