How to Recall an Email in Outlook in 4 Easy Steps

Have you ever sent an email with errors or to the wrong recipient? At some point, we’ve all desired to recall an email due to typos, incorrect information, oversharing, or unintentional sends. Happily, Outlook offers this option.

The email recall function in Microsoft Outlook is a valuable tool for workplace communication. It permits you to retract and replace an email before the recipient opens it. Knowing how to utilize this feature is crucial for all Outlook email users.

Discover how to recall an email in Outlook in this comprehensive guide.

When is it possible to recall an email in Outlook?

You can recall an email in several situations: when you forget to attach a file when the email is sent to the incorrect recipient, or when you spot spelling or grammatical errors.

However, certain conditions must be met for email recall to work. Specifically:

  1. Both the sender and the recipient must have a Microsoft 365 or Microsoft Exchange email account within the same organization.
  2. Both parties must use Outlook as their email client.

Additionally, email recall can only be successful if:

  • The recipient still needs to open the email.
  • The recipient’s mailbox is open at the time you initiate the recall.
  • The email hasn’t been affected by processes like spam filters or add-ins.

How to Recall an Email in Outlook

Retracting an email in Outlook can be a somewhat intricate process, requiring the following steps:

Step 1: Navigate to your Sent Mail folder and find the email you wish to recall. Then, double-click to open it.

Step 2: Click “Message” at the top of the Microsoft Outlook menu bar. Then, locate the “Move” section and choose “More Move Actions.”

Step 3: Select “Recall This Message.”

Note: In the simplified Outlook menu, you can access the “More Actions” command by clicking the three dots in the Message bar.

After following the steps, you’ll have a new window offering two options: “Delete Unread Copies of This Message” and “Delete Unread Copies and Replace With a New Message.”

Select the option that suits your needs.

Then, tick the box “Tell me if the recall succeeds or fails for each recipient” to receive notifications about the recall status in your inbox.

Step 4: If you’ve opted to modify the original message, you’ll be prompted to make the necessary changes. Correct your initial message and confirm the modifications.

Once you’re finished, click “OK.” This will replace the original message with the new one.

You can recall (undo sending) an email or delete it for recipients, similar to how you would handle a chat message. Let’s delve into this process further and select the action that best aligns with your needs.

How Does Recalling Work in Outlook?

There are two options available for recalling an email in Outlook:

Deleting the Original Message

When you choose this option, the recipient can only read the original message if they opened it before your recall request.


  • Your original message gets permanently erased.
  • This is the quickest method for email recall.


  • You must compose a new email if you wish to resend it to your recipient.
  • The recipient will be notified about the message deletion.

Modifying a Sent Message

The alternative allows you to make changes to the message and resend it.

If you modify the email, the recipient will have two emails in their inbox: original and modified. The original message gets automatically deleted once the recipient opens the new message.

However, if the recipient opens the original message first, your recall attempt will fail.


  • You can include any missing attachments or alter email content without sending the email a second time.


  • Modifying a message will require additional time.
  • The recipient is alerted to the message update.

What Happens After Recalling an Email in Outlook?

The outcome of an attempt to recall an email can vary based on several factors, including the recipient’s inbox settings and whether the recipient has already viewed the email.

If the recipient has already read your message, the recall may not be successful.

In such a scenario, the recipient may have access to the original email, the recall notification, and the replacement email. The recall attempt might succeed if the recipient opens the recall notification before the original message.

The recall process may also take some time, and Outlook may have already sent the recall notice during this period. This could lead the recipient to read the email you intended to recall after seeing the notification.

If the recipient has moved the email out of their inbox, the recall will fail, even if they have not opened it.

Additionally, if you try to recall an email from an address not part of the Office 365 system, the recall process may function differently than expected.

How to Prevent the Need to Recall an Email in Outlook

You can take proactive steps to avoid needing to recall an email. Review your email carefully to catch any overlooked errors during the composition process. Additionally, double-check the recipient’s email address to ensure it’s accurate.

Furthermore, Outlook offers a convenient feature that allows you to delay sending your emails, allowing you to inspect and, if necessary, cancel or edit your email before it is dispatched without triggering notifications to the recipient.

To delay sending Outlook emails, follow these steps:

1. Select “File” in the left corner of your Outlook window.

2. Scroll down to “Manage Rules & Alerts.”

3. In the “Rules & Alerts” window that appears, click the “New Rule” option.

4. Choose “Apply Rules on Messages I Send” and proceed by clicking “Next.”

5. Select “Next” again, then confirm by choosing “Yes” on the confirmation screen.

6. Opt for “Defer Delivery By a Number of Minutes,” and click the “A Number of” link to specify your desired delay duration. Afterwards, click “OK” and proceed by clicking “Next.”

7. If there are any exceptions to the delay you wish to include, enter them, and then click “Next.”

8. Give your delay rule a name, ensure that “Turn On This Rule” is checked, and finalize by clicking “Finish.”


How can you confirm if the recall was successful?

Upon initiating the recall, you should anticipate receiving a new email titled “Message Recall Report.” This notification serves as confirmation that the recall has been effective.
Typically, you’ll receive this report in less than 30 seconds, though it may take longer if you’ve recalled a message to a significant number of recipients.

How quickly is an email recalled in Outlook?

Once you’ve completed recalling an email in Outlook, the email promptly vanishes from the recipient’s inbox.

Why is email recall in Outlook not consistently successful?

Although recalling an email in Outlook may seem straightforward, it sometimes functions differently than expected.
In today’s era of fast internet speeds (unless you’re in a connectivity-challenged area), the mistakenly sent email is likely already sitting in someone’s inbox, which introduces several complications. Several factors can impede your efforts to recall a message.


Hopefully, you will never have to be embarrassed after sending an email mistakenly reading this guide on how to recall an email in outlook.

Outlook is a robust email tool that enhances productivity, much like its email recall feature. Once you recall an email, a recall success message will appear prominently at the top of the email’s subject line.

Recipients will be aware of a recalled message, but only if they have yet to open it. You can easily initiate the recall process following the straightforward steps outlined above or explore alternative options if necessary.