How To Send Secure Email In Outlook: A Step-by-Step Guide

Secure Email Encryption Lock And Key
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How To Send Secure Email In Outlook: Have you ever asked yourself, ‘How to send a secure email in Outlook‘? You’re not alone! In fact, a 2020 statistics report by Statista indicates that nearly 57% of email users are concerned about email security, especially when sending sensitive information. This concern frequently prompts questions and uncertainty about the best practices.

Understanding Email Security in Outlook

In the digital age, email security is not just a luxury, it’s a necessity. With the rise of cyber threats, protecting your email communication is crucial. This is where Outlook’s security features come into play.

Encryption Option Description
S/MIME encryption Requires both the sender and recipient to have a mail application that supports the S/MIME standard.
Microsoft 365 Message Encryption Included in the Office 365 Enterprise E3 license.

Outlook offers two encryption options: S/MIME encryption and Microsoft 365 Message Encryption (Information Rights Management). S/MIME encryption requires both the sender and recipient to have a mail application that supports the S/MIME standard. On the other hand, Microsoft 365 Message Encryption is included in the Office 365 Enterprise E3 license.

Encrypting an email message in Outlook means it’s converted from readable plain text into scrambled cipher text. Only the recipient who has the private key that matches the public key used to encrypt the message can decipher the message for reading. This ensures that your sensitive information remains confidential and secure.

Setting Up Outlook for Secure Email

Setting up Outlook for secure email involves a few steps. Before you start, you must first have added a certificate to the keychain on your computer. Once you have your signing certificate set up on your computer, you’ll need to configure it in Outlook.

Hands Holding Encrypted Email Messages

Here’s a quick guide on how to do it:

  1. Under the File menu, select Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings.
  2. In the left pane, select Email Security.
  3. Under Encrypted email, choose Settings.
  4. Under Certificates and Algorithms, click Choose and select the S/MIME certificate.
  5. Choose OK

Once you’ve set up your S/MIME certificate, you can choose to encrypt all outgoing messages by default. This means that all potential recipients must have your digital ID to decode or view your messages.

For more detailed instructions, you can refer to Microsoft’s guide on encrypting email messages.

How to Send Secure Email in Outlook

In the digital age, sending secure emails has become a necessity, not a luxury. Outlook, Microsoft’s flagship email client, provides robust options to ensure your emails remain confidential and tamper-proof. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to send secure email in Outlook.

  1. Open Outlook: Launch the Outlook application on your device. If you’re using the web version, navigate to the Outlook website and sign in with your credentials.
  2. Compose a New Email: Click on the ‘New Email’ button to start composing your email. Fill in the recipient’s email address, subject line, and the body of the email.
  3. Access the Options Tab: In the new email window, navigate to the ‘Options’ tab. Here, you’ll find various settings to customize your email.
  4. Click on Encrypt: Under the ‘Permissions’ group, click on the ‘Encrypt’ button. You’ll see two options – ‘Encrypt with S/MIME’ and ‘Encrypt-Only’. The former option encrypts the email and allows you to add a digital signature, while the latter only encrypts the email.
  5. Choose the Right Encryption: Choose the encryption that suits your needs. If you’re unsure, ‘Encrypt-Only’ is a safe bet for most users.
  6. Send Your Email: Once you’ve selected the encryption, compose your email as usual and hit ‘Send’. Your email will now be sent with the added layer of security.

Digital Padlock On An Outlook Email

Remember, the recipient will also need to have the necessary decryption tools to read your email. For more information, you can refer to Microsoft’s guide on encrypted messages in Outlook.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Despite your best efforts, you might face some issues when sending secure emails in Outlook. Don’t worry, most of these problems have straightforward solutions.

Issue 1: Encryption Option is Grayed Out: If the encryption option is grayed out, it means you don’t have a Digital ID configured for your account. You can obtain a Digital ID from a trustworthy Certificate Authority.

Issue 2: Recipient Can’t Decrypt the Email: If the recipient can’t decrypt your email, they might not have the necessary decryption tools. They will need to install a Security Certificate on their device to read your encrypted email.

Issue 3: ‘Encrypt-Only’ Option is Missing: If you can’t find the ‘Encrypt-Only’ option, it means your organization doesn’t have Office Message Encryption set up. Contact your administrator for assistance.

For more detailed solutions, check out Trustifi’s blog on how to send secure email in Outlook. Remember, a little patience goes a long way when dealing with email security.

Best Practices for Sending Secure Emails in Outlook

Email security is paramount in today’s digital age. When it comes to sending secure emails in Outlook, there are several best practices you can follow to ensure your sensitive information remains confidential.

Encrypting an email is a more secure way to send emails containing confidential information. Emails that contain sensitive information, such as Personally Identifiable, health, or financial information, should always be encrypted before being sent.

To encrypt your emails in Outlook, follow these steps:

Secure Email Shield Protecting Sensitive Information

  1. Click ‘New Email’ in Outlook.
  2. In the new message window, click the ‘Options’ tab.
  3. If using Office 2019, click the arrow on the ‘Permissions’ icon.
  4. If using Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise, click on the arrow under the ‘Encrypt’ icon.
  5. Connect to the Rights Management Server if you haven’t already. Click ‘Connect to Rights Management Server and get templates’ to do so.
  6. Click on the arrow under the ‘Permissions’ (or the ‘Encrypt’) icon again, and from the resulting drop-down menu, select the encryption level.
  7. Finish composing your email, and click ‘Send’.

In addition to encrypting an email, you can prevent an email, and any included attachments, from being forwarded by your intended recipient(s) by selecting the ‘Do Not Forward’ option. By selecting ‘Do Not Forward’, your message will be encrypted, and the recipient(s) will be prevented from forwarding the email message to others; they will be able to reply to your email, just not forward it on to others.

If your email contains an attachment, it will be encrypted too. Microsoft file formats, such as Word and Excel files, will be protected and remain encrypted even if they are downloaded from the email. Non-Microsoft file formats, such as PDF documents and images files, however, will not be protected once downloaded, and will be able to be shared by the recipient.

Enhancing Email Security Beyond Outlook

While Outlook provides robust security features, there are additional measures you can take to enhance email security. These measures include using strong, unique passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and being vigilant about phishing attempts.

Regularly updating your software is also crucial as updates often include security patches for vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers.

For more information on enhancing email security, you can refer to UMassMed’s guide on sending secure email with MSOME.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I send a secure email in Outlook?

To send a secure email in Outlook, ensure you protect your email with encryption options provided by Outlook such as S/MIME or Office 365 Message Encryption.

Is it safe to send confidential information via email in Outlook?

Outlook provides security features like encryption – therefore, it is generally safe to send confidential information as long as you utilize the security measures.

What are some tips to ensure email security in Outlook?

There are several ways to ensure email security in Outlook:

  • Using strong passwords
  • Regularly updating your software
  • Avoid opening suspicious emails
  • Using two-factor authentication

Do all versions of Outlook support secure email sending?

Most versions of Outlook support the sending of secure emails. However, it’s best to confirm the security features of your specific version to ensure they meet your needs.

What does encrypting an email in Outlook mean?

Encrypting an email in Outlook means converting the email content into a format that can only be read by the recipient who has the correct decryption key. This ensures the email content remains secure even if intercepted.


Understanding ‘how to send secure email in Outlook‘ is crucial in ensuring the confidentiality of your correspondences. It involves understanding and leveraging the built-in security features offered by Outlook, like encryption. Using secure email practices in Outlook is a powerful tool when handling sensitive information. Don’t forget to always stay vigilant and keep your software up-to-date.

Thank you for reading!