So Gmail has rolled out their new compose update to my company's Google Apps account. I've found the drag and drop function of Gmail to be really convenient in the past as I'm always attaching PDFs, Zip files and images to emails.

Gmail didn't get rid of this function in the new Compose rollout. They did, however change how images attach. Now if you drag and drop an image into a new email it'll insert it into the body of the email itself, it won't attach it like it would another filetype. In order to attach an image to the email you need to manually click the attachment button and find the image file.

This is really inconvenient for me. I'd much rather just drag and drop the images into the email and have it attach itself, not insert into the body. Does anyone know of any way to disable this?

3 Answers 3


At this point the general consensus is that there is no way to turn off this "embed images" function of the otherwise "drag-to-attach" feature of the new Gmail.

There are a few criteria to keep in mind though, circumstances in which attachment will occur rather than embedding:

  • Dragging in multiple images simultaneously (using multi-select, shift-click, ctrl-click, window, etc) will attach the images rather than embed them.
  • Dragging in non-standard or proprietary image formats, such as PSD, will attach them rather than embed them.

Otherwise, if you want to attach a single image of a common format, such as JPG, you'll need to click the paperclip button at this time.

Hopefully, the Gmail team will recognize the issue and allow for some sort of option or setting or other mechanism for simply attaching single images in the future.

  • Your first point is not true...when I drag 3 files (.jpg and .png files) they all get embedded in the message. The only way to have images as attachments is to format the message as text instead of HTML. This is so annoying.
    – Adam
    Oct 14, 2014 at 14:04
  • That's something I've noticed as well and appears to be a recent change. Back when I wrote this answer in April of 2013, dragging images into a Gmail message window did not embed them. Now it does. Clicking the attachment icon will attach the images, even in Rich Format. Oct 14, 2014 at 14:34

As of June 24, 2013 this issue is now fixed. There are now two drag & drop target zones in the compose window. The main larger one will imbed the images inline while a smaller one at the bottom of the compose window will allow you to directly attach the images. See here: http://lifehacker.com/add-images-as-attachments-via-drag-and-drop-in-gmail-561870021

  • This isn't discoverable at all. They need to fire their UI designer.
    – endolith
    Aug 14, 2013 at 20:32
  • I came to this answer because it seems it's broken again (there's a "new" way to add images that hooks to Google+). I'm using the latest Chrome (Version 34.0.1847.116 m) on Windows. Apr 26, 2014 at 15:10
  • Although the Gmail UI is horrible, this is the correct the answer though. Thanks!
    – Adam
    Oct 14, 2014 at 14:05

This is a quick and easy workaround.Grab an extra file when you select single photo file. As soon at they start downloading, cancel the one you don't want and save the other.

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