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Email headers make up the first part of any email message. They are like concealed codes that can tell you the email’s origin, destination email addresses, the paths an email takes, and even its priority. This can be especially useful when trying to investigate whether or not a received message contains spam, virus, or other malware.

Viewing full message headers allows you to see where messages originate. This information is often needed by security and support specialists to help locate the source of spam or other specific email issues.

In Outlook, it is quite simple to find an email’s header. First, completely open the email (by double clicking). Next, under the “File tab” in Outlook and click “Properties”. The following dialogue box will appear:


Outlook Email Header


At the bottom of the box, there is a scroll bar section titled, “Internet Headers”. This is the full displayed email header.

Outlook is used commonly within office emailing. But you can find full email headers in your personal email accounts, as well. For Gmail, login to your account, open the message you’d like to see headers for, click the down arrow next to the “Reply” button, and select “Show Original”. For Yahoo, login to your account, select the message you’d like to view headers for, click the “Actions” dropdown, and select “View Full Header”. For Hotmail, login to your account, select “Inbox” from the left-hand menu, right-click the message you want to view headers for, and select “View Message Source”. For Apple Mail, open Apple Mail, click on the message you’d like to view headers for, go to the “View” menu, select “Message”, and click “Long Headers”.

Email headers are here to assist you in finding sources for spam, malware, and other unwanted email solicitations. They can be especially useful once you know how to decode them to pull out the information you really want.