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How to Include Inline Images in Google Mail

written by: Lamar Stonecypher•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 4/15/2009

If you need a reason to use Gmail instead of Hotmail and other online providers, how about Gmail's new ability to insert images inline in your messages? It's the logical next step for graphically rich email. Follow along as we try it out.

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    It's long been possible to insert images, tables, and charts into Gmail - if you knew HTML and how to copy/paste code into the entry field. That's no longer necessary as Gmail has added the ability to insert images directly inline from inside the editor itself. This is a Google Labs project, so it may change in the future, but it's working now, and it works fine.

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    To enable inline images, start from the Gmail main window and click Settings → Labs. Scroll down and find "Inserting Images." Click the "Enable" button to start the service.

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    Labs Settings 

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    Then click "Save Settings" at the bottom of the page.

    When you go to "Compose" in Gmail, you'll see a new icon in the toolbar that looks like a landscape from a window. (If the toolbar is not showing, click on "Rich formatting” to enable it.)

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    Insert Image 

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    When clicked, a dialog opens offering to browse your PC for the image content or to obtain it from a web address.

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    Add Image 

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    When the image is inserted, you have the option of making it small, medium, large, or the original size. Here's what an inserted image looks like in the text.

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    Inline Image 

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    Inserting images in Gmail is pretty easy, but Gmail's default is not to show images. So if you're sending mail to another Gmail user, they'll need to click "Show images below." It's thus a good idea to mention that your message contains inline images, at least until Gmail users start expecting them.

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    We mentioned earlier that's it's possible to paste in HTML to add various content to Gmail. If you've been doing that in order to have a custom signature block and you're using Firefox, that's gotten easier, too. The answer is "Blank Canvas," a Firefox add-in that automatically injects your HTML signature based on which email address you're using. Don't know HTML? Blank Canvas makes that easy, too. They provide a tutorial and real-time preview of the result when you're editing your signature.

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