Read Receipts in Outlook

Read receipts can be obnoxious. Outlook’s handling of them can be equally obnoxious.

I curiously received a read receipt in Outlook when I scheduled a meeting, that meeting was forwarded by a invitee of the meeting, and the recipient of the forward accepted.

Why, Outlook? Why? I don’t want read receipts. I don’t want a read receipt for every recipient of the 100 emails I sent last week. I have enough time balancing between my inbox quota and keeping the necessary emails on the server so that I can access them remotely.

Of course, after seeing the read receipt, I was curious how many people I’m sending read receipts to and not knowing it–so I turned on the option to “Ask me before sending a response” to read receipt requests:

  • In Outlook 2007, select the Tools menu.
  • Click on “Options…”
  • In the “Preferences” tab [the default tab], click the “E-mail Options” button.
  • In the “E-mail Options” window, click the “Tracking Options” button.
  • You have three options for setting the response.
    • Always send a response
    • Never send a response
    • Ask me before sending a response

Apparently, “read receipts” also mean “send a message if recipient deletes the message without reading it.” That concept is creepy enough, but apparently, even the messages that are just notifications that a recipient has accepted a meeting invite send receipts back if the recipient of the acceptance notification deletes the email.

I wonder if it sends a read receipt when I’ve read someone’s “Out of Office” message. I wouldn’t be surprised.