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How to Recall an Email in Outlook


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    If there’s anything worse than putting your foot in your mouth in a conversation, it’s doing it over email. Instead of an awkward moment, you’ve created a permanent record. Fortunately, with an email recall function you can take the message back — ideally before your recipient even reads it. While some users might think such a feature is something that only Gmail has, Outlook has natively had the ability to recall an email for years.


    Yet, like most recall tools, Outlook’s function has major limits. It will only work between two Outlook users on the Microsoft Exchange server, and even then it’s easy for savvy users to disable. Luckily, the native recall feature isn’t the only way to recall an email in Outlook.  

    How to Recall an Email in Outlook Using the Built-in Recall Feature

    1. Go to “Sent Items” in your email account and locate the email you would like to recall
    2. Click “File
    3. Select “Info” on the blue column, then click “Resend or Recall
    4. Choose “Recall this Message
    5. Make sure  “Tell me if recall succeeds or fails for each recipient” is selected, then click “Delete unread copies of this message (If you would rather edit the message and resend it when Outlook recalls the old version, click “Delete unread copies and replace with new message” instead)

    Recall only works on unopened messages in the Outlook desktop app if the message hasn’t been opened, and both people are part of the same Microsoft Exchange server. Even then, the recipient can easily disable the feature if they want to. If they go to Options > Mail, and uncheck “Automatically process meeting requests and responses to meeting requests and polls” under the Tracking area, they’ll be able to beat the recall by looking at the original message first. Unless everyone you email with uses Outlook and sets it up in the same way, the function is all but worthless.

    How to Recall an Email in Outlook Using Virtru

    Fortunately, with Virtru Data Protection, you don’t have to rely on Outlook’s native recall feature if you want a little extra protection. Virtru does not require your recipient to have anything enabled in order for you to take back an email.

    When you compose an email with Virtru enabled:

    1. Click the icon under “File” so that it says “Virtru On
    2. Send the message as normal
    3. If you want to revoke it, find the message under “Sent Items,” and click the red “Revoke Message” icon. 

    Now if the recipient tries to read it, they’ll see a message informing them that the email has been revoked.

    Using Virtru with Microsoft Outlook, you’ll be able to revoke the message at any time — even after it has been read. It won’t matter what server the message is on, what mail client they use, or how much time has passed. Virtru also makes it easy to re-authorize the message, if you change your mind. Click the blue eye icon above the email, and the recipient will be able to read the email again.

    Don’t Just Recall an Outlook Email – Take Complete Control of Your Data

    Virtru has plenty of other user-friendly features to give you more control over your Outlook emails. Have a sensitive email that only certain people should see? Use the Disable Forward feature to prevent recipients from passing it on — if the recipient does attempt to forward it, anyone who receives the message will not be able to see the forwarded part.

    Have a message that you don’t want to leave sitting around forever? Use Virtru to set an expiration date, after which the recipient won’t be able to read the message. And, of course, Virtru uses email encryption to protect email, ensuring that only the people you send them to can see them. Whether you’re an attorney protecting your client or a regular citizen who values privacy, it just makes sense.

    Better Email Control for Everyone

    The average employee sends over 10,000 emails every year. With all that information flowing in and out, you don’t have time to think out every communication carefully.

    Sooner or later, someone is bound to slip up and send the wrong information to the wrong person. And that’s not even counting the risk of hacks and data breaches, which can quickly turn sensitive private information into public knowledge. You might be great at damage control, but how far will it get you if your email is hacked? Get Virtru, and you’ll have the tools you need to mitigate your risk and take action right away.

    Editorial Team

    Editorial Team

    The editorial team consists of Virtru brand experts, content editors, and vetted field authorities. We ensure quality, accuracy, and integrity through robust editorial oversight, review, and optimization of content from trusted sources, including use of generative AI tools.

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