How to recall an email in Microsoft Outlook

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How to recall an email in Microsoft Outlook

Made a mistake or said something you shouldn't have? Here's how you can take it all back with Outlook's email recall system

We've all been there at least once. You've used Outlook to send an email you shouldn't have and you need to get it back. While TV dramas and Hollywood would have you believe this means you need to hack into a user's PC or webmail to delete the email, Microsoft's Outlook actually just lets you take everything back from the safety of your own desk and computer.

It might sound overly complex, but don't worry, recalling a message in Outlook is incredibly simple – no matter which version you're running.

However please note that message recall does not work if:

  • You're sending a message outside your organisation

  • You aren't using a Microsoft Exchange Server to handle your emails in Outlook

  • The recipient is using Cached Exchange Mode and is working offline

  • The original message is moved from the recipient's inbox (such as via custom Outlook rules)

  • The message has been marked as read

How to recall a message in Outlook

  1. In Outlook, navigate to the “Mail” pane and click “Sent Items”

  2. Find the message you'd like to recall

  3. Open the message and click on the “Actions” ribbon or menu option (depending on which version of Outlook you're running)

  4. Click “Recall this message”

  5. You can also enable “Delete unread copies of this message” to remove a message entirely or “Delete unread copies and replace with a new message” to replace the message

  6. Check the “Tell me if recall succeeds or fails for each recipient” if you need clarification of the recall's success

  7. If you checked the “Delete unread copies and replace with a new message” option, click “OK” and begin to enter your new message and send it

If you can't see the message recall option in Outlook

Sometimes you won't be able to perform a message recall. However, if you think you should be able to, here's one simple way to check if your account is eligible.

On a Windows PC:

  1. Click “File” > “Account Settings”

  2. Click “Account Settings” again and navigate to the “Email” tab

  3. Look for your account and the “Type” column

  4. It needs to say “Microsoft Exchange” for message recall to be an option


On a Mac:

  1. Click “Outlook” in the menu bar and then “Preferences”

  2. Click “Accounts”

  3. Find your account in the list and select it

  4. If eligible the account overview will say “Exchange Account” under the account name

If everything is correct and your account is an Exchange account, and yet you still can't recall messages, your network administrator may have blocked such privileges.

This article originally appeared at

Copyright © Alphr, Dennis Publishing

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