How to save a picture or other attachment from an e-mail

Updated: 05/19/2017 by Computer Hope

EmailWhen a picture or some other file is sent over e-mail, it is done so as an attachment. Most e-mail programs, both online and off, display any attachment separate from the actual message. To view and save the attached picture or file, you may need to open or download it. The following sections detail the steps necessary to save attachments in multiple programs.

Tip: After saving the attached file to your computer, you can double-click the file to open and view it.

Internet e-mail

Most webmail services such as Gmail, (formerly Hotmail and Live Mail), and Yahoo! Mail, have a very similar process when it comes to saving images and file attachments.

  1. Login to your e-mail account using your preferred Internet browser and open the e-mail containing the content you want to save.
  2. Move your mouse over the attachment (but don't click yet). A down arrow should appear similar to those shown in the image below.

Email attachments in various webmail services

  1. Once the down arrow appears, click it and select Download or Save to my computer.
  2. You should see the download appear in the lower left-hand corner of your browser window.
  3. Click the download; it should open with the appropriate program.
  4. Save the download to your desired location.

Tip: If you're having trouble finding the attachment you've just saved, check out our page on where files go then they are downloaded.

Thunderbird logoMozilla Thunderbird

  1. Open the e-mail with the attached picture.
  2. Right-click on the picture or the icon of the picture file and choose Save As or Save Image.
  3. Specify the location to which you want to save the file. You may also change the file name at this point.

Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook LogoIn newer versions of Outlook such as Outlook 2010: if the image is attached as a separate file instead of being pasted into the message body, you can right-click on the file attachment and select Save As. You can then save the file to anywhere on your computer. If there are multiple attachments in the email, you can also select the Save All Attachments option.

In older versions of Outlook before Outlook 2007, there is no 'Right-click to save' option like the others. However, there are a few workarounds you can use to save your e-mail images and files. Keep in mind, you may have to try more than one option depending on your version of Outlook.

  1. Open the e-mail message and under the Message tab, select Other Actions, then View in Browser. This method allows you to save your attachments the same way you would with Internet e-mail (listed above).
  2. You can copy an image to the clipboard and paste it into photo editing software, such as Paint or Photoshop. Once the image has been pasted, you may save it by opening the File menu, then choosing Save or Save As.
  3. Open the e-mail message and save it as an HTML file by clicking File on the top left-hand corner, then selecting Save As from the drop-down menu and selecting the format Web page. This method saves all the embedded pictures in one folder making it useful when you want to download multiple images from the same message.

E-mail on iPad or iPhone

If you are viewing e-mail on an iPad or iPhone and want to save an attachment from your e-mail messages, follow the steps below.

  1. Open the e-mail message.
  2. Tap on the photo in the e-mail to view the photo fullscreen.
  3. Tap and hold your finger down on the image.
  4. In the menu that appears, select Save Image.

Note: Images saved using this process should be accessible in the photo album on your device.