How to Recall an Email in Outlook: A Best Step-by-Step Guide 2023

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How to recall an email in outlook

how to recall an email in outlook

In today’s fast-paced digital world, sending emails has become an essential part of communication. However, there are moments when you hastily hit the “send” button only to realize moments later that you’ve made a mistake or sent the email to the wrong recipient. The good news is that if you’re using Microsoft Outlook, there’s a way to recall an email and correct your errors. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to recall an email in Outlook, ensuring that your communication remains polished and professional.


Email has revolutionized the way we communicate, enabling instant and efficient information exchange. However, the swiftness of sending emails sometimes leads to errors that we wish we could reverse. This article aims to guide you through the process of recalling an email in Microsoft Outlook, ensuring that your messages are error-free and convey your intended meaning accurately.

Quick Answer

In Microsoft Outlook, you can attempt to recall an email, but there are a few limitations and conditions for this feature to work:

  1. Both You and the Recipient Must be Using Microsoft Exchange: The recall feature only works if both you and the recipient are using Microsoft Exchange email accounts within the same organization or network.
  2. Recipient Must Not Have Read the Email: The recall feature is only effective if the recipient hasn’t opened the email yet.
  3. Recall Might Not Succeed: Even if you attempt to recall the email, there’s no guarantee that it will be successful. If the recipient has already read the email or if certain conditions aren’t met, the recall attempt will fail, and the recipient will still receive the original message.

Here’s how you can attempt to recall an email in Outlook:

  1. Open your Sent Items Folder: Go to the “Sent Items” folder in Outlook.
  2. Double-click the Email You Want to Recall: Open the email you want to recall. It should be in your “Sent Items” folder.
  3. Go to the “Message” Tab: Click on the “Message” tab in the top toolbar.
  4. Select “Actions” and Then “Recall This Message”: In the “Actions” group, select “Recall This Message.”
  5. Choose Your Recall Options: In the dialog box that appears, you can choose whether you want to delete unread copies of the message or replace it with a new message.
  6. Click “OK”: Once you’ve selected your recall options, click “OK” to attempt to recall the email.

After you’ve attempted to recall the email, Outlook will try to delete the message from the recipient’s inbox or replace it with the new message, depending on your chosen options. However, remember that the success of the recall depends on the conditions mentioned earlier, and there’s no guarantee that it will work.

Understanding Email Recall

Email recall is a feature provided by Microsoft Outlook that allows users to retract an email after it has been sent. This feature can be a lifesaver in situations where you’ve spotted a typo, attached the wrong document, or simply had a change of heart regarding the email’s content.

When Can You Recall an Email?

It’s important to note that email recall is not foolproof. You can recall an email only if the following conditions are met:

  • The recipient is using Microsoft Exchange Server.
  • The recipient has not yet read the email.
  • The email is in the recipient’s inbox and hasn’t been moved to another folder.
  • The recall request is processed before the recipient reads the email.

Step-by-Step Guide to Recalling an Email in Outlook

1. Double-Check Recipient Addresses

Before hitting the send button, ensure that you’ve entered the correct recipient addresses. A small typo can render the recall feature useless if the email is sent to the wrong person.

2. Open the Sent Items Folder

To recall an email, navigate to the “Sent Items” folder in your Outlook mailbox. This folder contains all the emails you’ve sent.

3. Recall the Email

Locate the email you wish to recall and open it. Go to the “Message” tab in the toolbar and click on “Actions.” From the drop-down menu, select “Recall This Message.”

4. Replace the Recalled Email (If Necessary)

Outlook gives you the option to either delete the email or replace it with a corrected version. Choose the appropriate action based on your needs.

5. Confirmation of Recall

Outlook will notify you whether the recall was successful or not. If the recipient has already read the email or if the recall fails for any reason, you will be informed.

Factors to Consider Before Recalling an Email

1. Timing is Crucial

Recall is most effective when the recipient hasn’t yet opened the email. If too much time passes, the chances of a successful recall decrease significantly.

2. Recall may not work in all scenarios

Recall does not guarantee that the recipient won’t see the email; it merely tries to delete it from their inbox. Be prepared for the possibility that the email has already been read.

3. External Email Addresses

Recalling an email sent to an external email address (outside your organization) may not work, as Outlook has no control over the recipient’s server.

Best Practices for Effective Email Communication

1. Double-Check Before Sending

To minimize the need for email recalls, double-check your emails for errors, attachments, and recipient addresses before sending.

2. Utilize Drafts

Take advantage of the draft feature to review your email content and make any necessary changes before sending.

3. Use Clear and Concise Language

Craft your emails with clear and concise language to ensure your message is easily understood by the recipient.

The Importance of Email Etiquette

1. Choose the Right Salutation

The salutation you use sets the tone for your email. Choose an appropriate salutation based on the level of formality.

2. Proofread Your Content

Thoroughly proofread your emails to catch grammatical errors, typos, and other mistakes that could reflect poorly on your professionalism.


In the realm of modern communication, email plays a pivotal role. Knowing how to recall an email in Outlook can save you from potential embarrassment or misunderstandings. While the recall feature is a valuable tool, it’s essential to exercise caution and consider the factors at play before attempting to retract a sent email.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I recall an email sent to a Gmail address?

Unfortunately, the recall feature in Outlook only works with recipients using Microsoft Exchange Server. It may not be effective for emails sent to Gmail addresses.

What if the recipient has already read the email?

If the recipient has already opened the email, the recall attempt may not be successful. The email content may have been seen, even if you delete it from their inbox.

Is there a time limit for recalling an email?

While there’s no specific time limit, it’s best to recall an email as soon as you realize the mistake. The longer you wait, the higher the chance that the recipient has already read the email.

Can I recall an email with attachments?

Yes, you can recall an email with attachments. However, it’s important to note that the success of the recall may vary based on the recipient’s actions and the timing.

What if I accidentally send an email to the wrong person?

If you’ve sent an email to the wrong person, you can still attempt to recall it as long as the conditions for recall are met. However, it’s always a good practice to verify recipient addresses before sending.

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