Outlook Forensics: How to Track the Sender’s IP Address


“Could you advise on how to trace the IP addresses associated with emails in Outlook? I’ve encountered a breach of personal data within my organization and need to identify the responsible party for a formal complaint. Despite having the IP address from the unauthorized access, I lack correlating evidence. The IT department’s response has been unhelpful, raising concerns about their potential involvement. While I understand that emails sent via a web browser do not reveal IP addresses, unlike the Outlook application, I’m exploring options to obtain this information through email tracking tools or plugins. Any guidance on tools that could provide the IP addresses when emails are exchanged would be greatly appreciated.”


In the digital age, privacy breaches within organizations are not just a violation of trust but potentially a criminal offense. When such an incident occurs, it’s crucial to swiftly identify the culprit to prevent further damage and hold the responsible parties accountable. If you have experienced a breach of personal data and possess the IP address linked to the unauthorized access, tracing it back to the source can be a challenging yet vital task.

Outlook, like many email clients, can provide valuable information about the origin of an email through its header data. The header contains metadata including routing information and the IP address of the sender’s server. To view this in Outlook, open the email, go to the File menu, select Properties, and look for the ‘Internet headers’ section. Here, you’ll find a series of entries starting with “Received: from,” which includes the IP addresses associated with the email’s journey.

However, it’s important to note that if emails are sent from a web browser using Outlook, the IP address may not be included due to privacy protections implemented by the service provider.

Leveraging Email Tracking Tools

To circumvent the limitations of web-based email headers, you can utilize email tracking tools and plugins designed for Outlook. These tools can provide insights into when an email is opened, and some may offer the IP address of the recipient’s device at the time of opening. Here are some recommended tools:


Cirrus Insight

: Offers comprehensive tracking features and integrates seamlessly with Outlook.



: A powerful tool that provides real-time feedback on email engagement.



: A free option for tracking basic email interactions.



: Offers unlimited email tracking capabilities.

These tools typically work by embedding a transparent pixel or similar tracking mechanism within the email. When the recipient opens the email, the tracking pixel sends a request to a server, logging the action along with the IP address.

Proceeding with Caution

While these tools can be invaluable in tracing IP addresses, it’s essential to use them responsibly. Ensure that you comply with your organization’s policies and local laws regarding privacy and surveillance. Moreover, be aware that tracking tools may not always provide the exact IP address of the individual, as networks often use proxies or dynamic IP addresses that can change frequently.


Tracing IP addresses associated with emails in Outlook requires a combination of understanding email headers and utilizing specialized tracking tools. By carefully examining the email metadata and employing the right tools, you can gather the evidence needed to support your complaint. Remember to act ethically and within legal boundaries as you navigate through this process. Your diligence not only aids in seeking justice but also reinforces the importance of data security within your organization.

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