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. 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 email and you add several images as attachment, they pop up as blue lines with .png or .jpg extension without any 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 email 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 Gmail 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 email”.
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 email your project results to your school teacher. Each page has some text and nothing more. You need to attach 25 images in Gmail without making a mistake. Surely, your customer or professor won’t appreciate checking whether images are right or wrong.
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 Gmail preview pane, which is often not working or missing. See here how to turn on/off preview pane on Android, Windows, Mac or iPhone Gmail 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 an email to your own Gmail address. Just indicate your email the “To” line and click the “Send” button. The email will immediately arrive in your inbox. Then you can see the email layout, count the number of images and make sure that everything is alright. After that, feel free to resend your email to the necessary recipient. Please make sure you check the email 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 email 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 email in a new window:
1. Click the three dots sign next to the trash button at the bottom right corner of your draft
2. Click the Print option to open your draft in a separate window
3. Preview your email with lots of photos in a separate window and make sure everything looks as expected
4. Cancel printing to get back to the draft.
5. Enter a recipient email 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 Gmail 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.
When you insert pictures in your new Gmail 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?