Share Files from Google Drive Using Gmail

I use Google Drive to create and store documents that I use on a regular basis and there have been many times when I’ve wanted to email files as attachments. To do this I had to either download the document from Google Drive to my PC and attach to Gmail or email the file directly from Drive. It worked, but it annoyed me that I couldn’t directly access the files I needed from my Gmail account.

But now, the attachment drama is no longer an issue. Earlier this week Google announced that users can now insert files of up to 10GB from Drive directly into an email without leaving their Gmail account. The change is being rolled out over a couple of days and is only available when you opt-in to Gmail’s new compose experience.

How it Works

After creating a file in Google Drive, change the sharing settings to match how you want users to access your file. For those who don’t have a Google account, you can set sharing to only be allowed to those who have the link. Before saving, make sure your view only or edit access settings are correct.

When you compose an email, hovering over the attachment icon will show the Drive button. Click My Drive, find the document or file and select it as an attachment. When you send off your email, the recipient will receive the linked attachments in your Docs account. Your attachment can be up to 10GB in size.

One advantage of this new feature, is that I only have to email my document out once. Since the attached file is stored in your Docs account, any updates made to the document after it is sent will be available any time they view it. No more re-sending attachments with changes, only to lose track of which one is the “correct version”.

The drawbacks with this update is that it’s only accessible to those who opt-in to Gmail’s new compose experience and it’s currently not available on Google Apps. I know there are many who don’t like the new compose functionality, so I’m curious to see how well this takes off. I’m not bothered by the new look, so I’ll be using it and I can’t wait until they push it to Apps.

What do you think of Gmail’s new compose experience? Is it worth using to get the ability to email attachments? Let me know in the comments.


Source: Gmail Blog


  1. Tim Morton says

    Great Post Theo! I am also an advocate of all things Google! The first time I saw the new Compose I felt like I was in the Chat window and felt a wee bit claustraphobic but after composing a few emails it was business as usual and much prefer it. I like that I can move around my mail while the Compose window stays put! As for Google Drive… just keeps getting better and better! Pushing it to Google Apps will be a biggy!

    • Profile photo of Theo Johnson says

      Thanks Tim. The new compose does take some time getting used to. I’ve been checking my Google Apps account since I saw this. Hopefully it will get there soon.