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How to recall an email in Outlook

Have you ever regretted an email shortly after hitting send? Whether you forgot to add an important attachment or impulsively shared some choice words with a colleague or classmate, here’s how to recall the message before they open it. 

One of the perks of installing the Outlook app on your desktop is that it gives you the option to recall or replace a message. If you’re prone to typos, it makes for a good reason to steer clear of the mobile app or browser version. 

You’ll also need to be using a Microsoft Exchange or 365 account to reach out to someone inside your organisation to use this feature. This means you can’t take back any messages sent to groups or individuals outside of your school, workplace or wherever else your account is based. 

Finally, you can only recall or replace messages that the recipient has not yet opened. Microsoft won’t let you fool anyone by changing the content or telling your recipient you never sent an email when they’ve already read it. 

If all of the above sounds good to you, open up your Outlook app and follow the instructions below to recall an email. 

What we used

  • The Microsoft Outlook desktop app
  • An email you want to recall

The Short Version 

  • Open your Sent Items folder in Outlook 
  • Double-click the message you want to recall 
  • Click File 
  • Choose Resend and Recall and Recall This Message 
  • Decide whether you want to delete your message or replace it and hit OK 

  1. Step
    1

    Open the Sent Items folder in Outlook

    This will only work in the desktop app, so if you don’t have it installed you’ll need to do that first. Outlook inbox

  2. Step
    2

    Double-click the message you want recalled

    Double-clicking an email, will open it in a new window. This is required to call back your email. Outlook Sent Items

  3. Step
    3

    Click File

    Click the File tab, which can be located at the top-left corner of the screen. Outlook message

  4. Step
    4

    Click Resent And Recall

    Clicking this will open up a drop-down menu. Outlook file options

  5. Step
    5

    Select Recall This Message

    This will allow you to either delete or replace your message. Outlook recall message options

  6. Step
    6

    Choose whether you want to delete the message or replace it by editing your words

    It’s also a good idea to tick the Tell Me box at the bottom of the pop-up to ensure you get notified if the recall does (or doesn’t) work for each recipient. Recalling or replacing an email will only work if your recipient hasn’t opened it yet. Outlook recall message options

  7. Step
    7

    Click OK to recall your email

    If you chose to replace the message, just edit the text and hit Send again! Outlook recall message options

Troubleshooting

Can I recall emails in Outlook on my browser?

No, but you can set it up so you call recall messages in the future (if you’re fast enough to catch them).

Open Outlook in your browser and hit the cog icon in the top-right corner. Then click View All Outlook Settings. Click Compose and Reply and scroll down to Undo Send. Here you can set an undo button that will appear for up to ten seconds after you send an email, allowing you to cancel the message before it actually sends. 

Can I recall emails sent to users outside of my organisation? 

No, you cannot unsend any emails sent to users outside of your organisation with Outlook.

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