How to replace the attachment icon for Gmail in Chrome [Tip]

As you can see in your Gmail account, every file attachment is represented by a paper clip icon. Apparently, the attachment icon is the same for every attached file regardless if it’s an image, a spreadsheet, PDF or Word document.

Now, what if you want to know the type of file being attached without opening your email first? Come to think of it, this can help you save a lot of time in managing your emails. Well, in this case, all you need to do is to replace the default paper clip icon in Gmail with a better set of attachment icons.

How to replace the paper clip attachment icon in Gmail

Replace attachment icons for Gmail

Note: This method only works if you’re loading Gmail in Chrome

  • On your Chrome web browser, go to the Web Store then download and install this free Gmail add-on called “Attachment Icons for Gmail”.
  • After installing the said add-on, go to your Gmail account. If you’re not yet logged in, then log in using your username and password. If you’re already logged in, then simply reload the page.
  • Go to the search box on top of your Gmail inbox. Click the small arrow next to the blue search button. On the drop-down menu, check the box for “Has attachment” then click the search button at the bottom of the menu. By doing so, you can set your inbox to show only those emails with file attachments.

View all emails with attachment

So that’s it. As you can notice, instead of showing up the usual paper clip icon for file attachments, your Gmail inbox is now displaying an icon that shows the type of file attached.

change attachment icon Gmail Chrome

change attachment icon Gmail Chrome b

Just keep in mind that the paper clip icon will still be used for unsupported file formats. As of now, the add-on currently supports the following file types – xls, doc, docx, zip, rar, tgz, tar, pdf, tiff, jpg, bmp, gif, png, odt, ods, odp, ppt, pps, pptx, ppsx, txt, rtf, php, xml, exe, mp3, wma, wav, ogg, html, java, vcf, css, js, wmv, mpeg, avi, ics, mov, svg, Revit and AutoCAD.

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  • Andrew Knox


    I was able to fix this by editing the icons.css file in the Chrome extension, adding “background-size: 15px 16px !important;” (no quotes) into each section where it replaces an icon.

  • MrNobody

    I get the same results as shrimpocat. Just bluish and grayish rectangles where a PDF, XLS, or other supported file type would be. I’m on Windows 8.1 and the the latest Chrome 64. The extension appears to have been last updated on November 21, 2012, which may be the reason it isn’t working for us. Anyone have a recommendation for an alternative, more recently updated extension?

  • shrimpocat

    Nope, that didn’t work, tried it twice.
    I guess it doesn’t work with Windows 8/Chrome, or maybe I need to associate each file type with an icon in some way.

    Or just learn that blueish gray is a PDF file, and grayish blue an Excel file :)

  • Kent

    [@shrimpocat] Try to uninstall/re-install the extension from your browser then reload your Gmail.

  • shrimpocat

    All it does, is show blue and gray squares, no icons.
    What am I doing wrong?