How to Recall an Email in Outlook

We’re willing to bet that most Outlook users have, at least once in their lives, accidentally sent a message to the wrong person, missed an embarrassing type, or forgot to include an important attachment. Even if you don’t yet count yourself among them, you should still learn how to recall an email in Outlook and use Clean Email to better manage your inbox.

When It’s Possible to Recall Outlook Emails?

The instructions provided in this article are meant to help you recall email Outlook 365, Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, and 2010. It’s also possible to recall emails in Outlook 2007, but some options have slightly different names, so that’s something to keep in mind.

Generally, it’s very easy to learn how to recall a message in Outlook, but there are several possible scenarios where the email recall option isn’t available:

  1. Either you or the recipient doesn’t have an Office 365 or Microsoft Exchange email account.
  1. The two Office 365 or Microsoft Exchange accounts are not in the same organization.
  2. The message you want to recall has already been opened by the recipient.
  3. The email you want to recall has been intercepted by a spam filter.
  4. The recipient doesn’t have the “Automatically process meeting requests and responses to meeting requests and polls” option enabled.
  1. Finally, recall requests can’t be processed on mobile devices or the web version of Outlook.

How to Recall an Email in Outlook?

We have good news: learning how to recall an email in Outlook 2016, 2019, 2013, 2010, or Outlook 365 is very easy, and the whole process takes just a few simple steps:

  1. Open Outlook and navigate to the Sent Items folder, which is located in the left pane.
How to recall an Outlook email
  1. Find the message you want to recall and double-click on it to open it in a new window.
  2. Select the Message tab, click Actions, and choose Recall This Message.
How to recall an email in Outlook
  1. A new dialog box will open, presenting you with two options:
  2. A. Delete unread copies of this message.

    B. Delete unread copies and replace with a new message.

  3. Select any of the two options and optionally check the “Tell me if recall succeeds or fails for each recipient” box to receive a message letting you know the result of every recall attempt.
How to recall a message in Outlook
  1. If you’ve selected the first option, the original email will be immediately recalled, provided all conditions for email recall are met.
  2. If you’ve selected the second option, you will be allowed to modify the original email and send it again just like you would any other email.

That’s how simple it is to learn how to recall an email in Outlook.

Alternatives to Recall

Of course, you probably don’t send email only to people who have an Office 365 or Microsoft Exchange email account in the same organization as you. Your recipients probably use everything from Gmail and Outlook to custom email solutions they host themselves. Are there any alternatives to email recall that work across the board with all email services? Yes, there are.

Option 1: Delay the Sending of Your Emails

Your first and best option is to delay the sending of your emails by a couple of minutes. Don’t worry: this is just as easy as learning how to retract an email in Outlook:

  1. Select Manage Rules & Alerts in the File tab.
How to delay sending of emails in Outlook
  1. Go to E-mail Rules and click New Rule.
  2. In the Step 1: Select a template box, under Start from a Blank Rule, click Apply rule on messages I send, and then click Next.
Create a new rule in Outlook 2016
  1. Select the check boxes for any options that you want In the Step 1: Select condition(s) list and then click Next.
  2. Select the defer delivery by a number of minutes check box in the Step 1: Select action(s) list.
  3. In the Step 2: Edit the rule description (click an underlined value) box, click the underlined phrase a number of and enter the desired number of minutes for which you want to delay the sending of your emails.
  4. Click OK and complete the new rule setup process.

You can also delay just one message, which may come in handy when you don’t want to respond to a message right away but know that you won’t have the opportunity to respond to it later. Here’s how to delay a single message in Outlook:

  1. Select the More options arrow from the Tags group in the Ribbon while composing a message.
  2. Select the Do not deliver before check box under Delivery options, and then pick any delivery date and time you want.
  3. Click Close.

You can then simply send the message just like you would normally, and it will remain in the Outbox folder until the delivery time (learn more about how to create folders in Outlook).

Option 2: Write an Apology Email

Don’t underestimate the power of apology. Most people can be more understanding than you might believe, and it’s very unlikely that they would be angry at you for sending them a message by mistake or forgetting to include an attachment (find out what the Outlook attachment size limit is).

When writing an apology message, it’s best not to beat around the bush and get straight to the point. Just compare the following two subject lines and think about which of them sounds better to you:

Subject line B clearly states that your intention is to apologize, and it explains why. You should then amplify the apology in the body of the message and provide more information about why it happened. Since you’ve already cost the recipient some time, you should keep the total length of the message under five sentences.

When apologizing for a typo or a really embarrassing grammar error, there’s no reason to include a formal greeting and closing section. You can simply use an asterisk (*) to indicate a correction to a previous message. This is how it can look in practice:

If you know the person you’re writing to well, all you need to include is the wrong word: *They’re

Option 3: Use an Instant Messenger Instead of Outlook

Email is still king when it comes to business communication, but that doesn’t mean that alternatives don’t exist. In fact, we would go as far as to say that mail should be reserved only for the most important issues to prevent inbox clutter and issues with wrongly sent messages.

For day-to-day communication with colleagues, friends, and family members, it’s typically more efficient and more convenient to use an instant messaging application like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Telegram, or Viber. Modern instant messaging applications make it possible to delete sent messages with a simple click, greatly decreasing the chance that you’ll ever need to retract an email in Outlook.

You can either chat with the people you know privately or create a group chatroom to communicate with multiple people at the same time. Group chats are a great alternative to bulk emailing, which is a common source of all kinds of mistakes.

Check out our guides on how to create a group in Outlook and how to add shared mailbox in Outlook.

Bonus: Clean Email

While Clean Email can’t help you recall Outlook emails, it can help you avoid having to recall emails in the first place by making it extremely easy for you to clean up Outlook mailbox. The app does this by grouping similar emails together into easy-to-review bundles and effortlessly automating most common email management tasks.

Smart View feature in Clean EmailSmart View feature in Clean Email

Besides Outlook and Office 365, Clean Email works with all IMAP-based email services, and you can get started with it for free in a few seconds. Unlike many other services that want to access your inbox, Clean Email is completely secure, and it never shares your data with any third parties.

Clean Email works with all service providersClean Email works with all service providers


Now that you know how to unsend an email in Outlook, you no longer need to double- or even triple-check every message you send. When you forget to include an attachment, type the wrong mail address, or make a stupid typo that could embarrass you in front of your superiors, you can simply follow the instructions provided in this article and recall or replace your message. What’s more, you can combine email recall with delayed email sending to enjoy the ultimate peace of mind.

How to Recall an Email in Outlook - FAQs

When is it possible to recall Outlook emails?

You can recall Outlook emails if you’re using Outlook 365, Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, and 2007. Just keep in mind that both you and the recipient must have an Office 365 or Microsoft Exchange mail account.

In which cases is retracting emails in Outlook not available?

It’s not possible to retract Outlook emails that have already been opened or intercepted by the recipient’s spam filter. Furthermore, email retracting isn’t available to the users of the web version of Outlook and those who still use Outlook 2003 and 2002.

How to recall an email in Outlook app?

To recall a message in Outlook app, you need to open the message you want to recall and click Actions in the Message tab. Finally, choose the Recall This Message option.

What are the alternatives to Outlook email recall?

There are many other services and clients with support for email recall, including Gmail (mail service) and Mailbird (mail client). You can also delay the sending of your emails so that you have some time to change your mind, or you can simply face your mistake and explain the situation to the unintended recipient.

How to delay the sending of an email in Outlook?

To delay the sending of all messages in Outlook, you need to create a new mail rule from Manage Rules & Alerts in the File tab. Start from a Blank Rule and edit it to enter the desired number of minutes for which you want to delay the sending of your emails.

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