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How to Create Image, Document Links for Text Messages

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Sometimes you need to send an image, PDF, or some other type of file. We get that - and we'll help you do it - but there are a couple of things you need to know first.

One, PDFs, spreadsheets, or other types of documents will not send through SMS technology (which is what Text Request uses). For details on why and how that works, view our SMS 101 guide.

Two, images are one of the "spam indicators" mobile carriers use to flag and filter messages. We don't want your messages getting flagged as spam (or your number getting blacklisted), so images can only be added to individual messages (not group messages) for now.

That said, there's an easy workaround so that you can still send images, PDF, and other files through Text Request to both individuals and groups. Just turn it into a link! We'll show you how below.

How to Turn an Image or Document into a Link

The concepts are pretty simple. Upload your file to a cloud application (e.g. Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.). Get a shareable link. Shorten the link with a URL shortener. Add the link to your message. Send away!

Specific instructions for Google Drive are below.

Using Google Drive

  1. Go to drive.google.com - sign into your account if needed.
  2. Click the New button in the top left corner, and select File Upload.
    Upload File to Google Drive Example
  3. Select the file you want to upload from your computer.
  4. Right click on the file, select Share.
  5. Make sure your preferences are set to "Anyone with the link can view."
    Get a Google Drive Shareable Link
  6. Copy the link.

You might notice this link is really long, and won't fit neatly inside a text message. That's why we're going to shorten it. Follow these steps:

  1. Select a URL shortener of your choice. We recommend https://bitly.com/ but you may need to create an account to shorten links from Google Drive. Accounts are free and you can sign up in seconds with your Google, Facebook, or Twitter account.  If you don't want to create an account try https://snipli.com/
  2. Paste in the shareable link.
  3. Copy the Shortened URL (and record this URL in a Saved Response or some file so you don't lose it).

Note: Shortened URLs are another spam indicator used by mobile carriers. In general, sending links - even in group messages - is fine. But sending links to thousands or tens of thousands of people might raise a red flag.

For more details, view our SMS 101 guide.

Additional Tips

Test your link before sending it.

Text the link to your own cell phone, and open it to make sure everything works fine.

Remove the "https://".

This will help you save characters to use for the rest of your message. Phone's will still create clickable links without that info.

Don't add a link to your text Signature.

People don't need that link every time you text them, and doing so could make you look bad.