With the new compose experience, you can now attach a Google Drive file to your Gmail message, just like your traditional email services.

To get started:

1.) Open a Gmail message with the new Compose Window

2.) Hover your cursor over the paperclip and + at the bottom of the window

3.) Click on the Google Drive icon (says ‘Insert files using Drive’ when you hover over it’)

4.) If you’ve installed Drive on your desktop, you can select files from your computer

5.) If not, select the ‘My Drive’ option on the left-hand side of your screen

6.) Choose your file and you’re all done!

Screenshot of the new icon in your Gmail:


If the file that you are sending is not shared with the person you are sending it to, you will receive a pop-up when you try to send the email. There, you will be able to specify the sharing policy, and you can either make it view-only, or you can allow them to edit the file.

Click here to watch this video on YouTube.


UP NEXT: How to Tag Contacts to a Comment in Google Docs

26 thoughts on “Adding Google Docs as Email Attachments Using Google Drive

  1. Jesse Miller Reply

    Good post! I also wanted to point out that if you’d like another quick way to insert a shared link from your Google Drive, you can use Attachments.me. They provide a Chrome extension that will add an “Insert from Google Drive” link right underneath “Attach a file”.

    • Matt Reply

      Interesting extension. It seems a bit weighty, though, if all you want to do is attach from Drive rather than having a full attachment organization utility.

  2. david dawson Reply

    seems a bit silly that there is no right click command on google drive that lets you email it using gmail.

    I mean google drive online^

    • Google Gooru Post authorReply

      +1 on that. I hope to see that feature soon. It would be great if the Drive file was automatically shared with anyone you put in the To: field in Gmail.

  3. MichaelM Reply

    Thanks guys.
    HOWEVER, take the following scenario:
    – You’re travelling without your own pc.
    – You have access to your webmail account and google drive.
    – You want to use your webmail account, and send an email with a file from your Google drive/ docs attached to it.
    – And the answer is … (screwed if i know, but if you know I’d love to hear it from you …)
    Cheers, Michael

    • Google Gooru Post authorReply


      I actually do have a solution to your problem. There is a Chrome Extension called Attachments.me (https://attachments.me/) that you can use to send files from your Google Drive even if you are on a different computer. Once you install the Extension and allow permission for Attach.me to access your files, they will be stored on their website. Then, when you are on a separate computer, you can log onto attachments.me with your email address and your files from Google Docs will be located there, on the main page. You can also link several Google accounts to your Attach.me account.

      -Google Gooru

      • Mike Reply

        Perhaps I´m not quite understanding you here…by webmail do you mean Gmail or something else? Can´t you just go to your Google Drive, right click, share, email as attachment?

        Or perhaps this is something they just recently implemented…?

  4. Renee Reply

    I’m really quite disgruntled that this isn’t implemented in Gmail/Drive yet. It’s got to be something focused on right away. My company pays for the business solution, but Drive isn’t a business solution used to the best of its ability if the Gmail can’t be integrated with it fully.

    Get on this!! There have been inquiries about it for nearly 3 years from ME alone!!

    I don’t want to have to use an extension. I want native support.



  5. Ron Reply

    Renee, you are right on! Also, like the Google Gooru mentions, it would be nice if all you had to do was put someone’s name in the “To” box in an email to have it automatically shared with that person. I mean, if you are sending it to them you obviously want to share it with them. Why is the separate step necessary?

  6. dmp Reply

    from an email: when I go to ATTACH A FILE, nowhere does my GOOGLEDRIVE pop up…I see FAVORITES, DOCUMENTS, PICUTRES, ETC, and searched the DESKTOP, but nowhere do I see GOOGLE DRIVE….why isn’t it an option?

    • Google Gooru Post authorReply

      If you use the new compose experience, then the “insert from drive” button should now be present when you put your mouse over the “+” button. However, not every Gmail user has gotten this update yet. I think that within the next week, everyone should have this update on their Gmail and you will be able to insert a Google Drive attachment directly from your Gmail.

  7. Alan Geer Reply

    Hi there –

    Just found your site – like it! I have a company and we use google apps; I want to migrate users from dropbox to drive, but experiencing a couple of issues:
    – When attaching a file in gmail, we dont want to send a file that needs permissions to share (like typical drive protocol), we want to always send as an attachment – do you know if this is possible?
    – The little drive icon appeared in our gmail for attachments a week or so ago, but is not on our android device. Google apps issue do you know?
    – When crafting an email in gmail, if we select attach a file, it opens a window to select a picture from gallery, or a dropbox file – not a drive doc. Crazy….
    Any ideas, thoughts would be appreciated – we’re ready to dive into drive 1105, but some inconsistencies keep us away!
    many thanks

    – Alan

  8. Chris Reply

    Hi there, I like to add to MichaelM concern. I would prefer if Google developed a facility to allow me to attach a file stored in Google Drive to a mail message that I compose in Gmail or google apps. Imagine the following scenario:

    1. You are travelling without your PC.
    2. A head hunter is calling you about a job you are interested in and he asks you to send your C.V.
    3. You find nearest internet cafe, airport lounge PC, or similar, and compose e-mail in your gmail or google apps account.
    4. You want to attach your C.V, which you have saved in Google Drive, to the e-mail.

    The person receiving the e-mail may not be using Google at all and I prefer that he receives my C.V as a file attachment in the e-mail rather than as a link to a document in Google Drive.

    As far as I can see, you still cannot do so without first downloading the file to the PC your are using and uploading it again. I do not necessary want to do this since I am not sure how secure that PC is. The file may, for example, get infected by a virus in the process. Nor do I think this should be something one should have to use a third-party solution for like attachments.me. I have entrusted the storage of my files to Google, and not to the third party provider.

    I hope someone influential at Google reads this.

    • Google Gooru Post authorReply

      Hey Chris – If you watch the video on this page, it will show you how to attach Google Drive files to an email in Gmail. This update was released a couple of weeks ago. It is still rolling out to Google Apps domains on the scheduled release track, so you may not have it yet, but should soon.

    • Google Gooru Post authorReply

      It should be right next to the little paper-clip icon. When you click compose, does your new message look like mine? If not you may not have the new compose view.

  9. Markd Reply

    When will this be available on Jelly Bean. I have a ph and tablet and not being able to attach a doc from my Google Drive is diving me nuts.

  10. Benjamin Peikes Reply

    This doesn’t actually send an attachment. It’s very misleading and extremely dangerous. It sends a link which by default makes the document available to anyone who gets the link.

    I understand that Google doesn’t want to send files around, but they should make it very clear that this is not an attachment. Its sending a link to your document and changing the sharing options for it.

    • Taylor Reply

      I understand your point, and I try not to share documents using “anyone w/ the link”, but how is doing that any different from sending an attachment? If you send an attachment, the recipient can do anything they want with it. At least with a Google Drive doc, you retain ownership and can change that sharing setting whenever you want. Also, you don’t have to choose “anyone w/ the link”, you can share it with the individual recipients themselves when using this “Attach from Drive” dialog.

      • henry Reply

        Listen, sending the actual doc (attaching) versus a link (linking) are different things, serving different purposes. For one, recipient cannot use the e-mail for archiving purposes when linked. They have to go to the file and download it on to their own storage. If you send an attachment, the recipient always has the attachment, If you send a link, and the sender deletes or changes permissions on the file, the recipient may no longer have access.

        Sometimes, I want to send the actual file for a variety of reasons (for example, I may need to have a copy of a document on my smartphone when it doesn’t have internet access – e.g. reading it on a plane. With a Google Drive link, I have to go to extra steps to save it somewhere. WIth an attachment, it is already d/l onto my phone.

        • Taylor Reply

          I don’t know about your phone, but if I send an email to myself with a document attached, the document is not automatically downloaded to my phone. I have to open the email and download the attachment to my phone in order to have access to the file while offline.

          You could just as easily find the file in your Drive app and make it available offline.

          The point of using “Insert files using Drive” and using the Google Drive native file formats anyway is to put more control in the hands of the document owner, not the recipient. If you want to make things easier for your recipients, take up space in their mailbox, and say goodbye to control over your files as soon as you click send…then yes, attaching hard files is for you.

  11. henry Reply

    Please note that this DOES NOT ATTACH THE FILE. It only sends a LINK to a Drive doc. If the Drive doc is later deleted or user rights changed, recipients may not have access. It is annoying that there does not seem to be a convenience way to ATTACH drive docs (as opposed to just a link).

  12. Denise Reply

    I can’t attach a google document via gmail, I do not get the pop up you show. It attaches the google doc as an attachment and the person getting it can’t see it. How do I get the pop up to come up to allow me to share? I am using a Samsung Chromebook, could that be the problem? Thanks.

  13. Stephanie Reply

    This video is great, and the process seems really intuitive. But I am having a problem with the documents in my drive not populating when I click on “my drive” in the attachment selection pane. Can you advise? Thank you so much!

    • Dylan Press Reply

      Yes, although depending on the doc permissions they may not be able to view it.

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