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How to Automatically Save Gmail Attachments to Google Drive

Apr 20, 2023
How to Save Gmail Attachments in Google Drive Automatically

Saving Gmail attachments to Google Drive automatically is an elemental use case for automation, and yet something curious happens when you search for it on Google: The top result leads to a pointless solution that no longer exists.

However, the question lingers: How to automatically save Gmail attachments to a Google Drive folder?

The answer is that there are multiple ways to do this, each with varying degrees of complexity.

For example, you could use Google Apps Script, but it’d require you to write some JavaScript code, which is a technical challenge for the majority of us.

Another alternative would be to code through the Gmail and Google Drive APIs, but then again, this isn’t easy to do when you are not a developer!

The easy way to automatically save Gmail attachments to Drive lies within Make.

Moreover, we’ll put our money where our mouth is and dedicate this article to showing you how to:

  • Save Gmail attachments to Google Drive automatically.

  • Save Gmail attachments to other cloud storage services like Box and Dropbox automatically.

  • Do the same with any other email client that you have.

The only thing you’ll need on top of a Google account is a Make account (and maybe a cup of your favorite coffee). 

Ready? Then let’s not waste another minute. 

Step 1: Deploy the template

Make allows you to build and automate anything in one visual platform, and there are two (main) ways to do this:

  • Create the automation by yourself (the way you want or need it).

  • Use one of our available templates (there are thousands of them).

This particular use case - automatically saving Gmail attachments to Google Drive - is available as a template, so you can deploy it instantly once you have your Make account.

After you deploy the template, you’ll have to configure it, which in this case takes no longer than 10 minutes. 

Step 2: Configure the template

Since this is a simple Make scenario, configuring it will take just a few minutes. 

We’ll start with the Gmail - Watch Emails module. 

Here, you have to connect your Google account to Make. To do so, click Add and give permission to connect both accounts.

Next, you’ll need to specify the email folder (which can be the whole inbox) that Make needs to “watch” in order to detect emails with attachments. 

To conclude, establish the criteria for saving attachments (can be all emails with an attachment, unread emails with an attachment only, or read emails with an attachment only). 

automatically save gmail attachments to google drive - 1

Once ready, click Continue

At this point, Make will ask you to define when to start saving the attachments to Google Drive. 

This is important: You can tell Make to start now, but also to go back in time and save attachments retroactively

For the sake of simplicity, we configured it to start right away but feel free to pick the option that suits you best. Once you do so, click OK.

automatically save gmail attachments to google drive - 2

Now, the scenario will take you to the Google Drive module, as the Iterator module will be automatically configured by default. 

Note: In case the iterator is not configured, all you have to do is map the Attachments operator to the available field - see the image below for reference. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll have to do this at all.

automatically save gmail attachments to google drive - 3

Alright, back to the Google Drive - Upload a File module. 

Configuring this module is pretty straightforward as well. First, click Add to connect your Google account to Make, and select the same connection as in the Gmail - Watch Emails module.

Then select the Google Drive location and folder where you want to save the attachments. 

After you do this, click Continue. We’re almost done!

automatically save gmail attachments to google drive - 4

We’re just two steps away from finishing up. 

Now, click on the little clock icon next to the Gmail - Watch Emails module. 

In there, define the frequency that you want Make to “watch” for new emails with attachments (and consequently save them to the Google Drive folder you chose). 

You can tell Make to check once a day, once a week, or once a minute - the decision is entirely up to you! Once done, click OK.

automatically save gmail attachments to google drive - 5

Finally, you’ll have to turn the scenario on and save it - and that’s it!

Now, Make will automatically save Gmail attachments to Google Drive for you. 

automatically save gmail attachments to google drive - 6

Before we wrap the article up, let’s seize the opportunity to answer a couple of important questions.

What if I have another email client that is not Gmail?

Nothing - you can create the exact same solution, as Make features an email module that supports any email client you can imagine. 

On top of this, you’ll find the exact same template available in Make, but featuring the said email module instead of a Gmail one:

What if I have another cloud storage app that is not Google Drive?

Once again, the answer is nothing. 

You can replace Google Drive with your solution of choice, as Make supports dozens of cloud storage and file management apps - from OneDrive and Dropbox to Box and Egnyte, you’ll likely be able to automatically save your attachments.

In fact, there are a few templates available featuring these apps as well:

What’s the max file size I can automatically save?

First of all, let’s take into consideration the limit Gmail has for attachments - which is 25 MB.

Make, on the other hand, has a greater limit for file sizes depending on the plan. 

The most affordable Make plan (Core) allows you to move files up to a 100 MB, which is more than enough to move Gmail attachments. 

Conclusion: This is where the automation magic starts

In this article, we saw how to automatically save Gmail attachments to Google Drive using Make, and also provided you with similar solutions in case you don’t use Gmail and/or Google Drive.

But the most important lesson here is, perhaps, how easy it is to start automating your work once you master Make. 

It all begins with a simple need - moving files from one place to another automatically - and soon enough, you’ll be looking at impressive solutions where the only limit is your imagination. 

Don’t let the momentum fade: Get your Make account, and start automating today!


Martin Etchegaray

Content Manager and Senior Editor at Make. I enjoy writing and reading about history, science, and tech.

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