StuffIt Deluxe return receipt

Written and published February 14, 2001

Note: This column was posted at MacCentral, but was never listed in the index there.

Last week we talked about Return-Receipt or Notification in email. Now lets look at another type of notification -- the StuffIt Deluxe 6 Return Receipt feature. If you have ever sent an archive or posted one to the web, and wondered whether anyone opened it, you'll like this feature a lot. Now, recipient permitting, you can know when someone opens your file.

Setting up a Return Receipt Archive

  1. First, stuff your files into a single StuffIt file.
    Note: It must be a .sit file. You can use any of the StuffIt Deluxe compression interfaces to do this: DropStuff, the contextual menu, or the keyboard shortcut, which is Command-S. However, the file cannot be self-extracting (.sea) or a zip (.zip) file.

    Note: If you're using an email program such as Entourage/OE that automatically compresses your files for you, skip that automatic feature stuffing the files yourself before dragging them into the email window.
  2. Open your archive in StuffIt Deluxe. To do so, you might drag the archive onto an alias of the StuffIt Deluxe application (which should be in a convenient location). Or, you might use something like CMTools and use the Open Using feature.

  3. When the archive appears in an open StuffIt Deluxe window, choose Archive->Return Receipt->Add.

  4. Edit or add your name and email.

    Optionally, you can add a comment of up to 32,000 characters. (I expected this message to appear when the user opens the archive, but the only time I seem to see it is when I choose Save as the recipient. See the next section.)

  5. Click OK.

  6. Close the archive's window. You won't be asked to save but the receipt info has been added.

Once you've added the return receipt information to your archive you can email or post it as normal. The StuffIt archive looks just like any other StuffIt archive. The only difference is the message the recipient sees when it's opened.

You can change your name, email address, or message by choosing Archive->Return Receipt-> Modify. Or, if you change your mind about using the feature, choose Archive->Return Receipt->Remove.

When a User Opens your Archive

When anyone double-clicks your StuffIt archive to open it, the archive opens as normal. In addition, if he is using StuffIt Expander 6, a message like this immediately appears.

If the recipient chooses Respond, an email message is created within that person's email application. The recipient just has to click Send. Or, he can edit the email as desired. Note: As I write this, there is no support for Entourage so the user will see a message that says, "None of the supported email clients can be found on this computer." The update will be out shortly.

In addition to Respond, the recipient has 3 other choices:

  • Save -- which creates a plain text document like the one shown here.

    Notice that the Comment appears here.

  • Delete -- which removes the Return Receipt request from the archive.

  • Ignore -- which keeps the Return Receipt request intact, but closes the request for the time-being.

That's it for the recipient.

Your Receipt

When the recipient sends the receipt, you then get an email that tells you the file was opened. It contains this information:

StuffIt Return Receipt: yourfilenamehere.sit

The archive "yourfilenamehere.sit" was successfully expanded on Wed, Jan 31, 2001 at 10:35:51 PM.

One thing to be aware of though, is that if the recipient has checked Ignore ReturnReceipt requests in his preferences, he will not see the prompt.


The StuffIt Deluxe Return Receipt feature does not guarantee that you'll be notified whenever anyone opens your archive, but to force the feature would conflict with the very principles of the Internet. It's a great feature and you might find it very helpful. I've been recommending StuffIt Deluxe for a long time. This is just one more great feature.

Oh, and by the way ... there's special "Stuff the Internet" pricing going on through June 30, 2001. (I didn't know this when I started this column but it works out nicely, doesn't it.) If you purchase StuffIt Deluxe for the first time you can take advantage of the $25 new-user rebate, and if you're upgrading you can get a $50.00 upgrade rebate.

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