How to Tell If Someone Read Your Email on Gmail

You know that feeling when an email has been sent and you’re just waiting for a reply? You start to wonder if the email even got to the recipient. Did it somehow end up in spam? Then you start to wonder whether you should send a follow-up. Is it too soon? When is it too […]

How to Tell If Someone Read Your Email on Gmail

You know that feeling when an email has been sent and you’re just waiting for a reply?

You start to wonder if the email even got to the recipient. Did it somehow end up in spam?

Then you start to wonder whether you should send a follow-up.

Is it too soon? When is it too soon? Are they just busy?

All of these things run through your head.

But what if you could tell when someone has read your email on Gmail, eliminating all the overthinking? If that sounds interesting, read on to learn four easy ways to do that.

*** Find out if someone read your email with this FREE chrome extension ***

Method 1. A Read Receipt

What is a Read Receipt?

If you are a paid user of Gmail, you can request read receipts. Navigating the settings, you can turn it on or off fairly easily. A read receipt confirms if someone has opened (read) your email.

Read receipts are a built-in Gmail feature available only to Google Workspace users. If you have a Google Workspace account, here’s how you can enable read receipts:

Step 1. As you might expect, you need to be in your Gmail account to start.

Step 2. Then, open the Compose window – just as you would if you were sending a standard email.

Step 3. Pop in your recipient, subject line, and the email that you want to send.

Step 4. Don’t click Send yet.

Step 5. If you look to the bottom right you’ll see a More options button. Click that. You then need to choose Request read receipt.

Step 6. Press Send.

Quick note: Your recipients will need to approve read receipts for you to see them in your inbox.

Method 2. Using an Email Tracker

What is an Email Tracker?

An email tracker is software that you can install in your browser to see when someone opens or clicks on an email that you send. From here, you can collect vital information that helps you plan better marketing and communications campaigns.

With Right Inbox’s email tracker, there is nothing that the recipient has to do for you to know that they’ve opened the email. This feature even tracks if the recipient clicks on links within the email you send.

So how do you set it up?

How to Set up Email Tracking with Right Inbox [5 free credits per/month]

Step 1. Make sure you’re logged into Gmail and then open up the Compose window.

Step 2. Make sure you have the Right Inbox extension installed. Install from the Chrome store for free here.

Step 3. Navigate to the bottom menu and then click the little eye icon at the bottom.

Step 4. You then need to decide whether you want to click email opens, link clicks, or both.

Step 5. You should be able to see real-time notifications of opens and clicks in the bottom left of your compose window.

Step 6. To see more detail you need to head over to your Sent folder on the left of the Gmail navigation.

Step 7. You should see a little checkmark icon in the sent folder for emails that have been opened by the recipient. By hovering over that, you will see how many times that email has been opened, how many clicks links in your email have received, the location where the email was opened, and on what kind of device.

Method 3. An Image in an HTML Email

Using an image in an HTML email to see if your email has been opened is more reliable than read receipts and delivery receipts – and they don’t need the recipient to approve the receipt.

But how do they work?

You insert a small image into the email, which can sometimes be invisible – a small white square, for example. When the image is displayed in the recipient’s inbox (i.e., they open the email), data can be gathered. The data is typically the date of when the email was viewed and the time it was viewed.

There are some drawbacks to using the techniques mentioned above.

  • Read receipts and delivery receipts often require the recipients to approve them. It’s not uncommon for some recipients to find this practice slightly invasive. You may find that they don’t even read the email.
  • Gmail read requests cannot be used on personal Gmail accounts. Unless you’re a Google Workspace user you won’t be able to access them.
  • Google will sometimes let the recipient decide whether they want to send the read receipt.
  • Using an image in HTML requires a bit of technical knowledge.

So, these methods may not be the most reliable.

That said, Right Inbox provides a more reliable way to track if someone has read your email on Gmail. Here’s how it works.

Method 4. A Delivery Receipt

Delivery receipts are another name for read receipts.

Microsoft Outlook is the most prominent email client that uses this terminology. To request these, follow the steps outlined in the first section.

Pros and Cons of Each of the 4 different methods

Read Receipt Pros

  • This method is relatively fast.
  • You can use this method with any email.
  • If the user enables read receipts, then you can see if they opened your email without third-party software.

Read Receipt Cons

  • Not everyone will enable read receipts on their Gmail.
  • It requires extra steps rather than just sending an email.
  • It doesn’t have a hundred percent success rate since people can get around the method.

Email Tracker Pros

  • Trackers don’t require recipient approval to track emails.
  • Someone does not have to enable read receipts for this method to work.
  • A tracker automatically tracks all emails for you, eliminating manual work.

Email Tracker Cons

  • You have to install third-party software.
  • You do have to click a few buttons to enable this feature.
  • Someone might feel like you’re invading their privacy.

HTML Image Pros

  • No third-party software required.
  • You just have to insert a small image that doesn’t take up much space.
  • You can see when it was viewed and if they viewed it.

HTML Image Cons

  • It’s not the most reliable method.
  • You have to have technical knowledge.
  • You have to be a member of Google Workspace in order to use this feature.

Delivery Receipt Pros

  • You can still see if somebody opened your email using another email service provider other than Gmail
  • It works the same as read receipts.
  • It’s relatively simple to set up.

Delivery Receipt Cons

  • You have to use Microsoft Outlook, which some people don’t prefer over Gmail.
  • There is no guarantee that someone is going to enable read receipts, and so you may not see when they opened your email.
  • It takes more steps and is not as easy or reliable as using a third party like Right Inbox.


While read receipts, delivery receipts, and image email tracking are viable options, they’re often not ideal.

That’s where Right Inbox comes in—it’s easy to set up and a reliable way to know if your emails have been read and how your recipients have engaged with them.

Plus, you get a wide range of productivity features that help you master Gmail. Examples include email reminders, automated follow-ups, private notes, signatures, templates, and more.

Sounds interesting? Head over to the Chrome store and try Right Inbox today. You’ll get five email tracking credits with your free account.

How to Tell if Someone Read Your Email — Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How to Know if Your Email Has Been Read in Gmail?

You can use one of four methods to know if your email has been read in Gmail: HTML, read receipt, delivery receipt, and email tracker. Each of the four methods is explained step by step above.

Can You Tell if an Email Has Been Read in Gmail Without a Read Receipt?

Yes, you can tell if an email has been read in Gmail without requesting a read receipt. The easiest way to do that is to use an email tracker like Right Inbox.

Why Is There No Read Receipt Option in Gmail?

If you don’t see an email read receipt option in Gmail, you might be using a free account or the administrator of your Google Workspace account might not have enabled read receipts for all users.

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David Campbell

David Campbell is the editor of the Right Inbox blog. He is passionate about email productivity and getting more done in less time.


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