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How can I search Outlook for emails that have outstanding read-receipt requests?

Posted on 2010-08-26
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
I'm looking for a simple way for my bookkeeper to identify emails that have been sent, but not yet received by the intended recipient.  She currently requests receipts, but has to manually match up receipts to sent emails and keep track of the emails that have not yet had receipts returned.

Can Outlook tell me which receipt-requested emails are still waiting for the receipts to be returned?  I've found no filters or advanced search options that accomplish this.

Thanks in advance.

JD
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Question by:jdjintx
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7 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:woolnoir
ID: 33532166
http://www2.wlv.ac.uk/its/selfhelp/help/outlook/outlook_read_receipts.asp

you can view receipt status for a mail, but im sure your wanting something with a little less admin overhead.
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:David Lee
ID: 33533213
Hi, jdjintx.

Outlook has no built-in means of doing this.  The only solution is a script.  I can provide the script and instructions if you want pursue this.
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Author Comment

by:jdjintx
ID: 33535503
Woolnoir - I may be missing something, but I read the article in your link and I still don't follow a way to check a specific email's receipt status.

BDF- I may want to pursue this, but I may have an alternative...  Can anyone confirm how to set the time interval before a "Not Read" receipt is generated?

Thanks!

JD
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Expert Comment

by:David Lee
ID: 33535945
To the best of my knowledge there is no way to delay a receipt.  It goes the instant the message is read.
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LVL 20

Expert Comment

by:woolnoir
ID: 33535962
>To see who has read your email, go to the original email that you sent out,
>Select the Tracking tab.
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Author Comment

by:jdjintx
ID: 33537191
BDF - Sorry for the confusion, I was not looking to delay the receipt.  My bookkeeper sends out purchase orders with a read-receipt requested, and wants the receipt ASAP.  If the email is not read, however, she eventually receives a receipt that says "Not Read".  My questions:

What generates a "Not Read" receipt?

What determines how much time goes by before a "Not Read" receipt is generated?  Can this be decreased so that a "Not Read" is generated in as little as 2 days?
Thanks,

JD
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LVL 76

Accepted Solution

by:
David Lee earned 2000 total points
ID: 33547803
Got it.  The not read receipt is automatically generated when an unread item is deleted.  It is not time based.  Read receipts are a great concept, but the way they are implemented makes them useless.  Here's why.  First, some email clients may not support read receipts at all.  Second, some email clients, including Outlook, give the recipient control of the receipt process.  Outlook has three options for receipts: always respond, never respond, allow the user to decide for each message.  I know some people who have Outlook set to never respond.  You would never get a receipt from them.  I keep Outlook set to respond on a per message basis.  When I get a message from someone I know and trust, then I allow Outlook to send a receipt.  Otherwise I tell Outlook to block the receipt.  That keeps spammers from determining that my address is a good address to send to.  Third, Outlook allows the recipient to read the message in the reading pane without generating a receipt.  The recipient may have read the message yet when they delete it you will get a not read receipt.

The bottom line is that receipts are of little value unless you are certain that the recipient will honor them.  Even then you as the sender have no control over receipts.  All you can do is request one.  

There are some third party services that provide a guaranteed response.  They do this by forcing the recipient to connect to their service to see the message.  Another workaround is to include a tracking graphic in the message.  This is an image hosted on your web server.  When the recipient opens the message their mail client downloads the graphic.  The web server event log records the fact that they downloaded the graphic giving you an effective read receipt.  This was a very popular tactic with spammers which is why most email clients allow you to block graphics.  If graphics are blocked, then this solution doesn't work.
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