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How to send zip files in Gmail 

According to industry statistics, Gmail is the most popular email technology platform in countries around the world. With more than 1.8 billion active users worldwide, around 27% of emails are opened in a Gmail inbox.

One of Gmail’s basic functionalities is the ability to send files and folders as attachments. However, there is a lot more to using Gmail’s file attachment dialog than just clicking on the paperclip icon and hitting send.

For instance:

  • How big of a file/folder can you send?
  • How big of a file can the person you’re emailing receive?
  • What happens if the file is too big?
  • What kinds of files can you attach?

In this article, we’ll answer those questions and more, as we outline the process of how to send Zip files in Gmail and how a solution like WinZip® Enterprise can help circumvent problems such as attachment size limits or blocking attachments.

Why You Might Need to Send Zip Files via Gmail

Gmail has a 25 MB (megabyte) file limit for attachments. This means no single attachment can be greater than 25 MB in size, and if you have multiple attachments, they cannot exceed the 25 MB limit.

Most audio and video files, as well as large PDF documents, will be too large to attach to a message sent via Gmail. To further complicate matters, attachments are encoded, which also slightly increases the file size.

Attachments that exceed 25 MB are automatically stored in Google Drive, and your email will contain an embedded link to the file’s location in Google Drive. However, this option can present issues for the recipient, such as admin-level restrictions on whom can share and access what files.

Zipping a file can reduce your attachment file size, so Gmail doesn’t shunt it off into Google Drive for the receiver to have to chase down. You also don’t have to bother adding recipients to your Google Drive folder to make sure they have the proper permissions to retrieve and open it. Your Gmail recipient can quickly and securely download your Zip files right from your email.

The Zip compression format is used to reduce the overall file size without impacting the original data quality. A Zip file can hold one or more compressed files, transferring them at a higher rate of speed while reducing storage space requirements.

On average, 28% of work time is spent on email. Most working professionals send a minimum of 40 emails a day. Whenever the sender or the receiver must leave their email platform to deal with a file/attachment, the more it cuts into productivity.

That loss of productivity becomes even more evident when you multiply it by the number of employees in an enterprise. (For example, 1,000 employees equals 40,000 emails a day.)

What Is a ZIP File and How Does Compression Work?

Zip is an archive format that makes it easier and quicker to send (and store) large files or groups of files by compressing them. As such, the process of compressing and storing a collection of data types in a single file creates an archive file.

Zip files are trusted, convenient, and a truly unique type of file because they can be composed of hundreds of different types of file extensions. They are not limited to any one type of data and each file is compressed individually.

There are two ways to compress files: lossy and lossless. Zip files are lossless. That means when you zip them, and then unzip them, there’s no degradation of the data. The data is restored to the same state it was in when you originally compressed it.

How is a Zip file able to do that? Each byte of data in a file isn’t unique. In fact, much of it is redundant. Depending on the type of file, algorithms can eliminate some of that redundancy. For instance:

  • Text files, text style database files, and BMP format pictures can be compressed by 90% or more.

  • Audio files such as MP3s can be compressed by 15-20% without impacting sound quality.

  • Image files such as JPEGs can be compressed by 20-25% without compromising photo quality or data integrity.

  • Program files can be compressed by 50%.

Instead of many representations of the same piece of data, you are left with just one. For instance, lossless file compression is like taking this data string, AAABBBBBCC, and compressing its redundancies down to this smaller data string, A3B5C2.

It’s the same data, but it has been streamlined so it takes up less space. The numbers correspond to the number of times that the previous letter repeats. This way, when you decompress (unzip/open/extract), your file has instructions for how to return to its original state—with no loss of data. That’s why it’s called “lossless.”

By compressing email attachments into a Zip file, you can:

  • Send more files/folders containing a wide mix of file types.

  • Avoid having to create and send multiple additional emails.

  • Upload your files quicker and provide a faster download for your email recipient, reducing the risk of the server timing out if the sender or receiver has low bandwidth.

  • Stop wasting time trying to find workarounds for those recipients whose email platform attachment size limit is even less than Gmail’s 25 MB.

  • Save storage space (and therefore money) for you, your organization, and your message recipient.

How to Send Zip Files in Gmail

There are several ways to send Zip files via Gmail, including using solutions such as WinZip Enterprise or your device’s built-in functionalities.

Method One: On a Windows PC

  1. On your PC, navigate to where the files you would like to send are located, such as your desktop, documents folder, or cloud storage.

  2. Select the file or files you want to compress, right-click, and select the “Compress to Zip file” option in the menu that appears. This will generate a Zip file in the same location as your chosen documents.

  3. Rename the Zip file, if needed, and then navigate to your Gmail account.

  4. Click the “Compose” button to create a new email.

  5. Enter the recipient’s email address, a subject line, and any content you want to include in the email message.

  6. Click the paperclip icon in the bottom menu ribbon of your email and then navigate to the Zip file’s location on your PC.

  7. Double-click the Zip file name to attach it to your email.

  8. Click “Send” to transmit the Zip file as a standard email attachment.

Method Two: Within the WinZip Enterprise Platform

  1. Open WinZip Enterprise.

  2. Find and select the file(s) and/or folder(s) you want to zip. These files might be stored on your PC, network, or in the cloud depending on your storage choices and available solutions.

  3. In the Files pane, click the Add to Zip button.

  4. In the Actions pane, click Save as.

  5. Choose the target location for your file, give it a name, and click Save.

  6. Compose the email message in Gmail. Then, click the paperclip icon and select Attach files.

  7. Navigate to the file’s target location and select the Zip file.

  8. Repeat the Attach files process, if needed, to add more files.

  9. Send the Zip file as a normal attachment.

How WinZip Enterprise Enhances and Simplifies Sending ZIP Files

While you can always zip and send files directly through your device’s folder window, WinZip Enterprise enhances data security through file-level encryption and password protection. This process is essential when sharing sensitive data, such as internal resources, confidential information, and any data subject to legal and regulatory requirements.

WinZip Enterprise also helps companies avoid file blocking issues when sending emails with file attachments. Gmail blocks messages that may spread viruses, especially messages that include executable files, certain links, or certain file extensions.

If you see, “This message was blocked because its content presents a potential security issue,” your attachment likely contains a prohibited file type. The blocked formats in Gmail include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • .ade
  • .appx
  • .cmd
  • .dmg
  • .exe
  • .iso
  • .msp
  • .nsh
  • .rar
  • .sys
  • .vbs
  • .wsc

Even if you have taken steps to compress files into a Zip file, Gmail will block the attachment if it detects a prohibited file format within the archive file. WinZip Enterprise gives you options for navigating file blocking, such as configuring file extension options using WinZip Courier. To do so, you can modify the attachment options and use customer file extensions, such as changing a .zip file to .zea for “zipped email attachment.”

Now that you understand how to create and send Zip files via Gmail and how solutions such as WinZip Enterprise can simplify that process, it’s time to experience it for yourself.

Learn how to use WinZip Enterprise to quickly and easily send ZIP files in Gmail.