How to Email Folders – Tips and Alternatives

We all need to share data. Whether it’s sending files to family and friends or sharing large folders with coworkers across the globe, we’re always looking for quick and reliable ways to do so. But can you email a folder? Some email clients such as Gmail, don’t let you send them as attachments. Others, such as Microsoft Outlook, ask you to compress them first. Let’s take a look at several methods to reduce the size of your folder or even forgo email altogether.

Common scenarios of sending folders by email

It makes more sense to send folders via email instead of files. First of all, it saves you time since you don’t need to attach several items one by one. Secondly, it lets you store your information in a single email thread, making it more convenient to find. Thirdly, you can share your content with several people at the same time. Last but not least, there are more privacy protection options with folders as opposed to individual files.

User tips

What challenges can you encounter when sending a folder and how can you overcome them? Let’s consider some solutions to common issues:

  • Attachment size limits – You can solve this widespread problem by compressing the files or uploading them to cloud services;
  • Lack of collaboration opportunities – You can rely on file synchronization solutions or shared online workspaces for a more dynamic sharing process;
  • Sensitive data and data security – Opt for an encrypted file transfer or encode your folders when archiving them to protect confidential information.

Method 1: Compressing folders

Nowadays, as both individuals and professionals, we’re working with larger and larger amounts of data. So it’s no wonder that the greatest issue with emailing a folder tends to be its size. Different email clients have different restrictions depending on server limits. Microsoft Outlook, as mentioned above, will always ask you to compress your folders first. While with Gmail, you can’t directly upload folders as attachments.

Compressing, or archiving your folder will combine the files it contains into a single item, making it smaller and easier to store and transfer. After that, you can create a New message to attach the zip folder to it. The recipient can then extract the contents of the folder, returning them to their normal size.

Common archive formats have the following extensions: zip, rar, 7z, tar, gz, etc.

Operating systems have native ways to compress files.

On Windows, users need to:


Right-click on a folder


“Send To > Compressed (Zipped) Folder”.

Context menu on Windows

MacOS users need to:


Right-click on a folder


Select “Compress (folder name)”.

Context menu on macOS

The archive will be created in the same location as the original one.

Info:  There are also several third-party solutions such as WinRAR, 7z, WinZip, etc. However, below we describe a solution that not only provides archiving functionality but also various additional options related to file management and security.

Compressing files and folders on Mac using Commander One

This dual-panel file manager offers archiving functionality. Simply follow these steps:


Open Commander One and select your desired folder of documents or other files.

A folder is highlighted in the left pane of the Commander One's window

Choose the built-in “Compress” feature and choose your preferred archive type, for example, .zip or .tar.gz. You can also set up a password.

The "Compress files" popup of the Commander One application is demonstrated

Add the folder as an attachment to your email by dragging and dropping it.

The compressed folder is added as an attachment to an email.

Alternative methods to share folders with others

Apart from the option to zip and email a folder, there are other methods you can use to send large folders. Below we describe how each of them works.

Method 2: Cloud services

This method involves the use of a cloud storage service such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive, and works for big folders. You need to complete the following steps:


Upload your folder to the respective cloud storage service.


Click the “Share” button for the folder and create a shareable link.


Copy and paste the link into an email.


Send the message to the recipient.

Note that you may be required to register and have an account with the cloud storage solution to upload a folder of files. Every service has its encryption for files at rest and in transit, such as the 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).

Method 3: Online file transfer services

Instead of uploading attachments, this method uses internet-based file-sharing services such as It’s used in the following way:


Go to and drag and drop your folder from your computer onto the Upload page. Alternatively, you can click on “Select a folder” within the transfer window itself.

The folder is selected

You can have the link emailed directly or copy and paste it to the recipient. The links are only valid for 7 days.

"Get transfer link" option is matched.

Note that, unless you’re registered, WeTranfer will ask you to verify your email address by sending you a one-time code. Free accounts are limited to 2 GB per transfer. Also, if you want to preserve the structure of your files within your folder, WeTransfer recommends archiving it before uploading. Regardless of whether you do that or not, the recipient will only be able to download the folder as a .zip file.

Method 4: File management apps

Third-party file management apps come with a lot of additional features. They allow you to archive and attach a folder to an email, as well as to make it password-protected. In addition, they can be used in combination with other data transfer methods such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and more. Windows users can benefit from apps like Cloudmounter, Total Commander, FileZilla, etc. For macOS, we’ll take a closer look at such a solution below.

Method 5: Commander One: a versatile solution for Mac

Commander One for Mac is a file management tool that not only conveniently shows all your files in one place but also makes sharing folders straightforward.

Archiving options

Depending on the format, Commander One’s built-in packer offers three different options when you’re dealing with an archive and its contents:

Commander One's archiving abilities are shown.
  1. Extract, create and modify – This option allows you to create and open an archive, as well as copy, move, delete, edit, search, browse, and create new folders directly within an archive. You can also create password-protected archived folders by enabling the encoding feature. This option applies to the following formats:
    .zip, .7z, .txz(.tar.xz), .tlz(.tar.lzma), .tbz(, .tgz(.tar.gz), .tz(.tar.z)
  2. Extract and modify – With this option, you can open and modify an archive but you’re unable to create one. It’s valid for the following formats:
    .ipa, .apk, .jar, .ear, .war, .zipx, .xpi, .tar, .cab, .bz, .bz2, .taz, .z, .gz, .lzma, .xz, .tb, .tb2, .tbz2(.tar.bz2)
  3. Read-only – Here you’re only able to extract the archive and search through its contents without the possibility to create or modify it. It applies to the following:
    .rar, .xip, .xar, .iso, .cab

Integration with online storage services

Connections menu of the Commander One is demonstrated.

The feature that sets Commander One apart is its direct integration with online storage services. Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, OneDrive, pCloud, and MEGA – you can link any service you’re using to directly access its contents via Commander One. That way all your local and cloud files are available in one place. You can also share files and folders by sending links from the cloud services, which is a great alternative to email attachments.


Regardless of folder size or security requirements, our article provides a wide range of methods you can choose from to fulfill your needs. Email attachments work well for smaller-sized folders. Cloud services and specialized file transfer apps, on the other hand, are suited for larger data, offering more options and security. Commander One goes one step further, giving Mac users a symbiosis between local file management and cloud services. Ultimately, the tool combines efficiency and security to make sharing folders over email effortless.

Frequently Asked Questions

Attachments are usually limited to 20-25 GB. It’s best to verify your attachment size before trying to upload or send it to avoid email bouncing. If your compressed folder exceeds this permitted size, you may need to turn to a file-sharing service or split the folder into smaller sub-folders to send separately.

You can select a cloud service such as Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. To easily manage all the storage solutions you’re using, you can use Commander One for macOS.