Outlook 2010: How to Edit the Subject and/or Message of a Received Email

Posted September 20, 2010 by Rob Rogers in Microsoft Outlook

If you want to change the Subject of a received email to add something easier to recognize or find in the future or add (or delete) content to the message, Outlook 2010 allows you to do so, although the option isn’t exactly in a straight forward location.

1. Open Outlook 2010.

2. Open the desired message.

3. In the message window, go to the Ribbon.

4. On the Message tab, go to the Move section.

5. Click Actions and select Edit Message.

6. Make the desired changes to the email message.

7. When you are finished making changes, close the email. You will be prompted as to whether you wish to keep the changes or not. Click the Yes button to save your changes.


About Rob Rogers

Once a prolific author here on Tech-Recipes, Rob has moved on to greener pastures.
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  • Leontery


  • Marina Ehrhard

    also thanks – I looked everywhere in the Outlook 2010 help and could not find an answer

  • Makstarn

    Thanks for explaining that. Sure is lame that Microsoft doesn’t mention it in their help files.

  • Polleke

    I have had several occassion that after saving the email, the contents is not changed….. Looks like a bug…

  • Emilybieman

    This did not change the subject in the Reading pane View

    • Chris Thomas

      Ever find out how to change the subject in the reading pane?>

      • Rosario

        I can edit the Subject after opening the message with a double-click in it own window. But it does not seem to be in edit mode. But strangely I can not activate the greyed out ACTION to edit the message body itself. May have happened since the last Exchange 2010 upgrade.

  • Anon

    Awesome, thanks. I love it how its under the Move section rather than the Editing section….

  • John

    Timely tip. How counterintuitive the procedure is compared to previous editions.

  • Doug Midkiff

    anyone know how to make this the default instead of having to click this option each time?

    • bLU

      Open an email, and go to the Quick Access toolbar> customize quick access toolbar (the little arrow pointing down) > More commands > all commands > scroll dowown to Edit Message > Add. there will be a green ball on the quick access toolbar. It will appear on all the emails which are opened in its own window.

      • Tad

        > So I did the steps, and have the green ball on my quick access toobar, but how do I make “edit message” my default preference, so I don’t have to hit the ball every time? The times (and they are often) I really use it is when someone sends me an attached file that I need to edit. I like just modifying the attached file, rather than making the changes, and saving it to a local drive. No matter how many times I go through it, a large number of times, I’ll forget to hit the green ball before opening the file.


        • voncheese

          > you can edit the subject in the table cell without having to click anything. Just go to the view menu > view settings > other settings – and check “allow in-cell editing”.

  • Jeff


  • Katy

    My outlook 2010 does not have an “actions” button on the “move” section of the ribbon. it only has “move” “rules” and “one note” Any suggestions?

    • Michael

      Rick click on the field tool bar (where the column headings for example subject, from, received are located). Click on the choice
      “view settings” then select the tab “other settings” then check the box “allow in cell editing.” This will allow you to edit the subject line of any email by clicking on the subject line in your main viewing screen

  • Katy

    sorry…I was trying to access in the main outlook window instead of from within the message itself. Problem solved!

  • Arold

    How do you access the move section within the message? I still have a problem.

  • Arold

    OK, I see it now. Sorry!

  • Arold

    Now, I understand. A new user and just getting used to the program.

  • Joan

    My outlook layout went nuts. I am try to change the Subject line. It shows changed on the email but when I close it in the pane it is the old subject. Thus, like right now, I have 8 emails with the same subject matter and it will not show up on the pane as changed. This is just wrong.

  • Suf

    Great help. To safe file, I click on (x) to close message window. It then ask me to safe. Is there a faster way to save the edit?

  • Wendy

    I’m hoping someone could advise how to change the date of the post, so that when new content is added (ie. message is edited), the ‘received’ date for the post when posts are viewed in the folder, updates to show the date on which the post was edited. Can you help?

  • Roshini

    Capgemini India has disabled this option for their employees…

  • wendy

    I too am trying to change the subject. I need to relabel email to save in common area for others. Account name & date MUST be in subject line. Is there any way at all to do this without constantly sending the emails to myself to change it?

  • Sridhar

    Thanks for this.
    But, for some reason, the “Edit Message” feature is disabled.
    Not sure if this has to do with my company’s group policy.
    Can someone tell me how to enable this feature?

    • Rosario

      Same problem here. I never used it. But some users want it back and I do not know how to do it.

  • Frankie

    Thank you very much I’m so glad I found your tip 🙂

  • Scott Shimamoto

    i wish they left it the way it used to be where we could just edit without hitting the edit message button.. i want to say that i could do this in outlook 2010 a couple of weeks ago, but now i have to hit that button. too bad you can’t override that in preferences..

  • Simao Campos

    This works but if you are in Conversation mode, the edited text may not appear in the Outlook client.

    There are two behaviors – whether you are connected to the Exchange server in cached mode or not.

    In order for the modified subject line to appear in the Outlook client (when in Conversation mode), you need to edit the subject line text when connected directly to the server, not in cached mode. For some reason, when in cached mode, the Conversation will stick to the original subject text, even if the actual subject line is changed when you edit and save the changes.

    How you change from cached to non-cached mode will depend on your installation; the following page may help you: http://office.microsoft.com/en-001/outlook-help/turn-on-or-off-cached-exchange-mode-HP001022343.aspx. One simple approach could be to have two profiles, one using cached mode and another connected online to the Exchange server.

  • Gail

    Yes, this works but it only modifies the Subject Line when you are viewing the full email….it does not change how the Subject Line appears in the folder list view. Any way to have it changed here as well?