Recall or replace an email message that you sent

The recall feature in Microsoft Outlook tries to stop delivery and, optionally, replace an email message that you have already sent to another Microsoft Exchange Server user within your organization. Message recall is available after you click Send and then realize that you forgot to attach a file, include information in the message, or want to revise what was originally sent. You can’t recall messages sent to email addresses outside your organization.

 Note    A Microsoft Exchange Server account is required.

In this article


Recall a message

To recall a message without sending a revised 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 Move group, click Actions, and then click Recall This Message.
  4. Click Delete unread copies of this message.

 Note    If you don’t see the Message tab, make sure that you have opened a sent message as described in steps 1 and 2.

Recall This Message command on the ribbon

ShowI don't see the Recall This Message command

If you do not see the Recall This Message command, you probably do not have an Exchange account or the feature is not available within your organization.

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

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Click Account Settings, and then click Account Settings.
  3. On the E-mail tab, the Type column lists the type of account for each entry.

Example of an Exchange Account in the Account Settings dialog box


 Note    If you are sending the message to many people, you may want to clear the Tell me if recall succeeds or fails for each recipient check box.

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Recall and replace a message

In addition to trying to recall a message, you can send a replacement message. For example, if you forgot to include an attachment, you can try to recall the message, and then send a replacement message that has the attachment. The original message is removed from the mailboxes of the recipients who have not yet opened it, and then is replaced with the updated message.

To recall a message and then send a revised 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 Move group, click Actions, and then click Recall This Message.

Recall This Message command on the ribbon

ShowI don't see the Recall This Message command

If you do not see the Recall This Message command, you probably do not have an Exchange account or the feature is not available within your organization.

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

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Click Account Settings, and then click Account Settings.
  3. On the E-mail tab, the Type column lists the type of account for each entry.

Example of an Exchange Account in the Account Settings dialog box


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

 Note    If you are sending the message to many people, you may want to clear the Tell me if recall succeeds or fails for each recipient check box.

  1. Click OK, and then update the new message. You can also remove or add file attachments.
  2. Click Send.

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Scenarios that affect recall success

The success or failure of a message recall depends on the recipients' settings in Outlook. In the following table, five scenarios are presented:

  • Four scenarios that explain what happens when message recall is tried in various situations
  • One scenario that describes what happens when the recall of a message that was sent to a Microsoft Exchange public folder is tried
Action Result

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

On the recipient's computer, under Tracking, the Automatically process requests and responses to meeting requests and polls check box is selected.

 Note   To view this setting, click the File tab. Under Outlook, click Options, click Mail, and then scroll to the Tracking section.

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. However, the message remains in the recipient's Outlook folder.

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

On the recipient's computer, under Tracking, the Automatically process requests and responses to meeting requests and polls check box is not selected.

 Note   To view this setting, click the File tab. Under Outlook, click Options, click Mail, and then scroll to the Tracking section.

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

On the recipient's computer, one of the following results 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. However, the message remains in the recipient's Outlook folder.

You send a 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 out of the Inbox to another folder and the recall message remains in the Inbox (or it is moved to another folder also).

If the recall message and the original message exist in separate folders, the recipient receives a message that indicates 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.

You send a 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 what occurs when Outlook is not configured to automatically process messages.

On the recipient's computer, one of the following results 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.
You send a message to a public folder. You recall the original message and replace it with a new one.

One of the following results 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 that indicates 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 who has any other public folder rights opens the recall message, the recall fails, and the user receives a message that states 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, it is considered never read and recall is successful.
  • 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 2010