Reader to Reader - 13 Mar 2001

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Keep Track of Read Receipts
One day, I dialed in to check my email. I was using Outlook Express as an IMAP client. (I try to use all the Outlook clients, including Outlook Web Access—OWA—just to see the differences.) When I opened a message, I was surprised to see a dialog box that read The message sender has requested a response to indicate that you have read this message. Would you like to send a receipt? I had no problem clicking Yes to alert the sender that I had read her email, but the event started me wondering: How often do people track the receipt of my messages, and why isn't my Outlook 2000 client informing me?

My first thought was to check under Outlook, Tools, Options. I clicked E-mail Options, then Tracking Options. Under Use this option to decide how to respond to requests for read receipts, the options are Always send a response and Never send a response. However, these options are inaccessible unless you're using Outlook as an Internet email client (I use the Corporate/Workgroup Exchange Server client for this purpose).

The next step I tried met with greater success: I added a column that showed whether the message has the read receipt requested. By right-clicking a column name (you can right-click any column name) in the Inbox or any other folder and selecting Field Chooser, I added a Receipt Requested column. The Receipt Requested column doesn't show up in the Frequently Used Fields list, but I selected it from All Mail Fields. By clicking the Receipt Requested column, I can sort mail by messages that have had the read receipt option enabled. You might be surprised to see how many people request read receipts to make sure you have read their message!

This new column view in Outlook doesn't let you control sending those read receipts as the Outlook Express IMAP client does. If you want to maintain control, you can use Outlook Express as an IMAP client just to read your Inbox.

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