How to Recall an Email in Outlook (Bonus Tips Added)

We’ve all been there: you hit “Send” on an email only to realize moments later that it contains a typo mistake, was sent to the wrong person, or even worse, shared sensitive information with someone who was not supposed to get it.

According to a recent report, 80% of employees use email to send sensitive information. It’s no wonder why the panic starts arising as you quickly search for a way to undo the mistake. Misfired emails can lead to embarrassing, and sometimes costly, mistakes both personally and professionally. 

How to Recall an Email in OutLook

Fortunately, if you are using Microsoft Outlook, there’s a built-in feature that might just save the day: the ability to recall an email. This feature can help you retract an email that hasn’t been read yet or even replace it with a correct version.

In the following guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to recall an email in Outlook, providing you with a powerful tool to help mitigate the potential fallout of those dreaded email errors.

How to Recall an Email in Outlook Instantly?

Outlook email is one of the most used email clients, right after Apple and Gmail. This is why their creators developed features that ensure safe and straightforward communication. Just like you can mark your important messages in Outlook, you can also utilize some features and recall an email that you just sent. 

Before we dive into our guide and explain how to recall an email in Outlook, there are some things you need to know about Outlook. First of all, to recall or replace your message in Outlook, both you and your recipient need to use Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft 365. Secondly, you both need to be in the same organization. Of course, this feature works successfully only in case your recipient hasn’t read the message you sent yet. If these conditions are met, you need to follow the next steps to recall or replace your email:

  1. Open Outlook and go to your “Sent Items” folder. 
  2. Double-click on the email you wish to recall to open it. 
  3. Select “File”, then “Info”. 
  4. In the open email window, go to the “Message” tab.
  5. Select “Recall this Message”, and then choose one of the following options: 
  • Select Delete so the sent message will be recalled (Delete unread copies of this message)
  • Select Delete and replace the sent message with a new message (Delete unread copies and replace with a new message). 
  1. If you choose to replace a new message, compose your new message and send it. 

As you can see, the process is quick and easy. You just need to make sure that both you and your recipient are using the same email client in the same organization. This feature can be useful, especially if you send your email but there are some typos. For example, imagine you’re sending a time off request to your manager, but there’s a typo in their name. You can quickly recall the email, correct the typo, and resend it, ensuring your message is both accurate and respectful.

How to Set Recall an Email in Outlook Web Version

The option to recall an email in Outlook is undoubtedly useful. While many people know how to use the desktop version, using the recall Outlook option on the web version is as widely known. The process is, however, similar and easy. 

Here’s what you need to do to recall an email in the Outlook Web version:

  1. Choose “Sent Items” in the left folder pane.
  2. Double-click on the chosen message to open it in a separate window.
  3. Select “Recall Message”, then OK. 
  4. You will receive a message with the recall report in your inbox. Click on the link to see if the message you recalled was succeeded, pending, or failed.  

Why can’t I recall an Email in Outlook?

Recalling an email in Outlook can be a lifesaver, but it often doesn’t work as expected. Several conditions must be met for a recall to be successful, and even a small deviation can cause the recall to fail. 

Here are a key reason why you might not be able to recall an email in Outlook: 

  • Exchange Server Requirement: As already mentioned, both you and your recipient must use Microsoft Exchange. Outlook recall doesn’t work with other email systems, such as Google or Yahoo. This is because the recall function relies on specific Exchange server protocols to function properly.
  • Outlook Client: In addition to Microsoft Exchange, both you and your recipient must use Outlook 365. Alternatively, you need to have an Outlook software client installed on your computer. If a recipient uses Gmail or some other client, the recall feature will not work. This is because the recall feature is built into the Outlook client software and is not supported by other email clients.
  • Unread Email: To use the recall feature successfully, the recipient must not read the email you sent. It has to say unopen in their email. The recall feature cannot recall emails that are already open. 
  • Mobile Device: Another obstacle in recalling an email in Outlook might happen if the recipient uses a mobile device. This is because mobile device users deal with messages differently. They can mark emails as read or move them to the spam folder. 
  • Public or Shared Folders: Emails sent to public or shared folders are quickly read by many users. This makes recalling the email difficult. Once anyone reads the email, it can’t be recalled. These folders are shared spaces, so it’s hard to control who reads the email and when.

How to Check If Your Recall Was Successful?

If you are not sure if you recall the email you just sent, and you want to check the status of the email, you can easily check the status of your email. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Open Outlook on your computer. 
  2. Go to the “Sent Items” folder. 
  3. Find the recalled email. Usually, it comes with the line “Recall”.
  4. Select the Tracking button and you’ll see the recall status. 

How to add Email Delay?

If you sent an email with errors that you can quickly correct, you need a delay option. Adding an email delay in Outlook helps you prevent sending emails with errors or just premature emails. You can set a delay for a message or apply a delay for all ongoing emails by default. Here’s how to do both things:

Delay Sending a Single Email

1. Open Outlook, go to your account and create the message. 

2. Go to the “Options” tab and click on the “Do not deliver before check box.

3. Choose the delivery date and time from the drop-down menu. 

4. Select “close” to save your choices. 

5. Once you finish the message and click on “Send”, it will stay in the Outbox folder until your scheduled delivery time. 

Setting an email delay in Outlook can provide a buffer to reconsider your message, but it won’t prevent you from sending it to the wrong person. Additionally, this feature is only useful if you remember to review the message before it leaves your Outbox.

Delay Sending a Group Of Messages

You can also delay all ongoing messages with Outlook options. 

  1. Create a New Rule. Go to “File”.
  2. Go to Manage Rules & Alerts, and then “New Rule”. 
  3. Click on the  “Apply rule on messages I send.”
  4. Leave all conditions unchecked to apply the rule to all messages and then click “Next”.
  5. Set the delay time by clicking underlined text and entering the delay time.  
  6. Name the Rule and check “Turn on this Rule”. 
  7. Click “Finish”. 
  8. Test the Rule with sending an email to ensure it stays in Outlook for the specific dealy of time.

Tips to Avoid Sending Wrong Emails

There are many things you can do to avoid sending the wrong emails. Here are some of them: 

  • Double-check the recipient. The first thing you should do before clicking on “Send” is to verify the recipient list first. Ensure you’re sending the email to the correct people. 
  • Use the “to” field last. It’s always a smart choice to leave the “To” field empty until you finish writing and reviewing the email to avoid accidental sending.
  • Review Content Thoroughly. Proofread your emails for errors, tone, and clarity. Ensure the message is clear and accurate. 
  • Use Email Management Tools. Use Outlook extensions, such as Mailbutler. It offers an option to help manage emails and avoid sending messages with mistakes.
  • Make Drafts. You should always draft important emails first. Compose sensitive or very important messages in a draft and review them before sending them. 

Bonus: If Recall Fails – Do the Following

Sometimes, the damage is done and you cannot do anything to prevent an email from being seen. When this happens, don’t panic. We cannot undo our mistakes, but there are many things we can do to neutralize their consequences and make sure the recipient gets the right message in the end. 

Here, we’ll list some of the things you can do if the recall fails. Remember, recall only works on Outlook and within the same organization, so if you send an email by mistake to someone who uses Gmail, our tips will be more than helpful: 

  • Be Aware of the Mistake. It’s human to make mistakes. As soon you acknowledge your mistake, you will be able to correct it. You should quickly send a new message admitting the error. Explain what is wrong with the original email.
  • Apologize. When you make a mistake in the email you sent, apologize to the recipient. Show that you understand the impact of your mistake. A sincere apology can help maintain trust and professionalism. Acknowledge the error and reassure the recipient that steps will be taken to prevent similar mistakes in the future.
  • Correct and Explain. In addition to apologizing, you should also correct and explain your mistake. First, clearly state the correct information. Secondly, explain how you’ll avoid such mistakes in the future. Providing a clear explanation helps prevent misunderstandings. Additionally, this demonstrates your commitment to continuous improvement and accountability.
  • Implement a Delayed Send Feature. The best thing you can do to avoid sending emails with mistakes is to use a delay feature. This allows you time to review your email before it actually leaves your outbox. It’s a proactive measure that can prevent rushed or accidental sends. Additionally, most email clients offer this feature, making it easily accessible for improving email accuracy.


Recalling an email in Outlook can be a useful feature when used under the right conditions. It allows you to retract an email if you’ve sent it prematurely or with errors, provided certain criteria are met. However, it’s crucial to understand its limitations. Successful email recall depends on factors like both you and the recipient using Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft 365, being within the same organization, and the recipient not having opened the email yet.

If you find yourself needing to recall an email, act quickly. In Outlook desktop, you can initiate the recall by locating the sent message, opening it, and selecting the recall option. Always double-check your recipient list and email content beforehand to minimize the need for recall. When recall isn’t possible, promptly acknowledge any mistakes, apologize sincerely, and provide correct information if necessary. Being mindful of these steps can help maintain professionalism and trust in your email communications.

How do I recall an email in Outlook without recipients knowing?

To recall an email in Outlook without recipients knowing you need to know several things. Both you and the recipient need to use Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft 365 and be in the same organization. If these criteria are met, then you can easily recall your email by following the steps we explained in our guide. 

How long do you have to recall an email in Outlook?

In Outlook, you typically have a short time to recall an email, ideally within a few minutes after sending it. However, successful recall depends on various factors like whether the recipient has already read the email.

Does the recall feature work on all versions of Outlook?

Yes, the recall feature works on Microsoft 365 or Microsoft Exchange email accounts that are in the same organization.

How do you recall an email in the Outlook Mobile App?

Unfortunately, there’s no option to recall email from your mobile app. The best thing you can do is to use Outlook on your computer and utilize the recall option.

Will the recipient know if an email is recalled in Outlook?

There’s a chance that Outlook will notify a recipient that an email was recalled from their inbox. However, this is not a bad thing as it prevents sending messages with mistakes and to the wrong person. 

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