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Reply to or forward an email message

When you receive a message, there are several actions you can take on that message.

  • To reply to only the sender, select Reply.

  • To reply to the original sender and all other recipients on the To and Cc lines, select Reply All.

  • To send the message to someone not on the To or Cc lines, select Forward.

Reply to or forward a message

Want to see how it's done? Check out the video..

  1. From a message you've received, select Reply, Reply All, or Forward. These buttons can be found in several different places depending on your screen resolution and version of Outlook. You can find them at the top of your Reading Pane, alongside the right edge of the message, or on the main Outlook ribbon.

    Reply, Reply All, and Forward commands in the Reading Pane

  2. Write your message.

    Note: If your reply or forward opens in the Reading Pane and you’d like to open your reply in a new window (so you can do things like change the font), click the Pop Out button.

    Reply Pop Out button in Reading Pane

  3. Recipients can be added or removed in the To, Cc, and Bcc boxes.

    • Add a recipient    Click To, Cc or Bcc, and then select a recipient. You can also type the recipient’s name or email address in the box.

    • Remove a recipient    Click the name and then press Delete.

  4. Check the subject line. The subject line for a Reply is automatically set to show “RE:” in front of the original message subject. You can change this by simply typing in the subject box or you can leave it as is. Forwarded messages have “FW:” in front of the original subject.

  5. Click Send.

    Tip: If you want all replies to automatically open in a new window, from the File menu, click Options > Mail. Under Replies and forwards, check the Open replies and forwards in a new window box.

Reply only sends the new message to the original sender. Attachments are not included.

Reply all sends the new message to the original sender and all other recipients on the To and Cc lines. Attachments are not included.

Forward allows you to type in a whole new set of recipients. Any attachments included in the original message are automatically included when you forward a message.

Why aren't attachments included when I reply to a message?

When you reply to a message, attachments aren't included because you'd be sending the exact same attachment back to the person who sent it to you. There is no way to change this behavior. Once you click Reply or Reply All, you can attach a new version of the original file or any other file you'd like to include. If you need to send a message with its attachments to other individuals, use the Forward option.

Note: To learn how to request a reply with attachments feature, see How do I give feedback on Microsoft Office.

Should I reply or reply all?

Before you click Reply All, consider whether everyone needs to see your reply, especially if the message was sent to a lot of people or distribution lists. It's often better to click Reply, and then add only the people you really want to include. Or, if you decide to click Reply All, remove people who don’t need to see your message.

Can I forward multiple messages at once?

If you want to forward two or more messages to the same recipients as one message, select the messages you want to include in the message list. Click the first message, then hold the Ctrl key as you select the additional messages. Once you've selected all of the messages you want to forward, click Forward on the main Outlook Ribbon to create a new message with your other messages included as attachments.

Can I have all replies and forwards open in a new window?

You can have Outlook automatically open all replies and forwards in a new window (not in the Reading pane).

  1. Select File > Options.

  2. Select Mail, then scroll down to the Replies and forwards section.

  3. Check the Open replies and forwards in a new window checkbox.

  4. Click OK.

Can I forward an email as an attachment?

  1. Select the email in the message list.

  2. On the main Outlook Ribbon, select More > Forward as attachment

    Forward a message as an attachment


When you forward a message, the message includes any attachments that were included with the original message. Additional attachments can be added to the message.

Attachments aren’t included when you reply to a message. You can manually add attachments to any reply message.

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