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A Guide on How to Recall an Email in Outlook

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Did you accidentally send an embarrassing email to a colleague? Maybe you forgot to add an attachment. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just take back your email?

Sometimes, you can.

This guide will show you how to recall an email in Outlook.

Table of contents

What is email recall?

The removal of an email from the Inbox of a recipient is known as a recall. A replacement message can also be substituted. If you forget to add an attachment in a message, for example, you can try to retract the message and then send a replacement message with the attachment.

You may be able to recall an email you sent by accident in some circumstances.

  • If the recipient did not read or preview the email before sending it, the email may be recalled.

  • To recall an email, the sender must use Outlook 2013 or 2016.

  • The recipient must have Outlook 2013 or 2016 installed on their computer to access their account.

  • The email will not be recalled until the recipient has used one of the clients specified above to access their mailbox.

What happens when you recall an email?

You can expect the following outcomes when you recall an email:

  • If the sender attempts to recall an email using Outlook 2013 or 2016, and the receiver accesses their account through a browser or mobile device, the recipient will receive an extra email from the sender's account stating that the sender wishes to recall the original email. The message contains no more instructions, and the recall will not take place.

  • If the sender is using the Outlook 2013 or 2016 client to recall an email and the receiver is using the Outlook 2013 client to access their account, the recipient will receive an email from the sender's account indicating that the original email is being attempted to be recalled. The recall will take place if the recipient receives this message without first receiving the original email, and the sender will receive email recall confirmation.

  • If the sender is using Outlook 2013 or 2016 to recall an email and the recipient is using Outlook 2016, the recalled email will be erased from the recipient's Inbox and no further notices from the sender's account will be received. The sender will receive notification that the email has been recalled successfully. If the email is not successfully recalled, the sender will be notified.

Requirements to recall emails in Outlook

You can’t recall the email if you're using Outlook.com unless you’ve set up undo sending. Likewise, you can’t if your email address ends in @Outlook.com, @hotmail.com, @live.com, or @msn.com.

This feature is available only for businesses on Microsoft 365 or Microsoft Exchange. You also need to have the Outlook desktop app.

If you meet all these requirements, follow these further instructions to recall your emails in Outlook.

How does recalling an email work?

The process is straightforward and only has a few steps.

  1. Click on the Sent Items and select the message you want to recall.

  2. After that, go to the File → Resend and Recall.

Source: Microsoft Support

  1. A dropdown will appear where you need to click on the Recall This Message option.

Source: Microsoft Support

  1. Now, you’ll see two options:

Source: Microsoft Support

  • Delete unread copies of this message: As the name indicates, this option will delete your sent email if the recipients haven’t opened it yet.

  • Delete unread copies and replace them with a new message: This option will open the message to enter your new message and send it again to your users. After you hit send, your old message will be replaced with the new one.

  1. Make sure to check the Tell me if recall succeeds or fails for each recipient. Doing so will show you a status message if the recall succeeds or fails.

Note: You can only recall a message before the recipient opens it. It’s not possible to recall a message after they have opened it.

Wrapping up

That is how you recall an email in Outlook. But do you know what the best way to recall an email is? It is not recalling at all.

By that, I mean triple-checking your emails before sending them. Because the recipient might open your email before you make a recall request. This will save you some embarrassing moments with your colleagues and make you a responsible email marketer.

If you also use a Gmail account, check out our guide on recalling an email in Gmail.

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