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Friday, October 15, 2021

Simple Ways on How to Recall a Message in Outlook – An Overview

No matter how careful one is, inevitably, one sends an email that has some mistake or should not have been sent in the first place.  By the time one realizes it is too late to recall the message. Suppose one realizes instantly the moment a wrong email is sent. In that case, one can rectify the inadvertent mistake by recalling the message sent. 

It is easy to know how to recall a message in outlook with a simple recall option button available on the Outlook Tabs and Commands ribbon. One can easily navigate on the command menu. 

Using the recall option is not straightforward, though how to recall an email option is available right in front of the sender. The recall feature works successfully only under the right conditions. The original mail gets deleted without the recipient seeing or reading it. 

One usually sends wrong or inappropriate mail impulsively. Or sometimes, the email message is correct, but the sender forgets to attach a document. A panic reaction or guilt feeling almost invariably accompanies the action. If one can unsend outlook email successfully, then sending the replacement message with correct information is logical. 

Know conditions on how to recall a message in outlook

One can be lucky in recalling an email message if they are using Microsoft Outlook. The recall facility is available only in desktop Outlook and not in the Outlook web-based version. The recall instructions also work when both the sender and receiver use Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft 365 accounts and belong to the same organization. Unfortunately, recalls do not work when a recipient’s email address is external to the sender’s organization. 

The tricky part of recalling email message

Sending a recall message does not make the original email disappear. The sequence of the recall message is critical. The recipient should first open the recall email message without opening the original email.  Once the recall message is opened, the original message disappears with the recipient seeing it. Therefore, one should type the Email subject heading as “URGENT” so it is opened first and ensures recall success. However, this method is also no guarantee that a receipt opens it first before the offensive mail.    

As per Microsoft, recipient in many instances gets notified when a message is recalled, even though they cannot view it anymore. 

Why recalling an email is not always successful?

So even if one wants to control things as per their way, it does not work consistently. When it comes to recalling an email, today’s internet speed is mind-boggling. By the time one realizes the mistake, the wrong email is already in the recipient’s inbox.  The best thing to do to minimize or undo the damage is by immediately sending the recall message. 

Some factors may still undo all the effort like 

  • The recipient may open the original mail before the recall message. They will be able to read the content even if they read the recall message later. The mail stays in the inbox and does not disappear.
  • If the mail is moved to another folder by the recipient even though they may not have read it, still the recall will fail.  
  • If, by chance, the email is seen in the public folder, then also the recall will fail. 
  • The recall function does not work when someone is using Gmail.  


As recalls are not foolproof, one should not get frustrated by factors beyond one’s control. The best way to salvage the situation quickly sends an apology mail asking to ignore the message and instead read the rectified message. 

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Josie Patra
Josie Patra is a veteran writer with 21 years of experience. She comes with multiple degrees in literature, computer applications, multimedia design, and management. She delves into a plethora of niches and offers expert guidance on finances, stock market, budgeting, marketing strategies, and such other domains. Josie has also authored books on management, productivity, and digital marketing strategies.

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