Hide or remove e-mail message headers

Power User Corner

By Colin Wilcox

Tired of wasting paper when you print long e-mail headers? You can remove them from your e-mail messages, hide them when you view messages on a screen, and use any of several techniques for removing them when you print messages. At the very least, you can use less toner or ink and less paper when you need to print a message.

Applies to
Microsoft Outlook® 97, 98, 2000, and 2002

When I first arrived at Microsoft (back in the last millennium), I received e-mail messages addressed to a large number of recipients. Often, I was one out of 20 to 150 recipients. The list of e-mail addresses in the To field was sometimes longer than the message itself.

At times, those messages contained information that I needed to print, and the huge list of names in the To field often consumed an additional sheet of paper. Typically, I'd find the first few lines of the message at the bottom of the first printed page and the rest of the message on the second page. I didn't like having to wade through a page of visual clutter to find the information I needed. And the waste of paper and toner annoyed me, even though we recycle virtually everything around here (including plastic cups and plates). One sheet of paper doesn't seem like much, until you think about the huge number of computers and printers out there.

Thankfully, you don't have to view or print long e-mail headers anymore. Microsoft Outlook® provides several ways to hide or to remove previous information from the From, To, Cc, and Bcc fields when you view and print messages.

A primer on headers

First, let's make sure we're all on the same page. E-mail messages contain two types of headers:

  • A list of the servers and Internet Protocol (IP) addresses from which a message originated and through which it traveled to reach you. Typically, the people who manage e-mail servers use that information to eliminate junk senders and to troubleshoot errors.

 Note   If you want to view these types of headers, first open the desired e-mail message (don't just select the message in your inbox, open it), and on the View menu, click Options. The Message Options dialog box appears. The Internet Headers field at the bottom of the dialog box displays all the IP addresses and other information. You can right-click and then cut, copy, and clear the information in that field as desired. For more information, see the topic View e-mail headers.

  • A common set of message fields or message headers: To, From, Cc, Bcc, and Subject.

The steps in the following sections explain how to hide the second type of headers.

Hide headers when viewing e-mail messages

Outlook makes it easy to hide headers when you view e-mail messages on screen.

To hide message headers in Outlook 2002
  1. On the View menu, point to Current View, and then click Customize Current View.
  2. In the View Summary dialog box, click Other Settings.
  3. Under Preview Pane, select the Show Preview Pane and Hide header information check boxes, and then click OK twice.
To hide message headers in Outlook 2000, 98, and 97
  1. Open the e-mail message containing the header you want to hide.
  2. On the View menu, click Message Header. Outlook 2000 hides all fields except the Subject line. Outlook 98 and 97 hide all fields except the From line.

Remove headers when printing e-mail messages

Outlook provides several ways to print individual messages without headers. You can:

  • Copy the body of the message into a blank Microsoft Word, Microsoft WordPad, or Microsoft Notepad file, and then print it from there. (I assume you know how to do this, so while I provide steps for the other two options below, I don't provide steps for this one.)
  • Save a message in a file format that you can open in Word, remove the unwanted headers, and then print.
  • Remove one or more fields from the message form in Outlook.

Save messages in a format that you can open in Word

 Note   If you use Outlook 98 or 97, you must save messages as text or RTF files.

  1. On the File menu in Outlook, click Save As.
  2. From the Save as type list, select a file type that you can open in Word, and then click Save.

 Note   The options that you see in the Save as type list depend on:

  • How you configure Outlook to read and write e-mail messages.
  • The file format that the sender used to write the message.

To set options for yourself in Outlook, on the Tools menu, click Options, click the Mail Format tab, and then set or change the options under Message format.

  1. Start Word, locate the file, remove some or all of the header information, and then print the file.

Remove headers from the message form

Follow the steps for your version of Outlook.

If you use this version of Outlook... Follow these steps
Outlook 2002, 2000, or 98
  1. Open the message you want to print.
  2. On the Tools menu, point to Forms, and then click Design This Form.
  3. Right-click the header element that you want to remove (select the field, not the label), and then click Properties on the shortcut menu. The following figure depicts the form with a properly selected field:

    A mail form with a properly selected field.
  4. Click the Validation tab, and then clear the Include this field for Printing and Save As check box.
  5. Click OK, and then print the message.

You must repeat steps 3 and 4 for each header field, and these steps affect only the open message.

Outlook 97
  1. Open the message you want to print.
  2. On the Tools menu, click to Design Outlook Form.
  3. Right-click the header element that you want to remove (select the field, not the label), and then click Properties on the shortcut menu. The following figure depicts the form with a properly selected field:

    A mail form with a properly selected field.
  4. Click the Validation tab, and then clear the Include this field for Printing and Save As check box.
  5. Click OK, and then print the message.

You must repeat steps 3 and 4 for each header field, and these steps affect only the open message.

Keep those cards and letters coming!

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About the author

Colin Wilcox writes for the Office Help team. In addition to contributing to the Office Power User Corner column, he writes articles and tutorials for Microsoft Data Analyzer.


 
 
Applies to:
Outlook 2003