Jul 03

When you want to send someone a lot of files in an email, the best way to do it is to compress them into one file first, called an archive or a zip file. When the person receives the zip file they just need to double click it and, hey presto, the exact files that you put into it appear in a folder! Read on to find out how to do it.

Not only does this save space, it can also stop the files getting messed up on the email journey they are about to embark upon. If you compress a folder, the folder and all the files appear when it is ‘unzipped’. This is built into Macintosh OSX. Here is how to do it.

1. Here is the folder we want to zip.


2. Right Click on the folder, and a menu will appear, select Compress (if you have Leopard) or Create Archive (if you have Tiger or older) .


3. It will make a zip file that you can then drag into apple mail or onto a thumbdrive to give to someone else. All you have to do is double click on the zip file it and it will ‘uncompress’ and you will have the original file or folder appear!



Now one thing to be aware if is that there is a limit on most email providers that your email does not go above 10MB. So if you have files that exceed 10 MB, you’ll need to share them via dropbox or idisk.

42 Responses to “How to send lots of files or folders in an email”

  1. Claire says:

    I have been trying to send a 1 page document that is 10mb by email but the company I am sending it to can’t accept it as it needs to be 6mb or less. PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. LA says:

    Tried this and other tips to zip a couple of documents but dont get the option to zip or compress – does it only work for folders saved on desktop?

  3. kyle says:

    HI Wayne, Why does a compressed file double in size when its sent by email, as an attachment.

    For example, a compressed file is 4.5 MB, but as an attachment in Mac Mail, its over 9MB?



    • Wayne says:

      I think this is because as an email attachment it is not sent as a RAW file but it needs to get converted to ASCII characters (A-Z, 1-9, etc) and this inflates it. This is another reason why the other methods – dropbox, message etc are better.

  4. Mick says:

    Hi Wayne,

    Thanks for the article. However I seem to be having the same trouble as some of the other people here – the zipped folder is minimally smaller, not worth it really. I am trying to compress .mov and .mp4 files. Are either of these types of files already compressed? What about PDFs?

    Thanks again,

    • Wayne says:

      yes .mov and .mp4 files are already compressed.

      • Monica says:

        Hi, Wayne,
        I am compressing folders of MP4 files. The .zip folders are twice the size of the original folder. I right-clicked, “compressed”, and it came out twice as big. Can you tell me what is going on and why?

      • Wayne says:

        If a file is already compressed (e.g. mp4, jpg) zip won’t do anything, but I’m surprised it makes it bigger!

  5. Liz says:

    I have the opposite problem. No matter that I press send full size photos i photo will only send compressed ones. This happens even when I try to send just one so I don’t think it’s too much. This only started happening a few weeks ago

  6. Jennifer says:

    I attached a lot of pics from my iphone to email. When I open the email, it allows me to DL them all – it puts them in a zip archive on my computer, but when I double click it – it only opens 1 pictures. What’s going on? Plz help … :)

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