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Tech how-to: 5 ways to share files too big to email

Our cameras take fabulous photos and videos. Our computers tackle data-packed spreadsheets. We can create detailed graphics that look incredible when blown up. But all of that comes with a drawback: huge files.

First, you need to make sure your computer, tablet or smartphone has enough storage to handle those files. Tap or click here for a quick trick to free up more space.

It’s also worth periodically cleaning out all the junk clogging up your system. Tap or click here for the best cleaner application for Macs and PCs.

So what do you do when you want to send a file that’s too big to attach to an email? Here are five ways to handle it.

1. Google Drive

Gmail users have it easy when it comes to sending files that are over the limit. When you try to attach a file that’s over the 25 MB size restriction, Google uploads it to Google Drive and sends your recipient a download link. 

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 his or her leisure. 

You can also upload files directly to Google Drive and share them from there. Keep in mind 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 a paid storage plan to accommodate that much data.

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2. Sign up for a free Dropbox account

Dropbox is one of the most popular cloud backup options. It also makes it easy to share those files with other people through a sharing link or by adding files to their own Dropbox accounts.

Dropbox offers a free 2 GB of space to anyone. If your cloud storage needs are more demanding than the free account can accommodate, paid tiers that offer more space. For $9.99 per month, you can get 2 TB of space. The $16.58 per month Professional plan includes 3 TB.

Pro tip: You can always sign up for more than one free storage service if you’re getting low on space. Services like Box.com and Microsoft’s OneDrive offer similar features. 

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 and add your file (or files) from your computer. Then put in your email address, 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.

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4. Amazon Drive

If you have an Amazon Prime membership, you probably take advantage of free shipping, streaming movies and shows and maybe a few other perks. But have you tried Amazon’s storage and file sharing? 

Amazon users 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 photos and other files by generating a link and emailing it to your recipient.

Tap or click here for 9 more great Amazon Prime benefits you might not know about.

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. 

On a Mac, 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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