How to Download Only the Headers for Large Messages in Outlook

Save time and space by downloading headers only in Outlook

Download Only the Headers for Large Messages in Outlook
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Downloading large emails that often include images and — occasionally — malware takes up your time and requires space on your computer. Protect yourself from email messages that contain malicious code, viruses, or huge picture attachments by setting up Outlook to download only the headers of messages that exceed a size you specify. It makes your email more secure and speeds things up considerably.

Instructions in this article apply to accounts in Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, and Outlook for Office 365. Beginning with Outlook 2013, downloading only headers is not available for IMAP and Exchange accounts.

Download Only the Headers for Large Messages in Outlook

Here's how to set up Outlook to automatically download only the subject, sender, and other minimal data for large messages that exceed a specified size.

  1. Open Outlook Mail.

  2. Go to the Send/Receive tab.

  3. In the Send & Receive group, select Send/Receive Groups.

    Screenshot of Send/Receive Groups
  4. Select Define Send/Receive Groups.

    Screenshot of Send/Receive Groups menu
  5. In the Send/Receive Groups dialog box, choose the desired group.

  6. Select Edit.

    Screenshot of Send/Receive Groups dialog
  7. In the Send/Receive Settings dialog box, select a POP3 account from the Accounts list.

    Screenshot of Send/Receive Settings
  8. Select the Include the selected account in this group check box.

  9. Under Folder Options, select the Inbox folder.

  10. Select Download complete item including attachments.

  11. Select the Download only headers for items larger than check box.

  12. Enter the desired threshold size. The default is set at 50KB.

    Repeat steps 9 through 12 for each folder that is set up to receive incoming email.

  13. Select OK.

Get the Rest of the Message

Now when you select Send/Receive, Outlook downloads only the header information for messages that exceed the threshold size. Getting the full emails is easy, as is deleting messages right at the server without downloading them in full.