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How to Recall an Email in Outlook and Take Control of Your Data

Learn how to recall an email in Microsoft 365 Outlook

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

To recall an email, find it in “Sent Items” in your email account, and click “File.” Select “Info” on the blue column, then click “Resend or Recall,” and “Recall This Message.” Make sure “Tell me if recall succeeds or fails for each recipient” is selected (this will send you a message telling you whether the recall worked or not), then click “Delete unread copies of this message.” If you’d rather edit the message and resend it when Outlook recalls the old version, click “Delete unread copies and replace with a 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, click the icon under “File” so that it says “Virtru On,” then send the message as normal. If you want to revoke it, find the message under “Sent Items,” and click the red “Revoke Message” icon. 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 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 prevents 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.

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