You are currently viewing 3 Best Ways to Preview Image Attachments in Gmail Email Before Sending [No Addons]
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  • Post last modified:October 7, 2022

Gmail is a perfect email tool for communication. You can send tons of messages quickly, attach PDF files, videos, photos, send calendar notifications, money or invitations to online group meetings in Zoom. However, there’s one feature that I was really missing all the time, it’s the ability to preview images and emails before sending them. In the official Gmail app or Gmail in your web browser, when you compose a new message and you add several images as attachment, they pop up as blue lines with .png or .jpg extension without any preview.

Gmail email draft with bunch of images without preview
Gmail email draft with bunch of images without preview

Of course, if you send one of two pictures that are clearly different, then there is no problem at all to differentiate images and to make sure that the recipient gets the proper photos.

Yet, when you attach many similar photos, there is a high risk that you miss a picture or add incorrect photos. For example, I want to send 5 photos of my roses from my garden to a friend. The files are called almost identical: rose1, rose2, rose3, etc. Flowers on all pictures look pretty alike, they mostly are red or pink. When I add a lot of images as attachments, it’s hard for me to tell if I did everything correctly or not. Fortunately, it’s not a big deal to make mistakes in chat with friends or family. In the worst case, my friend will thank me for sending one and the same picture many times and I’ll have to write “Ignore my previous message”.

Nethertheless, such silly mistakes look unprofessional and irritating for business communication, don’t they? Imagine, you’re about to send a scan of a signed contract with 25 pages. Or as a student you should send your project results to your school teacher. Each page has some text and nothing more. You need to attach 25 images without making a mistake. Surely, your customer or professor won’t appreciate checking whether images are right or wrong.

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At the moment (April 2020), there is no direct “Email Preview” button in Gmail that you can click and see the email with its attachments. However, there is a preview pane, which is often not working or missing. See here how to turn on/off preview pane on Android, Windows, Mac or iPhone app. I strongly hope that the Google team will add more reliable preview feature soon. Meanwhile, I’m gonna show you 3 best workaround ways to preview images in Gmail before sending without any addons and on any device (desktop, Android and iPhone). Let’s see how to preview image and PDF attachments in Gmail before sending.

Way 1. Send an Email to Yourself to Preview Email Before Sending

The fast way to make sure that everything is at the right place is to send it to your own Gmail address. Just indicate your address in the “To” line and click the “Send” button. The email will immediately arrive in your inbox. Then you can see the text layout, count the number of images and make sure that everything is alright. After that, feel free to resend your message to the necessary recipient. Please make sure you check the title and remove the Re: part, if it’s present. The key advantage of this method is the possibility to use it on any device without any plugins.

Way 2. Print Email to Preview All Attachments in Gmail

This way is a bit slower, but you can view your words and pictures in a separate window before sending it. Relax, you won’t print the email and you don’t need to set up a printer.

Follow these steps to open your draft in a new window:

1. Click the three dots sign next to the trash button at the bottom right corner of your draft

The hidden preview feature in Gmail

2. Click the Print option to open your draft in a separate window

The print button in Gmail

3. Preview your email with lots of photos in a separate window and make sure everything looks as expected

How to preview images in gmail email before sending

4. Cancel printing to get back to the draft.

5. Enter a recipient address and click the “Send” button

What I like the most about this way it’s transparency. I mean you see the email in a separate window as a separate document and you can check the quality of your contents immediately.

Way 3. See How Photos/PDFs Look Like Without Preview Pane in Gmail

Gather all photos or PDFs in a separate folder on desktop to test how they look like without Gmail preview pane. As I mentioned above, the preview pane regualrly missing of not working, so if you can’t check your draft, follow this way. This technique seems to be suitable only for a small to medium number of images, up to a dozen, I believe. Windows and Mac desktop users might put all pictures in a special folder, let’s say “Roses” as in my case.

Many identical images to send through Gmail
Many identical images to send through Gmail

When you insert pictures in your new message, you will select this particular folder to avoid errors. Don’t forget to click the “Send” button to transmit your message. But if there are a bunch of images to send, get back to way 1 or to 2.

Here are the 3 easy ways to preview several images before sending. Which is the best one?

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. A.Rrajani Photographer


  2. Mariah

    how can i preview Webp images plz?

    1. anna

      Hi Mariah,

      Gmail allows to attach Webp images to emails. So it works the similar way as with traditional JPEG photos. Just attach your WebP pic and use one of the 3 ways described in the post to see how your WebP image gonna look like in Gmail.
      If you can’t view your Webp image in Gmail, I recommend to make sure that your WebP image isn’t corrupted. To check the status of your WebP file, please open it in any browser such as Google Chrome or Edge. If you can see your Webp image correctly, than it will look right in Gmail email. If you can’t see your webp picture in the browser, than your image is broken and your Gmail recepient can’t view it either. So please don’t send corrupted Webp pictures.
      I hope your question is solved.

      Anna, Photo Software & Design Blog team

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