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Todd Klindt's home page > Todd Klindt's Office 365 Admin Blog > Posts > Using SharePoint instead of email attachments
February 24
Using SharePoint instead of email attachments

A couple of weeks ago I was reading through a magazine and I saw a review of site that let you upload files instead of sending them via email. Then the site sent your recipient an email and they downloaded it. You've heard the old saying about how when all you've got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Well, I'm a SharePoint guy, so every time I see something I think to myself, "How would I do that in SharePoint?" I'm not very smart, so most of the time I never figure out a way. Fortunately for me this was an easy one. J So here it is, how to use SharePoint as a replacement for email attachments.

For those of you that haven't just fallen off of the SharePoint turnip truck, what I described away is something that bares a striking resemblance to a workflow. I thought the same thing, so that's what I did. First, I created a standard Shared Document library. That's where the attachments will be uploaded. I added a few new columns that I needed to facilitate sending the email. The finished library looked like this:

As you can see I added columns for standard email fields; to, from, subject and a body. Not much to it.

The next step was to create the workflow. Since this isn't one of the out of the box workflows I had to create it in SharePoint Designer. I loaded up SPD and attached it to my site. I started by adding some SharePoint content to my list.

Then pick Blank Workflow

When you define your workflow you'll want to make sure it's triggered when new items are uploaded.

Now we need to define the workflow itself. There's not a lot to this. When starting the workflow we don't even need to define a condition, since adding the document triggers it. We just need to define some Actions. Obviously we want the "Send an Email" action.

I'm not going to show you as I added each and every field. The key to adding the fields is using the "Workflow Lookup…" item to get to the fields of the item. Here's how we define who the email is going to:

Then pick the "To email address" field

Repeat that for each of the fields you want to add. Certainly you can design your email however you'd like. Here's what I did:

That's it. Save it all out and you're finished. Now when you add a document to that library you'll be met with a page like this where you add the pertinent information about who will be getting the email for the attachment.

The resulting email looks like this (actually this was from a different document, but you get the idea)


Well, that's it. Pretty simple, isn't it. Now instead of emailing around large files, you can use this method to upload them to SharePoint and keep them out of your email quota. For extra credit you might find a way to get documents to be cleared out after two or three days.

Hope that helps, or maybe churns up an idea on how to use SharePoint for other less obvious things.





Nifty idea

Cool idea Tood - bookmarked for future use....

- Dan
 on 2/26/2009 10:49 AM

Sending External Mail

We are looking to send documents as attachment directly from sharePoint.  Internally we send links but do you have a way of sending documents as attachment directly fro SP?

 on 7/8/2009 3:32 PM

Re: Sending External Mail

Hey Jeff,
I *think* you could define a workflow that only had one step, and that step was to email a copy of that file to an email address. I haven't tested this, I'll leave that as an exercise to the readers. :)

Todd O. KlindtNo presence information on 7/10/2009 10:02 AM

Automatically include team e-mails and attachments in SharePoint site

Solutions exist that automatically bring the team's e-mail exchanges and attachements into the SharePoint site, regardless of the e-mail application people use and with no installation on their computer!

One of these solutions is MindUP for SharePoint:
 on 9/9/2009 11:49 AM

can u provide hol solution

can u provide hol solution
 on 8/13/2010 12:59 AM

Attachments security

The only issue I can see is that the attachments will no longer be private.
 on 12/21/2012 11:54 AM

Re: Attachments security

That's true. If the recipient was a domain user a workflow could probably be used to given them permissions. You could also create a workflow to delete the attachment after a day or two as well.

Todd O. KlindtNo presence information on 12/21/2012 10:16 PM

can you please show this on sp 2013

hi, this is a wonderful post and this is the exact requirement i have. i am using the sharepoint 2013 now. can you please let me know how to do this in sp 2013 by attaching the file to the mail instead of the link?
 on 9/16/2016 5:36 AM

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