The de facto symbol for an attachment in email clients is a paper clip, and clicking on this icon immediately brings up a download box offering to either save the file or view it as a webpage. If you have the correct software installed on your computer, you'll be able to immediately view the attached file.
An attachment is a file inserted into an email alongside the text in the email. Attachments can be photos, documents, videos or even full programs. Because email attachments are commonly used by malicious users to infect computers with viruses, some email clients require you to enable the links and attachments before accessing this content. Always perform a scan of any email attachments using an up-to-date antivirus tool before opening anything.
When saving attached files to open later, save them in a memorable location on your hard drive for easier access. If the attached file isn't opening, you may need to download additional software. The specific type of software can be determined by searching for programs associated with the file type.
According to The Guardian, the email attachment traces its roots back to Nathaniel Borenstein's MIME protocol. Borenstein developed the protocol while working for Bellcore in the early 1990s.