Have you ever started writing an email to a colleague, and before you were ready to send it, you wound up accidentally hitting “send” somehow? As soon as it happened, you probably muttered some expletive, maybe pounded a fist on your desk, and then hastily sent a follow-up email to correct the error. Don’t worry—everybody’s been there.
But did you know that there’s a way to recall a sent message in Microsoft Outlook if it’s been sent within your Microsoft Exchange Server? Say, “So long!” to office-embarrassment with this handy little trick! When you recall a sent message, Outlook will try to stop the delivery if it hasn’t arrive yet, or will replace the accidental email with a corrected one if it has, in fact, been delivered.
Remember: you can only recall a sent message within your organization.
Recall a Sent Message
If you just want to recall the message without sending another email to replace it, follow these steps:
- Go to your Sent Items and open the email you want to recall. You need to actually open the email by double-clicking on it so that it appears in a new window, not just view it in the preview on the right-hand side.
- Click the ‘Message’ tab next to ‘File,’ and then click ‘Actions’ in the ‘Move’ group. A drop-down will appear, and then click ‘Recall This Message…’
Note: if your email window is not fully expanded, you may not see ‘Actions,” and instead may see:.
If your email window is really small, you may even only see:
The full options will become available if you stretch the window out or maximize it completely.
- Select ‘Delete unread copies of this message’ and then click ‘OK.’ If you leave ‘Tell me if recalled succeeds or fails for each recipient,’ checked, it will send you a notification for every recipient that you emailed. If you sent the message to many people, you may not want all those notifications.
Recall a Sent Message and Replace It
In the email I sent to Anne, I meant to attach an invoice. If I had written “Please see the attached invoice,” or something to that effect, I would have triggered the attachment reminder, which would’ve prevented the whole problem in the first place! But since I was being casual, I didn’t, and now I’m in this pickle. Now that I’m recalling the email, I want to replace it with a corrected email—not forgetting to attach the invoice this time!
Follow the same steps as before:
- Open the message you want to recall and replace from the ‘Sent Items’
- Click the ‘Message’ tab and then click ‘Actions’ in the move group, and select ‘Recall This Message’
This is where things change.
- Click ‘Delete unread copies and replace with a new message,’ then click ‘OK’
- A new message window will appear, already addressed to your intended recipient, and with your previous email message. From here, you can re-enter the subject line, make any necessary changes to the email’s content, and add or remove any attachments. Once the email is correct, you can send it.