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How to Recall Email in Outlook

by Suzanne Kantra on December 21, 2020

Have you ever regretted an email immediately after you've sent it and wish you could grab it back from the ether before it gets to your recipients? We all have. And here's the good news: you can.

How to recall an email in Outlook

Outlook has a "Recall Message" feature that can delete an email sitting in the recipient's email inbox. However, it only works if you are sending a message to someone using the same Microsoft Exchange server (i.e. someone within your company) or to another person with a Microsoft 365 account. So you'll still want to set up to "Undo Send" for all of your other email. You'll find the directions in the next section, "How to set up Outlook to unsend emails."

To recall a message in Outlook: 

  1. First, check to see if your message is still in your "Outbox." If you have just hit send, it's likely that the message is still in your "Outbox." If it is, you can drag the message into your "Drafts" folder or delete it.
  2. If your email has been sent, you'll find it in your "Sent" folder. 
  3. Double click on the message you want to recall to open the message.
  4. Under Messages > Move > Actions select "Recall This Message."
  5. Select either "Delete unread copies of this message" or "Delete unread copies and replace with new message" and click OK. If you choose to replace the message, your original message will open for you to edit and resend. 
    Outlook message recall

How to set up Outlook to unsend emails

If you use the desktop version of Outlook, you can set up a rule that delays sending all of your email, giving you the chance to change your mind before it's too late. To unsend an email, you simply move it from your "Outbox" to your "Drafts" folder. Here’s how to set up deferred delivery:

  1. Open the Rules & Alerts dialog. For Outlook 2007, got to Tools > Rules & Alerts. For Outlook 2010 and later, go to File > Manage Rules & Alerts
    Outlook Manage Rules and Alerts
  2. Select “New Rule.”
    Outlook New Rule
  3. Select “Apply rule on messages I send.”
    Outlook Rules Wizard
  4. Click “Next.”
  5. Click “Next” again and then click “Yes” to accept the warning about the rule being applied to every message you send.
    Outlook accept rule applied to every message
  6. Select the action “defer delivery by a number of minutes.”
    Outlook Deferred Delivery
  7. Click on “a number of minutes” and choose a delay of 1 to 120 minutes (yes minutes, not seconds).
  8. Click “Next.”
  9. You can choose to add exceptions to delaying delivery or just choose “Next.”
  10. Name your rule, verify that the “Turn on this rule” box is checked, and click “Finish.”
    Outlook finish rule
  11. Click on “Finish”

When you want to unsend an email, look for it in your “Outbox” and drag it into your “Drafts” folder or delete it.

How to unsend an email on holds email for a period of time before sending them, giving you the opportunity to unsend an email you've sent. However, "Undo Send" isn't automatically turned on. Here's how to turn on "Undo Send."

  1. Click on "Settings" (the cogwheel icon).
  2. Click "View all Outlook Settings."
  3. Click "Mail."
  4. Scroll to "Undo send."
  5. Move the slider from 0 up to 10 seconds. settings for Undo Send

When you want to unsend an email, look for the “Undo” box in the "Sending" box at the bottom of the window and click it. The email you just sent will open back up and it will be saved to your “Drafts” folder. Undo button

Thinking about changing email providers? Check out our tips on how to switch email accounts without losing email. And, if you're unsatisfied with your current email address, find out how to change your email address

[Image credit: email notification concept via BigStockPhoto, screenshots via Techlicious]


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