How to request confirmation that an email has been read

Updated July 19, 2017

When sending important emails, it helps to know whether or not the email has been received and read. Some email clients provide an option to request a receipt confirming delivery and/or whether or not the email has been read. However, be aware that not all email programs offer this. Furthermore the instructions for requesting receipts differ somewhat between email programs. It is worth remembering that read receipts are not generated automatically, but require the recipient to confirm whether or not they wish to send the receipt. Therefore asking for a receipt is no guarantee that you will get one.

Requesting receipt in Outlook

Decide whether you wish to generate a receipt request for every email you send, or whether you wish only to track delivery of a single message. In Outlook you can do both. It may be better to request receipt only for occasional, important emails, or you risk irritating your recipients.

To request a receipt for a single message, have the email open that you wish to send. At the top of the screen click on the "Options" tab. You will see two boxes that may be "ticked"; one to request a delivery receipt, the other to request a read receipt. Click on one or both of these options. Now send your email. You will be notified when the email is delivered to the recipient's inbox, but the recipient will choose whether or not to send a read receipt.

To request receipts for all your sent emails as a default option, click on the "File" tab at the top left corner in Outlook. Do this without opening a new email. Scroll down and click "Options." Now click "Mail." Scroll down until you find the sub-heading "Tracking." Here you will find a number of options for requesting read and delivery receipts; click the one that suits your purposes. Then at the bottom of the screen click on "OK." You will now generate receipt requests with every email you send. You can undo this by unchecking the box.

Requesting receipts in Gmail

Check what type of Gmail account you have. In Gmail it is possible to request a read receipt only for business, education and government accounts. If you have a standard personal account, they are not available through the standard web-based programme. Unlike Outlook, Gmail does not generate a delivery receipt, so you will only be able to request a read receipt.

To request a read receipt in your Gmail account for business, write your email message as normal. Below the "To" box is the tick-box: "Request read receipt." Click on this. Now send the message, and the recipient will be asked to send a receipt.

To request a read or delivery receipt in your personal Gmail account you will need to configure the account in Outlook (or similar email client). To do this, open Outlook and click on the "File" tab. Then click on "Add Account." The account wizard will open. When prompted, fill in the username and password details of your personal Gmail account, and Outlook will automatically configure your Gmail account to work in Outlook. You will then be able to request both read and delivery receipts.


Although many other web-based email programs such as Hotmail, Windows Live and GMX do not support read/delivery receipts, it is possible to set them up when your webmail account is configured in Outlook.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Compatible email program
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About the Author

Eve Roberts has written and published professionally since 1998. She has a PhD in humanities and has published articles in magazines, books and journals. She has worked in the health food and education sectors.