Office of Information Technology

Viewing Full E-mail Headers

Faculty and Staff Instructions



E-mail headers are blocks of text that contain routing information used to determine the actual origin of a message and the path it took to reach your inbox. This information is essential to troubleshooting mail delivery problems. It can also help to identify the actual source of a message that has been spoofed.

E-mail spoofing is the forgery of an e-mail header so that the message appears to have originated from someone or somewhere other than the actual source. Many viruses and fraudulent messages forge the sender's address so it looks like the message came from a trusted source.

Many e-mail applications hide the header information by default. If you are using the Lotus Notes client, you can view the headers for a particular message by following the steps below:

  1. Open the message that you received from an outside Internet address. 
  2. Click the VIEW menu, then select SHOW and PAGE SOURCE 
  3. You will then see the message displayed with full header information at the top.

If you are using AU's WebMail interface to access your e-mail, you can view the headers for a particular message by following the steps below:

  1. Open the message that you received from an outside Internet address. 
  2. Right-click in the header area (where you see the FROM:, TO:, and CC: information). Then, select VIEW SOURCE from the menu that appears. 
  3. The Notepad application will open a window that contains the message contents plus the full headers. Click EDIT, and choose SELECT ALL. Then, click EDIT and COPY
  4. Create a new message. Then, right-click in the message body and choose PASTE.

If you would like assistance troubleshooting a delivery issue or determining the origin of a message, forward the message with the full header information displayed to helpdesk@american.edu.

If you identify junk mail or spam that did not get captured by the spam filtering system, please forward that to: spam@american.edu.