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How to Edit a Received Message in Outlook

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The message from your freshman daughter is not quite what you would have liked it to be? You want to annotate a memo you just got without creating a new message? That email really needs a more descriptive Subject line?

Fortunately, Outlook lets edit any email freely — even those you have received. Of course, you should wield this power with caution and not indulge in questionable fabrications (also keep in mind Outlook will mark the date and time a message was modified), but it can be very helpful and healthy at times.

Edit a Received Message in Outlook

To edit an email you have received in Outlook:

  • Double-click the desired message to open it in its own window.
  • Select Actions | Edit Message from the Move section in the Message ribbon.
  • In Outlook 2007:
    • Select Other Actions | Edit Message from the toolbar.
  • In Outlook 2003 and earlier:
    • Select Edit | Edit Message from the menu.
  • Make all desired changes in the message body and Subject: line.
  • Press Ctrl-S.

For emails that might need editing, Outlook can find all emails with empty Subject lines for you.

Note that you cannot edit an email's recipients (in the To:, Cc: and Bcc: fields) with this method, only the subject line and body text.

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