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How to Insert an Image Inline in Gmail

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You can describe the look on your friend's face as she got your birthday present with words and paragraphs on end, but wouldn't it be nice to show a picture, too?

Now that you have the image attached in Gmail, wouldn't it be even nicer to put that picture right in the body of your email alongside the imaginative description?

Insert an Image Inline in Gmail

To add an inline image to an email you are composing in Gmail:

  • Make sure rich text editing is turned on in the Gmail message you are composing and Insert images is enabled.
    • Click the More options down-pointing filled triangle in Gmail's composition window.
    • Make sure Plain text mode is not checked. (If it is, click it in the menu.)
    • See below for turning on image insertion.
  • Drag and drop the image from its folder to the desired position in the message.
    • In most browsers (such as Google Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox), you can also paste the image at the desired location in the email from the clipboard using Control-V (Windows, Linux) or Command-V (Mac).

To use an image you found on the web, or to upload from your computer if dragging and dropping does not work:

  • Position the text cursor where you want the image to appear.
  • Hover the mouse cursor over the Attach files icon in the message composition window.
  • Click the Insert photos icon.
  • To upload an image from your computer:
    • Make sure My Computer is selected.
    • Click Choose File and open the desired graphic.
    • You can click Choose File again to add another image while others are already uploading in the background.
    • Make sure the desired image is highlighted.
  • To use an image located on the web:
    • Make sure Web address (URL) is selected.
    • Enter the image's URL under Image URL.
  • Click OK.

Images you have uploaded from your computer remain available in the Insert Image dialog while you compose the message (but not for other emails).

After insertion, you can resize and move images easily.

Insert an Image Inline in Gmail Using "Old Compose"

To insert an image using Gmail's old composition screen:

  • Make sure Insert images is enabled. (See below.)
  • Drag and drop the image in place.
  • If dragging and dropping does not work, or to insert an image from the web:
    • Position the text cursor where you want the image to appear.
    • Click the Insert Image button in the message's formatting toolbar.
    • To upload an image from your computer:
      • Make sure My Computer is selected.
      • Click Choose File and open the desired graphic.
      • You can click Choose File again to add another image while others are already uploading in the background.
      • Make sure the desired image is highlighted.
    • To use an image located on the web:
      • Make sure Web address (URL) is selected.
      • Enter the image's URL under Image URL.
    • Click Add Image.

Enable Image Insertion in Gmail

To turn on Gmail's Insert Image button:

  • Follow the Settings link in Gmail.
  • Go to the Labs tab.
  • Make sure Enable is selected for Inserting images.
  • Click Save Changes.

Insert an Image Inline in Gmail Without Insert images Enabled

To insert an image found on the web fast in any Gmail message:

  • Make sure the image is located at a web server.
    • That means you can open the image in your browser and have an address line that starts with "http".
    • You can upload the image to your web host or use a graphic you found on the web (which you can use without violating any terms).
    • If you don't have a web site, turn to a free image hosting service instead.
    • If the image is larger than some 640x640 pixels, consider shrinking it to more handy proportions before you put it online.
  • Locate the image on the web site or open it directly in your browser.
    • If the image appears on a page together with other items:
    • Click on the image with the right mouse button.
    • Select View Image from the menu.
  • Hit Ctrl-A (Windows, Linux) or Command-A to highlight the image.
  • Hit Ctrl-C (Windows, Linux) or Command-C.
  • Make sure rich text editing is turned on in the Gmail message you are composing.
    • If you can see a Rich formatting » link above the editing area, click it.
  • Position the cursor in the Gmail message where you want the image to appear.
  • Hit Ctrl-V (Windows, Linux) or Command-V.
  • If you use an image uploaded to a free image hosting service:
    • Click on the image.
    • Now click the Link button in the rich-text formatting toolbar.
    • Copy and paste the image's page address at the free image hosting service under To what URL should this link go?. If you uploaded the image to ImageShack, for example, you could link to "http://img.imageshack.us/my.php?image=example.jpg".
    • Click OK.
  • Continue composing the message.

If inserting an inline image does not work in your browser, try in Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

(Updated September 2011)

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