Should You Send Email Read Receipts?

Acknowledging the receipt of an email is considerate in many settings

Many email clients, including Microsoft Outlook and Apple Mail, allow you to request and send read receipts. If you're a sender who wants to know if their email was received and read, you'd request a read receipt. If you receive an email with a read-receipt request, you have the option of sending back a read receipt. Here's some more information about read receipts, their purpose, and what your options are.

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Sending Read Receipt Requests With Your Email

While the exact process differs slightly depending on your email client, it's usually easy to attach a read-receipt request to your email before sending the message. But sending a read-receipt request doesn't guarantee that you'll get a read receipt back.

Your email recipient doesn't have to send a read receipt if they don't want to. Not everyone wants a sender to know if they've opened and read their email. Recipients might not be ready to deal with any requests or actions needed, or they may prefer not to respond for privacy reasons.

Not all email clients support read receipts, and users can disable this feature on their end, so your recipient might not even know you're requesting a read receipt.

Typically, read receipts work best in a business or organizational setting where everyone uses the same email service and has common productivity goals.

It's considered poor email etiquette to request a read receipt for every email when there's no business reason or no critical information being conveyed. For best results, use read receipts on important emails only or when business reasons dictate it.

Requesting Acknowledgment

If you find that your recipients balk at sending back read receipts, try asking for acknowledgment in the email message. For example, add a line to your email that says something like, "Our deadline is tight. Please acknowledge receipt of this email," or, "Please send a brief reply so I know everyone received this information." You're just as likely to receive an acknowledgment as with the use of read receipts.

Should You Send Back a Read Receipt?

If you're on the receiving end of a read-receipt request, it's up to you whether or not you want to send one. In a business setting, it's likely important to send back a read receipt if one is requested, especially when the email's about projects and tight deadlines.

In other settings, use your best judgment on the most considerate action to take. If you find yourself inundated with read-receipt requests on unimportant emails, consider disabling the feature.

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