A Rant: Please Don’t Send My Attachments Back to Me!

Email attachments are wonderful things. Long gone of the painful and inefficient days of snail-mail and sending faxes (Perhaps dating myself here.) With just a few clicks, you can almost instantly send a document, picture or computer file of umpteen other different formats to one or more people located anywhere on the planet. This is truly amazing – and we do take it for granted.
And thankfully, our e-mail administrators have increased attachment size limits. Do you remember when you could only send attachments that were under 1Meg or even 500k? (Probably dating myself again here.) You still can’t send an 80Meg PowerPoint as an attachment (YouSendIt comes to the rescue on these), but most of the attachments most of us send on a daily basis can get through.

Here is my rant: If someone sends me an attachment, don’t send it back to me if you reply to my message. I already have the attachment in question. I don’t need it back. Save some electrons and hard drive space by deleting it from the reply! I will like you better (and my system administrator will too).
And even worse – when someone does a Reply All and resends the attachment to everyone that got it the first time – please don’t make me scream!!
Some mail systems are programed to automatically delete attachments from reply messages. Some email programs have a toolbar button that will create a reply that automatically deletes the attachment from a reply. Check to see if you have this button. If you don’t have these features, just delete the attachment manually.
I feel better now. And my systems administrator is smiling too.


  1. And if there’s no need to preserve a string of e-mails as one document, please send and re-send only what’s necessry for the current message to make sense.

  2. Margaret McCaffery

    Amen to all above, and in addition, if you’re carrying on a lengthy string of emails, for God’s sake change the email subject line! I ranted about this in a previous SLAW column.

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