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Can you take back an email you’ve already sent? Yes! Maybe. (Outlook 2016/2013/2010; Exchange Server)

We’ve all been there. In the moment after sending off an email, you reconsider. Perhaps your language was too strong, or you realize you mistakenly hit Reply All instead of Reply. Outlook’s Recall feature can save you from the backlash of a hastily sent email—but only in certain conditions.

To recall a message, double-click on the message in your Sent Items folder. In the Move group of the main ribbon’s Message tab, click on Actions | Recall This Message. Select the Delete Unread Copies Of This Message radio button. Check the Tell Me If This Recall Succeeds Or Fails For Each Recipient box, and click OK. Outlook will now attempt to recall all unread copies of your message.

After completing these steps, the recall of your email depends on your recipient’s Outlook settings. Select File | Options | Mail, then locate the Tracking section. If your recipient’s Automatically Process Requests And Responses To Meeting Requests And Polls box is checked, the recall can proceed. But if your recipients have set any rules that move your original message from the Inbox to another folder, the recipient will receive a message that a recall attempt failed.

Note that even when your email recall succeeds, the recipients will know you made a mistake: They will receive a message stating that you’ve recalled an email.


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