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Depending on what email program you use, putting an image into the body of an email can be easy, difficult, or nearly impossible.

I have been wondering for a long time how to put pictures and other things on the face/body of an e-mail. I'm not referring to a separate attachment.

The big problem with attempting to answer this is that the answer is different, depending on what email program you use, and perhaps even dependant on the email provider you might be signed up with.

In many cases the pragmatic answer is: you can't.

On top of that, even if you do put your images in the body of your email, there's no guarantee that your recipients will see them there.

But I can at least cover a few of the requirements, and some of the more common methods.

To begin with, you need to be composing your message in "Rich Text" or HTML format. Plain text emails are, well, plain. They may be smaller, less likely to be flagged as spam, and even just a tad safer, but you can't use fancy formatting or embed pictures - only attachments will work with plain text.

How you make sure you're composing a rich text message is one of those things that's completely dependant on what mail program you use. Some examples:

"To begin with, you need to be composing your message in 'Rich Text' or HTML format."
  • Outlook Express: while composing a message, click on the Format menu item, and then click on Rich Text

  • Thunderbird: if your default format is plain text, hold down the Shift key when clicking on Write to compose a new message in Rich Text.

  • Windows Live Hotmail: the default appears to be rich text.

  • Yahoo Mail: To the right of the subject line is a link that says Rich Text or Plain Text which is the mode to switch to. Thus if it says Plain Text, you are composing in Rich Text.

  • GMail: just above the message body is a link that says Rich Formatting if you want to switch to Rich Text.

As you can see, each is just a little different, and other mail programs may well be even more different.

One thing that most will include when you are composing in Rich Format is a toolbar similar to this one:

A common email formatting toolbar

This toolbar allows you to control the formatting of your rich text email, setting things like bold, italics, font sizes, links and the like.

Some toolbars will actually include an icon specifically for inserting a picture:

Insert Picture icon on email toolbar

Click on that and you'll be asked for the location of the picture to be inserted into your email. Indicate the image, perhaps specify a caption, and you're done: the image is placed into the body of the message you're composing.

Unfortunately, most web based email services don't seem to support putting images directly into your email. In fact, as I researched the toolbars above I found that neither Hotmail, Yahoo mail or GMail will officially allow you to place an image in the body of your email. The only supported way to send an image using these services is as an attachment.

Another approach that works in many email programs is to copy/paste the image into your email.

The process works like this:

  • Open the image you want to use in an image editor or viewer like Microsoft Paint.

  • Use that editor's Select All function to select the entire image. In many programs, typing CTRL+A will do this.

  • Use that editors Edit, Copy command to copy the image to the clipboard or type CTRL+C.

  • Switch to your email program, where you are composing a new email. Click in the body of the email and type CTRL+V or use the program's Edit, Paste function.

  • If your email program supports it, the picture should appear in the body of the email.

This approach actually works in most machine-based email programs like Outlook Express, Outlook, Thunderbird and the like. In fact it's the technique I use most often.

I have heard reports that this technique may sometimes work with web-based email services, but I could not get it to work in my experiments.

There's one last approach that works in a few email programs, but not most, and that is to hand-edit the HTML.

If your email program allows you to edit the HTML that is used "behind the scenes" to send rich formatted email, you can:

  • Put your image on a photo sharing website

  • Pull in that image with some simple HTML in your email.

Here's an example of some HTML that does exactly that:

Here's the new <a href="http://ask-leo.com">Ask Leo!</a> logo:<br />
<img src="http://img.askleomedia.com/askleonew.png" />

which, when displayed in an email would look like this:

Here's the new Ask Leo! logo:
image

You can see that the "img" tag is referencing a specific image file from another site on the internet. Remember that the image must be publicly visible on the internet. If it's on a local machine that can't be seen from anywhere on the internet this will not work.

A couple of important caveats:

Realize that even if you are successful, the recipient may still not see the image, or see it where you placed it. Some email programs display embedded images as attachments. Some don't display them at all until or unless your recipient requests it - and they typically do not. (Because of privacy concerns surrounding viewing remote images, many people are reluctant to turn on image viewing in email unless they're absolutely certain it's safe.)

Make sure that the image is an appropriate size for the email. Huge images will cause the email to display oddly and slowly. Take the time to resize your images so that they're appropriate for the context of the email.

Consider whether it's really worth the hassle. As I mentioned before, plain text email, even with attachments, is often preferable for deliverability and other reasons.

Article C3421 - June 20, 2008 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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37 Comments
peter
June 20, 2008 10:03 PM

Nice lesson leo and i want to add that you can resize your images by a specialist program on your pc (and there is a lot of these program) or you can resize your image online too , and there is many uploading websites offer that service free such as imageshack.us (and many more).
http://www.fosdir.com

Deborah Houston
June 24, 2008 9:23 AM

In Outlook 2007 you would go to the insert tab and insert the picture or signature you want to use and this will embed the object into the email.

Ron Barker
June 24, 2008 10:23 AM

I received an email the other day with moving images in it. I have been trying to work out how it is done with no success. If right click the shortcut menu shows a link to source where there some sort of program that has been written. That does not take me any further. I have tried copying the images. That works but the images are no longer moving images.

Ray Glover
June 24, 2008 10:42 AM

Hi Leo!
I hesitate to ask, but may you have missed the easiest way for most people who are using Outlook Express/Windows Mail: place cursor in body of New Message window where you want pic to appear.Click Insert, then Picture, (which will be active if you are writing in any non-plain text), and browse to the pic. And in case you put the email into Drafts, don't move the pic before you actually Send or you'll get a Pictures Not Found warning.
Thanks for great articles every week! I'm just about getting over my No-Leo on Saturday morning withdrawal symptoms and adjusting to Tuesdays!

Doug Hagan
June 24, 2008 11:49 AM

Pub is also a quick way to reduce the size of a pic so it can be inserted directly into the body of an email. We use Eudora (sigh, no longer supported, of course) and after we get the Pub pic to the size we want, we merely copy the pic frame in Pub and paste it.

Cheers!

Richard Gomez:
June 24, 2008 5:06 PM

I do not think I understand all the references about "Rich Text" etc. So, hoping that I understood the question, my response is :
1) Make sure the photo is in your computer and accessible
2) In the email which you wish to insert the photo, just click the mouse where you want the photo to be placed.
3) Click your mouse on the "Insert" command above
4) Choose Picture from the drop down box.
5) Click "Browse" and navigate to the photo in the new drop-down box and click it. and click "Open" in th same box.
6) This brings you back to the Picture box with the file in the Picture Source box.

7) Click the box "OK" and the photo will appear in the text of the email.

(I hope Im have not wasted anyone's time!

Cheers!

Richard Gomez
June 24, 2008 5:09 PM

I refer to the email I just sent and advise that I had left out the information on my programs. I use XP Home and Outlook Express 6

Cheers!

Leo
June 25, 2008 9:30 AM

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

Ron Barker: re "moving images":

Google the term "animated GIF" - they're specially formatted
GIF files. Typically it takes tools with animation support
to create them.

You can't "copy" them out of a mailer. Try right clicking
and then "save as" if your mailer support that. The result
needs to be a .gif file. And of course not all image display
programs support animation either. (Sigh. :-)

Leo


-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)

iD8DBQFIYnKPCMEe9B/8oqERAm7SAJ9/e0mDyT2TbyE34kV7hMHg1hro9wCeOdjx
L86oQ4J2DW2pvan4hFQHEQk=
=nhGi
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

Annie Mungai
June 25, 2008 7:49 PM

Thanks for providing some answers related to the hair-pulling subject of embedding images into e-mail. Pity that the copy/paste functions for Google mail and Yahoo! mail are so restrictive that they will kick you out of those programs for attempting to paste images or non-HTML text!

Your response(s) didn't include one that I discovered on Outlook Express: you can create a New Message using a pre-formatted image if you have the page holding the image saved as "stationery."

Bill Nelson
June 26, 2008 1:05 AM

I've had several folks ask me how I can forward one or two pictures from a group of embedded pictures in an email. I find this useful when I find a single picture I like and the others are inappropriate. First, I hit the "Forward" button, then make some simple change (like removing the header) and close, telling it I want to save the forward. That moves it to the "Drafts" folder. From there, you can select a picture in the forwarded mail and it will assign a temporary name. You then rename the picture if you want, and save it to a drive folder. Just follow Leo's directions to include it in an email by browsing to it and pasting it in. Without using this procedure, you typically get a "Picture not found" error. (I use "Outlook Express 6")

delivrance
May 17, 2009 6:43 AM

I like to know how did you put pictures and video in emil and myspace

Terence
July 13, 2009 6:06 AM

I want to send to send text comprising 14 (A4) pages and six photos via one email to Europe. Is it better to make the text the body of the email with photo attachments or, with brief explanatory email, make both text and photos attachments? Also how do I attached several items to a single email. Sorry,Yes, I'm a elderly computer novice.
Many thanks for your excellent service

Usman
July 29, 2009 4:30 PM

Hi...I tried that HTML thing using your code & all that It DIDN'T WORKED AT ALL !
Kindly tell how to do this ???

Frank O'Connor
August 21, 2009 2:32 AM

Placing a pictue in the body of an email

I was given this challenge at work the other day. They use XP office with outlook. Outlook would not let them copy and paste an image into the body of the email. That is when they called upon me to solve the problem for them. In my research I found that Yahoo, hotmail, and outlook was not that easy to solve. The other challenge I had was to find a simple method for them to follow. Using rich text and HTML codes was out of the question. I found out that the easiest way was to use MS word 2003. Really simple and easy for anyonw to fllow.

Open word, Create your letter, go to INSERT. then PICTURE, Look for your picture to insert then resize it. Then go to FILE,then SEND TO then MAIL RECIPENT, and finnally SEND A COPY.or click on the email Icon.

Do not forget to include the recipents email address in the TO box.

Frank

Mike
November 10, 2009 9:29 AM

Current AOL versions allow for easy placement of pictures in the body of emails.
You also have several size and placement options, and even the option of captions.
It is incredibly easy and slick. Kudos to AOL.

May
November 18, 2009 7:48 AM

I have tried to follow your steps to embed an imag in my yahoo email, but it did not work.
Any other suggestions?

Many thanks
May

mistersaly
December 19, 2009 2:30 PM

The easy way to add or insert pictures into an email body without using attachments.
Try to use Gmail mail from GOGGLE.
You will be able to do easily.

Jorge Driottez (El Salvador)
January 3, 2010 12:42 AM

just attach the pic you want to see as usual, next, copy the same image from your computer and paste it on the body text clicking ctrl+ v,nothing happen but dont worried (work on text enriched or html, doesnt matter, if you switch to html you will see the script you pasted do it just to make sure it is pasted that´s it) send to everyone including you and you´ll see.open the mail and "voila".

scaffle
January 7, 2010 10:18 AM

the hints work but to simplify this for people without html knowledge here goes. anyone with other questions can email me at [email address removed].

open notepad and paste this there;




NOTE THAT THE IMAGE MUST BE ON THE WEB. eg. photobucket.

then click file, save as, and save it as whatever.html

then find "whatever.html" and open it in your web browser. click once on the image in your web browser, hold ctrl or control and press "A" (that should select everything on the page) now hold crtl or control again and press "C" then go to the email click in the body and hold ctrl or control and press "V".

this is rather fools proof. glad i could help

Charles
January 19, 2010 1:39 PM

There's a new (free) utility that makes putting pictures into the body of web-based emails really easy. It's called PicturePaste.com and works with most web-based email, and just about all web-based rich text editors, including Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail

wayne
January 23, 2010 4:50 PM

I found that Picnik.com was a very simple way, at least for Yahoo mail. A big bonus, for me was that you could edit/crop photos online, then copy and paste in the body of Yahoo mail (and they were not postage stamp size!)

Simon Goode
January 24, 2010 9:20 AM

My problem is how to send an email WITHOUT the picture in the body of the text? I have used Windows Live Mail for over a year with no serious issues. Only frustration is with attachments, particularly photos. Can't find a way of ensuring they are NOT featured full sized within the body of the text. I just want them as attachments. Have been on countless forums (fora?), sent help enquiries to MS, but to date have not had a satisfactory answer, admittedly not recently. Anyone able to help?

Judy Hines
February 18, 2010 5:25 PM

I use Vista and Outlook and figured out how to embed a photo in the message body of an Outlook Email. Not an attachment!

Copy the picture into a word document. Then copy the picture from the word document into the body of your email and you have it!

No one on the web put forth this easy solution. I deserve a pat on the back.

Fenix
April 20, 2010 11:26 AM

YES! Everyone... get PICTUREPASTE! Though some of these tips may work, I've personally found PicturePaste to be very easy to use with success. Copied my image from
my folder, dragged it in the (free) program window, pressed 'convert' to the type of image file and dragged it into my MSN email message. COMPLETE!

SONDRA BAUERNFEIND
April 28, 2010 9:46 AM

This article is helpful, but doesn't answer my question. I am using COMPOSE mode of the Email to make posters for print and Email. How do I put the illustration or picture in the proper space on the poster for printing and Emailing?

econjack
July 9, 2010 7:30 AM

For Yahoo mail, just right-click on the photo you want to copy and a menu will appear. Click on "Copy". Then go to New and start your email. Place the cursor in the text box and right-click again and select "Paste". The picture will be inserted into the body of your email and not as an attachment. This assumes your email is in RTF mode, not text mode.

Colm
August 12, 2010 4:34 PM

I use GMAIL and have found by dragging a photo from the screen to the email tab, which then opens your composed email, you can then drop your photo here. Have found it only works if you have some existing text already in the composed email, but this can be deleted or changed just after.

M W
November 18, 2010 3:10 PM

The proposed method for inserting a picture in Yahoo mail does not work. This can only maybe done in the paid-for version Yahoo!Plus

Sayed muzafir ali
January 23, 2011 11:39 PM

I don'n understand about drop My photo in my email.

GeorgeB
February 8, 2011 6:01 AM

With Yahoo mail: You can do the copy-and-paste thing if you copy a picture from an HTML document (imbedded already). I use it all the time...but otherwise, trying to insert from you "pictures" connot be done!

Gayle
March 30, 2011 1:28 PM

I've already tried all these things but it's nice to know I'm on the right track.

SIDDHARTHA SIRCAR
August 25, 2011 9:08 AM

YOUR SECOND OPTION OF OPENING THE .jpg FILE WITH PAINT AND THEN PASTING IT ONTO THE MAIL WORKS PERFECTLY.

THANKS A TON FOR THE METHOD.\

SIDDHARTHA SIRCAR

Mikey
September 20, 2011 2:35 PM

I can put images in the e-mail OK, but they're not "really" there at the receiver's end. I'm trying to send an e-mail in Thunderbird 6.0.2 with Excel 2010 graphs embedded in them. I start a Rich Text e-mail, write some stuff, then copy and paste the graphs. Everything works OK, until my recipient tries to print the e-mail, at which time everything prints except the images. Checking the message in my Sent folder, everything looks fine, and I can print everything OK. But if I right-click and Copy an image and try to paste it in (e.g.) a Word document, I can't paste the image. The only Paste option that does anything is paste Text Only, and I see something like: mailbox:///E|/Mozilla/Thunderbird/Profiles/5e419xja.default/Mail/Local%20Folders/Sent?number=59932026&part=1.2.2&filename=fjbfjjac.png where the image should be. It looks like what's in-line isn't really an image, but something that looks like one, and incidentally refers to the TBird files for the "real" image. How can I paste a fully-usable image? For now, I paste the images into a Word document and send that as an attachment.

Digital Artist
December 19, 2011 2:48 PM

One of these days this is going to be simple. Already is pretty simple in Gmail, but the support is 'third party". Google "how to insert a picture into gmail" for clear instructions. To insert a picture into Yahoo mail, I open my gmail account, compose the email with picture(s) inserted, and send it to my Yahoo mail address. Then I forward the message from my Yahoo inbox. That's the best I can do with Yahoo mail. Of course, I really just send the email straight from Gmail, but if it must come from yahoo mail, that is one way.

Luis I. Mtz
April 25, 2012 9:18 PM

I'm aware that there must be a way to embed images in the body of email, since I often receive emails with images embedded.

Doug
May 16, 2012 5:44 AM

It's easy.
1. Open Internet Explorer
2. Click "file" "open" then brouse for your photo and select it.
3. Explorer will open photo in explorer.
4. Then right click copy then paste in the body of your email.

Myxtyplx
July 10, 2012 10:16 AM

USE INCREDIMAIL ! It is the most graphic friendly email there is, free and pay versions, IMHO.

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