Reply to or forward a message

Replying to or forwarding an e-mail message is one of the most common tasks in Microsoft Office Outlook 2007. The basics of replying to or forwarding a message are covered here. Help on customizing your e-mail messages, such as changing the background or adding attachments, is available in other topics. See the See Also section adjacent to this article.

What do you want to do?


Reply to the sender

  1. When you want to reply only to the sender of an e-mail message, do one of the following:
    • When the message is selected but not opened in its own window     On the Standard toolbar, click Reply.

Part of the Standard toolbar

  • When the message is open and I see the contents     On the Message tab, in the Respond group, click Reply.

Message tab

  1. Compose your message.

 Tip   To add an attachment, see Attach a file or other item to an e-mail message.

  1. Click Send.

Message tab

 Note   By default, when you reply to an e-mail message, the original message is included in the message body. See the section Do not automatically include the original message to change this setting.

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Reply to the sender and all recipients of a message

You can reply to the sender of an e-mail message, or you can include anyone else listed in the To and Cc fields.

In many cases, you do not need to include everyone on your response. Exercise discretion when you use Reply All, especially when there are a large number of recipients or distribution lists on your reply. Reply is a better choice when you only need to communicate with the message sender. Or, delete the names of people and distribution lists that don't need to read your reply.

  1. Do one of the following:
    • When the message is selected but not opened in its own window     On the Standard toolbar, click Reply All.
    • When the message is open     On the Message tab, in the Respond group, click Reply All.
  2. Compose your message.

 Tip   To add an attachment, see Attach a file or other item to an e-mail message.

  1. Click Send.

 Tip   If you only need to contact some of the recipients, you can delete other recipients of the message by clicking a recipient's name in the To or Cc box, which highlights the name, and then pressing DELETE.

 Note   By default, when you reply to an e-mail message, the original message is included in the message body. See the section Do not automatically include the original message to change this setting.

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Forward a message

When you forward a message, you specify the recipients in the To, Cc, and Bcc boxes (To, Cc, and Bcc boxes: A message is sent to the recipients in the To box. Recipients in the Cc (carbon copy) and Bcc (blind carbon copy) boxes also get the message; however, the names of the recipients in the Bcc box aren't visible to other recipients.). The message will include any attachments that arrived with the original message. To add additional attachments, see Attach a file or other item to an e-mail message.

 Tip   If you want to forward two or more messages, select the first message, press CTRL while selecting each additional message, and then click Forward. Each message will be forwarded as attachments in a new message.

  1. Do one of the following:
    • When the message is selected but not opened in its own window     On the Standard toolbar, click Forward.
    • When the message is open     On the Message tab, in the Respond group, click Forward.
  2. Compose your message.
  3. Enter recipient names in the To box.

 Note   You must have at least one valid e-mail recipient in the To, Cc, or Bcc box to send a message.

To select recipient names from a list, click the To, Cc, or Bcc button.

ShowMore information about the Cc and Bcc boxes

Cc is shorthand for carbon copy. If you add a recipient's name to this box in an Outlook e-mail message, a copy of the message is sent to that recipient, and the recipient's name is visible to other recipients of the message.

Bcc is shorthand for blind carbon copy. If you add a recipient's name to this box in an e-mail message, a copy of the message is sent to that recipient, and the recipient's name is not visible to other recipients of the message. If the Bcc box isn't visible when you create a new message, you can add it.

  • On the Options tab, in the Fields group, click Show Bcc.
  1. Click Send.

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Do not automatically include the original message

  1. In the main Office Outlook 2007 window, on the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. Click the Preferences tab, and then click E-Mail Options.
  3. Under On replies and forwards, in the When replying to a message drop-down list, select Do not include original message.

E-mail Options dialog box

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Troubleshoot a missing Send button

Without the Send command, you cannot send an e-mail message. This section is intended to help you locate the Send command, give you possible reasons why the Send command is missing, and give you steps to fix the problem.

The Send command is located next to the To, Cc, and Bcc boxes (To, Cc, and Bcc boxes: A message is sent to the recipients in the To box. Recipients in the Cc (carbon copy) and Bcc (blind carbon copy) boxes also get the message; however, the names of the recipients in the Bcc box aren't visible to other recipients.).

Message tab

When Outlook 2007 runs without a configured e-mail account, the Send command does not appear and no e-mail messages can be sent.

Message tab

Most people use Outlook 2007 with an e-mail account. However, the following is a list of reasons why an e-mail account is not configured:

  • Outlook 2007 was configured without e-mail support     While not common, Outlook 2007 can be configured to manage contacts, tasks, or calendars only.
  • E-mail account setup was interrupted     The first time Outlook 2007 ran, the setup process for an e-mail account did not complete.
  • The account configuration file is corrupted     Damage to the configuration file used to store e-mail account configuration information can cause a previously configured e-mail account not to appear.

 Note   You can open an Outlook data file, known as a Personal Folders file (.pst) (Personal Folders file (.pst): Data file that saved your messages and other items on your computer. You can assign a .pst file to be the default delivery location for email messages. You can use a .pst to organize and back up items for safekeeping.), view previously received e-mail messages, and use the New message, Reply, Reply All, or Forward commands to open a message composition window. However, no Send button will appear unless at least one e-mail account is configured.

Verify an e-mail account is configured

First, verify if an e-mail account is configured.

  • On the Tools menu, click Account Settings.

ShowThe Account Settings command is missing

The Account Settings command is on the Tools menu in Outlook 2007. If you are using an earlier version of Outlook, the following instructions do not apply. Use the Help that is included with that product. If the title bar of the program that you are using displays Outlook Express, then you are using a program that is not the same as Outlook. See the Help in Outlook Express for assistance.

Screen image

If there are no entries listed under Name on the E-mail tab, there are no e-mail accounts configured in your Outlook profile.

To add an e-mail account, see the topic Add or remove an e-mail account.

An e-mail account is configured, but the Send button is still missing

If an e-mail account is listed, try removing and then adding the account. See the topic Add or remove an e-mail account.

If the Send button still doesn't appear when you compose a new message or when you reply to or forward a message, try creating a new Outlook profile, and then add your e-mail account. See the topic Create a new e-mail profile.

Contact someone for assistance

If the previous steps failed to correct the problem of the missing Send button, there are several options for getting additional assistance, including Outlook Discussion Groups and Microsoft support professionals available by e-mail, online chat, or phone.

  • In Outlook 2007, on the Help menu, click Contact Us.

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View Demo

The following video demonstrates the differences between the Reply, Reply to All, and Forward commands.

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Applies to:
Outlook 2007