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5 ways to share files that are too big to email

We have file-size problems. Our cameras now take fabulous photos and crisp videos. Our computers can tackle monstrous spreadsheets. We can create detailed graphics that look stunning when blown up. But all of that comes with a drawback: honking huge files.

So what do you do when you want to send that slick video or pile of digital photos of your vacation adventure to grandma, but the file is too big to attach to an email? Here are five ways to handle it:

1. Use Google Drive

Gmail users have it easy when it to comes to sending files that are over the limit. Google Drive will come to your rescue when you try to attach a file that’s over the 25 MB size restriction. Gmail will pop up with a message reading, “Large files must be shared with Google Drive. Attachments larger than 25MB will be automatically uploaded to Google Drive. A download link will be included in your emails.”

This is a no-sweat way to send those large files. You get a workaround for the attachment limit and the recipient can download the file at her leisure. You can also upload files directly to Google Drive and then share them from there. Keep in mind that these files can count against your Drive storage space. Drive can hold files up to a massive 5 terabytes in size, but you will need an upgraded, paid storage plan to accommodate that much data.

Psst! Did you know Google Drive recently added new features? Click here for details on Team Drives, Google Vault, Drive File Stream and Quick Access.

2. Sign up for a free DropBox account

DropBox is a popular online storage service that lets you keep important files backed up in the cloud. It also makes it easy to share those files with other people, who can download them through a sharing link or add them to their own DropBox accounts.

DropBox offers a free 2 GB of room to anyone. If your cloud storage needs are more demanding than the free account can accommodate, then you can check into paid tiers that offer more space. Services like and Microsoft’s OneDrive offer similar features to DropBox. You can always sign up for more than one free storage service if you’re getting low on space.

3. Send through WeTransfer

WeTransfer’s basic free service lets you share files up to 2 GB in size. WeTransfer isn’t for online storage. It’s just for sending files. It’s very simple to use. Just go to the site, choose the free option, add your file (or files) from your computer and then put in your email, your recipient’s email, and a message. Hit the “Transfer” button and wait while WeTransfer uploads the file and sends a notice to the receiver. The files will remain available to download for seven days.

4. Discover Amazon Drive

It’s easy for Amazon’s Drive service to get overlooked in the crush of Prime perks, but it offers an easy file storage and sharing option for people who are already hooked on the Amazon ecosystem.

Any Amazon user can get 5 GB of space for free, but Prime members get the extra perk of unlimited photo storage, which is a compelling carrot for shutterbugs. Much like DropBox, you can share those photos and other files by generating a link and emailing it to your recipient.

Note: Amazon Drive is just one of the perks that come with your Prime membership. Click here for a full list of included benefits.

5. Compress the file

You can make a large file a little smaller by compressing it into a zipped folder. In Windows, right-click the file or folder, go down to “send to,” and choose “Compressed (zipped) folder.” This will create a new folder that’s smaller than the original. For Mac systems, control-click a file (or tap it with two fingers) to bring up the shortcut menu. Choose “Compress” to make a daintier zipped version.

Compressing isn’t a magic bullet. For example, compressing a 90 MB image file in Windows may only result in a 60 MB zipped file, but it can be useful if you just need to slim a file down a little to get under your email sending limit.

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