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Receiving Notification of Message Being Opened

Posted on 2004-04-16
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We use Outlook 97 in our office with Microsoft Mail.  We have the option set so that the message sender receives notification when the receiver opens the message.  This works fine within the office. I understand that this should also work for the message recipients outside of the office if they have Outlook and if they choose to respond.  We have a remote office for which we would like for them to use this option so that we can verify that they receive and have opened various messages.  However, they do not seem to have the option that lets them acknowledge the receipt of the message.  

What are the variables involved that determines whether this option appears to the recipient?  We occasionally receive acknowledgement from other email recipients, so it seems that it is set properly on the sender side.  Does it depend upon the version of Outlook.  Both ends use Outlook 97.

Thanks for the help.
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Question by:cccgsmith
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by:rosesolutions1
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What mail server does the remote office use?
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slink9 earned 90 total points
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I don't believe there was an option to reply in OL97.  If the sender sets it the reply is sent automatically without an opportunity for the recipient to stop it.
The route that an email takes along with which software and server is on the recipient's end will make a big difference.  As you have noticed, it works quite well in a controlled environment (within the office) but is quite unreliable when sent "out in the wild."
The best way around this would be a bit expensive.  Set up a single Exchange Server which will be accessed by both locations.  This gives you the controlled environment required for this functionality.  Given that this office is on OL97 and MSMail I have a feeling that expense cannot be justified.
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by:rosesolutions1
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While slink9 is right, this might work between your offices if the mail server at the other end complies (some mail servers just dont send out these receipts, others have to be configured to).

Given this is your own remote office, I sort of assumed that the connection between the email servers wasn't just internet (ie. VPN-over-intenet, or leased line or something.) Can you confirm/deny?
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by:cccgsmith
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The remote office uses the mail server of their ISP, whatever that is.  The home office uses both that of their ISP's mail server as well as the free editiion of ArGoSoft.

Slink9 is definitely correct--this is a low budget office, so we do not upgrade just to have the latest bells and whistles.  We can only justify it when there is a measurable economic advantage.  We still use peer-to-peer networking, so that tells you something about our state of technology.

The connection between the email servers is regular email--we have not yet set up a VPN, but it is on my "ToDo" list.  Interestingly, one of the few acknowledgment receipts that we have received from other users is the same ISP that owns the ISP that the remote office uses, but they use different domain names.

I do not care whether there is an option when the remote office opens up the email, but I would like to receive acknowledgement when she does so.

I hope this gives you enough information to give me some further suggestions.
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by:slink9
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The only viable suggestion was an Exchange Server that both are accessing.  Other than that you will have to deal with the unreliability of the notifications.
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by:rosesolutions1
rosesolutions1 earned 35 total points
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With that configuration I have to agree with slink9 - the built in receipts just aint gonna work very well.

Alternative: can you put code onto the computers at the remote office? You could implement your own notifications using Outlook code and real emails.  Method: outlook rules could be used to advise of delivery; would need code to notify of the item being opened (Function Item_Open() in the form's vbscript if you want to use a custom form, or better to use an addin IMHO)
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by:cccgsmith
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I now have ammuniation to go to the boss with a request for a software upgrade!  I will keep the coding in mind if I run out of projects (not very likely).  Thanks for your input.
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