Are you suffering from MAD (Mail Attachment Disorder)? Chances are that you do. That’s why we created our MAD series: 10 symptoms of Mail Attachment Disorder are uncovered over the course of 5 weeks. Today, we continue the series with Symptom #4 – “Mild panic when dragged into the middle of an email conversation without access to most attachments”.

Can you picture the scenario? An email discussion has been going on and on, shooting back and forth agreements, schedules and last year’s budgets, and dragging ever more people into the maelstrom. So far, you have managed to steer clear of the mess, but today the dreaded message has arrived: “Can you please quickly look into this and advise? We’re running out of time. I will ask Andy to forward you the most important messages with their attachments. But make sure to ask Jeff for last year’s budgets for comparison. We do need a decision by noon at the latest.”

Clearly, nothing is more confusing than a long email conversation thread with many attachments and versions… except of course a forwarded conversation thread, where many attachments may be conveniently MIA.

What you really need in cases like this is a mini-repository, accessible to all and embedded everywhere in the email conversation. A single clickable focal point where everyone can upload their documents and background information. A “digital file binder in the wild”, so to speak. That happens to be exactly what was built for. There is no app, no account, no password, no threshold and very little to learn. It will start to work for you and deliver results well within your next email salvo.

Here’s how it works, but for best effect, do this at the start of your process:

1. Go to, create a digital paper bag and add any content that you might want to put there yourself, possibly an instruction note for participants – in that case, give the file a meaningful name before uploading, such as “Read me first.pdf”.Bookmark the bag (hey, it’s just a mini website) and/or consider registering it (under menu on the left) not to lose track of its owner URL.

2. Under the menu on the left, go to “Share bag” and select both “Download files” and “Upload files”, then “Copy link to clipboard”.

3. Now simply paste this link into your email with some basic instructions for the participants. When the recipients click the link, they will see the bag and its current contents. They can browse, preview and download the files, but importantly, they can upload, too. During an upload session, a contributor can delete (only) those files being uploaded e.g. because of picking the wrong file. Afterwards, no more deletions are possible by contributors, only by the owner.

4. Contributors can keep the bag up to date over time. When new documents or new versions are created, they can add them to the bag, and everyone will have access to them instantly.

5. In the case as described, only the owner has delete rights to files, so if the content set needs to be curated (e.g. the deletion of non-current versions) then the owner will need to do so. However, if deemed useful and appropriate, you can share the owner link with some or all other participants, for a more distributed curation role.

6. In any case, your bag will act as the digital twin of a king size paper file binder: even the free Quartz Edition of allows for 500 files and 1GB for up to six months. Aside from totally streamlining your content collection process, that should take ample care of any attachment size concerns!

We do have a request for you as well. We know MAD is spreading. Should you have encountered any additional symptoms of MAD that haven’t been covered, then please, by all means, create a document (.docx, PDF, .txt) and add it to the following MAD bag. I personally promise to write an extensive answer and update the bag accordingly so it becomes a living collection of pragmatic MAD solutions.

— Paul Carpentier, CEO, Esoptra


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