how to recall an email on outlook

Recalling an Email on Outlook: A Step-by-Step Guide

Have you ever sent an email and immediately regretted it? Perhaps you spotted a mistake, forgot to attach a crucial document, or accidentally hit “Reply All” instead of “Reply.” These situations can cause panic and embarrassment, potentially damaging your professional reputation. Luckily, if you are an Outlook user, you have the option to recall an email. This article will guide you through the process of recalling an email on Outlook, ensuring that you can correct your mistakes and maintain your professionalism.

Step 1: Open Outlook and Navigate to the “Sent Items” Folder

To start the email recall process, launch Outlook on your computer or open the Outlook web application in your browser. Locate and click on the “Sent Items” folder to access the sent email you wish to recall.

Step 2: Double-Click the Email You Want to Recall

how to recall an email on outlook

Scan through the list of sent emails and find the one you want to recall. Once you have identified the email, double-click on it to open it in a new window.

Step 3: Go to the “Message” Tab in the Ribbon

Within the opened email, you will see a ribbon located at the top. Click on the “Message” tab to access the message-specific options.

Step 4: Locate and Click on the “Actions” Dropdown

In the “Message” tab, find the “Actions” section. Click on the small arrow next to “Actions” to reveal a dropdown menu with various options.

Step 5: Choose “Recall This Message” from the Dropdown Menu

From the “Actions” dropdown menu, select “Recall This Message.” A new window will appear, providing you with two recall options.

Step 6: Decide Whether to Delete Unread Copies or Delete Unread Copies and Replace with a New Message

In the recall window, you will be given two options:

  1. Delete unread copies of this message
  2. Delete unread copies and replace with a new message

Option 1: If you choose to delete unread copies of the email, Outlook will try to delete the email from the recipient’s inbox before they can open it, ensuring they never see the message.

Option 2: If you prefer to replace the original email with a corrected version, select this option. You can then compose a new email with the necessary amendments.

Step 7: Select Your Preferred Recall Option and Click “OK”

After choosing the appropriate recall option, click “OK” to initiate the recall process. If you opted for the second option and composed a new message, make sure to review and double-check the contents of the revised email before sending it out as a replacement.

Step 8: Verification of Successful Recall

Once you have completed the recall process, Outlook will attempt to recall the email from the recipients’ inboxes. However, it’s crucial to note that the success of the recall depends on several factors:

  • If the recipients have not yet read the email, the recall will likely succeed.
  • If the recipients’ email accounts are connected to Outlook and configured to automatically process certain types of messages (such as rule-based sorting), the recall may fail.
  • If the recipients read the email before the recall, even if they haven’t deleted it, the recall will fail.
  • If the recall fails, you will receive a notification informing you about which recipients were unable to have the email recalled.

Step 9: Follow-Up Communication

After attempting to recall your email, consider reaching out to the recipients directly to explain any mistakes, apologize if necessary, and provide any additional information. Open and honest communication will help mitigate any confusion or frustration caused by the recall process.


Recalling an email on Outlook can be a lifesaver when you realize you’ve made an error or sent a message prematurely. By following the step-by-step guide outlined above, you can take swift action to correct your mistakes, allowing you to maintain your professionalism and safeguard your professional relationships. Remember, prevention is better than correction, so always double-check your emails before sending them, and use the recall feature as a last resort. With Outlook’s recall option, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you have the power to rectify your email mishaps.

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