Email mistake human error in office
4 min

How To Recall (Or Revoke) An Email In Outlook

Have you accidentally sent the wrong information in an email to the wrong person? If you're using Outlook, you may be able to reverse your mistake. Here's how to recall an email in Outlook (or completely revoke it).

Recall an email in Windows Outlook

To recall an email means retrieving a message from your recipient’s inbox. In Outlook, you can do this in a few easy steps (if the email is compatible).

  1. Open Outlook and click on your ‘sent items’ folder.
    Windows Outlook Sent Items To Recall An Email
  2. Find the message that you want to recall and double-click to open it in a separate window.
  3. Navigate to the message tab in the Outlook ribbon, located at the top of the page.
    Windows Outlook Email Message Received
  4. a) If you’re using Outlook 2010 or later, find the drop-down button labelled ‘Actions’ and click ‘Recall This Message’.
    b) If you’re using the Outlook 2007, find the ‘Actions’ group in the message tab, click ‘Other Actions’, and select ‘Recall This Message’.
    Recalling An Email In Outlook Email Client
  5. A "Recall This Message" dialog box will appear. Select ‘Delete unread copies of this message’ to recall your email. You also have the option to receive a notification email confirming whether the the recall was successful or not.
    Delete Unread Copies Of Outlook Email

ℹ️ Note: Outlook email recall only works in a few limited instances. To prevent email misfires reliably, and protect confidential information in line with the GDPR, sign up free to download our Outlook add-in.

When Windows Outlook recall won't work

Whether email recall and replace works depends on a variety of factors:

If the message has already been opened

If your recipient has already opened your original email before it's recalled or replaced, neither recall or replace will work.

Instead, you can manually send an email asking your recipient to disregard your original email. However, it will remain in their inbox and they will continue to have access to it unless deleted.

If the message has been redirected

If your email activated a filter in your recipient's Outlook app directing it to another folder, you won't be able to recall it.

This is because outlook recall only affects emails that remain in your recipient’s inbox. The same applies if the recipient manually moves your message to a separate folder.

If recipients use a different email client

Both you and your recipient must have an Exchange server (Microsoft) account that you are using with Outlook for recall to work.

If you or your recipient use an email account other than Exchange, such as Gmail or Apple Mail, you won't be able to recall your message.

How you access Outlook (desktop/web/mobile)

Email recall only works for those using Outlook desktop and will not work for those using Outlook for mobile or web...

Replace an email in Windows Outlook?

You may have noticed that there is an option to ‘Delete unread copies and replace with a new message’.

If you select this option, instead of recalling the original email, you can compose and send an updated message to replace it in within your recipient’s inbox.

If the recipient opens the updated message first, the original message will be deleted, and the recipient will be notified.

However, if the recipient opens the original message first, the recall will fail, and they will be able to see both versions of the email.

Recall an email in Outlook On The Web or Outlook desktop for Mac

If you're using Outlook on the web of on a Mac computer, unfortunately you can't recall a misfired email message you've sent.

In some situations, if your business is an enterprise Microsoft customer, you administrator may have the ability to recall access to your email.

However, this is only available in limited circumstances on some higher tier enterprise Microsoft 365 subscriptions (e.g., Microsoft E5).

Alternative solutions if you've sent an email to the wrong person

Although Outlook’s native recall feature can be useful if you realise your mistake straight away, it doesn’t prevent you from making a mistake in the first place and you’re not always able to recall it.

Here are some alternative ways to prevent or recall misfired emails:

Option 1: Message Delay

Outlook offers a Delay Message feature, allowing you to schedule messages to send at a later time and date.

This can give you more chance to re-read messages and spot any ‘wrong address’ errors before they are sent. To delay a message in Outlook:

  1. Compose your email, whether it’s a new message or a reply.
  2. Click the ‘Options’ tab in the Outlook ribbon.
    Outlook Message Delay Feature
  3. In the options tab, you should be able to select ‘Delay Delivery’.
    Outlook Delay Delivery Features
  4. Within the dialog box that appears, navigate to the ‘Delivery options’ section and change it to a date and time that suits.
    Outlook Message Delay Testing
  5. Once completed, close the dialogue box, and send your email.
ℹ️ Note: This method obviously only works if your emails are not time sensitive. If you regularly need to send and reply to emails quickly, this option may not be suitable for you.

Option 2: Outlook Add-ins

If you find that Outlook’s built-in recall and delay features are not enough, there are several add-ins to consider, many of which are free to use.

Mailock free account signup banner

You can download our secure email add-in, Mailock, to protect you against email mistakes. Mailock gives you the capability to fully revoke a secure email regardless of the situation - even if your recipient:

  • has already opened your message.
  • has moved the message to a different folder.
  • is using an email client that is not Outlook.

Plus, you can set challenges to authenticate your recipient’s identity before they can access your message in the first place.

Find out more about extending Outlook for secure email.

Further reading

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