Finding and disabling hidden return receipts

This tip is for people who are worried about getting e-mail messages that contain a request for return receipt. When you open a message in Lotus Notes that contains a request to send a return receipt to the sender, Notes automatically submits the return receipt the moment you double-click the message and open it. It doesn't even prompt you if it's OK to send a receipt to the sender! Many of us find this annoying, especially when there are situations where you do not want this to happen. (Like times when you don't want your boss to know when you read the message!) Well, here is a way to circumvent this situation.

  1. Create a private view just like the Inbox view. First create a private view to duplicate the Inbox view. You can do this from the Create->View menu option. Enter a name for your view, say, MyInbox for the View Name and be sure to select Private for the View Type. Leave other things to be defaults and click on the Customize button.

  2. Insert a new column in your private view. Now customize your private view by inserting a new column. You can do this by first clicking on the second column in your view (labeled Who) and then selecting the Create->Insert New Column...menu option.

  3. Modify the new column to add some code to identify messages with return receipts in them. Double-click on the new column you just created and type in a Title (e.g., Return Receipt). (You may choose to leave the title blank; it's up to you.) In the column properties window, make sure the option "Display values as icons" is checked. In the Display options for the view, click on Formula and enter the following code: @If( ReturnReceipt="1";80;"")

    Note: If you see a warning message that all changes will be lost, click OK. You are basically changing the default display option to a custom display option using a formula.

  4. View your message through your private view. You are all set now. Just re-open your mailbox again. This time you should see the private view you just created, at the very bottom of the views and folders list. Click on it to see all the mails you saw in your Inbox, but this time, any mails that have a return receipt are flagged with a red icon. (Just like the No Entry road sign.)
From now on, just go to your private view to see if the new message you received contains a return receipt or not.

Just like this tip shows you how to see if a message contains a return receipt, there is a way to delete this flag totally from the message so that the return receipt never gets sent to the sender.

Disabling return receipts:

  1. Open your inbox.
  2. Click View->Agents.
  3. Click New Agent action button.
  4. Type the name of agent (e.g., Disable Return Receipt).
  5. Select "Manually from Actions Menu" in the "When should this agent run" field.
  6. Select "Selected documents" in the "Which document should it act on" field.
  7. Click the Add Action button below.
  8. Select the @Function Formula from the list of Actions.
  9. Copy and Paste the code below in the formula then click OK.
    FIELD ReturnReceipt:=ReturnReceipt;
    SELECT @All
  10. Press Esc, then save.
  11. To use this, select the message with the return receipt then click Actions->Disable Return Receipt.

Do you have comments on this tip? Let us know.

This was first published in April 2004

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