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How to Recall an Email in Outlook (Unsend & Replace)

How to Recall an Email in Outlook (Unsend & Replace)

Have you ever sent an email to the wrong recipient? or forgotten to attach an important document but only remembered after you hit send?

These mistakes and a lot more are almost inevitable for people that communicate frequently via email. And every time it happens, you find yourself searching for an unsend button.

If you are using the Outlook app, you have the luxury of recalling an email. In this step-by-step article, we will be showing you how to recall an email in Outlook to save you from the embarrassment that comes from sending an email with mistakes. Plus, you can also edit and resend the message. Let’s get to it.

Steps to Recall and Resend an Email in Outlook

To recall an email in Outlook, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Outlook app and navigate to the left side of the Outlook email screen to find the Folder Panel.
    Outlook mail UI
  2. Click on “Sent Items”. Here, You will see all the messages you’ve previously sent through Outlook. Locate the email message that you want to replace or recall.
    Outlook sent items UI
  3. Double-click on the item to open the message in a new Outlook email window. Merely selecting the email from the email list won’t give you the option for email recalling.
    Outlook.com send mail screenshot
  4. For Simplified Ribbon, click the Message tab and select the kebab menu or More commands (…) after the Report Message command.
  5. But, if you have configured your Outlook app to the Classic Ribbon, simply select the Message tab.
  6. In both cases, once you complete the steps above, you’ll see the Actions command. For the Simplified Ribbon interface, Actions will be in the context menu. However, for the Classic Ribbon style, the Actions command should be within the ribbon menu itself.
  7. Now, click on Recall this message from the Actions command.
    Outlook recall mail settings
  8. At this point, if you don’t see the Recall this message command, likely, your organization doesn’t allow email recalling or is not using a Microsoft Exchange email server.
  9. In the Recall This Message dialog box, you’ll find two actions for email recalling. One lets you silently delete unread emails from the recipient’s folder. The other one lets you replace the recalled email.
  10. Choose the option that you like and click Ok to finish the work.

Requirements for Recalling a Message on Outlook

Have you followed these steps, yet are still unable to recall your message in Outlook?  The reason might be that you haven’t met the requirements.

The following are some of the conditions to be met before you can access the Outlook Recall email feature:

  • Both the sender and receiver must be using the Microsoft Exchange server or Office 365 Outlook email account.
  • The sender and receiver also should be from the same organization.
  • The recipient shouldn’t have yet opened the email.
  • Outlook automation rules like folder assignment didn’t access the email.
  • Microsoft didn’t make this feature available to the Outlook Web version yet.
  • If the Azure Information Protection service shields an email message, the recall feature won’t work.

Thus, business users are the biggest enjoyers of the email recall feature of Outlook. However, if your Outlook email is from work or school, and the recipient is from the same entity, you can likely use the recall email feature without any hindrance.

Bonus Tip: your recipient may enable a rule to automatically process requests. This means the recipient’s Outlook app sends an automatic reply to every message they get. This might be because they are on a sabbatical or are unavailable to read emails at the time.

If this happens, you can still recall your message successfully, this is because your recipient hasn’t read the message. However, they will receive a notification that you deleted a message.

What to Do if You Cannot Unsend an Email in Outlook

The recall option will not work once the recipient has opened the message. If your recipient considers your messages a high priority or is likely to open them immediately after they’re sent, then this defeats the entire purpose because you have to be able to tweak your error message before your recipient opens it.

For this reason, we recommend that you schedule your messages. This way you have enough time to review your email before it delivers and correct whatever errors were made. Thus, you may not even need to recall your Email.

Here’s how to schedule your messages on Outlook:

  1. Click on “Files” at the top right corner of the screen
  2. You will see a new screen with your Account information, click on “Rules & Alerts”
  3. On the Rules & Alerts screen, click on “New Rule”
  4. A pop-up screen will appear, Select “Apply rules on messages I send”
  5. Don’t input anything in the “Edit the rule” box, just click next, and confirm your choice
  6. Another pop-up screen will show where you’ll be asked what you want to do with the message, click on “defer delivery by several minutes”, and input how long you want your to-be-sent messages to remain in your domain before it is delivered to your recipients.
  7. Name this Rule and click finish.

FAQs about Recalling Messages on Outlook

There are usually lots of inquiries surrounding how to recall an email in Outlook. Below are some of the most prominent questions and their answers:

Can I recall and replace my message after the recipient opens it?

No, you need to recall the message before your recipient opens it. The message might be in their inbox folder but so long as they haven’t opened it yet, you can recall and replace i

Will recalling email messages work every time?

Some factors may hinder your chances of being able to recall your message. To be on the safest side, we advise that you adapt to the “schedule message” option that we discussed

Will my recipient know that I recalled a message?

Yes, your recipient will receive a notification informing them that you deleted a message. You do have to be quick though, or else, the recipient might open the message before you delete it.

How do I know if I have recalled a message?

You will know that your message has been recalled because it will no longer appear in your sent folder but will automatically appear in your drafts.  From here, you can choose to edit your message and resend it for it to be replaced

How do I resend a recalled message?

If you’ve tweaked your recalled message to your satisfaction, resend it by:

  • Right-click the message and click resend (for Mac)
  • Click File, then go to Info, and click Resend and Recall (for Windows)

With these tips, you now know how to recall an email on Outlook. But it doesn’t end there; you can also edit and resend the email. Thus, the Outlook app provides you with the option to unsend an email and allows you to revamp your email message with new ideas.

You might also want to learn how to change your signature in Outlook to make some last-minute amendments before you send a business email.

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