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(310) 621-5679 john@noproblemmac.com

In Apple Mail, attachments display their contents. If you attach a PDF or JPEG image, you actually see the document or picture.

This has zero impact on compatibility of your attachments. It’s just a display choice.

Jaws 2 as image and Icon in Apple Mail

Still… if you come from a PC background this can be a tad disconcerting.

PC Mail clients like Microsoft Entourage or Outlook, display attachments as small icons.

The good news… is that the Mac can do this too.

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Changing An Email Attachment From View In Place To View As Icon

  • Open Apple Mail.
  • Create a New Message.
  • Click in the body of the message.
  • Click the Attachment icon in the Toolbar. It’s on the right-hand side and shaped like a paperclip.
  • Navigate to the PDF or image you want to attach.
  • Select your file and click Choose File.
  • You can now see the PDF or image in the email. This what is known as “View In Place.”
Movie poster as Image in Apple Mail
  •  Right-click or Control-click on the file and a drop-down menu appears. Choose View As Icon.
Apple Mail contextual menu for Image
  • The attachments turn into icons.
Movie poster as Icon in Apple Mail

If you’d like to change them back, just right-click or Control-click and select View in Place from the menu.

This works on an email by email basis.

If you’d like to change how attachments are displayed in all emails, things get a little more complex.

Only use this option if you’re comfortable using Terminal. Even if you are… be careful. Mistakes here can really mess-up your Mac.

How To Change All Email Attachments To View As Icon

  • Open Terminal
  • Run the following: defaults write com.apple.mail DisableInlineAttachmentViewing -bool yes
  • Press Return.
  • Quit Mail then Relaunch it.

To reverse the process, follow the same procedure, but run the command: defaults write com.apple.mail DisableInlineAttachmentViewing -bool no

No Problem Mac is not responsible for your data. Please remember to backup your data before running Terminal commands. Use at your own risk.

Have a fantastic, yet thrifty weekend.

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