Message to attach a file in Gmail

I’m currently living inside Gmail for all email as a problem with my ISP settings is giving Outlook some headaches and it can’t send/receive email for the moment.

I clicked Send on an email to a client this morning, and up cropped the above message. Yes, I had indeed talked about attaching a file and not actually attached it. Hardly the first time for me 🙂 But that’s the first time an email client has stepped in to help. The feature may have been around for years for all I know, I normally send attachments via Outlook.

Today, by simply having a trigger that checks the content of an an email and if it includes the words ‘find attached’ then the email should also have a file attached, Gmail saved my butt from another ‘Yikes, did I forget to attach the file…?’ moment.

Usability isn’t just about going ‘oo’ and ‘ah’ over a more intuitive interface with touches and swipes or a beautiful design that makes you stop and stare. It’s about technology being a help rather than a hindrance, often in ways you don’t (need to) know about until the right time or situation occurs.

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Join the conversation! 4 Comments

  1. Yeah, Gmail’s had that feature for quite some time – like many features, it started out in Labs and enough people loved it that it got moved to the main product. For Labs, click the little green flask icon at the top right of the Gmail screen. Lots of fun stuff in there, anything from extra emoticons to Google Docs integration.

    Mozilla Thunderbird also has the attachment reminder, with a customisable list of keywords – it automatically has variations of “attached”, “enclosed”, “CV” and so on, and you can add words to it as well.

  2. Has anyone ever seen this?

    I use it for my Outlook 2010 and it seems to work just fine.

  3. Hi Mary – might have known it was an oldie 🙂 I’ve tinkered with other stuff from Labs but never spotted that one before. It’s a great example of a feature users would never ask for but when someone comes up with the idea, it’s ‘Doh! Why didn’t I ever think of that’ 🙂

  4. Hi Matt – thanks for sharing the link, good to see that something is available for Outlook too. I wish old MS could be quicker at baking some of the simple extras into the core product. Back when I worked there, we had all sorts of extra toys that people coded in their spare time but getting them officially released was no mean feat.

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