Liberate Your Gmail Inbox Attachments With

Aaron Couch 10-07-2012

Have you ever received an email from your boss, family member, friend or some other connection with an attachment in it, then saved that email because you wanted to access the attachment later? You probably have, multiple times. The problem with this is you end up with an astronomical amount of attachments floating all over your inbox that you have to hunt down whenever you want them.


Well hunt no more. There’s a solution that integrates right into Gmail and makes it extremely easy to find all of your attachments in one place and also in multiple places at the same time. It can also connect to Dropbox, Box and Google Drive.

The solution is [No longer available], which was briefly covered previously 10+ Best Apps for Your Dropbox If you've been using Dropbox for a while, you may not have noticed that a whole ecosystem of applications have been built up to use the service. Over time, these apps have sprung up to... Read More . I am going to show you how you can free your attachments from your inbox once and for all.

Setting Up

The installation of the service is very simple. It walks you through the entire process and introduces you to all the features. This doesn’t take much time and I encourage you to take the tour. But first, we must get the Google Chrome or Firefox [No Longer Available] extension. is currently only available for Google Chrome and Firefox (sorry IE, Opera and Safari users), but, according to a tweet on their Twitter account, they are working on some new improvements. It is also available as an app for the iPhone.

Once you install the extension, open Gmail and you’ll automatically be prompted to start learning about it.


manage gmail attachments

Once you start the tour, you should receive an email.

manage attachments in gmail

When you are going through the process you will be prompted to allow access to your Gmail and any of the cloud storage services that you decide to use with it. Go ahead and allow access, otherwise it has no way of communicating with these other accounts.


Save Options Within Opened Emails

manage attachments in gmail

When you open up an email with an attachment in it, will automatically detect it and make it appear in the top right corner of the page. As you can see in the screenshot above, this is the email from sent during the tour. You have the option to download the attachments – this is very convenient when there is an entire email conversation that has an attachment somewhere, but it is in a message that you would have had to find by opening all the threads instead of simply downloading it on the side.

manage attachments in gmail

The other option, of course, is saving it to the cloud. automatically saves your attachments to the cloud. You’ll see this if you go to while logged into Gmail. However, I will touch upon the web interface later. Aside from saving directly within you can also save to your Dropbox, Box and Google Drive Accounts.


Linking To Cloud Services

gmail attachments

Linking to the different services is pretty straightforward. Simply click the button to link your account and follow the prompts to allow to access the services. In the example below, you can see that I only have my Google Drive connected, but you can virtually have them all connected to, providing that you have accounts with them all first.

Liberate Your Gmail Inbox Attachments With 6 Attachments

Adjusting Cloud Storage Rules

Liberate Your Gmail Inbox Attachments With 7 Attachments

Advertisement is great because it gathers up all of your attachments in one place and syncs them to your other services, but it actually does more than that. It actually creates filters of sorts, or what it calls “rules.” This allows you to set specific rules for it to follow.

Liberate Your Gmail Inbox Attachments With 8 Attachments

For example, let’s say you’re working on a new project with your boss. Instead of the hassle of downloading each attachment, then moving it it out of your downloads folder to another folder on your computer, you can create a rule that automatically sends the attachment to Google Drive, Dropbox or Box.

Liberate Your Gmail Inbox Attachments With 9 Attachments

Better yet, you can also specify a specific folder so that attachments from that sender will always go to that folder.

Liberate Your Gmail Inbox Attachments With 10 Attachments

If you ever need to change the rule to add an additional email recipient or to adjust anything else, simply select the rule and click modify.

Liberate Your Gmail Inbox Attachments With 11 Attachments

Searching For Attachments

Liberate Your Gmail Inbox Attachments With 12 Attachments makes searching for attachments within Gmail pretty slick. It’s integrated directly into the search field in Gmail.

Liberate Your Gmail Inbox Attachments With 14 Attachments

Changing Account Settings & Adding More Rules

Liberate Your Gmail Inbox Attachments With 13 Attachments

You may have noticed by now that you have a new blue button with a paperclip near your name on the Gmail search bar. This is where you can go to give feedback, disable your account, access the website and manage your rules and cloud services.

Liberate Your Gmail Inbox Attachments With 15 Attachments

Attaching Attachments

This is perhaps the most useful feature – the ability to attach files from your cloud services.

gmail attachments

Once you connect your cloud services you can click the link to any of them and look through your folders without ever opening a new tab in your browser. This saves a huge amount of time instead of having to find the file on your computer and upload or drag and drop it into Gmail. Sure you could copy the share link from a file one of your services too, but this is still quicker and easier.

Please note though that this only inserts a link for the attachment. The recipient can then access the file via the link and download it from there if they desire.

Web Interface

Aside from Gmail, there is also a web interface that allows you to easily view all of your attachments – which is nice, but it also provides an excellent place to search for your attachments. Yes, you can search for them in Gmail, and that’s great, but sometimes it’s nice to have more screen space – this does just that.

Liberate Your Gmail Inbox Attachments With 17 Attachments

When searching for attachments you can select specific accounts to look in and specific files to look for. You can also bookmark the search for later reference.

gmail attachments

Liberate Your Gmail Inbox Attachments With 19 Attachments

The search treats each word as an individual search. If you type cool funny cat, you will get three “tags” each representing it’s own search. If one of these tags is throwing off your search – let’s say funny is, then click the “x” beside the word and it will be removed from the search. If you want to perform that same search with all three words being one complete search, place quotes around them. It would look like this: “cool funny cat” – just like a Google search.

When you hover an image, attachment details such as the sender’s email address, date it was received and the complete file name is displayed. There are four options that are also displayed:

  • View
  • Download
  • Share
  • Trash (a.k.a. Archive)

When “View” is clicked, the file details will be displayed below the attachment. These include the email address that it was sent to, when the attachment was received by you, the type and size of the file, and a link to the original email the attachment was received by.

manage gmail attachments

Using With Non-Gmail Accounts

Gmail is currently the only service that works with. However, there is a workaround (unless it’s with a Yahoo account). You can actually forward your emails into Gmail. To do this go to Settings > Accounts and Import. Then under “Import mail and contacts” (the second column down), click “Import from another address.” Enter your email address and login credentials and you should be on your way to getting your mail all in one place. I highly recommend doing this if you have multiple email accounts, regardless of whether or not you are using

If you are going to forward your email addresses to Gmail, you might as well send emails from Gmail with them too. This option is right under “Import mail and contacts” called “Send mail as:” Click the link “Add another email address you own,” enter the email address and then send the verification. There are two additional options:

  • Reply from the same address the message was sent to
  • Always reply from default address

I suggest checking “Reply from the same address the message was sent to” to prevent accidentally sending an email from a different address than it was sent to and then confusing the recipient, but this is entirely up to you.


There you have it – the new revolution of email attachments. Personally, I see this as a game-changer in all email clients, and an even better reason to use Gmail if you already are not. At first I thought it was just a simple extension that I wouldn’t really use, but as I discovered more and more features, I realized that this can be a valuable tool for everyone who uses email – and seriously, who doesn’t use email?

Do you have another current frustration with the email process? Have you discovered a solution for the problem?

For more on mastering Gmail, check out MakeUseOf’s Ultimate Guide To Gmail The Beginner's Guide to Gmail You may already have a Gmail account. Or, you're thinking about signing up for one. This guide has everything you need to make the most of that shiny new Gmail account. Read More .

Explore more about: Email Tips, Gmail.

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  1. Dave Swift
    October 3, 2012 at 7:31 pm


    Firstly love the app. Saves hours of my life ! !


    When do you think the backwards rules will be available ?


  2. yoni
    September 29, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    The only reason I installed this was so that I wouldn't have to scroll to the bottom of my email in order to download attachments but that feature is oddly absent from my inbox. I only have the option to "Send to Your Cloud". Please advise...

    • Aaron Couch
      October 1, 2012 at 2:13 am

      I'm not quite sure what else you were expecting. This doesn't relocate the placement of attachements in the Gmail interface. It simply provides a way to send them to the cloud (e.g. Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.)

      Perhaps if you can elaborate on what you were looking/hoping for I can get in touch with the team at and pass along your suggestions.

      • yoni
        October 1, 2012 at 9:27 am

        Aaron, in the screenshots above, you'll notice that there are two actions in the widget; "Download" and "Send to Your Cloud". The "Download" option does not appear on my end.

  3. Vampie C.
    August 1, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Finally had the time to read this.

    This seems a very nice tool. :-)

    Time to test it out :-)

    • Aaron Couch
      August 2, 2012 at 3:43 am

      Glad you took the time to read! I can definitely relate. I send practically all my "to read" articles to my Kindle, which is nice whenever I'm bored and realize I wanted to read an article, but it stinks whenever I realize how much I haven't read.

      Thanks for commenting and reading! Let me know what you think of it :)

  4. Phúc Ng?c
    July 27, 2012 at 1:12 am

    I really like this idea :x It releases my mailbox's storage for more important things, and provides a great backup option for attachments.

    • Aaron Couch
      July 27, 2012 at 1:27 am

      Do note that does not remove your attachments from your inbox. I also don't think it stores your attachments in their cloud. I'm pretty sure it just pulls your attachments from your email and displays them in a clean, easy to access view, and provides some additional options.

      So don't rely on it for backup, but if you want to send the attachments to Box or Dropbox or Google Drive, THAT would be a good backup option - maybe that's what you were referring to in the first place.

      • Phúc Ng?c
        July 27, 2012 at 1:38 am

        Uhm, thanks Aaron! I should check it out to know what behinds this trick. It's very nice of you.

  5. C Peter Carter
    July 26, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I find that the extension in Firefox slows down the rate at which gmail will accept typed characters, and causes some characters to drop completely. I have to edit each outgoing e-mail carefully to make sure that everything I wanted to type has in fact been accepted by the browser. This is such a big drawback that I have disabled the Firefox extension.
    The equivalent Chrome extension appears not to have this problem.

    • Aaron Couch
      July 27, 2012 at 12:11 am

      A couple things come to mind whenever I read what you said. First of all, when I used it in Firefox (because I wanted to make sure it was just as good there as it was in Chrome, which I [almost] use exclusively), it seemed to work fine for me and I didn't have any problems.

      Have you tried using Firefox with fewer extensions or singling a few different ones out? I've found that as my extension-happy browser its more and more full, I have to go in and weed some things out. It could be that maybe some other extensions are clashing with and causing the issue. The best way to find out, I think, would be to use FF in private browser mode with only your "essential" extensions enabled.

      I hope that helps, and let me know if it does!

      Maybe Ben or Jesse from, who have both replied to some of the comments above, will read this and share their thoughts on the matter.

    • jesse_miller
      July 27, 2012 at 12:53 am

      I'm sorry to hear about this. This is the first report of this problem we have heard.

      Aaron suggestions are correct. Sometimes certain extensions don't work well together and can cause strange behavior.

      If you could send some more information to us (say.hello[at], like your operating system and Firefox version, we can look into it more and work to fix it for you.

      • C Peter Carter
        July 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm

        Thank you. I have tried disabling all extensions (except those essential for Ubuntu integration) but the problem remains. I have Firefox 14.0.1, running on Ubuntu 11.04.

  6. ToTo Antonio
    July 15, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Perfect... I just set mine up. Easy and Convenient...

  7. Ben W
    July 10, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    The ability to insert a file from Google Drive from Gmail -- FINALLY! It has been a pet peeve of mine for a while now...

    • Aaron Couch
      July 10, 2012 at 5:50 pm

      Ben, I totally agree. Whenever I discovered that feature while using it, I was even more excited about it than previously. It's quite a nice feature! Thanks for reading :)

      It looks like we've gotten the attention of so if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

  8. Tanguy Djokovic
    July 10, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    this looks awesome :P

    • Aaron Couch
      July 10, 2012 at 5:49 pm

      It IS awesome :P

  9. Ben
    July 10, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Did not know about Definitely worth checking out

    • Aaron Couch
      July 11, 2012 at 11:08 pm

      Yeah it's pretty great! Glad to have introduced it to you.

  10. Perspicacious
    July 10, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    What is the "price" for this functionality?

    For anyone interested, from their privacy policy: "We connect to the account and pull out messages. We only process messages that have what we see as an attachment on them. We make a copy of the attachment and also create a thumbnail, if appropriate. If we can parse any text from the attachment, we use that in the search index so that it is easier for you to find the attachment. After the initial 'crawling' of the account, we reconnect periodically to see if there are new messages."

    So, they make copies of the attachments. If you are a lawyer, you've breached privilege. If you are an engineer, you've breached your non-disclosure agreement.

    • Jesse Miller
      July 10, 2012 at 4:30 pm

      I can understand your concern. We ( take privacy and security very seriously.

      We make copies, but they are protected and only you can access them, just as Dropbox and Gmail do. We never sell your data or even make it available in any aggregate to anyone else. We only do this to make it possible to move the attachments into your cloud storage quickly, and to make the search functionality work.

      We are also in the process of getting 3rd party certification of our privacy and security policies. Those should be in place within the next couple of months.

      I'm happy to answer any other concerns, either on here or directly.

      • Aaron Couch
        July 10, 2012 at 5:51 pm

        Thanks for addressing this concern Jesse.

    • Aaron Couch
      July 10, 2012 at 5:53 pm

      I guess if you are still worried about breaking privileges, then don't use the service? I'm not very knowledgeable in the legal side of things, but I would imagine that using any sort of cloud-based application would also break those rules. Would that be an accurate statement?

    • Sam
      February 3, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      I'm interested in this "3rd party certification", but I didn't find anything on the web.
      Would you have some Google official docs about this?
      What are the constraints that you have to follow?
      How can we know that you have it?
      How this will help us to trust more in your application to manage OUR data?
      How Google will verify that your application is safe for us?

  11. ferdinan Sitohang
    July 10, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Thank you. Very helpful information

    • Aaron Couch
      July 10, 2012 at 5:54 pm

      Glad you found it helpful and thanks for reading! If you have any questions, feel free to ask. The team is doing a great job at being on top of the comments here.

  12. Sean Milligan
    July 10, 2012 at 2:56 am

    Are there any options to set up something that will go dig through my old mail and pull all of the attachments out for me? A lot of these "save to Drive" apps and options are nice to have from now on, but what about before now?


    • Ben
      July 10, 2012 at 3:04 am

      The ability to run rules backwards to file old attachments, is something that we have in the works. Definitely coming in the near future.

      • Aaron Couch
        July 10, 2012 at 3:07 am

        Thanks for answering this Ben!

      • Sean Milligan
        July 10, 2012 at 3:18 am

        Awesome! That will be an extremely useful feature.

        • Aaron Couch
          July 10, 2012 at 3:19 am

          I think so too Sean! It's quite an incredible addition to Gmail.

        • Sean Milligan
          July 10, 2012 at 3:26 am

          I'm also a reader over at Lifehacker / Gizmodo and they've reported on these kinds of apps as well, but finally I had to ask about the retroactive feature.

          As far as I can tell, none of the other apps have that, so I haven't bothered to install them. The undertaking of going back through and pulling important files didn't seem worth the effort. I just rely on the Gmail search, for now.

          At some point I would like my attachments pulled and joined with the rest of my files in one central location, and if is the first to add the retroactive filtering, it will be ahead of the rest in a key area, to me.