We recently had a reader write with a question about the commonly used phrase “please see attached.” The reader goes on to answer his own question:
Today I was looking for an answer to my question about the correctness of the term “please see attached,” but I could not find a post about it. So I am writing to ask you, but in thinking about it a little more, I think I know the answer. Even though people use the term all the time (at least in my industry), it is an incomplete sentence and should be avoided. It takes a few seconds longer to type out “please see the attached document (or spreadsheet, proposal, etc.)”, but it is the right thing to do.
Let’s Detach Ourselves from “Please See Attached”
We agree. “Please see attached” sounds incomplete.
To people who send nonstop text messages or emails, the phrase probably seems efficient. But we suggest boosting efficiency with more energetic, focused sentence starters such as:
- The attached diagram shows . . .
- The attached spreadsheet contains . . .
- When you review the attached proposal, you will notice . . .
- Please let me know if the attached draft . . .
“Please see attached” is simply too dull–and it’s inaccurate. We don’t want our readers to “see” the attachment. (I “see” a pile of papers on my desk, but my next step is to hide it in a file drawer.)
We want our readers to review, improve, approve, save, forward, or recommend it–not “see” it.
More Alternative Phrases (with examples)
Here are some more alternatives to the clunky phrase:
1. I’m sharing [X] with you.
Turning our energy source into a more sustainable one is not impossible with good task delegation and personnel assignments. I truly believe that the proposed timeframe is ideal for the company’s 25th anniversary. I’m sharing this link with you so that you can understand the significance of the process more.
2. Please see the enclosed…
I think the idea of having a vegan cat café outside California is a step ahead for our company. I received your logo proposal and I think it is brilliant. Please see the enclosed calligraphy files for your approval.
3. I’ve attached…
Thank you for your immediate response regarding the portrait project we talked about last week. I am excited to share with you that you now have three weeks to finish it after talking to the client about the deadline extension. I’ve attached the NDA file that the client specified in our last email.
4. You’ll find the attachment below.
I believe that we can expose the zoo owners for how they are treating their animals. I took the initiative of taking the necessary pictures and information from many witnesses. You’ll find the attachment below.
5. This [X] has …
Each vertical gardening product you choose has a set of facts and instructions on how to use it. For more information about vertical gardening, I find that this helpful link has the basic information that you will need to start your own vertical garden.
6. Enclosed is…
I have read your email and I appreciate your interest in our newest rescue, Dotty. She has been through a lot, and we only want her to go to a loving forever home. Enclosed is Dotty’s breed information and history.
7. Attach the file with no explanation.
8. As promised, I have attached a revised . . .
I understand that our client needs revisions right away. As promised, I have attached a revised chapter summary for each of the first seven I submitted. Each of them has an additional paragraph, as requested.
9. The document you requested is attached to this email.
I consider it an honor to participate in the coming festivities. To close the lease, I understand that you need a few more forms filled out. The document you requested is attached to this email.
10. Relevant information is in the attached file.
We need to send as many animal rescue volunteers to the area as soon as possible. I understand that you need documents about the animals in each section of the city. Relevant information is in the attached file.
11. The attached [X] includes…
It took me just three days to finish the assignment you gave me. The attached file includes testimonies, interviews, and the photos that you need.
12. When you review the attached [X], you will see…
I understand that you need an accurate evaluation of the classrooms in the local grade school. When you review the attached documents and images, you will see the areas that need more renovation to improve the safety of the students.
13. Please see the attached [X] for more details…
You have been chosen to attend a panel interview for the position you are applying for. Please see the attached word file for more details about the specific requirements of the interview.
14. Take a look at the attached [X].
The project will be moving forward in the third week of January next year. Take a look at the attached images that show the perspectives that you need.
15. Attached herewith this email.
I am happy to inform you that we have just hired your new assistant. Attached herewith this email are his credentials and references.
16. I’ve linked [X].
Thank you for your response. I’ve linked the Dropbox file so that you can view it while you’re away from your desktop.
17. For reference, I’ve appended…
Please expect a new panel member by next week. For reference, I’ve appended the necessary information about him and his previous managerial experience.
18. Here is…
We are aware of the false news spreading about our new project. Here is the complete folder of our coming venture with you. We hope that this clears up any misunderstanding.
19. …added [resource] to this email.
The coming final exam will be about the two ancient literary books that we have reviewed together this semester. I added this resource to this email to help you with the second book that we discussed.
20. The enclosed document shows…
There has been a significant degradation of the soil stability in the area I mentioned in my last email. The enclosed document shows how the area has been damaged through the years.
We also don’t want them to find it. (It’s not lost or hidden, is it?) So “Please find attached” is no improvement.
Are people at your organization, attached to “Please see attached”? Perhaps you can ask them to please see consider this blog post.