How to read message headers in outlook

How to read message headers in outlook

Go to Insert > Header or Footer.

Choose the header style you want to use.

How to read message headers in outlook

Tip: Some built-in header and footer designs include page numbers.

Add or change text for the header or footer. For more info on things you can do with headers, see Edit your existing headers and footers.

Select Close Header and Footer or press Esc to exit.

How to read message headers in outlook

Add a standard or customized header or footer

Go to Insert > Header or Footer.

Choose from a list of standard headers or footers, go to the list of Header or Footer options, and select the header or footer that you want.

Or, create your own header or footer by selecting Edit Header or Edit Footer.

When you’re done, select Close Header and Footer or press Esc.

Important: Office for Mac 2011 is no longer supported. Upgrade to Microsoft 365 to work anywhere from any device and continue to receive support.

On the Layout tab, under View, click Page Layout.

On the Layout tab, under Page Setup, click Header & Footer.

Choose from a list of standard headers or footers by going to the Header or Footer pop-up menu, and clicking the header or footer that you want.

Or, create your own header or footer by clicking Customize Header or Customize Footer and following the instructions.

Note: When you customize your header or footer, you can add images, page numbers, date, time, sheet name, file name and path, and more.

Rob Woodgate
How to read message headers in outlookRob Woodgate
Writer

Rob Woodgate is a writer and IT consultant with nearly 20 years of experience across the private and public sectors. He’s also worked as a trainer, technical support person, delivery manager, system administrator, and in other roles that involve getting people and technology to work together. Read more.

How to read message headers in outlook

Phishing and other email scams are on the rise. One of the best ways to identify scam emails is to examine the email header for detailed information about the sender. Here’s how to do that in Outlook.

Outlook itself provides a basic view of email headers. If that’s not enough, there’s a free add-in that breaks down the headers to give you a more human-friendly view. We’ll cover that as well.

Outlook’s Basic Header View

To get a basic view of the headers for an email, open the email in Outlook and click File > Properties.

How to read message headers in outlook

In the Properties window that opens, the header is displayed in the “Internet Headers” text box at the bottom.

How to read message headers in outlook

This text box isn’t very large, so we suggest you select all of the text and copy it into your text editor of choice to make it more visible.

However, the header information is one large block of text, which isn’t that easy to read, especially if you don’t read headers very often. To get a more useful view, there’s a free add-in you can use.

Using the Message Header Analyzer Add-in

If you’ve never installed an add-in to Outlook, we’ve written about the process before. The install process is a pretty simple one plus the add-ins are validated by Microsoft, so they’re safe to use.

And if you install the add-in to the desktop client, as we’re going to show you, the add-in will also automatically be added into the Outlook web app. This enables you to use it when you’re logged into Outlook in a browser, too.

To get started, open Outlook and click on Home > Get Add-Ins.

How to read message headers in outlook

In the search box in the top right, start typing “message header” and select the “Message Header Analyzer” add-in.

How to read message headers in outlook

Click the Add button to install the add-in.

How to read message headers in outlook

Once the add-in is installed, the Add button will change to say “Added.” Click the “X” in the top right to close the window.

How to read message headers in outlook

When you have an email selected in Outlook, a “View Headers” button will now be visible in the menu bar.

How to read message headers in outlook

Click this button to see the email headers for the selected email. The add-in has the following tabs:

  • Summary: Information (this is the default tab when you open the add-in).
  • Received: Information about where the message was received from, and when.
  • Antispam: Information from Microsoft’s Exchange Online Protection anti-spam scan of the email.
  • Other: All of the other header elements broken down into individual blocks.

How to read message headers in outlook

Best of all, where there are suitable web pages that relate to an element, the Message Header Analyzer includes a link to that page. This includes links to the exact section in the email specification—such as Authentication-Results—and Microsoft’s information on the anti-spam elements they add to emails that go through Exchange.

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How to read message headers in outlook Rob Woodgate
Rob Woodgate is a writer and IT consultant with nearly 20 years of experience across the private and public sectors. He’s also worked as a trainer, technical support person, delivery manager, system administrator, and in other roles that involve getting people and technology to work together.
Read Full Bio »

Double-click on the message to open it in the new window.
From the Files tab select Info > Properties. Full email headers are located inside the Headers box:

How to read message headers in outlook

Select the email, click on Other Actions > View Source:

How to read message headers in outlook

Select the email, go to the View menu > Message > Raw Source:

How to read message headers in outlook

Select the email, click on Actions > View source:

How to read message headers in outlook

Select the email, click on More > Show source:

How to read message headers in outlook

Select the email and toggle the Actions menu by clicking on the arrow next to the email subject.
You will see additional options in the right top corner of the email. Select Other Options > View source:

How to read message headers in outlook

Select the email, click on More > View message source:

Right-click (or ctrl-click) the message in your Inbox or other folder without opening the message. From the menu that appears, select View Source:

How to read message headers in outlook

Select the email, click on the More button > choose Show original

How to read message headers in outlook

Select the email, click on the More icon > View raw message

How to read message headers in outlook

Select the email, click on Action > View Message Source

How to read message headers in outlook

Basics of Email Routing

Email routes in a similar way to your browser’s request for information from a web server. The difference is that you send email without any kind of confirmation that a connection was made to the recipient’s email server. With web browsers, a connection is made, and the web server returns an acknowledgement that the request was successful. With email, your email client sends the message off to an email server with no way of knowing if the message reached its recipient. It could get lost in the void, and you would have no way of knowing. This is why email is an unreliable way of communication even though its an integral part of communication in today’s online life

As you know from previous lessons, you can’t use Outlook until you’ve configured it. You must configure an incoming email server and an outgoing email server that uses the Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP). This protocol has been used for decades to send email. SMTP runs on email servers and accepts messages from senders including your Outlook program.

When you click the “Send” button in Outlook, the software packages your message and sends it to the SMTP server configured. The email server performs a lookup to find out where the email must be sent. Just like web traffic that must be routed using routers that direct traffic using the most efficient path, email messages are also sent using the same routing methods. The only difference is email messages bounce from email server to email server until they reach the designated recipient inbox.

A recipient’s email inbox sits on their own configured incoming server. This server could be a web host’s designated email server. It could also be a corporate email server. Some cloud hosts offer an email server with hosting service. Other recipients lease mail servers from vendors. Regardless of the service, an email server runs simple software that understands that an incoming message should be stored until a recipient logs into their email client and downloads messages. Microsoft Outlook works well with Microsoft’s own email software Exchange. Corporations that use Microsoft as its operating system and network environment often use Exchange as their internal email server.

As an email bounces from email server to email server as it’s routed across the Internet, but each bounce is recorded in the email headers. This helps administrators track them and identify the sender of an email. It can also help individuals identify the sender, but it’s also useful to identify a phishing email.

Many email servers use headers to determine if the sender is from the organization they claim to be from. “Spoofing” email is when a sender identifies an email address from an organization manually. Although the sender can be changed to any manual setting, the recipient’s email service can check headers and identify if the sender email address is forged. If it’s forged, the email is sent to the recipient’s spam inbox. In a corporate environment, the email is filtered and never sent to the recipient’s inbox. This email filtering technique is part of many organization’s cyber security infrastructure.

Viewing Headers in Outlook

Depending on your Outlook configuration, you might need to download email headers for messages that you download to your inbox. Outlook has a button where you can manually download headers from an email server.

How to read message headers in outlook

(Download headers button to retrieve them from an email server)

The button to download email headers is located in the “Send/Receive” tab. Select the email from your inbox and click the button and Outlook downloads them, although you cannot see them in the current window.

Double click the email message that you want to view. By double clicking a message, it opens in a new window. Now, click the “File” tab. In this tab, you’ll see a button named “Properties.” Click this button and another window opens.

How to read message headers in outlook

(Window that displays an email’s headers)

The properties of a message have several benefits. This window gives you a list of settings configured by the sender. Notice that the importance of this message is set to normal. You can also identify if a user places delivery and read receipts on a message. When a delivery message is placed on a message, you get notification when the email is sent to the user’s inbox. Since SMTP does not have a way to verify that an email was successfully delivered, this option provides a way for you to verify that it was delivered.

Being delivered does not mean an email was viewed by the recipient, so a read receipt tells you if the email was opened. A message is sent to your inbox for both read and delivery receipts. Note that a recipient can block these receipts from being sent, so they are not a guaranteed way to identify if an email was delivered and read.

The Internet headers are shown at the bottom of the message. The headers in this text box can be long, but you can use Ctrl+A and then Ctrl+C to copy them. You can then paste them into another document to view them. You’ll notice several properties in the email headers that identify the sender, but the routing information can be difficult to dissect. Fortunately, there is a way to plug in headers and see formatted output with information that can be analyzed without reading header content.

Google provides you with a tool that parses header content and gives you the information that you need to identify the sender of an email. The tool can be found at: https://toolbox.googleapps.com/apps/messageheader/analyzeheader

Email headers should be read from the bottom to the top. Think of headers as a “first in, last out” configuration. The first email server added to the list is at the bottom of the list, and each new one is added on top of the previous one. The first email server to send the email along its route is place in the headers first, and then each new route is added to the top. This means that the first email server to receive a message is at the bottom of the headers. This can be difficult for readers to understand, so a tool such as Google’s parses the information and makes it easier to understand.

With a read on email headers, you can better understand the path an email had to take to reach its destination to your inbox. It’s these headers that help you identify phishing or a sender that spoofs the sender value to trick you into thinking it’s from a different one. Whenever you receive an email message in Outlook that seems questionable, always look at the headers.

Outlook is a go-to application for many across the globe. Lately, there has been a great rise in Phishing and other email scams. One of the best ways to identify scam emails is to examine the email header for detailed information about the sender. By verifying the sender and other information in the header you can avoid falling prey to harmful email content. If you are unaware of how to view detailed information from the header, in this article you will learn effective methods on how to view a full message header in Outlook. By following the manual methods mentioned in the section below, you can effortlessly view the email header without opening the email.

The risk of corruption is very high especially when you become a victim of Phishing or other scams. You can avoid this by taking a regular backup of your Outlook. You can also make use of a reliable PST repair tool like Remo Repair PST to fix severe corruptions in your PST file.

How to View Full Message Headers in Outlook?

Perks of Viewing message headers in Outlook

  • Avoiding Spam emails
  • Helpful for organized work segregation based on user priority

View message headers in Outlook on your desktop

How to read message headers in outlook

  1. Double-click an email message to open it outside of the Reading Pane.
  2. Click File > Properties.
  3. Header information appears in the Internet headers box.
    Tip: You can highlight the information in that box, press Ctrl+C to copy, and paste it into Notepad or Word to see the entire header at once.

Using Add-in to explore header without opening the email

  1. View full message header in Outlook using Add-ins
  2. To get started, open Outlook and click on Home > GetAdd-Ins. alt=”Full Message Headers in Outlook ” width=”384″ height=”101″ />
  3. In the search box in the top right, start typing “message header” and select the Message Header Analyzer add-in.
  4. Click the Add button to install the add-in.

Conclusion

The article summarizes how to view a full message header in Outlook, by following the above-listed manual methods you can effortlessly view the full header message of your email. Spam email could be a drag to deal with. By enabling the header view feature you can effortlessly evade this problem. If you have any further queries regarding the article make use of the comment section below

Also Read:

Tony Landry is a Web Content Editor at Remo Software. He loves to write, edit, and manage content for users trying to troubleshoot and fix problems on Windows, Outlook, storage drives and Cloud storage networks.

He has published more than 200 articles in Remo Software blog. He actively engages in research and problem-solving techniques to consistently generate great web content. Fixing various hardware problems on computer and storage devices along with a great knack for fixing Outlook errors, Tony is also the fun-time IT guy for all his work friends. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and enjoys cycling.

Reading the headers of an email message can reveal very useful information for Exchange Server administrators who are diagnosing problems.

Email message header information includes details such as the route that the email took (ie which email servers were involved in the transmission of the message), who sent it, who it was addressed to, and whether the email message was scanned for spam or viruses.

This is useful for both internal and external email messages. As just one real world example, I often need to use email message header information to diagnose message delivery delays.

How to Access Email Message Header Information in Outlook

Each version of Microsoft Outlook lets you access the email message headers, but they do it in slightly different ways.

To read the email message headers in Outlook 2013 click on the arrow next to Tags in the ribbon menu.

How to read message headers in outlook

To read the email message headers in Outlook 2010 click on the arrow next to Tags in the ribbon menu.

How to read message headers in outlook

To read the email message headers in Outlook 2007 click on the arrow next to Options in the ribbon menu.

How to read message headers in outlook

The message options will appear with the email message header information towards the bottom.

How to read message headers in outlook

Reading Email Message Headers in Notepad

First let’s take a look at how difficult it actually can be to read the raw message header information that you get out of a message in Outlook. If you copy the message header information into Notepad will look like a complete mess.

How to read message headers in outlook

Even though it is is quite messy and difficult to read you can still see useful information in the message headers. First there is the basic information about the email message itself.

Then there are the email servers that the message passed through on it’s way to the destination. To follow these in order start at the bottom and read upwards.

How to read message headers in outlook

These lines are generally in the following format:

Received: from servername (IP address) by servername (IP address) with MTA-name; timestamp

When a message passes over several hops this can get a bit confusing to read, especially when the timestamps are all from different time zones. Fortunately there are some useful tools you can use to present the email message header to you in a much easier format to read.

Reading Email Message Headers Using Header Analyzer Tools

Here are three online tools you can use analyze email message headers. For demonstration purposes I’m using the message headers from a spam email message that I recently received in a mailbox in my test lab.

Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyzer

The Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyzer includes a Message Analyzer tool. Paste the message headers into the field provided and click Analyze headers to produce the report.

How to read message headers in outlook

How to read message headers in outlook

MXToolbox

MXToolbox also has a section of the website for analyzing message headers. Again simply paste the header information into the field provided and you get a nice, graphical report out of it.

How to read message headers in outlook

How to read message headers in outlook

Google Apps Toolbox

Finally there is the Google Apps Toolbox which includes a Messageheader analyzer tool that has similar functionality to the others.

How to read message headers in outlook

Summary

As you can see reading email message headers provides you with a lot of very useful information for diagnosing email problems. You can retrieve email messages easily using email clients such as Outlook, and then use any of the third party message header analyzer tools to produce an easy to read report from that message header data.

How to read message headers in outlook

Phishing and other email scams are on the rise. One of the best ways to identify scam emailsis to examine the email header for detailed information about the sender. Here’s how to do that in Outlook.

Outlook itself provides a basic view of email headers. If that’s not enough, there’s a free add-in that breaks down the headers to give you a more human-friendly view. We’ll cover that as well.

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Outlook’s Basic Header View

To get a basic view of the headers for an email, open the email in Outlook and click File > Properties.

How to read message headers in outlook

In the Properties window that opens, the header is displayed in the “Internet Headers” text box at the bottom.

How to read message headers in outlook

This text box isn’t very large, so we suggest you select all of the text and copy it into your text editor of choice to make it more visible.

However, the header information is one large block of text, which isn’t that easy to read, especially if you don’t read headers very often. To get a more useful view, there’s a free add-in you can use.

Using the Message Header Analyzer Add-in

If you’ve never installed an add-in to Outlook, we’ve written about the process before. The install process is a pretty simple one plus the add-ins are validated by Microsoft, so they’re safe to use.

And if you install the add-in to the desktop client, as we’re going to show you, the add-in will also automatically be added into the Outlook web app. This enables you to use it when you’re logged into Outlook in a browser, too.

To get started, open Outlook and click on Home > Get Add-Ins.

How to read message headers in outlook

In the search box in the top right, start typing “message header” and select the “Message Header Analyzer” add-in.

How to read message headers in outlook

Click the Add button to install the add-in.

How to read message headers in outlook

Once the add-in is installed, the Add button will change to say “Added.” Click the “X” in the top right to close the window.

How to read message headers in outlook

When you have an email selected in Outlook, a “View Headers” button will now be visible in the menu bar.

How to read message headers in outlook

Click this button to see the email headers for the selected email. The add-in has the following tabs:

  • Summary: Information (this is the default tab when you open the add-in).
  • Received: Information about where the message was received from, and when.
  • Antispam: Information from Microsoft’s Exchange Online Protection anti-spam scan of the email.
  • Other: All of the other header elements broken down into individual blocks.

Best of all, where there are suitable web pages that relate to an element, the Message Header Analyzer includes a link to that page. This includes links to the exact section in the email specification—such as Authentication-Results—and Microsoft’s information on the anti-spam elements they add to emails that go through Exchange.

Microsoft hid one really handy and essential feature – the possibility to view message headers. The truth is that it contains a lot of information for you to retrieve.

  • The real address of the sender (not the one you see in the From field since it can be easily falsified). For example, you received an unexpected email from yourbank.com. It looks exactly like all emails you usually get from your bank, still you have doubts… You open the message headers just to see very.suspiciouswebsite.com instead of the sender’s server mail.yourbank.com :).
  • The sender’s local time zone. It will help you avoid entering Good morning when it is late night on the recipient’s side.
  • Email client from which the message was sent.
  • The servers that the email passed. With emails it is just like with letters sent by post. If your and recipient’s inboxes are not on the same website, the letter will need to pass some break points. On the Internet their role is played by special email servers that resend the message via third party websites until it finds the recipient. Each server marks the message with its time stamp.
    It can be really entertaining to see that an email from somebody who is in the same room crossed half of the world to get into your inbox.
    It can happen that an email gets stuck within one of the servers. It can be broken or it can fail to find the next third party server. If you don’t know about this you can blame the sender who did reply an hour ago. However that happens really seldom.

Each Outlook version keeps email headers in a different location:

View message headers in Outlook 2019–2010

  1. Open the email with the headers you need to see.
  2. Select the Files tab in the email’s window.

How to always have the Properties dialog at hand

The Properties box is a really handy option and it would be nice to be able to get it at your earliest convenience. You can use it to add a digital signature to an email, or turn on the option “Do not auto archive this item”. With the help of this feature you can also enable such tracking flags as “Request a delivery receipt for this message” and “Request read receipt for this message” to be sure that the email was received.

  1. Go to the File tab and select Options from the left menu list.
  2. In the Outlook Options dialog, pick Quick Access Toolbar.
  3. Select All commands from the Choose commands list.
  4. In the below list find and select “Message options” (you can press M to be able to scroll faster). Please don’t make the mistake I made, it is “Message options” you need, not “Options”.
  5. Press the “Add >>” button and click OK.

See email headers in Outlook 2007

  1. Open Outlook.
  2. In the list of emails, right-click on the one with the headers you need to view.
  3. Select the “Message Options…” from the menu list.

Find message headers in Outlook 2003, 2002, 2000

In these Outlook versions Office Ribbon habitual for some users and hated by the other is absent :):

  1. Open Outlook.
  2. Open the email with the headers you need to see.
  3. In the message menu pick View -> Message headers.

Or you can run the menu for the email in the main Outlook window and select “Options…” that will be the last in the list.

View Internet headers in Gmail

Please follow these steps if you read emails online:

  1. Log into your Gmail account.
  2. Click on the email with the headers to view.
  3. Click on the down arrow next to the Reply button on top of the email pane. Select the Show original option from the list.

You were asked by the CodeTwo Customer Service to provide them with the message header of your email.

Solution:

A message header may not be sufficient for diagnostic purposes. Information on how to prepare a diagnostic email for the CodeTwo Customer Service is available here.

Instructions for Office 365 (Outlook on the web)

To view the message header of an email in Office 365:

  1. Open an email in Office 365 (Outlook on the web).
  2. Click the ellipsis (. ) button in the upper-right corner of the reading pane and choose View > View message details from the drop-down menu (Fig. 1.)

How to read message headers in outlook

Fig. 1. Accessing message headers in Outlook on the web.

  1. Copy the entire text from the Message details window (Fig. 2.) and paste it into a TXT file. Use our file upload form to send the files and environment description to CodeTwo Customer Service.

How to read message headers in outlook

Fig. 2. The message header.

Instructions for Outlook Web App (OWA)

To view the message header of an email in Outlook Web App (OWA).

  1. Open the email in OWA. Click the ellipsis (. ) button on the right side of the Reading pane and select View message details from the drop-down menu (Fig. 3.).

How to read message headers in outlook

Fig. 3. Accessing message details in OWA.

  1. Copy the text from the pop-up window (Fig. 4.), paste it into a .txt file. Use our file upload form to send the files and environment description to CodeTwo Customer Service.

How to read message headers in outlook

Fig. 4. The message header.