How to Recall an Email in Outlook or Gmail

Have you ever sent an email to someone that you wish to delete the same from their inbox? Maybe at some time, an inappropriate or insufficient email was accidentally sent, and now you want to reverse your actions. These errors in actions while sending emails are totally understandable.

Mistakes in email exchange and sending are totally normal and we call these flaw-ridden emails to be deleted or replaced from the recipient’s inbox. During these scenarios, you can use the available options to recall an email in Outlook or Gmail.

How to Recall an Email in Outlook or Gmail

Well, lucky for you, your original message in emails that you have sent earlier can be recalled and replaced. We will show you just how you can recall a message, delete unread copies of emails, and reverse your gaffes in already sent emails.

How to recall a message in Microsoft Outlook and recall emails you’ve sent

One of the most used platforms for email exchange currently is Microsoft Outlook. If you and your email recipient are both using Microsoft Outlook then the email recalling process for the sent items is possible.

Keep in the mind, the following steps will not be applicable if you want to recall your email from your recipient’s email address and one/neither of you are using Microsoft exchange for the same. Check with your recipient/recipients for your emails beforehand, whether or not they are using Microsoft Outlook.

Now, for those who are using the Outlook Microsoft exchange for emails; here’s how to recall an email in outlook

  • Search for the option “Sent Items” on your Microsoft Outlook Window and Click on the same. You will find the “Sent Items” folder in your inbox’s left-hand sidebar.
  • Choose which email you want/need to recall out of the available options.
  • Look for the option “Message” which you will find at the top of your open window. Tap on the specified option.
  • After tapping on “Message”, you will observe a dropdown of choices from the same. Click on the “Actions” tab.
  • Here again, from the choices that appear out of the “Actions” tab, select the Recall This Message tab and press click.
select the Recall This Message tab and press click.

Following this ordeal, you will witness a new window opening on your computer screen. This window will contain recall options for the sent emails. You will have to select the Delete unread copies of this message or Delete unread copies and replace with a new message option out of the available choices. After choosing to delete the message, click on the OK tab you will see on the screen window. And voila, your wish to recall this message succeeds.

And voila, your wish to recall this message succeeds

Alternatively, you have decided that you will send a new message to your recipients, select the replace with a new message option and proceed to compose a  new message/messages to send before clicking the Sent tab.

What does it mean when someone wants to recall a message?

There are times when you are in a hurry and did not have the time to check your email from hitting the Send email tab. In another situation, an email may have been sent to the wrong recipient, perhaps your boss or a colleague and you do not wish them to see the information within the message. 

At times like this, you want to reverse your wrong-actions and recall your sent messages. To prevent an awkward moment or conversation from happening in your office about the same sent email, you may choose to recall them or replace your sent mails using the Recall message choice available on some platforms like Gmail and Microsoft Outlook.

Does recalling an email work?

Email recall

The choice of recalling a sent email does work in programs like Gmail and Microsoft Outlook. There are a few requirements that are needed to be fulfilled before you decide to recall an assigned email.

Criteria to fulfill for Email Recalling To Work

First, both the sender, that is you, and the recipient of your email needs to be using Microsoft Outlook, as mentioned prior.

Furthermore, you need to ensure that your recipient has not already opened the email/message you want to recall and/or replace. Moreover, even if the recipient of your email has not opened the email, your message recall may still not succeed if it enters any rules such as folder assignment and likes.

Unread copies and replace options for the same messages are possible for an email in outlook. The already given recall this message tab works so fine if the above conditions to recall an email are fulfilled.

Can you recall an email on Gmail?

Can you recall an email on Gmail?

The quickest action to recall a mail that you have sent using Gmail would be to click on the Undo option. You will see the Undo option on Gmail at the left side-bottom of your screen after clicking the send option. 

Your sent items on Gmail to any recipient will divert to the draft file folder after you click on the Undo option. You can, later on, delete the same content of the mail from Gmail or further compose and rectify the same email accordingly. 

You can also choose to View the message seconds after sending and click on the Undo tab you will see in the dropdown menu on the top right-hand corner.

Timing For Emails In Gmail

The same Undo choice to recall an email is also available for use in the Settings on the Gmail site. Venture inside the Settings; next to the Undo Send tab, you will notice a Send cancellation period option, where you can select anywhere between 5,10, 20, or 30 seconds.

Recall or replace an email message that you sent

recall an email in outlook by replacing it with a new email

To recall an email in Microsoft Outlook and Gmail, you have to follow the already mentioned guide written above. When choosing to recall an email, you have to practice speed and caution. As soon as you become aware of your faults in the original message, you have to begin the process of recall the message at the earliest. 

If possible, inform your recipient/recipients of your email about the faulty-email and request them not to open the same. The recall feature will not work your email has already been opened and read.

Keep your replacement email prepared if you wish to replace the original message and send the new email after due checks first before sending the same on the program site. Make sure your previously missing files and documents are now attached in the new replacement email you are sending to your receiver. The recalling of an email often fails for each recipient if much time has passed.

Why email recall doesn’t always work

recall an email in outlook doesn't work

The recall feature for email may fail for each recipient if the condition for recalling an email is not fulfilled. Note that email recalling succeeds or fails from time to time.

Failure of message recall happens due to different reasons such as your original message may have already been read by the recipient of the email, your exchange server may be flat, your emails may have reached a public folder either get redirected to another folder or inbox, or your email in outlook may be opened by the recipient through a different site or program (Email in outlook read in Gmail). 

Also, you need to make sure prior to email recalling to function that you have an active account on Microsoft Outlook and Gmail. If your account has been suspended, please take the necessary steps to get your account to function normally.  You can also check whether you recall message request is proceeding or not by going into  File > Options > Mail. Double click on the  Tracking tab and you can see the status of recall of your original message.

Caution Is The Key If Email Recalling Does Not work

recall an email in outlook does not work all the time

Practice precaution next time you are sending an email. You can time your emails and use the feature to time your emails. Also, remember in some cases if your flawed email is already read, some companies have rights reserved to use the original message against you. 

The recall message option is out of your option, your only safe choice is to make sure to write one apology email or letter following the incident. Be honest about your mistake and explain how it was unintentional and won’t happen again.

Legal actions to recall an email in outlook

Contact your lawyers if the situation of your email appears to be inappropriate to your boss, colleague, or any social institution and legal actions are being taken against you. 

Practice cyber-safe practice and delete any personal emails or information available in your Gmail or Microsoft Outlook. Contact the Microsoft Outlook and Gmail program through the helpline, explain your situation, and ask for appropriate guidance in this scenario.


Before sending an email make sure that the contents are appropriate and are addressed to the right person. There are a lot of other free email service providers other than Outlook and Gmail that you can look into for your personal use.