What’s the difference between tracking your emails using an Outlook Read Receipt versus the Outlook Delivery Receipt? Sometimes, in confusion, people even ask, “Is Outlook delivery receipt not working?” just because they expect it to behave like an Outlook read receipt.  It’s a question we get asked a lot, so we decided to create a definitive, comprehensive guide that explains the difference between the two.

Outlook Read Receipt vs. Outlook Delivery Receipt

The Outlook read receipt has been around since Outlook 2000. Until recently, it was one of the few email tracking options available – and, to give it credit, it has been an instrumental feature in allowing users to know what happens to their emails after they hit send. But the read receipt in Outlook has been superseded by the new – and vastly improved – Outlook email tracking. So, why has the Outlook Read Receipt been kicked to the curb? The answer’s simple, and it looks like this:

Outlook delivery receipt

This infamous pop-up has smart intentions – knowing when someone’s opened your email gives you incredible context into what happens after you hit send. But the problem is no one wants to click “Yes” on that pop-up – and even if they did, the fact that they know someone’s tracking their email opens defeats the whole purpose of tracking emails in the first place. If you’re going to track emails, you should be able to do it anonymously.

Outlook Email Tracking

Outlook Email Tracking is much more powerful than an Outlook Read Receipt. When you’re tracking your Outlook emails you will see:

  • If your email gets opened
  • How many times your email gets opened
  • Where your email gets opened
  • What device was used to open your email

Why is this important? Simple. When you start to see your email getting opened multiple times in many locations you know the recipient has shown great interest in what you wrote. If it was a sales proposal you could pick up the phone and hopefully close an important deal. If it was a job application, you could send a follow-up email and cash in on the moment of truth –  when you know you’re fresh on a recruiter’s mind.  Outlook Email Tracking gives you knowledge – and knowledge, as they wisely say, is power.

I want to start tracking my emails


So how easy is Outlook email tracking to use? It’s ridiculously easy. Right after you set it up you will see a new section in your Outlook ribbon with these 2 new options:

  1. Track Email
  2. Track Hyperlinks

Simply ensure both of those options are ticked before you hit the Send button. It looks like this in Outlook:

outlook read receipt


As soon as your emails start to be opened you will get notified in your new sidebar on the right side of Outlook. It looks like this:

Outlook delivery receipt

In this example, imagine you’ve sent me an email. In the sidebar, you can see all the details about the message’s opens: in this case, I opened it three times using Outlook and once using my iPhone in Toronto. You can also see when, where, and on what device I opened the link in the message: twice, using Google Chrome. The sidebar continuously updates throughout the day as your emails get opened.

Outlook Delivery Receipt

An Outlook delivery receipt confirms delivery of your email to the recipient’s mailbox, however unlike the Outlook read receipt and Outlook email tracking, the Outlook delivery receipt can’t confirm that the recipient has seen it or opened it.

Outlook delivery receipt

It’s very easy to attach a delivery receipt to your outgoing email. You can set up Outlook to attach delivery receipts to every outgoing email but that would overload your inbox with notifications! So for this example we will show you how to manually attach a delivery receipt to a new email.

Step 1:

Compose a new email as you would

Step 2:

Click on the Options tab, then in the Tracking group, select the Request a Delivery Receipt check box.

outlook delivery receipt

Step 3:

Send the email on its way!

Are you ready to get unprecedented insights into who’s opening your emails? Do you want to see who’s ignoring you -and who’s paying attention?

Whether you’re in sales and need to track your prospects, or an internal comms pro wanting to see how the newsletter you sent in Outlook is performing, it’s time to start tracking your emails using Outlook email tracking.

I want to start tracking my emails