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How Do I Put a Picture into the Body of an Email?

Question: I have been wondering for a long time how to put pictures and other things on the face/body of an e-mail. I’m not referring to a separate attachment.
The big problem with attempting to answer this is that the answer is different, depending on what email program you use, and perhaps even dependent on the email provider you might be signed up with. In many cases the pragmatic answer is: you can’t. On top of that, even if you do put your images in the body of your email, there’s no guarantee that your recipients will see them there. But I can at least cover a few of the requirements, and some of the more common methods.

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To begin with, you need to be composing your message in “Rich Text” or HTML format. Plain text emails are, well, plain. They may be smaller, less likely to be flagged as spam, and even just a tad safer, but you can’t use fancy formatting or embed pictures – only attachments will work with plain text. How you make sure you’re composing a rich text message is one of those things that’s completely dependant on what mail program you use. Some examples:
To begin with, you need to be composing your message in ‘Rich Text’ or HTML format.
  • Outlook Express: while composing a message, click on the Format menu item, and then click on Rich Text
  • Thunderbird: if your default format is plain text, hold down the Shift key when clicking on Write to compose a new message in Rich Text.
  • Windows Live Hotmail: the default appears to be rich text.
  • Yahoo Mail: To the right of the subject line is a link that says Rich Text or Plain Text which is the mode to switch to. Thus if it says Plain Text, you are composing in Rich Text.
  • GMail: just above the message body is a link that says Rich Formatting if you want to switch to Rich Text.

As you can see, each is just a little different, and other mail programs may well be even more different.

One thing that most will include when you are composing in Rich Format is a toolbar similar to this one: A common email formatting toolbar This toolbar allows you to control the formatting of your rich text email, setting things like bold, italics, font sizes, links and the like. Some toolbars will actually include an icon specifically for inserting a picture: Insert Picture icon on email toolbar Click on that and you’ll be asked for the location of the picture to be inserted into your email. Indicate the image, perhaps specify a caption, and you’re done: the image is placed into the body of the message you’re composing. Unfortunately, most web based email services don’t seem to support putting images directly into your email. In fact, as I researched the toolbars above I found that neither Hotmail, Yahoo mail or GMail will officially allow you to place an image in the body of your email. The only supported way to send an image using these services is as an attachment.

Another approach that works in many email programs is to copy/paste the image into your email. The process works like this:

  • Open the image you want to use in an image editor or viewer like Microsoft Paint.
  • Use that editor’s Select All function to select the entire image. In many programs, typing CTRL+A will do this.
  • Use that editors Edit, Copy command to copy the image to the clipboard or type CTRL+C.
  • Switch to your email program, where you are composing a new email. Click in the body of the email and type CTRL+V or use the program’s Edit, Paste function.
  • If your email program supports it, the picture should appear in the body of the email.

This approach actually works in most machine-based email programs like Outlook Express, Outlook, Thunderbird and the like. In fact it’s the technique I use most often. I have heard reports that this technique may sometimes work with web-based email services, but I could not get it to work in my experiments.

There’s one last approach that works in a few email programs, but not most, and that is to hand-edit the HTML. If your email program allows you to edit the HTML that is used “behind the scenes” to send rich formatted email, you can:

  • Put your image on a photo sharing website
  • Pull in that image with some simple HTML in your email.

Here’s an example of some HTML that does exactly that:

Here’s the new <a href=””>Ask Leo!</a> logo:<br /> <img src=”” />

which, when displayed in an email would look like this:

Here’s the new Ask Leo! logo: image

You can see that the “img” tag is referencing a specific image file from another site on the internet. Remember that the image must be publicly visible on the internet. If it’s on a local machine that can’t be seen from anywhere on the internet this will not work.

A couple of important caveats: Realize that even if you are successful, the recipient may still not see the image, or see it where you placed it. Some email programs display embedded images as attachments. Some don’t display them at all until or unless your recipient requests it – and they typically do not. (Because of privacy concerns surrounding viewing remote images, many people are reluctant to turn on image viewing in email unless they’re absolutely certain it’s safe.) Make sure that the image is an appropriate size for the email. Huge images will cause the email to display oddly and slowly. Take the time to resize your images so that they’re appropriate for the context of the email. Consider whether it’s really worth the hassle. As I mentioned before, plain text email, even with attachments, is often preferable for deliverability and other reasons.

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56 comments on “How Do I Put a Picture into the Body of an Email?”

  1. Nice lesson leo and i want to add that you can resize your images by a specialist program on your pc (and there is a lot of these program) or you can resize your image online too , and there is many uploading websites offer that service free such as (and many more).

  2. In Outlook 2007 you would go to the insert tab and insert the picture or signature you want to use and this will embed the object into the email.

  3. I received an email the other day with moving images in it. I have been trying to work out how it is done with no success. If right click the shortcut menu shows a link to source where there some sort of program that has been written. That does not take me any further. I have tried copying the images. That works but the images are no longer moving images.

  4. Hi Leo!
    I hesitate to ask, but may you have missed the easiest way for most people who are using Outlook Express/Windows Mail: place cursor in body of New Message window where you want pic to appear.Click Insert, then Picture, (which will be active if you are writing in any non-plain text), and browse to the pic. And in case you put the email into Drafts, don’t move the pic before you actually Send or you’ll get a Pictures Not Found warning.
    Thanks for great articles every week! I’m just about getting over my No-Leo on Saturday morning withdrawal symptoms and adjusting to Tuesdays!

    • Ray, if I may ask, I try to copy/paste for a flyer so can’t use attachments. I tried the “insert” bit and worked only on the pics I had transferred and saved from my phone. The ones I needed from Microsoft Photo didn’t work at all – they only get attached! Any ideas? Thanks a lot.

  5. Pub is also a quick way to reduce the size of a pic so it can be inserted directly into the body of an email. We use Eudora (sigh, no longer supported, of course) and after we get the Pub pic to the size we want, we merely copy the pic frame in Pub and paste it.


  6. I do not think I understand all the references about “Rich Text” etc. So, hoping that I understood the question, my response is :
    1) Make sure the photo is in your computer and accessible
    2) In the email which you wish to insert the photo, just click the mouse where you want the photo to be placed.
    3) Click your mouse on the “Insert” command above
    4) Choose Picture from the drop down box.
    5) Click “Browse” and navigate to the photo in the new drop-down box and click it. and click “Open” in th same box.
    6) This brings you back to the Picture box with the file in the Picture Source box.

    7) Click the box “OK” and the photo will appear in the text of the email.

    (I hope Im have not wasted anyone’s time!


  7. I refer to the email I just sent and advise that I had left out the information on my programs. I use XP Home and Outlook Express 6


    Hash: SHA1

    Ron Barker: re “moving images”:

    Google the term “animated GIF” – they’re specially formatted
    GIF files. Typically it takes tools with animation support
    to create them.

    You can’t “copy” them out of a mailer. Try right clicking
    and then “save as” if your mailer support that. The result
    needs to be a .gif file. And of course not all image display
    programs support animation either. (Sigh. :-)


    Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)


  9. Thanks for providing some answers related to the hair-pulling subject of embedding images into e-mail. Pity that the copy/paste functions for Google mail and Yahoo! mail are so restrictive that they will kick you out of those programs for attempting to paste images or non-HTML text!

    Your response(s) didn’t include one that I discovered on Outlook Express: you can create a New Message using a pre-formatted image if you have the page holding the image saved as “stationery.”

  10. I’ve had several folks ask me how I can forward one or two pictures from a group of embedded pictures in an email. I find this useful when I find a single picture I like and the others are inappropriate. First, I hit the “Forward” button, then make some simple change (like removing the header) and close, telling it I want to save the forward. That moves it to the “Drafts” folder. From there, you can select a picture in the forwarded mail and it will assign a temporary name. You then rename the picture if you want, and save it to a drive folder. Just follow Leo’s directions to include it in an email by browsing to it and pasting it in. Without using this procedure, you typically get a “Picture not found” error. (I use “Outlook Express 6”)

  11. I want to send to send text comprising 14 (A4) pages and six photos via one email to Europe. Is it better to make the text the body of the email with photo attachments or, with brief explanatory email, make both text and photos attachments? Also how do I attached several items to a single email. Sorry,Yes, I’m a elderly computer novice.
    Many thanks for your excellent service

  12. Placing a pictue in the body of an email

    I was given this challenge at work the other day. They use XP office with outlook. Outlook would not let them copy and paste an image into the body of the email. That is when they called upon me to solve the problem for them. In my research I found that Yahoo, hotmail, and outlook was not that easy to solve. The other challenge I had was to find a simple method for them to follow. Using rich text and HTML codes was out of the question. I found out that the easiest way was to use MS word 2003. Really simple and easy for anyonw to fllow.

    Open word, Create your letter, go to INSERT. then PICTURE, Look for your picture to insert then resize it. Then go to FILE,then SEND TO then MAIL RECIPENT, and finnally SEND A COPY.or click on the email Icon.

    Do not forget to include the recipents email address in the TO box.


  13. Current AOL versions allow for easy placement of pictures in the body of emails.
    You also have several size and placement options, and even the option of captions.
    It is incredibly easy and slick. Kudos to AOL.

  14. The easy way to add or insert pictures into an email body without using attachments.
    Try to use Gmail mail from GOGGLE.
    You will be able to do easily.

  15. just attach the pic you want to see as usual, next, copy the same image from your computer and paste it on the body text clicking ctrl+ v,nothing happen but dont worried (work on text enriched or html, doesnt matter, if you switch to html you will see the script you pasted do it just to make sure it is pasted that

  16. the hints work but to simplify this for people without html knowledge here goes. anyone with other questions can email me at [email address removed].

    open notepad and paste this there;

    NOTE THAT THE IMAGE MUST BE ON THE WEB. eg. photobucket.

    then click file, save as, and save it as whatever.html

    then find “whatever.html” and open it in your web browser. click once on the image in your web browser, hold ctrl or control and press “A” (that should select everything on the page) now hold crtl or control again and press “C” then go to the email click in the body and hold ctrl or control and press “V”.

    this is rather fools proof. glad i could help

  17. There’s a new (free) utility that makes putting pictures into the body of web-based emails really easy. It’s called and works with most web-based email, and just about all web-based rich text editors, including Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail

  18. I found that was a very simple way, at least for Yahoo mail. A big bonus, for me was that you could edit/crop photos online, then copy and paste in the body of Yahoo mail (and they were not postage stamp size!)

  19. My problem is how to send an email WITHOUT the picture in the body of the text? I have used Windows Live Mail for over a year with no serious issues. Only frustration is with attachments, particularly photos. Can’t find a way of ensuring they are NOT featured full sized within the body of the text. I just want them as attachments. Have been on countless forums (fora?), sent help enquiries to MS, but to date have not had a satisfactory answer, admittedly not recently. Anyone able to help?

  20. I use Vista and Outlook and figured out how to embed a photo in the message body of an Outlook Email. Not an attachment!

    Copy the picture into a word document. Then copy the picture from the word document into the body of your email and you have it!

    No one on the web put forth this easy solution. I deserve a pat on the back.

  21. YES! Everyone… get PICTUREPASTE! Though some of these tips may work, I’ve personally found PicturePaste to be very easy to use with success. Copied my image from
    my folder, dragged it in the (free) program window, pressed ‘convert’ to the type of image file and dragged it into my MSN email message. COMPLETE!

  22. This article is helpful, but doesn’t answer my question. I am using COMPOSE mode of the Email to make posters for print and Email. How do I put the illustration or picture in the proper space on the poster for printing and Emailing?

  23. For Yahoo mail, just right-click on the photo you want to copy and a menu will appear. Click on “Copy”. Then go to New and start your email. Place the cursor in the text box and right-click again and select “Paste”. The picture will be inserted into the body of your email and not as an attachment. This assumes your email is in RTF mode, not text mode.

  24. I use GMAIL and have found by dragging a photo from the screen to the email tab, which then opens your composed email, you can then drop your photo here. Have found it only works if you have some existing text already in the composed email, but this can be deleted or changed just after.

  25. With Yahoo mail: You can do the copy-and-paste thing if you copy a picture from an HTML document (imbedded already). I use it all the time…but otherwise, trying to insert from you “pictures” connot be done!




  27. I can put images in the e-mail OK, but they’re not “really” there at the receiver’s end. I’m trying to send an e-mail in Thunderbird 6.0.2 with Excel 2010 graphs embedded in them. I start a Rich Text e-mail, write some stuff, then copy and paste the graphs. Everything works OK, until my recipient tries to print the e-mail, at which time everything prints except the images. Checking the message in my Sent folder, everything looks fine, and I can print everything OK. But if I right-click and Copy an image and try to paste it in (e.g.) a Word document, I can’t paste the image. The only Paste option that does anything is paste Text Only, and I see something like: mailbox:///E|/Mozilla/Thunderbird/Profiles/5e419xja.default/Mail/Local%20Folders/Sent?number=59932026&part=1.2.2&filename=fjbfjjac.png where the image should be. It looks like what’s in-line isn’t really an image, but something that looks like one, and incidentally refers to the TBird files for the “real” image. How can I paste a fully-usable image? For now, I paste the images into a Word document and send that as an attachment.

  28. One of these days this is going to be simple. Already is pretty simple in Gmail, but the support is ‘third party”. Google “how to insert a picture into gmail” for clear instructions. To insert a picture into Yahoo mail, I open my gmail account, compose the email with picture(s) inserted, and send it to my Yahoo mail address. Then I forward the message from my Yahoo inbox. That’s the best I can do with Yahoo mail. Of course, I really just send the email straight from Gmail, but if it must come from yahoo mail, that is one way.

  29. I’m aware that there must be a way to embed images in the body of email, since I often receive emails with images embedded.

  30. It’s easy.
    1. Open Internet Explorer
    2. Click “file” “open” then brouse for your photo and select it.
    3. Explorer will open photo in explorer.
    4. Then right click copy then paste in the body of your email.

  31. Embedding a picture in yahoo mail seems to require using a hosting service, which means you are actually posting a html reference to the picture and not the actual jpeg or gif file itself. But there is one way to embed a picture that you have on your computer without using a hosting service, and it’s the simplest method of all. Simply copy the picture into OneNote, and you can then copy / paste it in your email with no problem, and everybody you send it to will be able to view it because it will actually be part of the email.

  32. Hi Leo

    I have get the problem of email body image that is in a html format .All the images shown in my mail but only LOGO image dosen’t appeared in iphone mail .Except that for most of the emails programe and devices the mail is showing properly
    it is properly shown on android phone and gmail and other email program.

  33. I can insert images into the body of an email but I cannot position text accurately in relation to that image.

    Sometimes, when I place text underneath the image it appears to the right of the image when the recipient opens his email.

    Sometimes I place image B below image A, but when the recipient opens the email image B is alongside, (to the right of) image A.

    How can I make sure that the page, (with images and text) is transmitted, and received, in exactly the same layout in which I composed it?

    I use windows live mail.

    • The article you are commenting on explains hot to add a picture in various programs and web interfaces. So no, it’s not impossible.

  34. Not adding to the discussion, but guaranteed a remark to make those who want to insert a photo to “send” into the text, but have been muddling about with no success , trying to find the How. The ease and simplicity of Leo’s text was like the high point of my day! Wonderful. My lack of success in conquering this step might be iimipaired by my 82 years of age, and these shakey hands that Parkinson’s imparts, so hitting the proper letters on the keypad is often very close to imossible. Thank you very much.lmost impossible.


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