One of the greatest days in a person’s life is the day that individual figures out how to attach a file to an email and send it to…whomever. This task seems especially challenging for the people who got to know the Internet after they got to know their grandchildren. Unfortunately, this means that “poor etiquette” in sending large files is fairly common. This issue is bigger than titling the email in all caps. There’s a set of basic courtesies that you’ll want to use whenever you send a file that’s bigger than a few kilobytes.
Shrink/Compress the File
This is pretty simple to do. If you’re sending lots of files at the same time, add them all to a zip file. If you’re just sending one large file, zip it up anyway to save space. Advanced compression with programs like WinRAR is also possible, but you’ll need to check with the recipient to be certain that person also has the software prior to sending the files in this way. If you’re sending especially large images, you may want to shrink them or reduce the pixels per inch to get a more reasonable file size–just check what size and quality your recipient needs.
Use External Services
There are many services out there that can act as a middle man for your files. You can sign up and have your files sent to the recipient’s email address- so it’s really no extra steps for them to download and open the attachment. Some of them have a time limit as to when the files are available, and of course you run into the issues of file security when sending confidential and secure documents. I don’t recommend this for anything but personal use.
Let the Recipient Know
Rather than just sending your friends a five or 10 megabyte file that they aren’t expecting, potentially causing issues with their email, let them know that a large file is on the way. This prevents them from being surprised by it, and more importantly, can let you know if it doesn’t get to them. Often, an email with a large attachment sent without notice will “bounce,” and no one will ever know because there wasn’t adequate communication from the sender.
Have Trustworthy Virus Software
Put your files through a good virus scanner prior to sending it to be certain that the attachment won’t be blocked by the recipient’s email. If you don’t, then it’s possible the person will never even see the email, and if they do, you might be giving them an accidental present. Of course, there’s a whole host of other problems with virus scanner scams, so make sure you do your research.
Use a Trusted Email Host
Some email hosting servers can scan the files for anything malicious prior to sending it off, allowing you to skip the previous step. A trustworthy email hosting server can also ensure that no tag-along viruses grab a hold of your file prior to its electronic voyage, will make that voyage faster and more reliable, and will reduce the chances that the email hits a snag on your end.
As a final resort, you can go for an FTP upload and download instead, but that’s far more technically complicated and difficult to pull off for beginner users; anything over 10 megabytes is still worth that effort, though. In all other cases, following these simple protocols will help ensure that you don’t accidentally annoy someone to tears, and will increase the odds that your attachment makes it safely and quickly to its destination.
Image Credit: Kasaa