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How to recall and resend an email in Outlook on a PC

Have you ever sent an embarrassing email to your boss? Mixed up clients and emailed the wrong information? Here's how to recall a message in Microsoft Outlook from your PC.
Written by Christina Darby, Associate Editor
Reviewed by Min Shin
Person sending with email open
Witthaya Prasongsin/Getty Images

We've all felt the fear of sending an email too early, without the proper attachment, or to the completely wrong person, and then having to quickly craft an anxious email with a creative excuse -- or simply succumb to embarrassment. 

Microsoft Outlook is one of the few email platforms that allows you to recall emails. 

With this feature, you won't have to feel as fearful of your Monday brain and can move on with your week mistake-free.

It's important to address a few feature requirements and caveats. 

First, for the recall and resend feature to work:

  • Both you and your recipient must have Microsoft Outlook email addresses.
  • The email can only be recalled if it was not read or opened by the recipient.
  • The permanent recall feature is only available on a PC. Mac users will have to resort to the Undo toggle, which gives you up to a 10-second grace period to edit or rescind an email after sending it.  

Also: How to encrypt your email and why you should

With that said, keeping in mind when you can use it, it's a great feature. 

How to recall and resend an email in Outlook on a PC

1. Go to the "Sent Items" tab in your inbox

Before you send anything out, go to your inbox. At the very left side of the screen, click on the tab labeled "Sent Items." Then, select the email you want to recall. It should expand onto the right side of the window.

Location of Sent Items in Outlook.

The Sent Items feature is located between the Inbox and Drafts. 

Screenshot by Christina Darby/ZDNET

2. Select the File tab in the upper left-hand corner

In the upper left corner of the Outlook app, select the "File" tab and a drop-down menu will appear. From there, select the "Info" option. 

Location of file tab in Outlook.

You can find the Files tab in the upper left-hand corner. 

Screenshot by Addison Murray/ZDNET

3. Select Message Resend and Recall

The Info menu will show a few options. Go toward the bottom of the list and select "Message Resend and Recall." 

Info page showing Message Resend and Recall.

To find the Message Resend and Recall options, go to the Info menu. 

Screenshot by Addison Murray/ZDNET

4. Choose whether you want to recall or replace

Once you click on the Message Resend and Recall option, choose whether you want to delete unread copies of the message (recall) or delete unread copies and replace the message with a new one (replace). 

Also: How to add an email signature in Outlook

Select the option that works best for your circumstances. 

Dialog box for Resend or recall feature in Outlook.
Screenshot by Addison Murray/ZDNET

5. Get notified if the recall was a success

As I mentioned, there are a few caveats for the recall process, so it can be a coin toss as to if it's a success or not. 

Outlook will display a dialog pop-up, offering you the option to check the "Notify" box at the bottom to know if the recall succeeded or, unfortunately, failed. 

Check whichever box -- although, I'd personally opt to be notified -- and then click "OK." 

If you wanted to compose a new message, write your new copy and hit "Enter" when prompted. 

Recall This Message feature in Outlook.

Outlook will give you the option to check the "Tell me if the recall succeeds or fails for each recipient" box before continuing the recall. I'd personally have more peace of mind knowing whether my mistake had been retracted. 

Screenshot by Addison Murray/ZDNET

A note about recall settings

Recalls are not guaranteed. A recall could fail depending on your recipient's settings in Outlook. For example, if the recipient has the "Automatically process requests and responses to meeting requests and polls" box checked under their tracking settings, the recipient will be informed that you, the sender, deleted a message from their inbox.  

New recall message in Outlook.
Screenshot by Christina Darby/ZDNET


How long do you have to recall an email after you send it?

You can recall a message up until the recipient has read it, so the sooner the better.

Does the recipient know if an email is recalled?

That depends on their settings. It's possible the recipient could get a notification that something from their inbox has been deleted.

What happens if you resend an email in Outlook?

If you choose to resend an email, a new copy of the message will open for you to make any necessary changes to the text. From there, you're free to send. The original message will be deleted from the recipient's inbox, replaced by the newest version. 

Also: How to make sure people see your important emails

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