If, like me, you sometimes send Outlook emails and immediately remember you haven’t attached a file, see something you need to change or alter just as the message leaves your outbox. It will please you to know that if you use Microsoft 365 or Outlook to send the message, you can easily replace or recall email messages that you have sent.
This quick Outlook recall message guide will explain how you can correct a message you have sent and retrieve it from the mailboxes of the recipients who haven’t yet opened it. Microsoft also allows you to substitute a replacement message, enabling you to add that important missing attachment, photograph or presentation, sometimes with no one even knowing you made the original mistake.
The Outlook Message Recall feature allows you to retract the message and send a replacement even if you have clicked Send. Although it is important to know that the service is only available if both you and your recipient are using a Microsoft 365 or Microsoft Exchange email accounts in the same organization. If your email account is set up using either MAPI or POP, a message recall will unfortunately not work. It is also worth noting that you cannot recall a message that is protected by Azure Information Protection or messages that are in Outlook on the web.
Recall an email
If you would like to recall one of your sent email messages, open the Microsoft Outlook email application and follow the instructions below.
1. Open Outlook and select your Sent Items folder on the left-hand side of your main message window.
2. Double-click to open the message you would like to recall. Simply selecting the message will not provide the required options.
3. Depending on which view you have enabled within your Outlook application from the Classic Ribbon, select Message > Actions > Recall This Message.
4. If you use the Simplified Ribbon, rather than the Classic Ribbon. Select the Message tab and then the “…” three dots icon to reveal the new menu with Actions listed near the bottom.
5. From the Actions option select Recall This Message from the fly-out menu.
6. If you don’t see Recall This Message in your Outlook application, unfortunately, you are probably not using the required Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft 365 services needed to make a recall.
7. In the Recall This Message pop-up box that appears to select either:
7a. Delete unread copies of this message
7b Delete unread copies and replace with a new message. If you select this option, write a new message and then click send and it will replace your old message.
Points to remember when recalling emails
Because of the complexity of recalling emails and replacing them with newly updated versions, it is not always possible to carry out a successful recall. For instance :
If the recipient has selected to automatically process requests and responses to meetings.
The original messages marked as read on the recipient’s computer when the email message is recalled, the recipient will be informed. A message will appear saying that you would like to delete the message. However, the message will remain in the recipients Outlook folder.
If the recipient has not selected to automatically process requests and respond to meetings.
If the recipient opens the recalled message first, the original message will be deleted, and the recipient is informed that you, the sender, have deleted the message from their mailbox. If the recall fails, both the original and recalled message will be available in the recipient’s mailbox.
If the message is in a public folder or the recalled message and original message exists in separate folders, the recipient receives a message that will notify them that the Outlook recall attempt failed. Unfortunately, this will occur regardless of the configurations and the read status of the message. However, if the recipient has not read the original message you the sender will receive a message notifying you the recall succeeded.
If you are still a little confused as to exactly how Outlook email recall works as I was. It might be worth asking a colleague or friend to help you try out a few different scenarios so that when the worst should happen you will be able to easily and effectively recall any emails you have sent before their recipients have time to read your message or open the email in Outlook. For more information jump over to the official Microsoft support website.