Can I Forward an Email to a Cell Phone as a Text?

By Josh Fredman

Respecting a phone's limitations helps ensure the delivery of your full message.
i Polka Dot RF/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Staying in touch has never been easier now that most people carry mobile phones wherever they go. No matter where they are, your friends, family, colleagues and others are never farther than a phone call or a text message away. When it comes to texting, however, many people still use ordinary cell phones that don't have the sophisticated abilities of smartphones. If you want to forward an email to an ordinary cell phone as a text message, be considerate of the phone's technical limitations to keeps things hassle-free for the recipient.

Keep It Short

Cell phone text messages don't have room for extra frills or length. Carriers typically allow just 160 characters per text -- including your email address, return phone number and email subject line -- and even a short email can exceed the limit many times over. Some carriers split up a long message into multiple texts, and others simply delete anything beyond the limit. To be considerate and to ensure that your recipient gets the critical parts of your message, take a moment to condense an email before you forward it. Delete anything that isn't necessary, including the email subject line if possible, and shorten the rest wherever you can.

Manage Attachments

Text messages are just for text, and sometimes images. Forwarding an email with file attachments to a cell phone can inconvenience the recipient and might not work at all. In general, remove any attachments from an email before you forward it to a cell phone, unless the attachments are text, images or in some cases video. If you want to send an image or text attachment, make sure to use only common file formats like JPG, GIF or PNG for images and TXT for text. For a video attachment, check with the recipient first. You might have to modify the attachment yourself to get it into an accessible format. If feasible, find out from the recipient ahead of time what kinds of attachments he can receive and view.

Forward the Email

After you prepare your email for forwarding, the actual forwarding process is pretty simple. Every cell phone has an attached email account. The username almost always consists of the cell phone number itself, minus any hyphens and parentheses. The recipient's domain -- the part that comes after the @ sign -- is her cell phone carrier SMS or SMTP domain.

Find the Right Domain

You can find out the specific SMS (short messaging service) or SMTP (simple mail transfer protocol) domain information from the recipient or look it up online yourself. Here are some common domains for the top four cell phone carriers: Verizon uses "" T-Mobile uses "" AT&T uses "" for text-only messages and "" if you have an attachment. Sprint uses "" for text-only and "" for attachments. For example, if your recipient uses AT&T Wireless, her phone number is 123-456-7890 and you want to forward a text-only email, you would email her at [email protected].