How to Download only Email Headers in Outlook 2019/2016/Office 365

Downloading only email headers in Outlook is very handy if you have slow or limited Internet connectivity. Retrieving and viewing emails from Exchange, Office 365 cloud or other mail servers will be quick in this way. In this method, Outlook downloads the only headers (sender and the subject) of an email. So it becomes easy to go through the new emails quickly without waiting to download the entire emails with attachments, especially on the slow internet/metered network.

This small guide shows how to download only email headers on the latest Office 365, 2019/2016, and 2013 Outlook versions. Previous Microsoft Outlook versions had a simple option to activate this by right-clicking on the Outlook status bar. But from Outlook 2013 version, we have to do it in a different place (though it was available on earlier versions also).

The Earlier Option Missing on Latest Outlook:

Like earlier, right-clicking on the Outlook status bar will not give any option to select ‘Download headers only’.

earlier right click 

Way to Download Only Email Headers in Outlook

1) Click on the ‘Send/Receive tab, ‘ Download Preferences’, and select ‘Download Headers’  as below.

select option 2) Once the headers-only download was set properly, you can see it in the status bar as shown below.

Headers only mark in Outlook

This will not affect the emails which were already downloaded completely. In the future, all new emails will be downloaded with header information only.

The below sample shows an email that was downloaded the only header with the special icon on it.

header only email

The above method is applicable for all mail folders in your Outlook. But if you have more folders and subfolders with different rules, you can decide whether to download full email or headers only separately for specific mail folders.

For example, if you have the rule to forward unofficial or larger size emails to a separate mail folder, you can enable download headers only for this folder, but not for the inbox or other mail folders.

How to Enable Download Headers only for Specific Folders in Outlook

In Send/Receive, click on the below drop-down button.

define send and receive With the selection of ‘All Accounts’ click Edit.

All accounts settings If the options are disabled for your current active account, tick the ‘Include the selected….’ check box.  Then in your mailbox, select each folder and download headers only or complete email item options as shown below.

Separate folder options to download only Email Headers

In this way, you can have a separate download only header or full email download option for each mail folders in Microsoft. These steps are applicable for most of the Operating Systems including macOS as long as you have Microsoft Office installed.

Dinesh is the founder of Sysprobs and written more than 400 articles. Enthusiast in Microsoft and cloud technologies with more than 15 years of IT experience.

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