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Quick VBA script: Attachment reminder for Outlook email

We've all composed emails in which we've said "I've attached the file you wanted," hit Send -- and then realized we never attached the file. This script prevents this.

This tip originally appeared on, a sister site of

Many of us have at one time or another composed an email in Outlook in which we've said "I've attached the file you wanted," hit Send -- and then realized that we never attached the file. Oops!

K.C. Lemson has created a quick Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) script that helps prevent this from happening.

When a message is sent, it checks the body of the message for the word "attach" (either in whole or in part). If there's no attachment, a pop-up dialog box will appear to warn you that there's no attachment in the message.

I have modified the original script slightly so that the check for the word "attach" is case-insensitive, in case you start a sentence with the word (i.e., "Attached is the file you asked for…").

Note that to create the script, you need to first enable macros in Outlook (which is disabled by default for security reasons).

  1. In Outlook, go to Tools -> Macros -> Security and select Medium. You'll be prompted if you want to run macros when you start Outlook.
  2. Go to Tools -> Macros -> Visual Basic Editor.
  3. Double-click on 'This Outlook Session' in the left-hand panel.
  4. Paste the following code into the code window:
  5. Private Sub Application_ItemSend(ByVal Item As Object, Cancel As Boolean)
    Dim lngres As Long
    If InStr(1, UCase(Item.Body), "ATTACH") <> 0 Then
    If Item.Attachments.Count = 0 Then
    lngres = MsgBox("'Attach' in body, but no attachment - send anyway?", _
    vbYesNo + vbDefaultButton2 + vbQuestion, "You asked me to warn you...")
    If lngres = vbNo Then Cancel = True
    End If
    End If
    End Sub

  6. Press F5 to check the code and make sure it's properly compiled.
  7. Close the code editor and restart Outlook. You should be asked on startup if you want to run macros; select Enable Macros.
  8. Send a test message with "attach" somewhere in the body and no attachment to make sure the script works.

Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter. Let us know what you think about this tip; email [email protected].

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