How to Prevent Your Emails Being Forwarded in Outlook and Gmail

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How to Prevent Your Emails Being Forwarded in Outlook and Gmail

You may wish to send someone a secret email that is solely intended for their eyes. Though there is no way to properly safeguard an email, Gmail and Outlook both provide a mechanism to block your emails from being forwarded.

Of course, someone could always screenshot and distribute your email, but utilizing Gmail and Outlook’s forward prevention tools is an easy approach to attempt to secure your communications. Here’s how to put them to use.

How to Prevent Email Forwarding in Gmail

If the receiver uses Gmail, a feature called Confidential Mode disables the forward, copy, print, and download functionalities. Those who do not use Gmail will get an email with a specific link to open the email in a browser—a it’s little less handy than reading it in-line as you would on Gmail, but it works.

You may even specify an expiration date for the email and lock it with an SMS passcode.

To use Confidential Mode on Gmail:

  1. Compose an email.
  2. In the bottom toolbar, click the Confidential Mode button. It seems to be a lock and timer.
  3. Set an expiry date for the email using the Set Expiry option in the popup that appears. You must provide an expiry date, so if you aren’t concerned about the email lingering in the recipient’s inbox, set it for a maximum of five years.
  4. Choose your passcode choice next. There is no added security if you choose No SMS passcode. If you choose SMS passcode, you must input the recipient’s phone number so that the passcode may be sent to them over SMS.
  5. Save the file. At the bottom of the email, you’ll notice a note indicating that you’re sending a secret email. Click Edit to update these options. Alternatively, you may remove Confidential Mode from the email by clicking X.
  6. Fill out the remainder of your email as usual, then click Send.
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Related: How to Forward Emails From Outlook to Gmail Automatically

How to Prevent Email Forwarding in Outlook

Outlook, both the online version and the desktop software, can send encrypted emails, but the barrier to access is much greater than with Gmail. It is mostly aimed for corporate users. This is due to the fact that you need a S/MIME encryption certificate or an Office 365 Enterprise subscription. The latter is outside the scope of this article and is explained on Microsoft’s support page.

If you have email encryption enabled in Outlook, you may send messages that can only be read by the intended recipients and hence cannot be forwarded.

Related: 5 Popular Email Services for Sending Encrypted Email

Here’s how in Outlook for desktop:

  1. Compose an email.
  2. Click the Options tab.
  3. Select Do Not Forward from the dropdown option.
  4. If you decide not to send the email, click Remove encryption.

And in Outlook on the web:

  1. Compose an email.
  2. Click Message choices after selecting the three horizontal dots icon.
  3. Click the Encrypt this message (S/MIME) button.

Keep Your Emails Safe and Encrypted

Remember that there is no such thing as a one-person email. That’s because the receiver might spread the email in another method, for as by taking a screenshot or typing it out by hand. Someone will find a way to forward your email if they truly want to, but the measures provided here are a decent first line of protection.

If email security is critical to you, you should consider choosing an email service that prioritizes security. ProtonMail is a well-known example, but there are more services that may assist you in keeping your data and communications secure.

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