How to Prevent Outlook From Answering Read Receipt Requests

Choose when you want to notify senders

Some email senders include a read receipt request with the messages they send. When these messages appear in your inbox, you may be prompted to send a read receipt that confirms you received and opened the message. If you don't want to respond, set up Outlook to ignore these requests. Or, if you want control over how these read receipt requests are handled, set up Outlook to reply automatically or to ask you what to do.

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003; and Outlook for Microsoft 365.

Prevent Outlook From Answering Read Receipt Requests for Emails

To make Outlook ignore all requests for read receipts:

  1. Go to File > Options.

    File menu options in Outlook
  2. Select Mail.

  3. In the Tracking section, under For any message received that includes a read receipt request, select Never send a read receipt.

    Read receipt options within Outlook
  4. Select OK.

Other Read Receipt Options

If you want to respond to read receipt requests, you have two options:

  • Always send a read receipt: Outlook automatically returns a read receipt when you open a message and does this without your knowledge.
  • Ask each time whether to send a read receipt: Outlook opens a dialog box after you read an email. You have the choice to either send the read receipt or to ignore the read receipt request.

Prevent Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2003 From Answering Read Receipt Requests

To make Outlook ignore all requests for read receipt you receive:

  1. Select Tools > Options.

  2. Go to the Preferences tab.

  3. Select E-mail Options.

  4. Select Tracking Options.

  5. Under Use this option to decide how to respond to requests for read receipts, select Never send a response. This only applies to Internet Mail accounts.

  6. Select OK on the next 3 dialog boxes to complete changes.

If you use Exchange server, the server responds to receipt requests if it is configured to do so.

What Do Read Receipts Generated by Outlook Look Like?

When Outlook honors the request for a read receipt, it generates an email to the sender that:

  • Informs the email program or service that the email was opened.
  • Tells, in plain text, when the email — identified by the recipient, subject, and date — was opened.
  • Identifies the recipient, subject, and date opened in rich HTML formatting.

The sender's email program or service decides how to display that information; most show the email's text either in rich text or plain text.

Outlook Read Receipt Example

The text part of a read receipt generated by Outlook looks like this:

Your message
Subject: Example Subject
Sent: 4/11/2016 11:32 PM
was read on 4/11/2016 11:39 PM.
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