July 21, 2024
Accidentally sending an email can cause numerous problems. Hence, recalling it becomes important. This article provides a comprehensive guide to unsend Outlook email along with precautions, risks, and alternative solutions for the same.


Many of us have been there – we send an email and almost immediately realize we’ve made a mistake. Whether it’s sending it to the wrong recipient or forgetting to include an attachment, sending an email by mistake can cause numerous problems. Luckily, Outlook provides a feature that allows you to recall or retract an email you’ve sent. In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to unsend an email in Outlook, as well as offer some important precautions and potential risks you should be aware of when attempting to do so.

Step-by-Step Guide

Recalling or retracting an email in Outlook is a simple process that involves a few clicks. Follow these easy steps to unsend your Outlook email:

  1. Open your Sent Items folder in Outlook. This can be done by clicking on “Mail” in the bottom left corner of the screen and then selecting “Sent Items.”
  2. Double-click on the email you want to unsend. This will open the email in a new window.
  3. Click on the “Message” tab at the top of the email window. This will open a toolbar.
  4. Click on the “Actions” button on the toolbar. This will open a dropdown menu.
  5. Select “Recall This Message” from the dropdown menu. A new window will appear.
  6. Select the option that best suits your needs:
    • “Delete unread copies of this message” – This will delete the email from the recipient’s mailbox, and they will not be able to read it.
    • “Delete unread copies and replace with a new message” – This will delete the email from the recipient’s mailbox and replace it with a new email that you can edit and send.
  7. Click “OK” and then click “Close.” Your email has been recalled!

Screenshots or Images

To help you better understand the process of unsending an email in Outlook, here are some screenshots that correspond to the steps listed above:

Screenshot 1: Open Sent Items Folder

Fig 1. Open your Sent Items folder in Outlook

Screenshot 2: Double Click on the Email You Want to Unsend

Fig 2. Double-click on the email you want to unsend

Screenshot 3: Click on the Actions Button

Fig 3. Click on the ‘Actions’ button on the toolbar

Screenshot 4: Choose 'Recall this Message' Option

Fig 4. Choose the ‘Recall This Message’ option from the dropdown menu


Before recalling an email on Outlook, there are a few precautions you should take to ensure that it is the right decision:

  • Double-check the recipient’s email address to make sure you are recalling the email from the right person.
  • If it is a sensitive or important email, send it to a trusted friend or colleague first for review before sending it to the intended recipient.
  • Be sure to act quickly – the recall feature does not work if the email has already been opened and read by the recipient.

Potential Risks

Recalling an email on Outlook is not always a foolproof process, and there are some risks you should be aware of:

  • The recipient may have already read the email before you attempt to recall it, rendering the feature ineffective.
  • If you choose to replace the email with a new one, it’s possible that the recipient may receive both the old and new emails, causing confusion.
  • The recall feature does not work with certain email programs or servers, so the email may still be delivered despite your efforts to recall it.

Tools or Plugins

While Outlook provides a built-in feature to recall emails, there are also some third-party tools or plugins that can help you manage your Outlook emails more efficiently and effectively. Here are a few options:

  • Boomerang – This tool allows you to schedule emails to be sent at a later time and date, as well as set reminders to follow up on emails that have not received a response.
  • Right Inbox – Similar to Boomerang, this tool allows you to schedule emails to be sent at a later time and date, as well as track email opens and clicks.
  • PoliteMail – This tool provides analytics and tracking for your internal Outlook emails, helping you measure employee engagement and communication effectiveness.

Alternative Solutions

If for some reason the recall feature on Outlook is not working or is not available, there are still alternative solutions you can pursue:

  • Contact the recipient directly and explain the mistake made in the email. Honesty and transparency can go a long way in mitigating any potential damage from a mistaken email.
  • If the email includes sensitive or confidential information, it may be worth contacting your IT department to see if they can help you retrieve the email or confirm that it has been deleted.


Recalling an email on Outlook can save you from a lot of embarrassment and prevent any damage that may be caused by sending an email by mistake. However, it is important to be cautious and double-check everything before attempting to recall an email, as there are several potential risks associated with the process. By following the steps and suggestions outlined in this article, you can easily unsend and retract your Outlook email, while minimizing any potential damage if something goes wrong.

Remember, mistakes happen to everyone, and it’s important to learn and grow from them. Take the time to understand how to manage your Outlook emails effectively and efficiently, and you’ll be able to stay on top of your communication game.

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