How to attach a file using mail command on Linux?


This question already has an answer here:


Example using uuencode:

uuencode surfing.jpeg surfing.jpeg | mail

and reference article:

$ echo | mutt -a syslogs.tar.gz

But it uses mutt, not mail (or mailx).

mail on every version of modern Linux that I've tried can do it. No need for other software:

matiu@matiu-laptop:~$ mail -a doc.jpg
Subject: testing

This is a test

ctrl+d when you're done typing.

mailx might help as well. From the mailx man page:

-a file
     Attach the given file to the message.

Pretty easy, right?

My answer needs base64 in addition to mail, but some uuencode versions can also do base64 with -m, or you can forget about mime and use the plain uuencode output...
   SUBJECT="Auto emailed"
   MIME="application/x-gzip"  # Adjust this to the proper mime-type of file

   (cat <<EOF
    From: $FROM
    Subject: $SUBJECT
    Date: $(date +"%a, %b %e %Y %T %z")
    Mime-Version: 1.0
    Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary="$boundary"
    Content-Disposition: inline

    Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
    Content-Disposition: inline

    This email has attached the file

    Content-Type: $MIME;name="$FILE"
    Content-Disposition: attachment;filename="$FILE"
    Content-Transfer-Encoding: $ENCODING

    base64 $FILE
    echo ""
    echo "--$boundary" ) | mail

mailx -a /path/to/file email@address

You might go into interactive mode (it will prompt you with "Subject: " and then a blank line), enter a subject, then enter a body and hit Ctrl+D (EOT) to finish.

mpack -a -s"Hey: might this serve as your report?" -m 0 -c application/x-tar-gz survey_results.tar.gz

mpack and munpack work together with metamail to extend mailx and make it useful with modern email cluttered with html mark up and attachments.

Those four packages taken together will permit you to handle any email you could in a gui mail client.

Using ubuntu 10.4, this is how the mutt solution is written

echo | mutt -a --

There are a lot of answers here using mutt or mailx or people saying mail doesn't support "-a"

First, Ubuntu 14.0.4 mail from mailutils supports this:

mail -A filename -s "subject"

Second, I found that by using the "man mail" command and searching for "attach"

The following is a decent solution across Unix/Linux installations, that does not rely on any unusual program features. This supports a multi-line message body, multiple attachments, and all the other typical features of mailx.

Unfortunately, it does not fit on a single line.


# Get the date stamp for temporary files
DT_STAMP=`date +'%C%y%m%d%H%M%S'`

# Create a multi-line body
echo "here you put the message body
which can be split across multiple lines!
" > body-${DT_STAMP}.mail

# Add several attachments
uuencode File1.pdf File1.pdf >  attachments-${DT_STAMP}.mail
uuencode File2.pdf File2.pdf >> attachments-${DT_STAMP}.mail

# Put everything together and send it off!
cat body-${DT_STAMP}.mail attachments-${DT_STAMP}.mail > out-${DT_STAMP}.mail
mailx -s "here you put the message subject" < out-${DT_STAMP}.mail

# Clean up temporary files
rm body-${DT_STAMP}.mail
rm attachments-${DT_STAMP}.mail
rm out-${DT_STAMP}.mail

On Linux I would suggest,


uuencode abc.gz abc.gz > abc.gz.enc # This is optional, but good to have
                                    # to prevent binary file corruption.
                                    # also it make sure to get original 
                                    # file on other system, w/o worry of endianness

# Sending Mail, multiple attachments, and multiple receivers.
echo "Body Part of Mail" | mailx -s "Subject Line" -a attachment1 -a abc.gz.enc ""

Upon receiving mail attachment, if you have used uuencode, you would need uudecode

uudecode abc.gz.enc

# This will generate file as original with name as same as the 2nd argument for uuencode.

With mailx you can do:

mailx -s "My Subject"  -a ./mail_att.csv -S < ./mail_body.txt

This worked great on our GNU Linux servers, but unfortunately my dev environment is Mac OsX which only has a crummy old BSD version of mailx. Normally I use Coreutils to get better versions of unix commands than the Mac BSD ones, but mailx is not in Coreutils.

I found a solution from notpeter in an unrelated thread ( which was to download the Heirloom mailx OSX binary package from It has a more featured mailx which can handle the above command syntax.

(Apologies for poor cross linking linking or attribution, I'm new to the site.)

I use mailutils and the confusing part is that in order to attach a file you need to use the capital A parameter. below is an example.

echo 'here you put the message body' | mail -A syslogs.tar.gz

If you want to know if your mail command is from mailutils just run "mail -V".

root@your-server:~$ mail -V
mail (GNU Mailutils) 2.99.98
Copyright (C) 2010 Free Software Foundation, inc.
License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <>
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

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