We’ve all done it: clicked send on an email that we afterwards regretted. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could remember an email, whether it was sent to the incorrect person, in a fit of wrath, or just includes an embarrassing typo? Well, under the correct conditions, you can.
If you act promptly with Outlook for desktop, you can unsend an email. We’ll show you how to recall an email in Outlook, explain the prerequisites, and provide some alternate options.
How to Recall a Message in Outlook
Requesting a recall on an Outlook communication is straightforward. The question of whether such request will be successful is addressed in the next section.
To recall an Outlook email:
What Are the Requirements to Recall an Email in Outlook?
Only if both you and the receiver have a Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft 365 account on the same server or organization can you remember an email.
To check what type of email account you have:
With that in mind, remembering will not function on emails sent outside your business to, say, a Gmail or Yahoo account. This is because you have no control over an email after it has left your internal server. There is no general requirement that an email server must honor a recall request; in fact, it will not be handled at all.
Even if you and your receiver are on the same Exchange server, recall success is not assured.
Most crucially, the recall request must be initiated before the initial communication. If they read the original communication first, whether before or after you request a recall, it will stay in their inbox. While they will still get the recall request alerting them that you wish to erase the original communication, it is entirely up to them whether or not to comply.
If the recipient’s Outlook settings allow them to automatically handle meeting requests, answers to meeting requests, and polls, the recall will take place in the background and your original email will be removed. This option may be accessed through File > Options > Mail > Tracking. However, this is only applicable if the receiver does not open your initial email. If they have, regardless of this option, it will stay in their inbox.
The recall request will also fail if the receiver has a rule that transfers your original email from the inbox to another folder. Furthermore, the recall will not operate if the email is sent to a public inbox and the recall request is received by someone other than the intended individual recipient.
Finally, recall requests cannot be handled if the receiver is accessing their emails through a method other than the Outlook desktop software, such as the Outlook web app or a mobile device.
To summarize, all of the following factors must be followed for an email recall to be successful:
- You and the receiver must both be connected to the same Exchange server.
- Before reading the original email, the receiver must open the recall request.
- The recall request must be opened in Outlook on the desktop by the recipient.
- The recipient’s rules must not change or relocate your original email.
As you can see, there are a number of parameters that must be followed in order for your email recall to be effective. Request the recall as soon as possible for the highest chance of success, although the procedure is not foolproof. Use it only as a last resort.
How to Delay Sending an Email Rather Than Recalling
If you often need to recollect emails, you may consider using a different strategy.
Setting a rule in Outlook to postpone the transmission of your mails is one way to do this. This does not exactly recall an email, but it does provide you with a small window in time to cancel the outgoing email.
To create such a rule:
How to Delay Sending an Email in Gmail
Do you use Gmail and wish a feature like this? You are fortunate. To postpone sending in Gmail, follow these steps:
- Go to your email and click the cog symbol in the top right corner.
- Click See all settings.
- Navigate to the Undo Send section on the General tab.
- Set a time interval (up to 30 seconds) for how long you want to postpone email sending using the dropdown. This provides you with an opportunity to withdraw.
- Then, after you’re done sending a message, click Undo in the bottom-left corner.
Don’t Rely on Email Recall in Outlook
As you can see, rescinding an email in Outlook is a straightforward process. However, whether the recall will be effective is a very other story since it is dependent on so many variables. You shouldn’t depend on memory in a world where anyone may view their emails from anywhere at any time.
Instead, if you often send anything by mistake, try utilizing a different approach to postpone sending your email. It guarantees that it is not transmitted immediately and that you are not left red-faced as a result of a mistake!
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