How to Edit a Received Email in Outlook

Edit Outlook Mail to Make Emails Easier to Find

Woman Smiling With Mug On Her Laptop
Cavan Images/The Image Bank/Getty Images

You can edit the subject line and message text for emails you have received in Microsoft Outlook.

One good reason for wanting to edit email in Outlook is if the subject line was poorly written and does not provide a good enough description for you to quickly identify what the email is about. Another is if the subject field is empty; search for all the emails with empty subject lines and edit them to your heart's content so that finding them is easier next time.

How to Edit a Received Email in Outlook

These steps work for Outlook versions up through 2016, as well as the Mac version of Outlook. Watch out for the differences called out in each version.

  1. Double-click the message you want to edit so that it opens in its own window.
  2. In Outlook 2016 and 2013, choose Actions > Edit Message from the Move section of the email's Message ribbon.

    In Outlook 2007, select Other Actions > Edit Message from the toolbar.

    For Outlook 2003 and earlier, use the Edit > Edit Message menu.

    Mac users should select Message > Edit from the menu.
  3. Make any changes to the message body and subject line.

    Note: Outlook may warn you that it needs to download images (or other content) in the message before you can edit it; click OK and proceed.
  4. Press Ctrl+S (Windows) or Command+S (Mac) to save the message.

Note: You can not edit the recipient fields (To, Cc and Bcc) with this method, only the subject line and body text.

Will the Emails Change on Other Computers and Devices?

Since the emails have already been downloaded to your computer, all you are doing is writing over the message and then saving a local copy.

However, if your email is configured to use Microsoft Exchange or IMAP, then any changes you make will be reflected in the emails no matter where you check them, like from your phone or another computer.

The sender will, of course, not know you edited your copy of the email they sent.