Screenshot of Gmail

Now that you've created a Gmail account, you can start sending email messages. Writing an email can be as simple as typing a message, or you can use text formatting, attachments, and a signature to customize your message.

In this lesson, we'll show you how to compose an email, add an attachment, and create a signature that will appear on all of the messages you send.

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Sending email

Launch "Sending Email with Gmail" video!

When you write an email, you'll be using the compose window. This is where you'll add the email address of the recipient(s), the subject, and the body of the email, which is the message itself. You'll also be able to add various types of text formatting, as well as one or more attachments. If you want, you can even create a signature that will be added to the end of every email you send.

Watch the video to learn how to compose and send an email.

The compose window

Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn about the different parts of the compose window.

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To send an email:

  1. In the left menu pane, click the Compose button.
    Screenshot of Gmail

  2. The compose window will appear in the lower-right corner of the page.

    Screenshot of Gmail

  3. You'll need to add one or more recipients to the To: field. There are two ways to do this:
    • Type one or more email addresses, separated by commas.

      Screenshot of Gmail

    • Click To to select recipients from your contacts, then click Select.

      Screenshot of Gmail

  4. Type a Subject for the message.
  5. In the Body field, type your message. When you're done, click Send.

    Screenshot of Gmail

If the person you are emailing is already one of your contacts, you can start typing that person's first name, last name, or email address, and Gmail will display the contact below the To: field. You can then press the Enter key to add the person to the To field.

Screenshot of Gmail

Adding attachments

An attachment is simply a file (such as an image or document) that is sent along with your email. For example, if you are applying for a job, you might send your resume as an attachment, with the body of the email being the cover letter. It's a good idea to include a message in the body of your email explaining what the attachment is, especially if the recipient isn't expecting an attachment.

Remember to attach your file before you click Send. Forgetting to attach a file is a surprisingly common mistake.

To add an attachment:

  1. While composing an email, click the paperclip icon at the bottom of the compose window.

    Screenshot of Gmail

  2. The File Upload dialog box will appear. Choose the file you want to attach, then click Open.

    Screenshot of Gmail

  3. The attachment will begin to upload. Most attachments will upload within a few seconds, but larger ones can take longer.

    Screenshot of Gmail

  4. When you're ready to send your email, click Send.

You can click Send before the attachment finishes uploading. It will continue to upload, and Gmail will automatically send the email once it's done.

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Email formatting

Gmail allows you to add various types of formatting to your text.

  • Click the Formatting button at the bottom of the compose window to see different formatting options.

Screenshot of Gmail

Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn about different formatting options in Gmail.


For more serious emails, such as job applications, you should be careful not to add formatting that would seem too informal, such as bright colors or emoticons.

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Adding a signature

A signature is an optional block of text that appears after every email you send. By default, Gmail does not include a signature, but it's easy to create one. It will typically include your name and some contact information, like your phone number or email address. If you're using Gmail at work, you may want to include your title and your company's address or website.

  1. Click the gear icon in the top-right corner of the page, and select Settings.
    Screenshot of Gmail

  2. Scroll down until you see the Signature section.
  3. Type your desired signature in the box. You can also change the font, add other formatting, or insert an image if you want.

    Screenshot of Gmail

  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Save Changes.

    Screenshot of Gmail

You should keep your signature brief. Instead of listing all of the phone numbers, email addresses, and mailing addresses where you can be reached, just list the most important ones.

Keep in mind that your signature will be seen by many different people, so you may not want to include your home address or anything too personal. Even if you only email people you know, someone can still forward your email to someone else, which can reveal your signature to even more people.