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How to Know If Someone Has Read an Email Sent in Microsoft Outlook

Updated April 17, 2017

The only way to tell if someone has read an e-mail in Outlook is to request a read receipt. When the recipient displays the message on his screen, his mail client will notify the sender that the message has been read.

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Request a Receipt on Every Message

You can set Outlook to request a receipt for every e-mail sent, by going to "Tools," then Options," and clicking "Email Options" on the "Preferences" tab. From there, select "Tracking Options" and put a check in the box next to "Request a Read Receipt."

Request a Receipt for Individual Messages

Request a receipt for a single message by starting a new message and clicking the arrow next to "Options" on the Outlook ribbon. In pre-2007 versions of Outlook, the user clicks "View" then "Options," and selects "Voting and Tracking Options." The user then puts a check in the box next to "Request a Read Receipt."


The "Request Receipt" function only works if the recipient is using a mail client that sends receipts. Also, if the software prompts the user to send a receipt, he may opt not to send one. Finally, the read receipt only verifies that the recipient has displayed the email, not that he has actually read the message.

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About the Author

Julia Michelle has been writing professionally since January 2009. Her specialties include massage therapy, computer tech support, land and aquatic personal training, aquatic group fitness and Reiki. She has an Associate in Applied Science from Cincinnati State Technical and Community College in integrative medical massage therapy.

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