How to Recall an Email in Outlook: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Recall an Email in Outlook

Outlook is one of the most popular email clients, known for its versatility and user-friendly interface. However, we all make mistakes, and Outlook understands that. It provides a feature that allows you to recall an email after sending it, provided certain conditions are met.

Recalling an email in Outlook is possible, but there are some important conditions and limitations to keep in mind:

  1. Timing is crucial: You can only recall an email if both you and the recipient are using Microsoft Exchange as the email server, and the recipient has not yet read the email.
  2. Recall options: There are two options when recalling an email in Outlook: you can either delete the email or replace it with a new one.

Option 1: Recall a sent email Outlook (if you want to delete it):

  1. Open Your Sent Items Folder: Begin by locating your Sent Items folder. This is where you’ll find the email you wish to recall.
  2. Double-Click on the Email: Open the email you want to recall by double-clicking on it. This will open the message in a new window.
  3. Go to File > Info: In the message window, navigate to the “File” tab and select “Info.” This is where you’ll find the recall options.
  4. Click on “Message Resend and Recall” > “Recall This Message”: Within the “Info” tab, click on “Message Resend and Recall,” and then select “Recall This Message.”
  5. Choose “Delete Unread Copies of This Message”: Select this option to recall the email by deleting it from the inbox of the recipients who haven’t read it yet.
  6. Tick the “Tell Me If Recall Succeeds or Fails for Each Recipient” Box: This box allows you to receive notifications about the success or failure of the recall for each recipient.
  7. Select OK: After configuring your recall preferences, click “OK” to initiate the recall process.

Option 2: Recall a sent email Outlook (if you want to replace it with a new one):

  1. Follow Steps 1 to 4 Above: Repeat the steps 1 to 4 as mentioned in the first option.
  2. Choose “Delete Unread Copies and Replace with a New Message”: Select this option to recall the email by deleting the unread copies and sending a new email to the recipients.
  3. Tick the “Tell Me If Recall Succeeds or Fails for Each Recipient” Box: Like in the first option, use this box to receive notifications about the success or failure of the recall for each recipient.
  4. Select OK: After configuring your recall preferences, click “OK” to initiate the recall process.

Recalling an email in Outlook can save you from potentially embarrassing situations or prevent sensitive information from reaching unintended recipients. By following these steps, you can effectively manage your emails and maintain professionalism in your digital communication.

How to Recall an Email in Outlook
How to Recall an Email in Outlook

Other Solutions: Delaying Your Emails in Outlook

In addition to recalling emails, another useful feature in Outlook is the ability to delay the delivery of an email. This can provide you with extra time to make changes or reconsider sending a message. Here are two methods for delaying email delivery in Outlook:

Delaying a Single Message in Outlook:

  1. Open the Message Editing Window:Click on the “Options” tab in the Message editing window.
  2. Choose Delay Delivery:Select “Delay Delivery” from the menu options.
  3. Set the Delivery Date and Time:In the “Delay Delivery” dialog box, check the “Do not deliver before” checkbox. Then, select the desired delivery date and time from the two drop-down lists.
  4. Save the Changes:Click the “Close” button to save the changes.
  5. Send the Email:After you click “Send,” the message will remain in the Outbox folder until the scheduled delivery time. This gives you the opportunity to review and make any necessary changes.

Please note that this method only provides extra time for reconsideration and won’t prevent you from accidentally sending the email to the wrong recipient. It’s effective if you remember to check the message before it leaves your Outbox.

Delaying Sending a Group of Messages:

  1. Access Rules and Alerts:Click on the “File” tab and then select “Manage Rules & Alerts.”
  2. Create a New Rule:Click “New Rule” under the “Email Rules” tab.
  3. Select Rule Conditions:In the “Rules Wizard” window, select “Start from a Blank Rule” and then choose “Apply rule on messages I send.” Click “Next” to continue.
  4. Specify Conditions (Optional):You can select specific conditions for the rule, but if you want the rule to apply to all messages you send, you can leave all conditions unchecked and confirm your choice.
  5. Delay Delivery Action:Under “Step 1,” select “defer delivery by a number of minutes.”
  6. Set the Delay Duration:In the “Step 2” box, click on the underlined part that says “defer delivery by a number of minutes.” Enter the desired number of minutes to delay the messages (up to 120 minutes).
  7. Complete Rule Setup:Click “OK,” and then click “Next” to proceed. You can specify exceptions if necessary.
  8. Name and Activate the Rule:Enter a name for the rule in the “Specify a name for this rule” box. Check the “Turn on this rule” checkbox and then click “Finish.”
  9. Testing the Rule:It’s advisable to test the rule with non-critical emails before relying on it for important messages.

From this point forward, every email you send will remain in the Outbox folder for the specified duration, allowing you to double-check for recipient errors or incorrect attachments.

These solutions can be valuable for ensuring the accuracy of your emails before they are sent, giving you greater control over your communication.

How to Recall an Email in Outlook
How to Recall an Email in Outlook

Recalling an email in Outlook can be a helpful feature, but it’s important to understand that it may not always work due to various factors and limitations. Here are some common reasons why you might not be able to recall an email in Outlook:

  1. Incompatible Email Systems: The recall feature in Outlook is designed to work within the Outlook ecosystem, primarily with Outlook 365 and Microsoft Exchange accounts. If you or your recipient are using a different email system (e.g., Gmail, Yahoo, or other non-Exchange servers), the recall attempt is likely to fail.
  2. Different Exchange Servers: For a recall to succeed, both the sender and the recipient must be on the same Exchange Server. If the recipient uses a different Exchange Server or email system, the recall will not work.
  3. Recipient Has Already Read the Email: Recall only works for unread messages. If the recipient has already opened and read the email, the recall will not automatically delete it from their inbox. Instead, they may receive a notification that you attempted to recall the message.
  4. Email Moved or Redirected: If the recipient has manually moved the email to a different folder or if it has been redirected by an Outlook rule, sorting filter, VBA code, or an add-in, the recall attempt will fail. The email must remain in the recipient’s inbox for recall to work.
  5. Email Not Sent from Primary Mailbox: If the original email was sent from a delegate or shared mailbox rather than a primary Exchange mailbox, the recall may not work as expected.
  6. Recipients in a Different Organization: Recall only functions effectively when both the sender and recipients are within the same organization’s Exchange Server. If the recipient is in a different organization, recall is unlikely to succeed.
  7. Outlook Web Access (OWA): The recall feature may not be available or work as expected in Outlook Web Access (OWA), the web-based version of Outlook.
  8. Recipients Using Mobile Devices: Recall attempts may not be successful for emails read on mobile devices using email clients like Gmail, Apple Mail, or third-party apps. Compatibility issues can hinder recall on these platforms.
  9. Email Already Forwarded: If the recipient has already forwarded the email to someone else, the recall will not prevent the forwarded copies from being read.

Given these limitations, it’s crucial to be aware of the conditions required for a successful email recall in Outlook. If you find that recall is not an option or if you’re uncertain about its success, consider alternative methods like sending a follow-up email with the necessary corrections or contacting the recipient directly to address any concerns or errors in the original message.

How to Check If a Recalled Email Was Successful in Outlook

Once you’ve initiated the message recall in Outlook, it’s essential to verify whether the recall was successful or not. Microsoft simplifies this process by automatically generating a report for you. Here’s how to check the status of a recalled email:

  1. Look for the Message Recall Report:In your Outlook Inbox, keep an eye out for the “Message Recall Report” from Office 365. This report will provide you with valuable information regarding the recall attempt.
  2. Click on “View Message Recall Report”:Open the report by clicking on the link labeled “View Message Recall Report” within the email. Clicking this link will open the report in your web browser for easy access.
  3. Review the Recall Status:Once you’ve accessed the report, it will display the recall status in a clear and concise manner. Here’s what you can expect to see:
    • Recalled Messages: This section will indicate the number of successfully recalled messages.
    • Pending Messages: It will also display the number of messages that are pending recall, meaning the recall process hasn’t been completed yet.
    • Failed Messages: The report will identify any messages that were not successfully recalled and provide specific details for each failed recall attempt.

How to Recover a Recalled Email in Outlook

Have you ever received a new email notification but couldn’t find the email in your Inbox, suspecting it might have been recalled by the sender? In such cases, you can recover a recalled email in Outlook, as it leaves a trace even if it was temporarily stored in your mailbox. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Access the Recover Deleted Items Option:
    • On the “Folder” tab, locate the “Clean Up” group.
    • Click on the “Recover Deleted Items” button.

    Alternatively, you can:

    • Open your “Deleted Items” folder.
    • At the top of the folder, click on “Recover items recently removed from this folder.”
  2. Search for the “Recall” Message:In the dialog box that appears, look for a message related to the recall. You will see the original message above it.
  3. Select the Original Message:
    • Choose the original message that you want to recover.
    • Select the “Restore Selected Items” option.
  4. Click OK:After selecting the message and choosing the “Restore Selected Items” option, click “OK.”
  5. Restored Message Location:The selected message will be restored to either the “Deleted Items” folder or the “Inbox” folder, depending on your Outlook settings. Keep in mind that it might take a couple of minutes for the restored message to appear due to Outlook synchronization.
How to recover a recalled email in Outlook
How to recover a recalled email in Outlook

Important Notes:

  • Depending on your Exchange Server settings, this option may or may not be available for your email account.
  • Only messages within the Retention Period set for your mailbox can be restored. The duration of this period is determined by your Exchange or Office 365 settings, with the default period typically being 14 days.
Daniel Long

Daniel Long

About Author

Daniel Long, as a writer, delves into the realm of emerging technologies and business solutions, with a particular emphasis on optimizing efficiency and fostering growth. He educational background includes a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of California, Irvine, and he furthered his knowledge by attaining an MBA from Chapman University. This combination of expertise allows him to offer valuable insights into the ever-evolving business landscape.

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