How To See If Someone Read Your Email In Gmail And Outlook

Want to see if someone read your email in Gmail and Outlook? Want to use read receipts in your emails to make sure people respond to them in a timely manner? This tutorial will show you how.


Email Basics

Read receipts are both good and bad. You are notified automatically when someone has read your email but will find yourself wondering how long it takes someone to check their email while you’re waiting. They are like Last Seen or message receipts on social media. They can be a power for good but also be a power for evil and set expectations unnecessarily high.

Either way, if you want to use read receipts, you can. As they are two of the most popular email platforms out there, I’ll show you how to use read receipts to see if someone read your email in Gmail and Outlook.

Read receipts in Gmail

If you’re an individual Gmail user, you won’t have access to read receipts. It isn’t available in gmail.com addresses. You can use an addon which I’ll show you in a minute. If you use G Suite, you can use read receipts within the platform itself and should see a small arrow at the bottom right of the email composition screen. Use that to request a read receipt.

For standard Gmail users, you’ll need Mailtrack.

  1. Open Gmail and log in.
  2. Select the gear icon at the top right of the inbox and select Get add-ons.
  3. Select Mailtrack from the list and install it.
  4. Install the Mailtrack extension to complete setup.

You should now see a small envelope icon appear in the right panel of your Gmail inbox. From here you can configure the app and manage tracking. When you send an email, select Mailtrack to confirm tracking of that mail and you will be notified within the app when it has been opened. Mailtrack will also tell you how many times it has been opened too. I’m sure there are other addons that do the same thing but I have used this one so can recommend it.

Read receipts in Outlook

Depending on what version of Outlook you use, you should have read receipts included. If you use the program version of Outlook, you definitely have them. If you use Outlook Web Access, you may have read receipts.

Outlook Web Access

Some versions of Outlook Web Access seem to have the option for read receipts while some don’t. You can quickly check your version to see which you have.

  1. Log into com and go to your inbox.
  2. Select New Message on the left.
  3. Select the three dot menu icon on the top next to Discard.
  4. Select Show Message Options from the menu and select Request a Read Receipt.
  5. Send the message as usual.

If you don’t see Show Message Options, your version of OWA doesn’t have read receipts enabled.

You can control how you send read receipts though. Select the gear icon at the top right of the OWA screen and select Settings. Select Email from the left and Message Handling inset left. Select the appropriate response under Read Receipts in the center pane.

Outlook the app

If you use Outlook the program as part of the Microsoft Office suite, you will certainly have access to read receipts. They are built into the program by default and even if you send from the same account you access via Outlook Web Access, you can track them using the program.

  1. Select New Email from within Outlook.
  2. Select Options from the ribbon and check the box next to Request Read Receipt.
  3. Compose and send your email as usual.

Once the email has been read, you should receive an email notification tell you so.

Don’t depend on read receipts

Read receipts in Gmail and Outlook are useful but not foolproof. Both email systems have the option to not send read receipts. Even if you request one when you send an email, it is entirely up to the recipient whether they send one or not. Both Gmail and Outlook have read receipts disabled by default but there is also the option to prompt before sending or to send automatically.

Even if you request a receipt, doesn’t mean you’ll receive one. They aren’t universally loved by people, with some not sending them out of principle while others find them intrusive. Personally, I never send one as I think it adds extra pressure to reply quickly like a read notification on WhatsApp.

What do you think of read receipts? Do you use them? Do you allow Gmail or Outlook to respond to them? Tell us about it below!