How to Send PDFs in Gmail and Troubleshoot Errors

Summary :

Learn how to use Gmail to quickly share PDFs with one or multiple recipients, even larger PDFs. If you failed to send PDF in Gmail, you’ll also find fixes here.

Table of Contents

How to Send PDFs in Gmail

How to Send PDFs in Gmail

Gmail allows you to send documents in .pdf file format, without converting PDF to Word beforehand.

Sending PDFs with Gmail ensures that the document’s formatting remains intact, regardless of the recipient’s operating system or word processor.

Sending PDFs through Gmail is straightforward. In the following, you’ll find the proven methods you can use to send a PDF file using Gmail, even more than 25MB, which may fail to load during sending.

👉 To get started, get PDFgear, the best free PDF converter software to convert PDF to images or text for easier sharing.

4 Methods to Send PDFs in Gmail

1. Attaching a PDF to an Email

Attaching a PDF to an email streamlines document sharing, providing a direct method to send important files securely and quickly.

If your PDF file is too large, you may want to compress the document ot to print it to flatten the interactable elements.

Step 1. Open your web browser and log in to your Gmail account.

Step 2. Click on the ‘Compose’ button to start a new email.

Compose a New Email

Compose a New Email

Step 3. Click on the ‘Attach files’ paperclip icon at the bottom of the compose window. Select the PDF and click ‘Open’ to attach it to your email. Alternatively. drag and drop your PDF here.

Attach the PDF

Attach the PDF

Step 4. After attaching the PDF, enter the recipient’s email address, the subject of the email, and any message you want to include. Then click ‘Send’.

Send the Email

Send the Email

2. Using Google Drive

If you want to send larger PDFs through Gmail (over 25 MB),  you can use Google Drive to attach a PDF circumvents email attachment size limits by linking to files stored in the cloud.

Step 1. Log in to Gmail and Compose a New Email as above.

Step 2. Click on the Google Drive icon at the bottom of the compose window.

Insert Using Google Drive

Insert Using Google Drive

Step 3. Choose the PDF file from your drive or upload it if it’s not already there.

Step 4. After selecting the file, click ‘Insert’, and insert PDF from Google Drive.

Insert PDF in Google Drive

Insert PDF in Google Drive

3. Send PDF in Cloud as a Link

If you have the PDF uploaded to a cloud storage service or available online, this method is for you. By simply including a URL to the online document, you reduce email size and avoid potential attachment restrictions.

Step 1. Make sure the PDF is shared online and you have a link to access it. Double-click the address bar to copy the PDF URL.

Obtain the PDF Link

Obtain the PDF Link

Step 2. Log in to Gmail and click ‘Compose’.

Step 3. Paste the link directly into the body of your email. You can also hyperlink text in the email to the PDF by highlighting the text, clicking the ‘Insert link’ button (looks like a chain link), and pasting the URL.

Include the PDF Link

Include the PDF Link

4. Inline Images (for PDF content)

Embedding PDF content as inline images is to transform selected pages or important snippets from a PDF into images, and place them directly in the email body.

To get started, you may need a PDF converter software or app to turn your PDF into an image file.

Step 1. Log in to Gmail and Compose a New Email as above.

Step 2. Click on the ‘Insert photo’ icon at the bottom of the compose window. Upload the image or images that you want to send.

Insert PDF as Image

Insert PDF as Image

How to Send PDFs in Gmail Mobile App

The Gmail mobile app enables attaching PDFs to emails directly from smartphones.

Through the Gmail app, you can tap the attachment icon to upload PDFs from your device or cloud storage.

Step 1. Tap the app to open Gmail on your mobile device.

Step 2. Tap the ‘Compose’ button to compose a new email.

Step 3. Tap the paperclip icon for attachments. Choose ‘Attach file’ or ‘Insert from Drive’.

Step 4. Enter the recipient’s email, subject, and message, then tap the send icon.

Send PDF in Gmail on Mobile

Send PDF in Gmail on Mobile

Why Can’t I Send a PDF in Gmail?

There could be several reasons why you’re unable to send a PDF file via Gmail.

We have gathered a list of possible causes and their corresponding solutions for you to try and fix that issue.

Attachment Restrictions

Cause: Gmail restricts certain types of files for security reasons, although PDFs are generally allowed.

Solution: Ensure the PDF is not encrypted or password protected, as this might prevent it from being sent. Remove PDF password and try again.

File Corruption

Cause: The PDF file may be corrupted.

Solution: Try opening the PDF using a PDF reader to ensure it’s not corrupted. If it is, you’ll need to obtain or create a new copy of the file.

Browser Issues

Cause: There might be issues with your browser, such as cookies and cache problems.

Solution: Clear your browser cache and cookies, or try using a different browser to see if the problem persists.

Internet Connectivity

Cause: A slow or intermittent internet connection can interrupt the upload of attachments.

Solution: Check your internet connection and try attaching the PDF again once you have a stable connection.

Gmail Server Outage

Cause: On rare occasions, Gmail servers might be down.

Solution: Check Google’s status dashboard to see if there are any known issues with Gmail, and wait for Google to resolve any server problems.

Security Software Interference

Cause: Antivirus or firewall software on your computer may be blocking the upload.

Solution: Temporarily disable your security software to see if that’s the issue, but be sure to re-enable it immediately after testing.

Gmail Account Issues

Cause: There may be an issue with your Gmail account, such as being over quota.

Solution: Check if your Gmail storage is full. If so, free up space by deleting old emails or purchasing additional storage.

Browser Extensions or Add-ons

Cause: Sometimes, browser extensions can interfere with Gmail’s functionality.

Solution: Disable browser extensions one by one to see if one of them is causing the problem.

Incorrect Attachment Method

Cause: Trying to drag and drop the file into the wrong area or using an incorrect method to attach the file.

Solution: Use the paperclip icon to attach files in Gmail, and make sure you’re dropping the file in the correct area if you’re using drag and drop.

Mobile App Issues

Cause: If you’re using the Gmail mobile app, it may be outdated or have a glitch.

Solution: Update the app to the latest version, restart your device, or try sending the email from a desktop computer.

PDF Reader/Editor Conflicts

Cause: If the PDF is open in a reader or editor, it might not upload properly.

Solution: Close any PDF reader or editor applications before trying to upload the file.

Google Account Authentication

Cause: Your Google account session may have expired or needs authentication.

Solution: Sign out of your Google account and sign back in.

Disabled Javascript

Cause: Gmail requires JavaScript to function properly, and if it’s disabled, certain features won’t work.

Solution: Ensure JavaScript is enabled in your browser settings.


Is there a size limit for PDF attachments in Gmail?

Yes, Gmail limits the size of attachments to 25 MB. If your PDF exceeds this size, Gmail will prompt you to upload the PDF to Google Drive and send a link to the Drive file instead.

Can I send multiple PDFs in one email?

Yes, you can send multiple PDFs in one email as long as the total attachment size does not exceed 25 MB. If it does, you will need to use Google Drive or another cloud service to share the PDFs.

What should I do if the PDF won’t attach to the email?

If you’re having trouble attaching a PDF, make sure the file isn’t open in another program, as this can sometimes prevent uploading. Also, ensure the file isn’t corrupted and that it doesn’t exceed the size limit. If problems persist, try using a different browser or clearing your browser’s cache and cookies.

How can I confirm that my PDF was sent successfully?

After sending the email, you can go to your “Sent Mail” folder to verify that the email appears there. Additionally, you can open the sent email to ensure that the PDF is listed as an attachment. For further confirmation, you can request a read receipt before sending the email, although this requires the recipient to approve the request.

Is it safe to send sensitive information in a PDF via Gmail?

While Gmail uses encryption to protect your emails, sending sensitive information can still pose risks. It’s recommended to password-protect sensitive PDFs before attaching them to your email.

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