Outlook read receipts: How do you set one up?

If a sent e-mail remains unanswered, one inevitably asks oneself whether the electronic message has actually arrived at the addressee and has been read. It remains uncertain whether, for example, the cancellation of the newspaper subscription or the cancellation of the hotel booking was actually successful. And perhaps the offer made to a customer was not bad at all, but was simply never considered because it ended up in the spam folder.

To avoid such problems, you can set up a read receipt in e-mail clients like Outlook. This will prompt the recipient to acknowledge receipt of the message. If the recipient does this, you will receive a corresponding response, which will put an end to speculation about the status of the corresponding e-mail.

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Notice that a read receipt in Outlook and other mail programs has no legal reason whatsoever. Therefore, in important cases such as termination or cancellation, always ask explicitly for a written receipt of your request.

This article explains how to use the read receipt in your Outlook client or in Outlook Web.

Set up Outlook read receipt: Here’s how to do it!

If you want to use read receipts in Microsoft Outlook to know when your messages have been read, you have two setting options. You can either make the read receipt the default, which automatically requests it for all e-mails sent, or you can send only selected messages with a read receipt.

The latter is particularly useful if you regularly send e-mails to certain people (friends, colleagues, business partners, etc.). In this case, asking repeatedly whether people have received an e-mail, if they have not yet responded, can be irritating for you and the other person. In the following instructions for the desktop versions Outlook 2016 and 2013 as well as the web app Outlook Web, you will therefore learn both how to set up read receipts for your entire message traffic and how to use receipts only in selected e-mails.

How to set up read receipts in Outlook

Outlook read receipts can be set up in just a few steps in Outlook 2016. You can find these settings under “Options” in the “File” tab.

In the next step, select the “Mail” menu item and scroll down to the “Tracking” group. Tick the box “Read receipt confirming the recipient viewed the message” and confirm your selection with “OK.” Outlook 2016 now automatically requests a read receipt for all messages sent in the future.

If you only want to include the request for a read receipt in a specific e-mail, make the appropriate setting directly in the window of the respective message. To do this, switch to the “Options” tab and activate the “Request a Read Receipt” item in the “Tracking” section:

Regardless of which way you choose to set up the Outlook read receipt, you will receive feedback in the form of an e-mail when the recipient has confirmed that the message has been read. This should look something like this:

How to set up the read receipt in Outlook Web

In contrast to the desktop versions of the e-mail client, Outlook Web does not offer the option of generally setting the read receipt for all messages. If you want to use the feature in the web app, you must activate it for each individual e-mail. To do this, first click on the three-point icon in the upper menu bar when writing the mail and select “Show message options...” from the pop-up menu:

In the message options, set the tick mark for “Request a Read Receipt” with which the request for the Outlook read receipt is successfully configured.

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