The only thing more embarrassing than saying the wrong thing in a conversation is saying it in an email. You’ve made a permanent record of the situation rather than just experiencing the awkwardness once. Luckily, emails can be recalled before the recipient reads them, thanks to a handy feature called “recall.” While this capability may seem unique to Gmail at first glance, it has actually been built into Outlook for quite some time.
Still, Outlook’s functionality has significant constraints, as do those of most memory aids. Only two Outlook clients on the same Microsoft Exchange server can use it, and even then, it’s easy for tech-savvy folks to turn it off. Fortunately, you can also recall an email through Outlook’s advanced search options in addition to the native recall feature.
Prerequisites For Email Recall In Outlook
- You and the person you’re emailing must both use Outlook and an email account on Microsoft’s Exchange server.
- You can’t process a recall because the recipient’s mailbox is currently unsecured.
- There is an unread copy of the message waiting in the recipient’s Inbox.
- There was no rule, spam filter, or add-in that interacted with the message.
Outlook: How to Recall Emails
Access the Sent Items folder on your computer and locate the message you want to recall; it should be at or near the top of the list. This email must be fully opened with a double click before you can proceed.
Activate the Messages tab by clicking its name in the toolbar. Then, as displayed below, go to the section labeled “Move” and click the button depicting a letter and an envelope.
Select Recall This Message from the menu.
Select the message you wish to recall, click the menu button (three dots), then click Actions, and finally click Recall This Message.
A new window will automatically open. Select either Delete Unread Copies of This Message or Delete Unread Copies and Replace With New Message to delete any copies of this message that have not yet been read.
You’ll also find the choice to have Outlook send you a message when the procedure completes successfully or fails. Click the OK button after making your choice(s). If you got rid of the text, good for you! So long as you intend to replace it, you can proceed.
If you select the Replace option, Outlook will bring up a new window where you can make changes to the message. Outlook will prompt you to review your previous email as you draught a new one (if you selected that option). When you are satisfied with the edited message, click the Send button.
Keep in mind that sending a recall message won’t magically delete your previous message threads. The original message won’t be deleted until the recipient opens the recall message. To ensure that the recall message is read before the first offensive email is opened. You should use the word “URGENT” or similar wording in the subject line. Keep reading for a more in-depth analysis. Microsoft adds that it may alert recipients when recalled messages are removed from their inbox in certain circumstances. If you accidentally send someone an offensive or otherwise inappropriate email, the recipient may remember receiving it even if they can’t access it.
Potential Outcomes If You Recall Outlook Email
The results of your attempt to recall a message can vary depending on the recipient’s email client settings, whether or not the original email has been read, and other factors. Some potential outcomes of an Outlook recall are listed below.
If the intended recipient has already read the message, the recall will not work. The recipient will have access to both the original message and the new one.
The original message will be deleted if the recipient opens the recall message before the original message. When you delete an email in Outlook, you can let the recipient know that they no longer have access to it.
This outcome also holds true if the recipient places both messages in the same folder, whether by doing so deliberately or as a result of a rule.
If the recipient has not read the original email and has the option to automatically process requests and responses to meeting requests and polls enabled in Tracking, Outlook will delete the original message and notify the recipient that you have done so.
If the recipient has already marked the original message as read when the recall message is processed, however, they will be notified that you no longer want to keep the message. The recipient’s inbox will still contain the initial message.
Whether or not the original message has been read, the retraction will fail if the recipient moves it out of the inbox and into a different folder (either manually or via a rule), and the recall message lands in the inbox. The recipient is informed that the recall attempt was unsuccessful. The recipient can view both the old and new versions of the email.
Outlook’s message recall functionality is also not reliable when used on a mobile device.
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