Read time 6 minutes

Summary: Microsoft 365 offers comprehensive email tracking capabilities through Message Tracing. Administrators can monitor sender/recipient details, message attributes, and more. The article provides a step-by-step guide on using Message Tracing in Exchange Online, emphasizing the importance of backup with tools like Kernel Export Office 365 to PST.

Microsoft 365 empowers administrators with comprehensive email tracking capabilities. While preserving email message content privacy, it facilitates easy tracking of the entire email communication. This is made possible through the dedicated Message Tracking feature, which monitors sender/recipient details, message attributes, timestamps, IP addresses, and more.

The Message Tracing feature retrieves data from stored email flow logs, providing users with a comprehensive overview of sent/received emails, including purged or deleted messages. For added security, users can opt to export Office 365 mailboxes to PST to safeguard vital information.

Message Tracing in Exchange Online (Office 365)

Message Tracing in Exchange Online has been enhanced with the introduction of a new, user-friendly option within the Security & Compliance Center.

Read Also: 6 Office 365 Compliance Features You Should Know

Let’s delve into the comprehensive process of the new Message Tracing in Exchange Online, exploring all the details, options, and filters available for users to trace email details within their mailbox.

  1. Login to Exchange Online with global administrator credentials. Navigate to Admin > Admin centers > Exchange.
    Login to Exchange Online Credentials
  2. Now, go to mail flow > message trace. In the opened page, you would find a message in yellow highlight. Read the message information and click Go to the new Message Trace now option.
    Go to the new Message Trace
  3. The Office 365 Security & Compliance page will get opened. Here, select Message trace option under the Mail flow section.
    Office 365 Security & Compliance page
  4. To run message trace, click + Start a trace option.
    click + Start a trace option
  5. The New message trace page will get opened. You can add filters for sent and received messages by adding sender and receiver email addresses in By these people and To these people respectively.
    To add a time range, you can slide the bar to define the interval (from hours to days).
    Add filters for sent and received messages
    Note: The time duration of less than 10 days is the ideal one for quick results. And you can use Custom option and add Start date and End date, time for tracing the messages.
    Apply Filter

    • There are more search options which you can select in More search options drop-down. Here, search is shown according the Delivery status criteria.
      Search according the Delivery status criteria.
    • More filter options are there, such as Message ID and Direction which you can utilize for in-depth filtering.
      Apply more filter options
    • You can also choose the Report type from the given options for the message trace.
      Choose the report type

    Once all the filters and settings are added, click Search to start the scanning process.

  6. The results are shown along with the details of the email like Date, Sender, Recipient, Subject, Status, etc.
    Result with the details of the emails
  7. To get the detailed information about any message, just double-click on it. The information that you will get is Sender/Recipient information, Message status with complete information in words, Message events, Message ID, Message size, etc.
    Email information in details

Export Message Tracing Result List

To save message details in CSV format, choose the desired messages from the Message Trace search results and then click Export selected from the top drop-down list of export options. This action will save the message details in a CSV file located in the Downloads folder.
Downloads folder

Saving Message Query

Also, you can save your message query by clicking on Save option.
Save your message query

It will now show a confirmation message.
Confirmation message
So, I hope users have got some idea about the message tracing in Exchange Online. If you have other requirements such as backup Office 365 mailboxes to PST for safeguarding your data, you can try Kernel Export Office 365 to PST tool. It helps to backup Office 365 data to PST format. It backs up emails, contacts, calendars, tasks, etc. to PST files. Advanced filters and compatibility with all Office 365 plans/Outlook versions are its plus points.


Microsoft 365 offers robust features for efficient email communication and tracking, meeting business requirements. To safeguard your data, it’s advisable to utilize a reliable method such as the Office 365 Backup tool to create backups in PST format. This tool ensures data security and allows seamless use of PST files within Outlook applications.