How message recall works

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Applies to
Microsoft Office Outlook® 2003

This feature requires you to use a Microsoft Exchange account. Most home and personal accounts do not use Exchange. The recipient of the mail you want to recall must also be using an Exchange server e-mail account. For example, you cannot recall a message sent to someone's personal Internet service provider (ISP) (ISP: A business that provides access to the Internet for such things as electronic mail, chat rooms, or use of the World Wide Web. Some ISPs are multinational, offering access in many locations, while others are limited to a specific region.) POP3 e-mail account.

Everyone makes misteakes, er, mistakes. E-mail is a fast way to communicate with your co-workers, schedule meetings, and share documents. However, sometimes in the rush you might forget to attach a file, or send out information only to realize after clicking Send that you need to change something.

Scenarios

You send an e-mail message, asking your co-workers to review the sales figures for this year. After you send the message, the flood begins — "What attachment?" "I didn't get the attachment!" "Can you resend the attachment?"

How can you undo your error? You want to recall the original message, then resend it with the missing attachment. For all of your co-workers who haven't opened the message yet, you can play an e-mail sleight of hand and replace the original message with one containing the attachment.

Do the following:

  1. In Mail, in the Navigation Pane, click Sent Items.
  2. Open the message you want to recall or replace.
  3. On the Actions menu, click Recall This Message.

ShowI don't see Recall This Message on the Actions menu

Make sure you are in the Sent Items folder. The command will also not appear if you are using a POP3, IMAP, or HTTP e-mail account.

  1. Click Delete unread copies and replace with a new message.

 Note   If you are sending the message to a large number of people, you may want to consider clearing the Tell me if recall succeeds or fails for each recipient check box.

  1. Click OK, and then type a new message and include the attachment.
  2. Click Send.

In another scenario, you accidentally send a message announcing a party for your staff that afternoon. A thoughtful gesture on your part; however, the surprise party isn't until next week. Oops. You want to recall the message, and not replace the message at this time.

Do the following:

  1. In Mail, in the Navigation Pane, click Sent Items.
  2. Open the message you want to recall or replace.
  3. On the Actions menu, click Recall This Message.

ShowI don't see Recall This Message on the Actions menu

Make sure you are in the Sent Items folder. The command will also not appear if you are using a POP3, IMAP, or HTTP e-mail account.

  1. Click Delete unread copies of this message.

 Note   If you are sending the message to a large number of people, you may want to consider clearing the Tell me if recall succeeds or fails for each recipient check box.

Recall This Message dialog box

Callout 1 Select whether only to delete the message or to delete and replace the message.
Callout 2 Select the check box to receive a confirmation that the recall was successful.

Will my recall be successful?

The success or failure of a recall depends on the settings the recipient has in Outlook. If you requested an e-mail to tell you if the recall suceeds or fails, there is no way to know how long it might take for this e-mail message to arrive as there are many variables in this process. Following are four scenarios that explain what happens in various situations, and an additional scenario that covers the recall of a message sent to a Microsoft Exchange Server public folder.

Action Result

You send an e-mail message to someone. You recall the original message and replace it with a new one.

On the recipient's computer, in Tracking Options, Process requests and responses on arrival is selected.

Both the original message and the recall message are received in the recipient's Inbox.

Assuming the original message has not been read, the original message is deleted and the recipient is informed that you, the sender, deleted the message from his or her mailbox.

 Note   If the original message is marked as read (viewing in the Reading Pane doesn't constitute reading in this scenario) when the recall message is processed, the recipient is informed that you, the sender, want to delete the message, but the message remains in the recipient's Outlook folder.

You send an e-mail message to someone. You recall the original message and replace it with a new one.

On the recipient's computer, in Tracking Options, Process requests and responses on arrival is not selected.

Both the original message and the recall message are received in the recipient's Inbox.

On the recipient's computer, one of the following occurs:

  • If the recipient opens the recall message first, the original message is deleted, and the recipient is informed that you, the sender, deleted the message from his or her mailbox.
  • If the recipient opens the original message first, the recall fails, and both the old and new messages are available.

 Note   If the original message is marked as read (viewing in the Reading Pane doesn't constitute reading in this scenario) when the recall message is processed, the recipient is informed that you, the sender, want to delete the message, but the message remains in the recipient's Outlook folder.

You send an e-mail message to someone. You recall the original message and replace it with a new one.

On the recipient's computer, either by rule or by the recipient, the original message is moved to another folder and the recall message remains in the Inbox (or it is moved to another folder).

As long as the recall message and the original message exist in separate folders, the recipient receives a message indicating that a recall attempt failed. This occurs regardless of the Outlook configurations and the read status of the message.

The original message and the new message are both available to the recipient.

 Note   If the recipient read the original message and then marked it as unread, Outlook treats it as if it had never been read and recalls it successfully.

You send an e-mail message to someone. You recall the original message and replace it with a new one.

On the recipient's computer, either by rule or by the recipient, both messages are moved to the same folder. This results in behavior similar to that which occurs when Outlook is not configured to automatically process messages.

On the recipient's computer, one of the following occurs:

  • If the recipient opens the recall message first, the original message is deleted, and the recipient is informed that you, the sender, deleted the message from his or her mailbox.
  • If the recipient opens the original message first, the recall fails, and both the old and new messages are available.

 Note   If the recipient read the original message and then marked it as unread, Outlook treats it as if it had never been read and recalls it successfully.

You send an e-mail message to a public folder. You recall the original message and replace it with a new one.

One of the following occurs:

  • If the recipient reading the recall message created and has read access to all the items in the public folder, and didn't read the original message, the recall succeeds, and only the new message remains. You, the sender, receive a message indicating that the recall succeeded.
  • If the recipient has already marked the original message as read, he or she is informed that the recall failed, and only the recall message is deleted.

If a user with any other public folder rights opens the recall message, the recall fails, and the user receives a message indicating that the recall failed. Both the old and new messages remain in the public folder.


 Notes 

  • If the recipient read the original message and then marked it as unread, Outlook treats it as if it had never been read and recalls it successfully.
  • In the public folder it is the reader's rights, not the sender's, that determine the success or failure of the recall.
 
 
Applies to:
Outlook 2003