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Can I send a Gedcom file as an e-mail attachment?

Yes. However, it is important to note that a Gedcom file is nothing more than a TEXT file which has been formatted in a special way. Many e-mail programs will alter TEXT file attachments when they are sent or received. This could potentially damage the Gedcom file such that it cannot be imported.

To prevent this from occurring, Gedcom files should always be compressed prior to attaching them to an e-mail message. Compressing the Gedcom file also has the added benefit of making the file smaller. As a result, it will take less time for you to upload the file and less time for the receiver to download the file.

If you have Mac OS 10.3 or later, you can use OS X's built-in compression utility to compress your Gedcom file. To do this, locate and highlight your Gedcom file in a Finder window and choose File -> Create Archive of "YourGedcomFile" in the top Finder menu bar. This will create a Zip file in the same location as the Gedcom file. The Zip file can then be attached to an email message. Zip files can be "unzipped" on both Mac and Windows.

If you are using Mac OS 10.2 or earlier, you can use DropStuff to compress your Gedcom file. Shareware versions of DropStuff (part of the Stuffit Standard Edition package) and Stuffit Expander are available for download from the internet.

If you are sending the file to a Windows user, you can also use Stuffit, however, the Windows user will have to download Stuffit Expander for Windows in order to "unstuff" the file. Instead, you may want to use the Zip compression method as it is the most popular method used on PCs. There are a number of Mac shareware utilities available, such as DropZip or ZipIt, which will create Zip files.