How to Recall an Email on Outlook in 2024: Guide

recall an email screenshot outlook

So you’ve accidentally clicked send on your unfinished email or, worse, sent it to the wrong person.

But don’t worry, we’ve all been in this situation and fortunately It is possible to recall an email.

Which is why Microsoft developed the ‘Message Resend and Recall’ feature, commonly referred to as the outlook recall:

Here are the steps below to recall a sent email in Outlook:

Step 1: Click on the ‘Sent Items’ folder within the left-hand pane of your Outlook. Navigate to the email you would like to recall and double-click on it to open it in a new window.

Step 2: Click on the ‘Actions’ button in the ribbon at the top of the email, under the ‘Move’ heading and select the option ‘recall message’ from the drop-down menu, located under the message tab.

Step 3: Select one of the two recall options that will be.

  • Delete unread copies of this message
  • Delete unread copies and replace with a new message (edits the email in their mailbox instead of deleting it)

Once these steps have been completed, you will receive an email telling you whether the recall has been completed successfully or not.

Please be aware that when you ask for this to be enabled, the recipient will receive an email highlighting that an attempt to recall the email was carried out, which may not be a desirable outcome for some.

Can I recall any email that has been sent?

In a word no and to be brutally honest the chances of recalling an email once it has been sent are slim, very slim.

For a recall to be successful it needs a lot of pieces in the chain to line up as follows:

  1. The recipient of the email, as well as yourself, must have an active Outlook Exchange connection. In basic terms, both email accounts must be using Microsoft Exchange or Office 365 as their email provider. Additionally, the recall feature requires both the sender and recipient to be on an ‘exchange server’.
  2. The recipient must be within your organisation, meaning both users have, in our company’s context: a ‘’ email address. For the recall or replacement to work, the recipient must be within the ‘same organization’ as the sender; if it is someone outside your organization, there is no chance of retrieving it!
  3. The email must have been sent using Outlook and has to be recalled using Outlook. It won’t work if the sender or receiver isn’t using Outlook; if you’re on POP email forget about it!
  4. The recipient must not have read the email, which must remain in the ‘recipient’s inbox’. If they have read it, then the recall won’t work. This contrasts with Gmail’s Undo Send feature, which does not retrieve the email from the ‘recipient’s mailbox’ but instead temporarily delays the actual sending of the email.

How do I stop this from happening in future?

Prevention is always better than the cure and there are some tips you can follow to stop this happening:

  • Try and get into the habit of entering the recipients’ addresses as the end as the last thing you do when composing an email. Although very simple, it is extremely effective.
  • There is the option to have Outlook delay the sending of emails to give you a window of time to cancel each email individually. Microsoft has created an easy step-by-step guide to demonstrate to users how to enable this feature within their Outlook client.
  • If you are on Gmail or GSuite the ability to recall a sent email is built-in by default allowing you ‘undo’ the sending of an email during the first 5 seconds but in reality 5 seconds isn’t much of a window to recall a sent email.

Are there any other ways to recall an email?

Email recall, a feature specific to Outlook email, offers the possibility to retract a sent email, but its effectiveness is often questioned.

In my opinion, the recall feature on Outlook is a nice idea; however, in reality, the chance of this working is slim, and you shouldn’t rely on it.

The reliability of recalling an email message depends on several factors, including whether the original message was unread and the specific conditions under which recall succeeds.

If you have sent an email to someone inside your organisation and you want to stop them seeing it, you might be better off speaking to your IT department or your IT Support Company.

Your IT Support will be able to access the user’s mailbox directly and attempt to delete the sent message or recalled message for you. They can also lock the user out of their mailbox so they can read it and delete it that way.

However, both these options are going to rouse suspicion on the user as to why they are locked out, which might make the whole episode even more suspicious.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss any topics mentioned in this article, please email

Frequently Asked Questions on Email Recall:

1. What does recalling an email mean?
Recalling an email means attempting to remove an email from the recipient’s inbox. This feature is generally available only if both the sender and recipient are using the same email system within the same organization and the email has not been read.
Yes, you can recall an email after it has been sent but only under specific conditions. Both the sender and the recipient must be using Microsoft 365 or Microsoft Exchange accounts within the same organization. Emails sent to accounts like Gmail or Hotmail cannot be recalled.
To recall an email in Outlook, go to your Sent Items, double-click the email you want to recall to open it, then go to the “Message” tab, select “Actions”, and then choose “Recall This Message”. You can either delete unread copies of this message or replace them with a new message.
Emails cannot always be recalled because once the email is delivered to the recipient’s server, the sender loses control over it. The recall function works only if the recipient hasn’t read the email and both parties are on the same email system.
Yes, if the email hasn’t been read and the conditions mentioned for recall are met (same email system and organization), you can attempt to recall it. Success is not guaranteed as the recipient may open the email before the recall process is completed.
If a recall attempt fails, the recipient will have access to both the original email and the recall notification. If they open the original email first, the recall is considered unsuccessful.
Recalling an email is not always effective. If the recipient sees the recall message, they might become curious and read the original email. The effectiveness also depends on whether the recipient’s email client supports the recall feature.
For iPhone users, there is a brief window (typically about 10 seconds) where you can undo sending an email. In Outlook on mobile devices, recalling an email functions similarly to the desktop application but depends on the email system used.
If the recall is successful and the recipient hasn’t opened the email, it will be deleted from their inbox. However, this is dependent on several factors including the type of email system and client the recipient uses.
No, you cannot recall an email sent to recipients outside your organization. The recall feature is restricted to internal organization use due to privacy and legal considerations.


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