How to recall an email in outlook

Last Updated: Feb 15, 2024 by

Have you ever sent an email and immediately regretted it? Maybe you noticed a typo or realized you sent it to the wrong person. Or perhaps you accidentally hit “reply all” instead of “reply” and now your message has been sent to a large group of people.

In these situations, you may feel like there’s no going back. But fear not, because Microsoft Outlook has a feature that allows you to recall an email that has already been sent. In this article, we’ll discuss how to recall an email in Outlook and some tips for making the process as smooth as possible.

Why Recall an Email?

Before we dive into the steps for recalling an email, let’s first discuss why you might want to do so.

Fixing Mistakes

As mentioned earlier, one of the main reasons for recalling an email is to fix mistakes. This could be a simple typo or a more serious error, such as sending confidential information to the wrong recipient.

By recalling the email, you can make the necessary changes and resend it without the recipient ever knowing about the mistake.

Avoiding Embarrassment

We’ve all been there – you send an email and then immediately realize it was not meant for the recipient. Maybe it was a personal message accidentally sent to a work colleague, or a snarky comment about a coworker that was meant for a friend.

Recalling the email can save you from potential embarrassment and awkward conversations.

Preventing Miscommunication

Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, we may send an email that we later regret. Maybe it was a harshly worded response to a frustrating situation or a message that was misinterpreted by the recipient.

By recalling the email, you can prevent any further miscommunication and avoid potential conflicts.

How to Recall an Email in Outlook

Now that we’ve discussed the reasons for recalling an email, let’s dive into the steps for actually doing so in Outlook.

Step 1: Open the Sent Items Folder

The first step is to open the “Sent Items” folder in Outlook. This is where all of your sent emails are stored.

Step 2: Open the Email to be Recalled

Next, you’ll need to open the email that you want to recall. You can do this by double-clicking on the email in the “Sent Items” folder.

Step 3: Click on the “Actions” Tab

In the top menu bar, click on the “Actions” tab. This will open a drop-down menu with various options.

Step 4: Select “Recall This Message”

In the “Actions” drop-down menu, select “Recall This Message”. This will open a pop-up window with two options: “Delete unread copies of this message” and “Delete unread copies and replace with a new message”.

Step 5: Choose Your Preferred Option

In the pop-up window, choose the option that best suits your needs. If you simply want to delete the email, select “Delete unread copies of this message”. If you want to replace the email with a new one, select “Delete unread copies and replace with a new message”.

Step 6: Click “OK”

Once you’ve selected your preferred option, click “OK”. This will initiate the recall process.

Step 7: Check the Recall Status

After initiating the recall, you can check the status by going to the “Sent Items” folder and looking for a message from “System Administrator”. This message will indicate whether the recall was successful or not.

Tips for a Successful Recall

While the recall feature in Outlook can be a lifesaver, it’s not always foolproof. Here are some tips to increase your chances of a successful recall.

Act Quickly

The sooner you realize you need to recall an email, the better. If the recipient has already opened the email, it cannot be recalled.

Check the Recall Status

As mentioned earlier, you can check the recall status by looking for a message from “System Administrator” in your “Sent Items” folder. If the recall was unsuccessful, you may need to take additional steps to rectify the situation.

Use a Read Receipt

If you’re sending an important email that you may need to recall in the future, consider using a read receipt. This will notify you when the recipient has opened the email, giving you a better idea of whether the recall was successful or not.

Double-Check Before Sending

Of course, the best way to avoid needing to recall an email is to double-check it before hitting send. Take a few extra seconds to review the email for any mistakes or potential issues.

Alternatives to Recalling an Email

If the recall feature in Outlook is not successful, or if you’re unable to use it for some reason, there are a few alternatives you can try.

Send a Follow-Up Email

If the email was sent to the wrong recipient, you can send a follow-up email explaining the situation and asking them to delete the original email.

Contact the Recipient Directly

If the email contained confidential information, it may be best to contact the recipient directly and ask them to delete the email. This may be a bit awkward, but it’s better than the alternative of the information falling into the wrong hands.

Apologize and Move On

If all else fails, sometimes the best course of action is to simply apologize and move on. We all make mistakes, and owning up to them can go a long way in maintaining relationships and trust.


Recalling an email in Outlook can be a lifesaver in certain situations. By following the steps outlined in this article and keeping these tips in mind, you can increase your chances of a successful recall. And if all else fails, remember that we’re all human and mistakes happen.

Gulrukh Ch

About the Author: Gulrukh Ch

Gulrukh Chaudhary, an accomplished digital marketer and technology writer with a passion for exploring the frontiers of innovation. Armed with a Master's degree in Information Technology, Gulrukh seamlessly blends her technical prowess with her creative flair, resulting in captivating insights into the world of emerging technologies. Discover more about her on her LinkedIn profile.