Apple Mail Attachments

I was reading an article today where someone mentioned that they use a plugin for Apple Mail that makes all attachments to fully display as opposed to a clickable icon. There comment was that people not using the Mail app did not know what to do with the inline icon attachments. This got me to thinking about Attachments in Apple Mail.


Mail Attachments

The default setting for Apple Mail in El Capitan is kind of weird. For years the Mail app displayed all attachments as inline icons. But, Apple sort of listened to people’s complaints and have changed attachment behavior somewhat. Now, if you attach a photo or PDF doc Apple Mail seems to just show the whole document in the email, inline, like so:

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Some documents like Word and Excel docs it shows just an icon. Often times people on the other end do not know what to do with this icon. Other times with photos and PDF docs it places them in full display mode. How do you work with these two defaults? Here is what I think Apple Mail is doing. When I place a PDF with just text it shows it as an icon. When I place a PDF with graphics in it then Mail shows the whole document as if it was a photo. So, it seems Mail detects heavy graphics and/or photos and places the full display document in your email no matter what program originated the document. However, if it detects that the document is primarily text based (Word Doc, Excel Doc, PDF Doc) it places it as an icon like so:

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It would be nice if there was a setting to decide which way you would like to place attachments, full sized or icon mode. In the old days we used a Mail plugin called Attachment Tamer which let you choose how to insert attachments, but Attachment Tamer is no more, unfortunately. Well, there is a work around of sorts. If you wish to turn that inline attachment into an icon just right-click on it and select “View As Icon”:

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And you end up with an icon in your email:

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However, the problem arises if you wish to make that icon into full display mode. As far as I can tell there is no way to do this. I have read about a Mail plugin called the Anti Inline Plugin. It works with Yosemite, but I am not sure it works with El Capitan or not. Other than that, maybe some one will revive or make some like Attachment Tamer, it was a neat little plugin. I just think they could not keep up with all the updates to Apple Mail so stopped supporting it.

One more thing. I sent an email with a photo and an email with an icon file to my Windows 10 install. When I opened the photo email in Thunderbird in Windows 10 it looked the same as Mail:

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Nothing was different. When I opened the email with the file icon it looked the same as Mail also:

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Except Thunderbird puts the file attachment at the bottom of the email. Keep in mind that I always check the setting to “Send Windows Friendly Attachments”, this may help some.

Double one more thing. I think it is helpful to check the setting in Mail to put the attachments at the bottom of the page, especially if you are using icon style attachments. You can turn that feature on in the “Edit” menu:



As you can see I am still working with the Apple Mail client and doing pretty well with it. Hopefully this attachment info will aid you in creating more efficient, readable emails. I think the best rule of thumb is try to do what is best for the person receiving the email.