Is there a way to know if your recipient read the email you sent them?


Is there a way to know if the email you sent to a recipent was read yet? I sent some email to a friend and she hasn't responded. I was wondering if there is a UNIX command that allows me to check if the email I sent her was indeed read, assuming the server received it.


If the person is on a *nix server than you could just 'finger username@hostname' and then if they had finger installed on the server then all you would have to do is see if the person has read their mail. It wouldn't tell you if your mail had been read, but it would tell when the person last read their mail or if they had any new mail.



Thank you JC.

I spoke to the UNIX head in our chemistry department today and he said the same thing you did.


Do not read this sign.
Basically the answer is "No." There's no way with standard internet email to see what happens to the email or even to confirm that it was ever delivered. It's only in closed-loop email systems like Microsoft Exchange/Outlook where you get those nifty features.



Yes there is a way, at least if you use Entourage (afaik).
You have to edit the Options tab of your Edit Accounts dialog. On the Additionnal Headers fields, just insert the following:


In the Value field, just insert your email.

Next time you send an email, you just receive a delivery report, stating "Message delivered to". There should also be an attachment with an Attachment (message status document)
If you should remove this feature, just delete the additionnal headers again.

Hope this helps.



metiure is essentially correct. There are ways to see if your message has been sent or read. Not just with Entourage, most mail clients actually. He mentions how it's incorporated on the client side but in operation it involves both client and server. Both can use a set of extension protocols to accomplish status notification.

The RFC documents that relate to notification extension protocols for SMTP and IMAP are;

SMTP - (DSN-Delivery Status notification)
RFC 1894 An Extensible Message Format for Delivery Status Notifications

IMAP - (MDN-Message Disposition Notification)
RFC 2298 An Extensible Message Format for Message Disposition Notifications

Most popular mail client/server apps incorporate some of these protocol extensions. There is also the decision of the admin for the mail server to run these extensions or not.

chemistry_geek, in your situation the message has been already sent without the extensions options included in the original message. Your only means now is jcpowers21 suggestions. But for future reference MDN or DSN is probably what you wanted.


yada yada yada ya
the answer, despite all the nice suggestions, is "possibly".

The above suggestions are correct, however you can tell your email client to ignore all return-reply requests, as I do for privacy reasons.

Even if you send a mail with the return-reply requested, you've no garantee it'll come back.



Actually there is an internet standard for REQUESTING read receipts. It is up to the client whether replies to the request are sent. For example at work (where I occasionally have to dip out of UNIX and onto Windows) I get read receipts from Outlook, Lotus, and UNIX mail reader. Having said all this, doesn't have the functionality built in, or at least it didn't last time I checked.