How to Check to See If a Sent Email Has Been Read

Updated April 17, 2017

Being able to track sent e-mails can be very useful. Sometimes you send an e-mail and, for one reason or another, you cannot or do not want to ask if it has been read. You can attempt to verify receipt of a message by requesting a read receipt when you send the mail. A read receipt is a confirmation from the recipient's e-mail client, acknowledging that he has opened your message. Software such as Outlook Express, Windows Mail and Windows Live Mail supports read receipts.

Launch Outlook Express, Windows Mail or Windows Live Mail.

Create a new message. Compose your e-mail message as usual.

Click on "Tools" (Outlook Express, Windows Mail) or the menus icon (Windows Live Mail) on the message menu.

Check on "Request Read Receipt."

Send the message. If the recipient's e-mail client is set up to confirm read receipt requests, you should get a confirmation delivered to you. The read receipt will tell you the time and date that the recipient opened your message.

Choose "Tools" on the main screen (Outlook Express or Windows Mail) or the menus icon (Windows Live Mail). Click on "Options," then on "Receipts." Check "Request a read receipt for all sent messages" if you want to request receipts by default. Otherwise, do not check the box.


You can also try a free e-mail tracker, such as SpyPig. However, such trackers are considered unethical by some people, since they attempt to work without the recipient's knowledge or permission. Usually an invisible picture is inserted into the message and is used to track views on a particular message. Most Web mail services like Gmail and Yahoo! do not have a read request feature. If this is the case with yours, you will have to set up your Web-based e-mail account in an e-mail program (e.g., Outlook Express) before you can use read receipts with it. Check if your Web mail service provider allows POP or IMAP access. You can use non-Microsoft e-mail clients as well, so long as they have the read receipts feature.


Read receipts work only if the recipient's e-mail client is configured to deliver read receipts. And even if the feature is enabled, the recipient can still deny a receipt for any e-mail message she chooses. So asking for a read receipt does not guarantee you will get one.

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About the Author

Jay Leon began work as a writer and blogger in 2007. Her clients have included content provider Averheld and Loudoun Rewards Club. She writes about computing, web design, the Internet and travel.