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 How big can e-mail attachments be?FAQ ]

E-mail attachments can be of any size--in theory. However, many service providers are configured not to accept e-mail messages above a certain size (usually between 5 and 10 megabytes), and most individuals don't like to receive huge messages that take forever to download over a modem. It can be quite frustrating.

If you know that the recipient of your message is using a modem to retrieve e-mail, don't send anything over a few hundred kilobytes in size--unless that person has agreed to accept a larger file. Even if the recipient gets e-mail over a LAN, sending huge messages can congest traffic on the Internet and use up valuable space on hard-drives.

How long does downloading an attachment take?

To find out how much time will be required to donwload an attachment, divide the size of the attachement(in kilobytes) by the download speed of the recipient's modem. Modem download speeds are listed in the table below.

Modem Speed in kbp?Download Spee?
14.41.5 KB a second
28.83 KB a second
33.63.5 KB a second
x2, K56flex5.5 KB a second

NOTE: These speeds are for reference only. Read more about modem speeds.

For instance, if the recipient has a 33.6 modem, a 4 MB (4000 KB) file will take 19 minutes to download:
4000 KB / 3.5 KB a second = 1143 seconds, or 19 minutes.

How do I find out the size of my file?

The size of a file depends on many things, including the program that created it, and whether it contains pictures, graphs, or special fonts. A typical 5 page Microsoft Word document containing 370 words per page will probably about 40 KB (kilobytes).

To find out the exact size of a file, find the file in Windows Explorer. Click the file name. Click the View menu, then click Details. The size will be beside the file name in the right half of the window.
With Macintosh, click once on the file in the Finder, then click the File menu, then click Get Info.
With Windows 3.11, find the file in the File Manager. Click the file name. Click the View menu, then click All File Details. The size will be shown, in bytes, next to the file name in the right half of the window.

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