How To Recall An Email In Outlook

There are few things worse than sending an email you didn’t mean to send. Whether you accidentally sent a personal email to a work associate or you noticed an egregious typo after you hit the Send button, having the ability to recall an email is extremely useful. Sadly, most email services don’t have this feature. In other words, once you send an email, the deed is done. You’ll have to either follow up with another email explaining the mistake or just live with the consequences.

Fortunately, Outlook is one of the few exceptions. In certain circumstances, you can actually recall an email so that you can either revise it or just ensure that it doesn’t actually get to the recipient. However, there are certain caveats to consider, as you can only recall emails if you and the recipient meet specific conditions.

So, what does recalling an email in Outlook actually do? What conditions do you need to meet to recall an email? How much time do you have to recall an email after hitting the Send button? Finally, where can you get help with Outlook from trained IT experts?

In today’s guide, we will answer all of these questions and more, so let’s get started!

What Happens When You Recall An Email In Outlook?

When you recall an email in Outlook, there are basically two methods you can use. You can either delete the message entirely or you can send a revised version of the email. When the recipient opens the recalled email, they will either be informed that you have deleted it or they will see the revised version you sent.

Keep in mind that recalling an email in Outlook only works if the recipient has not already opened the original email. If they have opened it, the recall will not be successful and they will have full access to the original content you sent. However, this is not the only requirement to consider. In the next section, we will outline all of the conditions you (and the recipient) need to meet in order to recall an email successfully.

When Does Recalling An Email Work?

Recalling an Outlook email works if, and only if, all of the following conditions have been met:

  • The recipient has NOT opened the original email
  • You’re using Outlook for desktop (not the web version)
  • Both you and the recipient use Microsoft 365 or Microsoft Exchange email accounts
  • Both email accounts (yours and the recipients) are in the same organization
  • Your organization allows emails to be recalled and has not disabled the feature
  • You are NOT using a MAPI or POP email account

As you can see, there are a lot of conditions to meet, and you may not fully understand all of them. However, in the vast majority of cases, Outlook’s email recall function works if you send an email from your Outlook Desktop account to the Outlook account of someone who works with you, as long as they have not yet opened the original message.

This means that, if you send an email to your friend or coworker from a non-Outlook email service (like Gmail), it will not work. Similarly, if you send an email from Outlook to a non-Outlook email address, it will still not work. Recalling emails only works properly when both you and the recipient are using Microsoft 365 or Microsoft Exchange email accounts that both exist within the same organization.

Keep in mind Outlook does not use MAPI and POP settings by default. If you wanted to use these settings, you would need to enable them. They essentially allow you to access your emails on other devices or via third-party applications. As long as you (or your organization) have not enabled these settings and you meet the other conditions, you’ll still be able to recall eligible emails.

The good news is that there is no time constraint for recalling an email. As long as the recipient has not opened it, you have all the time in the world to recall the message. That said, waiting greatly increases the chances that the recipient will read the original message, so the sooner the better.

How To Recall An Email In Outlook

As previously mentioned, there are two primary ways to recall an email in Outlook. If you simply want to delete the email without sending a revised version, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Sent Items folder in Outlook
  2. Open the message you would like to recall in a new window (double-click on the message)
  3. Click on File > Info
  4. Choose “Message Resend and Recall”
  5. Click on “Recall This Message…”
  6. Select “Delete unread copies of this message”
  7. (Optional) Check the box for “Tell me if recall succeeds or fails for each recipient”
  8. Click “OK” to finalize the recall

As long as the recipient has not opened the message and you meet all of the other necessary conditions, this will delete the sent email.

If you want to recall an email and replace it with a revised version, you’ll need to follow a slightly different process:

  1. Go to the Sent Items folder in Outlook
  2. Open the message you would like to recall in a new window (double-click on the message)
  3. Go to the Message tab and select Actions > Recall This Message
  4. Choose “Delete unread copies and replace with a new message”
  5. (Optional) Check the box for “Tell me if recall succeeds or fails for each recipient”
  6. Click “OK” to finalize the recall
  7. Revise the message as needed
  8. Click “Send” to send your revised email

Can You Recall An Email In Outlook Without The Recipient Knowing?

Unfortunately, there is no way to recall a message without informing the recipient. Even if you just delete the email and do not send a follow-up message, Outlook will inform the recipient that you deleted a message from their inbox. The same is true if you do send a revised version; the recipient will be informed that you deleted the original message and sent a different version to their inbox.

How To Know If A Recalled Email Was Successful

If you want to know if your recall was successful (and you probably do), you’ll need to make sure to check the box for “Tell me if recall succeeds or fails for each recipient” before you finalize the recall. As long as you follow this step, you will get an email in your inbox from Outlook detailing the success (or failure) of the recall.

The subject line will include the phrase “Message Recall Report.” You will be able to review the entire report from a link provided in the body of the email. In most cases, you will get a message telling you if you’re recall was successful in less than 30 seconds. However, if there is an issue delaying the recall action, Outlook will continue attempting the recall for up to 24 hours before marking it as a “failed” recall. Keep in mind that if you’re requesting a recall for a message that was sent to many different recipients, it may take a few minutes to receive the status report.

Prevent The Need For Recalls With A Send Delay

If you want to avoid the headache of a recall, especially if you’re worried about meeting many of the necessary conditions, you can simply enable a send delay in Outlook. You will need to do this for emails that you have not sent yet, as it does not work retroactively. However, this method can ensure that there is a delay between the moment you hit the Send button and the moment the message actually appears in the recipient’s inbox.

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