How to recall an Email in Outlook

While sending emails, mistakes can often happen! We may have sent an email and after reviewing it later realized that there was an error in it. It can happen that you have mistakenly hit Reply All and sent an embarrassing or awkward email to every one of your colleagues. But you need not worry! There is some good news! For some email clients like Outlook, you have the option to recall emails after they have been sent! brings to you a step by step guide on how to recall an email in Outlook, a popular email client from Microsoft. If you are using Outlook to manage your email, this guide may come of help to learn how to get those emails right back.

Step 1: In your Outlook open your Sent Items folder, and select the email you want to recall — it should be at the top of the list. Double-click the email to fully open it.

Step 2: Ensure you are in the Message tab at the top of the window. Check out the drop-down menu that says Actions. right next to the Rules and Move email options in your taskbar.

Step 3: Click Actions followed by Recall This Message.

Note: You should have an Exchange account for this option to be available. Be aware that certain administrators may block this option, depending on your organization.

Step 4: In the recall window you have the option to choose between simply deleting the unread copies of the message, or replacing the copy with a new message that contains the right information. You also have an option to receive a report on whether the recall succeeds or fails, on a recipient-by-recipient basis. You can take the appropriate selections based on your situation, and then select OK.

If you could delete the message, well and good— you are just saved from the embarrassing situation of the email from being read. If you want to replace it go to Step 5.

Step 5: If you want to create a replacement message, the Outlook has a new compose message screen. Just select Send whenever you are ready to start the recall process.

Note: The old email will not disappear even if you send a recall message. To make the original message completely disappear, the recipient may have to open the recall message first. It’s always a good idea to put “URGENT” or something similar in the title of your recall message to make sure it gets opened before the older email.

Why email recall doesn’t always work?

At times the recall process will not work out the way you intended it to be! With the high internet speeds of today that mistaken email may probably have reached someone’s inbox, which may lead to a number of issues. 

Here are the factors by which your recall may not work or make it complicated.

The message is opened: If a recipient opens your email, you can’t recall it! The recipient can still get the recall message and be aware that you really wanted to delete the first email. The original email will remain in their Outlook system anyway. That’s why it’s important to act quickly.

Redirects to other folders: If your first message is rerouted to a folder other than the inbox, then your recall will fail. This may happen if the message has activated a filter. The recall option can only affect emails that stay around in the inbox. 

Public folders: Things can become complicated with public folders! If anyone reads your first email, the recall will not happen! No matter which recipient or login account tags the email as read, it’s still too late!

Additional email apps: The email recall function is designed to work with Outlook only. If the email is sent to someone who uses Gmail, do not expect the recall option to work.

Mobile apps: If Exchange ActiveSync settings for Outlook are used on mobile devices, then the Recall option may not work. The main reason is when the system is trying to juggle different versions of Outlook as it syncs, it can’t complete the process, especially if your mobile device is offline.

If your recalls just aren’t working, you can try these two solutions

Write an apology: Always double-check your emails before you send them and if you have mistakenly sent a wrong email deal it with a quick apology note.

Delay your emails. You can consider delaying your emails. For this go to File. Select Manage Rules and Alerts and choose New Rule. Start from a Blank Rule, and skip conditions so that all emails are covered. Then in Step 1, select Defer delivery by a number of minutes. If you can delay the email by a couple of minutes, you can recall messages far more effectively when mistakes are made. You can even delay the delivery of messages by up to 120 minutes.