How to Forward an Email as an Attachment in Outlook

Blank red note attached to file folder in row
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The day may come when you want to forward an Outlook email to report spam or trace a problem. You could copy and paste, but forwarding an email as an attachment in Outlook lets you forward a full email copy that includes all the header and routing information, not just the content.

Forward an Email as an Attachment in Outlook

To forward an individual message in its full and original state in Outlook, use the ribbon and buttons as follows:

  1. Open the message you want to forward in the reading pane or in its own window.
    • You can also just highlight the email in the message list.
    • To forward multiple messages as attachments at one time and attached to one email, highlight all the ones you want to send in the message list.
  2. If the message is open in your Outlook's reading pane make sure the HOME ribbon is selected and visible.
  3. If the message is open in its own window make sure the MESSAGE ribbon is selected and visible.
  4. Click More (or the More Respond Actions icon if only that is visible) in the Respond section.
  5. Select Forward as Attachment from the menu that appears.
  6. Address the message and explain to the recipient(s) why you are forwarding the original email.

Any email you forward is attached as an EML file, which some email programs such as OS X Mail may display inline including all header lines.

Using a Keyboard Shortcut to Forward Email as Attachments

To forward an email as an attachment in Outlook using a keyboard shortcut:

  1. Open the email you want to forward in the preview pane or in its own window. To forward multiple messages at once, highlighted the emails in the message list for the folder or in search results.
  2. Press Ctrl-Alt-F.
  3. Add recipients to the message along with a note for each of them explaining why you forwarded the email to them.

    Setting Forward As an Attachment as the Default

    You can also set forwarding as an attachment to be the default in Outlook. Then, forwarding inline is unavailable, although you can always copy and paste a message's text in a new email, of course.

    To set up Outlook to forward emails as EML file attachments automatically:

    • Choose File.
    • Select Options.
    • Open the Mail category.
    • Make sure Attach original message is selected for When forwarding a message under Replies and forwards.
    • Click OK.

    Forwarding as Attachment in Outlook 2003 and 2007

    In Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007, you can forward emails as attachments by changing the forwarding default.

    (Tested with Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016)