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How To Recall An Email In Outlook [Explained]

How To Recall An Email In Outlook So you’re trying figure out how to recall an email in Outlook. Maybe you’ve sent an email to the wrong person or sent one with a missing attachment. Or maybe you forgot to check your message for typos before hitting the send button. Recalling your email from the recipient’s inbox can be a much-needed save in situations like these.

If you want to leave no trace of your original message, Outlook has a built-in recall feature that can help you avoid embarrassing moments. Learning to use the recall feature is a neat trick and essential for any Outlook user. This is because sooner or later, you will might yourself in a situation where you absolutely need to use it.

And for working professionals, knowing how to retract an email in Outlook assumes even more importance. So let’s get into the details. We’ll also learn alternatives to recalling your email and how you can delay your emails.

Microsoft Outlook – A Quick Introduction

Microsoft Outlook is one of the most-used email clients in the world with 400 million active users as of 2018. Integrated with Microsoft’s other workplace services like Teams and Office, Outlook finds a lot of adoption in organizations. Its user interface (UI) and set of useful features make it a great email client.

Although Outlook’s market share has been declining over the years, thanks to Apple and Gmail’s dominance, it’s still a force to be reckoned with in the email client space.

How To Recall An Email In Outlook

Recalling an email is extremely important before you decide on a new email rectifying whatever error you made in the original message. Achieving a successful recall in Outlook requires a few conditions to be met:

  • You need to be using the desktop application of Outlook, not the web-based version.
  • You and the recipient you want to recall the message from should have a Microsoft Exchange account and a Microsoft 365 account in the same organization.
  • The recipient should not have opened the email; only then can you send the recall message.
  • And lastly, for the recall to work, the email message needs to be untouched by spam filters or folder redirects.

The stipulation that you and the recipient need to belong to the same organization makes the feature in Outlook suitable only for workplace interactions.

To recall your email in Outlook, follow the steps below: Sent Items
1. Open the Sent Items folder on the left pane and double-click on the email you want to recall. It most probably will be at the top or near the top if you sent it recently.

2. Once your email is open in a separate window, click on the Message tab on the toolbar.
Message Tab
3. Next to the Move button in the options that come up, click on the icon that looks like a letter and an envelope. This is the More Move Actions button.

4. Click on the Recall This Message option in the drop-down list.
Actions Button
5. Your interface could look different. In that case, click on the Message tab, then the three-dots icon, select Actions, and then click on Recall This Message.

6. A pop-up window will come up with two options: Delete Unread Copies and Replace With a New Message and Delete Unread Copies of This Message. You will also see a checkbox to enable or disable notification alerts by Outlook on whether the recall succeeds or fails. Check that if you want to be notified.
Delete And Replace Unread Copies
7. If you choose the option to send a new message in the above step, Outlook will open another screen where you can edit the original message. Click on Send when you have reviewed your new message.

It’s always a good practice to make sure your recipient opens the recall message. This is sometimes needed for the function to work. You can write something to catch the recipient’s attention, indicating the importance of opening the recall message.

Why Recall Outlook Email May Not Work

An email recall in Outlook might not always work. Although the recall feature might look straightforward and comprehensive, there are a few possibilities that will render the recall attempt useless.

  1. Message already opened: Your message might already have been opened by one or more recipients. Owing to the fast internet speeds of today, the buffer one had before the email actually got delivered to the destination mailbox has been reduced to nothing.
  2. Message redirected: Your email message might already have been redirected to another folder due to certain rules set up by the recipient. In such a case, the recall function will not serve its purpose.
  3. Different email clients: If your email’s recipients also include other email clients like Gmail or Yahoo Mail, the recall feature will not work for these mailboxes.

Even though the recall process isn’t foolproof, it is still helpful in mitigating the damage your original message. However, instead of recalling your email, you also have some alternatives you should explore.

Best Alternatives

You don’t always need to recall your email if something goes wrong. And with the number of reasons listed above, your recall attempt might not do anything at all. Hence, you can consider the following alternatives:

Send An Apologetic Email

This is the best course of action when trying to fix a mistake in your original email. If you’re unsure whether a recall attempt will work, simply type out an apologetic email and send it soon after the original message. This works for several reasons:

• It’s a straightforward solution. You don’t need to be extremely fast (unless the message is time-bound) as in the case with the recall option.
• You save time and effort by just owning up to your mistake. Mistakes happen, and people realize that.
• A genuine apology goes a long way in building trust with your recipients.

Use A Delay

Another option you can check out is to use Outlook’s Rules & Alerts to introduce a delay to every email that goes out of your mailbox. If you’re replying to countless emails during your day and are somewhat prone to missing details, delaying your emails gives you enough time to check everything even after pressing the Send button.

You can take your time to review the email and then make changes before it’s finally sent for good.

To enable this feature, follow the steps below:

1. Click on the File tab in the top-left corner of the Outlook window.

2. Click on the Manage Rules & Alerts button next to Rules and Alerts. Manage Rules & Alerts

3. A new window will open where you can set various rules and alerts. To enable a delay rule, click on the New Rule option. New Rule

4. You will see another pop up window showing various template categories you can choose from. Click on Apply rules on messages I send under the Start from a blank rule section. Then click on Next. Apply Rules

5. A new window will list a number of conditions that you can select. For our purposes, we don’t need to select anything here. You can simply click on Next, and then Yes on the confirmation screen that appears. Conditions Filter

6. Now you’ll see a window with a list of actions that you can apply to your emails. Select the checkbox next to the one called defer delivery by a number of minutes. Defer Delivery

7. Now click on the hyperlinked ‘a number of’ in the Edit section below and enter the number of minutes that should elapse (after pressing the Send button) before your email is sent. The maximum delay you can set is 120 minutes. Delay Delivery

8. Click Next and select any exceptions to the rule you want on the next screen. If you want this rule to be applied without exception, click Next.Exceptions

9. On the final screen, give your rule a name and enable the Turn On This Rule checkbox if it’s there. Next, click the Finish button to save and activate your rule.Finsh Setup

Outlook Recall Function: FAQs

1. How To Recall An Email In Outlook 2022?

Outlook in 2022 offers pretty much the same method of recalling emails as present in previous versions. As noted above, you need to navigate to More Move Actions and then click on Recall This Message. You need to choose to get notified or not about the recall success and then select one of the two options given to recall your email.

2. How To Recall An Email In Outlook 365 App?

If you’re using the Outlook 365 app and want to recall an email, double-click it and click on Actions in the Message tab, then on Recall This Message. You can review the options in the new window and send the recall message.

3. How Do I See Recalls In Outlook?

After you use the recall function on an email, you’ll have to track it often to see if the feature succeeds. Simply open the Sent Items folder and click on the email you recalled. Now click on the Tracking button in the toolbar to check the status of the recall.

4. What To Do If I Don’t See The Recall Option In Outlook?

It can happen that you’re not able to find the recall option on the toolbar. The following steps need to be performed to ensure the option is available on the toolbar:
– Click on File and then, Account Settings.
– In the Email tab, find the Type options.
– You should be able to see Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft 365 account displayed there for the recall option to be available.

5. Does The Recipient Know If My Email Is Recalled?

No, if your recall succeeds, they will only see the replacement emails you sent, and not the originals. This only works if they’ve not already checked your mails. Do note, if they are not logged into your organization’s server and do not have Outlook running, the original messages will not be deleted and they will also get an additional message stating that you wish to delete unread copies of the previous emails.

Wrapping Up

The recall email Outlook option can prove to be a lifesaver on many occasions when you need to unsend an email in Outlook. Provided you’re fast enough, you might be able to mitigate most of the damage that may be caused due to the wrongly sent original message.

The Outlook feature might not be perfect, but it has its uses. Alternatively, you can send an apology email or use a permanent delay rule to give yourself some time to sit with the email after you’ve pressed the Send button.

Lastly, it’s always best to review your email thoroughly before sending it, to avoid the need to recall it altogether.

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