How to Attach a File in Outlook

by Contributor

Email is useful for sending text messages, but there are times you may want to include an attachment file such as a formatted document, spreadsheet, image or other file type. Microsoft's Outlook email program makes file attachment easy. You can attach files to an email message by following these steps.

Step 1

Open Microsoft's Outlook email program.

Step 2

Attach a file to a new email message, or to a reply of an existing message. Create a new email message by selecting the following menu items, "File", "New" and "Mail Message." If you are replying to an existing message, just click the "Reply" button.

Step 3

Go to the "Insert" menu item and select "File." You may use the paperclip button on the toolbar as an alternative to insert an attachment file.

Step 4

Browse the folders from the "Insert File" dialogue box. Locate the file you would like to send. Click on the file name. This will highlight the selected file name. Click the "Insert" button to attach the file to the email message.

Step 5

Attach multiple files at the same time by holding the "Ctrl" key down as you click on the file name selections.

Step 6

Confirm the attachment file has been inserted into the email message. Messages formatted in HTML or plain text display attachment files in the attachment box. Messages formatted in Rich Text Format (RTF) display attachments in the body of the email message. Attachments appear with a file type icon followed by the file name.

Complete the body of the email message and click "Send."


  • Attach the file to the email message before completing the rest of the email. It is easy to forget to attach the file before clicking the "Send" button.
  • Outlook automatically asks you if you want to continue to send a file type that could contain a virus such as a .bat, .exe, .vbs or .js file. You are given an option to click "Yes" or "No."


  • Large files may not be accepted by some Internet Service Providers. You can compress these files with a ZIP utility program such as WINZIP before attaching them.

Items you will need

  • Computer with Internet access
  • Outlook email program software
  • File to attach to email message

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