How to compress attachments in Outlook

I use Outlook at work, and sometimes people send big attachments without zipping them up. Often they’re documents which are in the document management system anyway. Sigh.

Anyway, it’s easy enough to compress them within Outlook.

1. Open mail item.

2. Save attachment(s) to a temporary directory.

3. Zip (or whatever) the file. (See? 2Mb XLS down to 300Kb. Why didn’t the sender do that?)

4. In the email, click Edit / Edit Message on the menu. (This feature is a boon for fraudulent modification of emails, but also for compressing attachments.)

5. Right click on the attachment and Remove.

6. Drag the zip file into the email. (For some reason you can’t use the menu to insert an attachment like you can when composing. And the drag-drop has to land in the body section of the email.)

7. Save and Close the email.

Voila, a bunch of space saved.

I haven’t explored to see if the same method can be used in other mail clients.

3 thoughts on “How to compress attachments in Outlook

  1. Chris Till

    You were my favourite end-user until step 6 – why the devil you putting the attachment back into the e-mail, compressed or otherwise?

    The mail server isn’t a damned database/filing system for files, that’s what your file server is for.

    For every bloody attachment users stuff the mail server with you could have had hundreds, thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of regular e-mail messages.

    I swear 90% of all space used by mail servers is plain and simply attachments that nobody ever uses again.

    Please, everyone, arrange for trucks to dump tonnes of dirt into 90% of the rooms in your house. No different.

    End of rant 🙂

  2. Nick Torkington

    There’s a couple of handy little freeware-ish plug-ins for Outlook that will do this automatically. Google for “Outlook AutoZip” or “bxAutoZip”.

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