When it comes down to it, emailing large files shouldn’t be an obstacle for members of your organization. It’s often the easiest native way to transfer a document to another person inside or outside of your organization.

Emailing large files can become an obstacle, though. To the non-IT user, that 20mb or smaller limit becomes a Texas-sized headache. To IT, it’s a critical component for protecting the network and maintaining network reliability.

From IT’s perspective, if you’re emailing large files to multiple members of your team, you’re eating up valuable bandwidth as each person downloads the file. Additionally, this slows down the email server and wastes valuable disk space by creating email attachment duplicates. From a security perspective, attached files can spread malware throughout the network, and files outside the network might not be protected by encrypted email.

Even though IT has legitimate reasons in their war against emailing large files, the end user needs a way to get their job done efficiently. So, in this post, we’re going to break down a few hacks that end users can use to send large files without ticking off IT.

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Emailing Large Files Hack #1: Decrease the Quality

If you have large video files, PDFs or even goliath-sized spreadsheets, you can often reduce the file size. For large video or PDF files, see if you can decrease some of the quality settings with the file. Just remember to preview the file to make sure it still looks good after playing with the settings.

When emailing massive spreadsheets, delete some of the individual sheets that might not be necessary. Also, when it comes to customer or sensitive data, make sure you’re sharing that data the right way through a secure file sharing provider like SmartFile.

Emailing Large Files Hack #2: Convert the File

emailing large files

Converting the file type can often go a long way without sacrificing necessary quality.

For instance, let’s say you’re doing interviews with customers and you get permission to record the audio. If your audio file is naturally recorded as a .wav file, you’ll find that these are often massive compared to .mp3 files.

In this case, converting the file before you send it might shrink that file a ton, but this can take a lot of work and you might not have reliable tools to execute this yourself.

Emailing Large Files Hack #3: Zip It, Zip It Good

Zipping or compressing your file(s) can go a long way towards decreasing file size(s). Most files have redundant code, and archiving files this way eliminates that, according to this article.

Basically, when you zip a file, your file references the first instance of a string of code over and over again. When this is done for every chunk of code that appears multiple times, it shrinks the file size, making emailing large files this way a good quick fix. However, results can be mixed and this might not always get your under the attachment size limit all by itself.

Emailing Large Files Hack #4: Break It Down

Tools like WinRAR, which can also compress files, can also split them up into sizable chunks depending on your specifications. This is the opposite approach to compression, since you’re making several files out of one; however, if compression isn’t getting you to the size you need, this can work.

There are a few caveats here. Your recipient needs a program like WinRAR to put it back together. Also, you need to send a series of emails with all your file chunks to get your large files to their destination. So the big question becomes, is all this hassle worth it when emailing large files, or is there a better way? Hint, there is, keep reading!

Emailing Large Files Hack #5: Send a Secure Link

Instead of attaching a large file and potentially going through all these hoops, sending a direct link to the file that is hosted by a secure file sharing platform like SmartFile works wonders. Emailing large files this way keeps the files completely off your email server, saving you valuable bandwidth there. In addition, SmartFile includes a brandable preview tool, so PDFs and other file types might not need to be downloaded, saving disk space.

Sending file links is also a smart security measure. For instance, SmartFile lets you set expiration dates and password-protection rules around files to ensure files are only opened by the right people. You can even limit the number of times the link is used before it disappears forever. Finally, you can get notifications when files are accessed too so you can delete a shared link when you know the other individuals are done with it.

By the way, if you want see how easy this is, you can give SmartFile a try for free — no credit card required. There is even an Outlook client so sharing a file is just as quick as attaching it the old fashioned way.

The Best Answer

By far, the easiest way is option #5, which is to send a secure link. Secure file sharing tools, like SmartFile, let you send any size file as long as you have space in your account. The best part? Your whole organization can use it, saving you countless hours trying to compress files or mess with quality settings. However, in a pinch, the other methods can work too.

Send Secure Links with SmartFile

Emailing large files safely is a breeze with SmartFile. Want proof? You can try SmartFile for 14 days, no credit card or installation required.

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This post was originally written by Brian Dowden and was recently updated.

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About Curtis Peterson

I'm the Digital Marketing Manager for SmartFile who loves content, email marketing and web analytics. As a child, I built awesome websites with animated starry night backgrounds and multi-colored font headers on AngelFire and GeoCities.

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