How to Recall an Email in Microsoft Outlook

We have all been there at least once. You have used Outlook to send an email you should not 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 lets you take everything back from the safety of your desk and computer.

How to Recall an Email in Microsoft Outlook

It might sound overly complicated, but do not worry; recalling a message in Outlook is incredibly simple, no matter which version you’re running.

Recalling Outlook Messages

  1. In Outlook, navigate to the email folders pane on the far-left side and click on the “Sent” folder.
  2. Double-click the message you’d like to recall from within the adjacent pane (messages pane). This action opens the message in a separate window that presents different options at the top.
  3. Within the “Message” tab found at the top, click on the “Actions” ribbon or menu option (depending on which version of Outlook you’re running.) Select “Recall This Message” to delete the email from recipient mailboxes.
  4. Choose to delete unread copies or delete them with a new message, then click “OK.” If you’d like to receive a status message on the deletion process, check the box next to “Tell me if recall succeeds or fails…”
  5. If you checked the “Delete unread copies and replace with a new message” option, a window opens to create a new message.

Message Recall Option in Outlook Not Listed

Recalling Outlook messages does not work if:

  • You are sending a message outside your organization.
  • You are not using a Microsoft Exchange Server to handle your emails in Outlook.
  • You’re using Azure Information Protection.
  • You’re accessing Outlook on the web.
  • The recipient is using Cached Exchange Mode and is working offline.
  • The original message gets moved from the recipient’s inbox (such as via custom Outlook rules).
  • The message gets marked as read.

If you think you should be able to recall emails, here is a straightforward way to check if your account is eligible.

Checking Recall Eligibility on a Windows PC

  1. Click on the “File” tab.
  2. Select “Account Settings” on the right pane.
  3. Choose “Account Settings” from the dropdown list.
  4. In the pop-up settings menu, click on the “Email” tab if not already selected.
  5. Find the correct email under the “Name” column and view the email account details found under the “Type” column.

Note: The email type must say “Exchange,” or you cannot properly recall any email messages. Sometimes, the option is listed but does not work if Outlook is not using Microsoft Exchange. In that scenario, Outlook says it deleted it, but it cannot do so.

Checking Outlook Recall Eligibility 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.

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

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

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