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 will be uncovered over the following 5 weeks. After covering the first symptom (“Feelings of helplessness when mail attachments are too large to send or be reliably delivered”), we introduce the second symptom: Exhaustion from efforts to reliably collect documents or pictures from several parties”.

If you’ve had the pleasure of trying to collect any kind of files from more than 2 or 3 people, you know what I am talking about. Not everyone is as digitally savvy, and quite a few people need hand holding to get them through the process of attaching and sending a bunch of files. Which – even if you had the time to do so – is a challenge, as people use a variety of email services and associated client software, on desktops or mobile devices; you can’t possibly be an expert in all of them.

Generally, getting this process streamlined is very hard to do, even if all participants are able and willing. And when you need to do this on a regular basis, it can be maddening, especially when aggregated file sizes start to flirt with the limitations of the different email services on a regular basis. Those people that are savvy enough to realize that the assignment exceeds the limits of their environment, start to hunt for solutions – typically choosing some form of file-oriented cloud service such as DropBox, Google Drive, OneDrive or WeTransfer.

But few are savvy enough to estimate the pains that their choice brings on the recipient side. Some services will require authentication, which then sometimes is performed by third parties in the matter such as Google and Facebook, a useful process still too little understood by mere mortals. Other services will require the creation of an account before you get access to the content – even though a clear tendency exists to remove that requirement, undoubtedly driven by massive pushback against frivolous accounts and passwords. The “transfer” variety of solutions may work without an account for small and medium sized file sets, but people need to understand the idea and learn how to use it, and even take a paid subscription to send bigger files your way. No equivalent of the “Self-addressed stamped envelope” of yore.

In any case, “First time right” becomes an illusion in such an environment, and it makes one wonder why such a popular use case isn’t better catered. Well, quality hunters of this world, fret no more: is here and it was designed with exactly this use case in mind! Here’s how to go about it:

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 basic instructions as to what to expect. When the recipients click the link, they will see the bag and its 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 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


P.S. follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn and stay updated about our upcoming MAD series.

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