Recall or replace an email message that you sent

This feature requires you to use a Microsoft Exchange Server 2000, Exchange Server 2003, or Exchange Server 2007 account. Most home and personal accounts do not use Microsoft Exchange. For more information about Microsoft Exchange accounts and how to determine which version of Exchange your account connects to, see the links in the See Also section.

The recipient of the e-mail message that you want to recall must also be using an Exchange account. You cannot recall a message sent, for example, 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 (Post Office Protocol 3 (POP3): A common Internet protocol that is used to retrieve email messages from an Internet email server.) e-mail account.

E-mail is a fast way to communicate with your co-workers, schedule meetings, and share documents. However, sometimes you might forget to attach a file or send certain information, only to realize after clicking Send that you need to make a change.

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Recall and replace a message

You send an e-mail message, asking your co-workers to review the sales figures for this year, but you forget to attach the sales figures. After you send the message, your Inbox is flooded with messages that ask "What attachment?", "I didn't get the attachment!", or "Can you resend the attachment?"

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

Recall and replace a message

Do the following:

  1. In Mail, in the Navigation Pane (Navigation Pane: The column on the left side of the Outlook window that includes buttons for the Mail, Calendar, and Tasks views and the folders within each view. Click a folder to show the items in the folder.), click Sent Items.
  2. Open the message that you want to recall and replace.
  3. On the Message tab, in the Actions group, click Other Actions, and then click Recall This Message.

Actions tab

ShowI don't see the Recall This Message command

If you do not see the Recall This Message command, then probably you do not have an Exchange Server account or you are not using Microsoft Office Outlook 2007. Both are required to use the recall feature.

You can check the Account Settings dialog box in Outlook for the types of e-mail accounts in your Outlook profile.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Account Settings.
  2. On the E-mail tab, the Type column lists the type of account for each entry.

Account Settings E-mail tab

  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 clear 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. However, the party is actually scheduled for the next week. In this case, you want to recall the message but not replace the message at this time.

Recall a message

Do the following:

  1. In Mail, in the Navigation Pane (Navigation Pane: The column on the left side of the Outlook window that includes buttons for the Mail, Calendar, and Tasks views and the folders within each view. Click a folder to show the items in the folder.), click Sent Items.
  2. Open the message that you want to recall.
  3. On the Message tab, in the Actions group, click Other Actions, and then click Recall This Message.

Actions tab

ShowI don't see the Recall This Message command

If you do not see the Recall This Message command, then probably you do not have an Exchange Server account or you are not using Microsoft Office Outlook 2007. Both are required to use the recall feature.

You can check the Account Settings dialog box in Outlook for the types of e-mail accounts in your Outlook profile.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Account Settings.
  2. On the E-mail tab, the Type column lists the type of account for each entry.

Account Settings E-mail tab

  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 clear the Tell me if recall succeeds or fails for each recipient check box.

Recall This Message dialog box

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

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Will my recall be successful?

The success or failure of a recall depends on the recipients' settings in Microsoft Outlook. The following four scenarios explain what happens in various situations, and an additional scenario describes the recall of a message sent to a Microsoft Exchange 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, under Tracking Options, the Process requests and responses on arrival check box is selected.

(To view this setting, on the Tools menu, click Options, click E-mail Options, and then click Tracking Options.)

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 is not 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, under Tracking Options, the Process requests and responses on arrival check box is not selected.

(To view this setting, on the Tools menu, click Options, click E-mail Options, and then click Tracking Options.)

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, have deleted the message from their mailbox.
  • If the recipient opens the original message first, the recall fails, and both the original and recall messages are available.

 Note   If the original message is marked as read (viewing in the Reading Pane is not 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 action of 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 well).

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 marks 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 action of 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 who reads the recall message has read access to all the items in the public folder but did not 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 reads the original message and then marks 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.

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Applies to:
Outlook 2007