How To Tell if Someone Opened Your E-mail

If you sent an important email and are waiting for a reply, knowing whether that person has read it and is composing a reply or hasn’t gotten around to it yet can save a lot of anxious waiting. With that in mind, here is how to tell if someone has opened your email or not.

How To Tell if Someone Opened Your E-mail

Whether for business or for personal reasons, waiting to hear back from someone is never easy. You don’t have to be an obsessive to keep checking your inbox and time can seemingly stretch out forever while you wait. The person you’re waiting for may not have seen your email, may have to wait until they can reply or may need extra time or information before they can reply. If you don’t know that, time seems eternal.

There are a couple of ways you can tell if someone opened your email but none are 100% effective. They work most of the time but are not guaranteed. However, they are better than nothing.

How to Tell if Someone Opened Your Email With Microsoft Outlook

As a business-centric email platform, Microsoft Outlook has lots of useful features that help manage email. If you use Outlook desktop or Office 365 you have options. One of them is the delivery receipt and another is the read receipt. The first will ping you an email when the recipient has received your email while the second will ping you when they open it.

To use read receipts:

  1. Open Outlook and select the email address you want to send from (if you use multiple addresses) and then select New message. Outlook New Message button
  2. Next, click the three horizontal dots, located next to Discard and click Show message optionsOutlook Options Menu
  3. Check the box next to Request a Delivery Receipt and/or Request a Read Receipt. Outlook Message options

The only issue with this method is if the recipient uses Preview mode. In some circumstances, the trigger for a read receipt does not happen. Plus, the recipient is alerted and can turn off the option to send one. Finally, this option isn’t in the web version of Outlook.

How to Tell if Someone Opened Your Email With Gmail

Gmail natively offers email tracking but it applies it to all emails. If you only want to track occasional mails there is a useful browser extension that does just that. RightInbox is a very useful tool but costs money while Mailtrack for Gmail & Inbox does not. There is a free version of RightInbox which is good for 10 emails per month, otherwise Mailtrack for Gmail & Inbox gets the job done.

As I have used RightInbox before, I’ll use that one.

  1. Visit the RightInbox website and select the Free plan. RightinBox Install page
  2. The link will take you to the Chrome Web Store. Click Add to Chrome to download the browser extension and install it into Chrome. Chrome Web Store for RightInBox
  3. Open Gmail and you should see a notification, prompting you to activate Right Inbox. Select Sign in with Google to activate it. Right Inbox prompt
  4. Select Compose to create a new email. Gmail email button
  5. Click the eye icon at the bottom of the email window, and check the boxes to add tracking for clicks or opens. Right Inbox prompt

Mailtrack for Gmail & Inbox has a similar setup that uses a tick system like WhatsApp to show whether an email has been delivered and read or not.

Third Party Tools to Tell if Someone Opened Your Email

If you’re in marketing or are sending promotional emails, there are a few third party tools around that can help with tracking. Many of them cost money but come with free trials or limited free accounts that works just as well.

Tools include Media Monkey, Bananatag, Yesware and Mailtrack. All work in much the same way. You install an app or browser extension, enable it and away you go. Free accounts are usually limited to a finite number of emails you can track per month which won’t work if you’re a commercial user. Each of the four mentioned above uses a subscription model to enable all of the features.

One thing to be aware of if using the free accounts within third party tools is that some will append a link at the bottom of your mails telling the recipient you are using it. This should be fine in most situations but be aware of your audience if you want to use them.

How to Tell if Someone is Tracking Your Emails

If you’re on the other side of the equation and want to know if someone is tracking whether you read emails or not, you can. A Chrome addon called Ugly Email lets you do just that. If it detects code that feeds back to a remote server or client, it adds an eyeball into the subject line of your Inbox. It also blocks the tracker feeding back too which is very useful!

Ethics aside, it is very straightforward to tell if someone opened your email. Got any other tools or techniques that work? Tell us about them below if you do!

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