When someone sends you the attachment in a Gmail message, you can download it to your computer. But you don’t always have to. Instead, you can preview various attachments, without leaving the Gmail environment.

Attachment preview feature in Gmail

You can view most attachments, including images, audio files, PDF- files, video clips, etc., Not taking up space on your computer. This feature is handy because there are many attachments that you don’t need to save. For example, if someone sends you a Word document they want you to read, you can simply view it right here and then reply to the email without downloading the file.

Email attachments are also easily integrated into Google Drive so if you don’t want the attachment to take up space on your hard drive, you can save it directly to your Google account. This feature allows you to delete an email but still view the attachment anytime, anywhere.

Some file types cannot be viewed in Gmail, including files ISO and RAR .

How to View Gmail Attachments

  1. Open the message with the attachment you want to view.

    Gmail message with attachment screenshot
  2. Using the pointer, hover over the attachment thumbnail and select attachment file name .

    Don’t select any icons; if you do, you will be performing actions other than previewing the attachment.

    Screenshot of Gmail with attachment title highlighted
  3. Now you can watch, read, watch or listen to the attachment without downloading it.

    Large attachments may not be viewable in Gmail. If you find that you cannot view an image, document, or video due to its size, you will need to download it.

    Attaching a Gmail Message in Preview
  4. Several options appear at the top of the screen. You can open the document in Google Docs or another application; save to Google Drive; print; download; show details; or open in a new window. Select the appropriate icon to perform one of these actions.

    If you have certain apps connected to your Google account, you can perform other functions as well. For example, some applications allow you to split PDF files. You can view a PDF attachment and select an attachment to extract pages from.

    Attachment preview in Gmail with options highlighted
  5. To return to your message, select arrow at the top left of the preview screen.

    Screenshot of attachment preview in Gmail with back arrow highlighted

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