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

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

Sending emails is an essential part of modern communication, and Microsoft Outlook has become one of the most popular email platforms used by millions worldwide. However, we have all experienced that moment of panic when we realize we’ve sent an email with an error or to the wrong recipient. Fortunately, Outlook provides a handy feature that allows you to recall an email and rectify the situation. In this article, we will guide you through the process of recalling an email in Outlook effectively.

What is Email Recall in Outlook?

Email recall is a feature in Microsoft Outlook that allows you to retrieve an email you have sent from the recipient’s inbox. It’s a handy tool for correcting mistakes, retracting sensitive information, or preventing accidental email distribution. However, there are some limitations to consider before using this feature.

How Does Email Recall Work?

How Does Email Recall Work

Outlook’s email recall function works by sending a recall message to the recipient’s inbox. This message requests the email client to delete the original message, replacing it with the updated version or simply removing it. It’s important to note that email recall only works if certain conditions are met, and the success of the recall largely depends on the recipient’s email settings and actions.

Requirements for Recalling an Email

Before attempting to recall an email in Outlook, there are a few essential requirements to keep in mind:

  • Both the sender and the recipient must be using Microsoft Exchange email accounts within the same organization.
  • The email must be sent through Microsoft Exchange and not any other email service.
  • The recipient must not have read the original email before the recall request is processed.

Steps to Recall an Email in Outlook

Steps to Recall an Email in Outlook

Let’s walk through the steps to recall an email in Outlook:

Step 1: Launch Microsoft Outlook

Open Microsoft Outlook on your computer. Ensure that you are connected to the internet and logged in to your email account.

Step 2: Navigate to the “Sent Items” Folder

In the Outlook navigation pane, find and select the “Sent Items” folder. This folder contains all the emails you have sent.

Step 3: Open the Email to be Recalled

Locate the email you want to recall from the list of sent emails. Double-click on the email to open it in a new window.

Step 4: Access the “Actions” Menu

In the open email, click on the “Actions” tab in the top menu bar. The “Actions” tab is where you can find various email-related functions.

Step 5: Click on “Recall This Message”

From the “Actions” menu, select “Recall This Message.” A new dialog box will appear with recall options.

Step 6: Choose the Recall Option

In the recall dialog box, choose one of the two recall options: “Delete unread copies of this message” or “Delete unread copies and replace with a new message.” Select the appropriate option based on your requirement.

Step 7: Receive Notification of Recall Status

Outlook will then attempt to recall the email. You will receive a notification indicating whether the recall was successful or not. Keep in mind that if the recipient has already opened the email, the recall will not be successful.

Tips for Successful Email Recall

Tips for Successful Email Recall

While email recall can be a useful feature, its success is not always guaranteed. Here are some tips to increase the chances of a successful recall:

Tip 1: Act Quickly

Recall your email as soon as you realize the mistake. The faster you act, the higher the chances that the recipient hasn’t read the email yet.

Tip 2: Verify the Recall

Always double-check the success of the recall. Outlook will notify you whether the recall was successful or not. Ensure that the email is retrieved or replaced correctly.

Tip 3: Alternative Measures

If the recall is unsuccessful or the email was already read, consider sending an apology or clarification email to address the situation directly.


1. Can I recall an email after it has been read?

No, once an email is read by the recipient, the recall feature becomes ineffective. It can only work if the email remains unread in the recipient’s inbox.

2. Will the recipient know I tried to recall an email?

Yes, if you attempt to recall an email, the recipient will be notified of the recall request, even if the recall is unsuccessful.

3. Does email recall work with any type of email account?

No, email recall only works with Microsoft Exchange email accounts within the same organization.

4. Can I recall an email sent to multiple recipients?

Yes, you can attempt to recall an email sent to multiple recipients, but the success of the recall will depend on each recipient’s individual email settings and actions.

5. Is email recall 100% guaranteed?

No, email recall is not 100% guaranteed due to the various factors that can influence its success, such as recipient actions and email settings.


In conclusion, the email recall feature in Microsoft Outlook can be a lifesaver when you need to rectify mistakes in sent emails. Remember to act promptly, check the recall status, and consider alternative measures if needed. By following the outlined steps and tips, you can navigate the process with ease and efficiently manage your email communication.

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