I often need to attach attachments from one email (or multiple ones) to another, without wanting to forward the original message. In a desktop client I would simply click and drag the attachment from one message to the other, but that doesn't work in Gmail. Having to first save the attachment is a pain... Is there a way this can be done?

In particular, I am looking for an easy solution to a situation where I want to consolidate multiple attachments from different messages into one new message. For single messages I'll live with forwarding and changing the message per below answers...

edit 2
Mailbrowser, per @phwd below, is a pretty good solution for multiple file forwards. Find the file you're looking for, copy the file location and paste it in the file upload dialog. No click and drag, but a lot quicker than manually saving and re-uploading.

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    Good question!!
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Jul 8, 2010 at 16:39
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    If saving attachments is a pain try indexing your files with an app like MailBrowser
    – phwd
    Commented Jul 9, 2010 at 15:06
  • @phwd thanks! looked promising, but... I use gmail in a separate application window in chrome, and the mailbrowser button does not show... I'll switch back to a normal window, and will report findings. Commented Jul 14, 2010 at 18:07
  • No problem. The indexing takes a while though.
    – phwd
    Commented Jul 15, 2010 at 3:11

5 Answers 5


The way I do this is to click the Forward option and then type in a new Subject and clear the message text so I have an new message but with the attachments in place.

I'd be surprised if there's a quicker way than this; entering a new Subject doesn't take that long.

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    But what if it's a thread where you might want to keep the body of the original mail? (Not that this is necessary with Gmail)
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Jul 8, 2010 at 16:40
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    Not ideal, but ok for single attachments (although the lazy bastard within me still objects). This won't work however when you need to consolidate multiple attachments from various messages for say a client presentation or report :( Commented Jul 8, 2010 at 17:09
  • @Korneel - Good point about attachments from different emails; that hadn't occurred to me.
    – David Webb
    Commented Jul 9, 2010 at 9:41
  • Accepted, as it's the best way for single file forwards. For multi file forwards, mailbrowser does the trick. Commented Jul 19, 2010 at 15:08
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    @dave for multi file forwards (that's what I'm interested in), you accepted an answer (mailbrowser) that is actually a desktop app, but you asked your question on webapps. I'm still looking for a true web solution.
    – Sebastian
    Commented Jun 10, 2011 at 10:46

This isn't a solution to your issue as such, but if it's not so much an issue of time taken to download the file, vs. convenience of attaching it, then in Chrome you can:

  • open the email
  • download it and it you get a button for it at the bottom of the Chrome window
  • create your new email and drag it back from the bottom of the Chrome window onto your email

So the only benefit of this method is that you don't have to search for the download in Windows Explorer / Finder and is therefore only marginally more convenient.

I feel your pain too though as this is something I do frequently in fat clients, so would welcome a proper answer.

I also don't like the faffiness of forwarding and replacing everything, so for me - on my 100Mbps connection :), my method works ok for any attachment size that Google can handle anyway.

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    Cool! I did not know you could drag those buttons... Commented Jan 4, 2011 at 14:08
  • this really is a quick and easy way to do it. Thanks.
    – Robvh
    Commented Aug 18, 2020 at 12:20

You can now use Gmail's "Save to Drive" option, and then load the file in the other email from the Drive. This can be faster and more efficient than downloading the file and re-uploading it from your computer. If the user doesn't have access to the file, Gmail will prompt you to "share and send" when you send the email.


If the attachment is document that opens in Google docs, you can open it and email it from Google docs to new address. This bypasses transfer to desktop and re-upload.


You can also just hit "forward", and then change all aspects of the email, including the subject, and the receiver won't know the difference.

Some email applications like Thunderbird will flag the email as having been forwarded, but Gmail doesn't do this. It just determines how it initially sets up the email.

I believe this would be the easiest method for you, rather than using Google Docs.

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    Actually, should the receiver ever look in the headers of the email, it will reference the Message-IDs of prior emails in the thread, and should they use a desktop client that sorts by these references (as opposed to Gmail's sorting by subject) and be a former recipient/sender of a message from such thread, this new message will be automatically sorted into the old thread.
    – intlect
    Commented Aug 18, 2011 at 9:17
  • @intlect Wow. That is seriously user-unfriendly. If a user wants to wipe out the history of a message and it looks like that is done, the system should not be sending any such history! Thanks for pointing it out.
    – A.M.
    Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 15:23

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