Show the subject

Applies to
Microsoft Office Outlook® 2003

Do you want to see the Subject column in your Inbox? Did you receive a message with a blank Subject line? Is the message header missing completely? See the following ways to display the subject of a message.

Show the Subject column in your Inbox

The Subject line of a message is empty

There is no Subject line at the top of your messages (You don't see a message header)

Show the Subject column in your Inbox

Whether or not you see the Subject line of messages received in your Inbox depends on the view (view: Views give you different ways to look at the same information in a folder by putting it in different arrangements and formats. There are standard views for each folder. You can also create custom views.) that you are using and if you have your Inbox set up to show the Subject column.


  • Columns are also referred to as fields.
  • If you are using single-line layout, you can check to see if you have a Subject column by making your Inbox wider to determine whether that column might be hidden.

Add the Subject column to your Inbox

  1. On the View menu, point to Arrange by, point to Current View, and then click Customize Current View.
  2. Click Fields.
  3. In the Available fields list, click Subject.
  4. Click Add.

 Tip   You can move the column within your Inbox by dragging the column heading to the new location.

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The Subject line of a message is empty

The Subject line of a message must be typed by the sender. If the Subject line appears blank when you receive a message, this field was left blank, perhaps unintentionally. When you reply to or forward the message, you can type a Subject line if you want; otherwise the Subject line only shows RE: or FW:, respectively.

 Note   Outlook does not prompt you to provide a Subject line. If you think you saw a prompt to provide a Subject line, you were using the basic e-mail program Microsoft Outlook Express, which comes with Microsoft Internet Explorer.

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There is no Subject line at the top of my messages

Unless senders are using a customized message form for their e-mail messages, you should see a Subject line in their messages. If you don't see a complete message header (message header: Summary information that you download to your computer to determine whether to download, copy, or delete the entire message from the server. The header includes these fields: Subject, From, Received, Importance, Attachment, and Size.) at the top of the messages that you receive, you might have changed your default setting for headers.

Change the message header setting

  • In a message that you have received, on the View menu, click Message Header. This turns on or off the setting.

 Note   The Message Header command affects all messages in your Inbox.

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Applies to:
Outlook 2003