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Read Receipts in Outlook 2010 and 2013


When sending out urgent or important email correspondence it may come in handy to utilize the delivery and read receipt function in Microsoft Outlook. It does help to mark your email as high importance or choose a subject line with an eye catching and attention seeking sentence or phrase, but sometimes you need to know that an important message has been received. Delivery and read receipts are perfect for this.

There are two options when sending out requests for email receipts. First, you can request a delivery receipt, which will let you know that your message has been safely and effectively received by the receiver’s email service but does not guarantee that it has been opened. Second, you can request a read receipt which will let you know that your email has been opened. Not all email services can or will return these notifications though.

Delivery Receipts

Once you have created your email message, and you are prepared to send, go to the “Options” tab. Under “Tracking”, select the “Request a Delivery Receipt” option. In Outlook 2010 it looks like this:

When you receive your delivery receipt you will either receive a reply from Microsoft Outlook, where the body will contain something similar to this:

Or it may look like this:

With these cases, you will know that delivery has been completed successfully. They will be followed up in the body of the email with the recipient’s name and email address, along with the subject line.

There is another option which you may receive, which will indicate that delivery has not occurred. The body will contain something similar to this:

The message will then be followed with the email address, with a brief explanation of why delivery failed (possibly along with detailed diagnostics for administrative purposes). When it is returned to you, it will likely notify you via a precursor in the subject line, such as “Undeliverable: <original subject line. . .>”.

Read Receipts

Read receipts aren’t all that different from delivery receipts. Go to the Tracking group under the “Options” tab, and select “Request a Read Receipt”. For the recipient, once the email has been read, a notification will pop up:

This means that the recipient does have the choice to decline sending you receipt. If they choose this option you will not receive any sort of email confirmation. You will also not receive confirmation until they have opened and clicked away as well.

If they do select “yes”, then your confirmation will look like this:

In the subject line the word “Read” will precede the subject as opposed to “Undeliverable”.

Urgency isn’t always necessary for using this useful tool; efficiency is also an excellent motive. Sometimes emails disappear or servers experience lag, and what you do and how you spend your time is important. You need the reassurance that your messages will be delivered and read. Requesting delivery and read receipts can give you peace of mind about the fate of your email.