How to Analyze or View Outlook Message Header in an Email

Anuraag Singh | Last Modified: February 13th, 2020 | Outlook

Emails you receive may be vulnerable to spam, phishing, spoofing and other malicious attacks. To know where those attacks came from, you need to learn about how to view Outlook message header. The Outlook message header contains information about the sender, recipient, email’s route to get to the inbox and various authentication details. Moreover, this Outlook email message header provides you with very detailed information of the details of the sender.

Detailed Analysis of Outlook Message Header

Message-ID: The Message-ID is a unique identifier for a digital message used in email message headers. Message-IDs have a special format of an email address & are globally unique.

Content-Type: Multipart/alternative are used for sending text/HTML and text/plain versions of a message.
Multipart/mixed is used for adding attachments.

MIME Boundary: MIME stands for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions. MIME boundary is a 7-bit US-ASCII text file that defines the boundaries between message parts in a MIME message.

Header boundary: While users view Outlook message header detailed info, header boundary entity includes multipart/form-data that contains boundaries to separate name/value pairs.

X-Priority: This component of the Outlook email header indicates the importance of the message to the receiver.

  • (1 – Highest)
  • (2 – High)
  • (3 – Normal)
  • (4 – Low)
  • (5 – Lowest)

SMTP ID: SMTP ID tells us about the path from where an email came from.

PST: PST stands for Pacific Time Zone in the United States.

Return-path/Reverse-path/Bounce address: SMTP email source address used to process the bounces that occur in your emails. Suppose if an email doesn’t make it to its intended destination, the return path while you open Outlook message header tells you where bounce messages are to be sent.

SPF PASS: SPF stands for “Sender Policy Framework”. SPF is an email authentication system designed to prevent email spoofing. SPF verifies that the email message is sent from an authorized IP address.

DKIM: DKIM stands for “Domain Keys Identified Mail”. DKIM is an email authentication method used to detect sender address, phishing, and email spam, etc.

DKIM signature and Domain keys sign: In Outlook email headers, DKIM signature contains information about the sender, the message, and the public key location required for verification. both use public/private keys to digitally sign emails. It uses DNS Server to verify the signature of the recipient.

  • Domain Keys was the first version.
  •  DKIM is the updated version.

Authentication-Results: Authentication-Results tells us about the authentication details of the message. It will provide you with SPF and DKIM Authentication.

List-Unsubscribe: List-Unsubscribe header allows subscribers to use the unsubscribe option to automatically stop receiving emails. List-Unsubscribe is used by Gmail, Outlook, and other email applications.

List identifier: List identifier is used to identify a mailing list.

Certified Senders Alliance (CSA): The CSA comprises a positive list for email bulk senders.

Feedback-ID: Name of the Outlook message header to be embedded, Senders will need to embed a new header called the Feedback-ID, consisting of parameters (called Identifiers) that uniquely identify their campaign.

Subject: Subject is the intent of an email that tells us what the message is all about.

CKX-Bounce-Address: CKX-Bounce-Address is the “reverse-path” for sent email.

Steps to View Email Message Headers in Outlook 2013, 2016, 2019

  • Open Microsoft Outlook from your desktop.
  •  Double click on an email to open it.
  • At the top right-hand corner of the message, click on the dropdown menu arrow icon next to the “Reply All” button.
  • Select Properties from the info section.

  • Now you can see your Email Message Headers in Outlook under the option internet headers.

View Outlook Email Message Header – Smart Tool

The software to open PST file without Outlook is a professional or smart tool used to analyze Outlook email message headers without installing Outlook application. It provides a complete preview of Outlook emails, contacts, calendars, tasks, etc. It is also free to use and supports unlimited file size.

Steps to View Outlook Message Header

  • Download & install Freeware Tool.

  •  Select Add File and a new window with Select Path will appear on the screen.

  • Click on the Browse option and locate the file in your system.

  • Click on Add File & your file will be loaded successfully.

  • Select your folder containing emails.

  • Finally, a user can view Multiple Preview Modes: Normal Mail View, Hex View, Properties View, Message Header View, MIME View, HTML View, RTF View.

Top Features of the Application

  1. Free to use, supports unlimited file size and Microsoft Outlook installation is also not required.
  2. Attachments view also supports zoom in/out & rotate file feature.
  3. Damaged, Corrupted files can be open or read but, can be recovered and saved in the purchased version only.
  4. PST files can be exported to EML, MSG, PDF & PST formats in purchased versions.
  5. Sort emails using attributes like from, subject, to, received, etc.


Email header tells us about the sender of the email or when & where it was received. Thus by knowing the use of an email header and how to view it, you could know the details of the sender if you may receive a malicious attack in the future. So, there are various options available to view Outlook message header like Microsoft Outlook and freeware application as mentioned above. Moreover, the utility offers you advanced functionalities like opening, viewing, reading, saving and recovering a corrupt file as well as exporting to various other formats like PST, EML, MSG, PDF, etc.