Email Documents with Yoink


You’re working on a document, and you want to email it to someone else. So what do you do? Close the document. Go to your email client. Open the message draft. Click the button to attach a file. Navigate your files and folders until you find it. Click OK. Finally finish composing your email.

Hold on a second. All of that, just to email the document you were just looking at? Seems rather inefficient, doesn’t it? Yes, yes it does. Thankfully, there’s a better, faster way to do precisely this.


For this to work, you’ll need to buy a $7 app called Yoink. This is a great utility app that slides a little shelf out from the side of your screen whenever you start dragging an item, like a file or an image. You can place multiple items—or stacks of items—into the shelf and then grab them to insert them in other apps. That’s how we’re going to solve this problem.

Open a document on your Mac. In most apps, in the top center of the document window, you’ll see the name of the file with a little icon next to it on the left. That little icon is called the proxy icon. As an example, I’m using TextEdit, but this will work in almost every Mac app.

I click the proxy icon, wait a split second until the icon darkens, and then start dragging it. As soon as the drag starts, Yoink’s shelf slides out from the right-hand side of my screen, and I drop the icon there. Next, I go to my message window in Airmail. Then it’s as simple as dragging the file from Yoink into the composer and voilà! It’s been attached, and all in a few seconds without once having to work with an Open/Save dialogue.

See this workflow in action here.

(I should note that some apps have incorporated a Share extension in recent versions of macOS, and that will allow you to create a new email message with the file attached in just a couple of clicks. This isn’t as widely available as proxy icons, and it necessitates creating a new email message. If you’re replying to an email or in the middle of a draft already, then you probably don’t want to create a new message. I find the proxy-icon-to-Yoink workflow to be more available, and thus more reliable.)

Bonus Tip

Thanks to the drag-and-drop capabilities of iOS 11 and the introduction of Yoink on iOS, you can do the same thing on your iPad. Instead of dragging a proxy icon (those don’t exist on iOS), you can add the file you’re working on to Yoink via its share extension. Then you can go to your email, open up Yoink (I prefer to do that in slide-over rather than split-view, but either will work), and drag the file into your message.

So the next time you find yourself working on a document that you want to mail to someone else, consider doing it via Yoink, one of the apps I depend on most on my Mac and iPad.