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

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, preserving your unwise words in perfect detail. Fortunately, with an email recall function you can take the message back — ideally before your recipient even reads it. While many users might think such a feature is something brand new 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 in Outlook, find it in “Sent Items” in your email account, and click “File.” Select “Info” on the blue column, then click “Resend or Recall,” > “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 standard Outlook (not the web 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 Pro

Fortunately, with Virtru Pro, you don’t have to rely on Outlook’s native recall feature if you want a little extra protection against sending an “oops” email. Unlike Outlook’s native recall feature, Virtru Pro 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 above the righthand side of the email. If the recipient tries to read it, they’ll see a gray screen informing them that the email has been revoked.

Using Virtru Pro with MS 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. And that’s only the beginning. See Virtru Pro for Outlook in action here:

Don’t Just Recall Email – Take Complete Control of Your Inbox

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

On average, business people send and receive 122 emails per day, and consumers aren’t far behind. With all that information flowing in and out, you don’t have time to think out every communication carefully.

Sooner or later, you’ll slip up and send the wrong information, or make an embarrassing faux-pas. 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 never have to find out.

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