How to View All Message Headers in Outlook

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Find out much about an email's history and tracing with Internet headers in Outlook.

Is This World Ideal?

In an ideal world, we would never have to look at an email message's header lines.

They contain such boring information as which server picked the message up from which other server at which time. While not particularly interesting normally, this information is required to identify the true origin of an email message, in particular of spam.

Like many other options, the ability to show these headers does exist in Outlook, but it is a bit hidden.

View All Message Headers in Outlook

To have Outlook 2007 and later show you a message's all header lines:

  1. Open the email in a new window
    • Double-clicking the message or press Enter with it highlighted in the folder's message list or open in the reading pane.
  2. Make sure the Message ribbon is active and expanded.
  3. Click the expansion button in the lower right corner of the ribbon's Tags section.
    • The section, by default, holds the Follow Up and Mark as Unread buttons.
    • In Outlook 2007, the section is labeled Options.
  4. Find the headers under Internet headers: (or Internet headers).

As an alternative, you can use the message's File menu:

  1. Open the email whose header lines you want to see in its own window using Outlook. (See above.)
  2. Click File.
  3. Make sure the Info category is open.
  4. Click Properties.
  5. Again, find the message's full header lines under Internet headers.

    View All Message Headers in Outlook 2000, 2002 and 2003

    To display all of a message's headers lines in Outlook 2000 to Outlook 2003:

    1. Open the message in a new window in Outlook.
    2. Select View | Options... from the message's menu.

    All header lines appear under Internet Headers at the bottom of the dialog that comes up.

    View All Message Headers in Outlook for Mac

    To bring up and examine all internet email header lines for a message in Outlook for Mac:

    1. In the message list, click on the message whose header lines you wish to see with the right mouse button.
      • ​Alternatively, of course, click while holding down the Ctrl key or tap with two fingers on a trackpad.
    2. Select View Source from the context menu that has appeared.
    3. Find the message headers at the very top of the message's full source text, which opened in TextEdit.
      • ​The first empty line from the top marks the end of the internet header area.

    ​Close TextEdit when you are done with the header lines.

    See the Complete Source (Headers and Message Body) for an Email in Outlook

    With a little tweaking of the Windows registry, you can also make Outlook display the complete, original and unedited message source.

    (Updated May 2016, tested with Outlook 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2016 as well as Outlook for Mac 2016)

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