The Complete Guide to Unsend or Recall an Email in Outlook

By: Standss Contributor , Jun 7th, 2022

Do you check your emails before you send them but only notice your mistake after it was sent?

You would wish for your email to come back, won’t you!

Maybe you made a grammatical error or forgot to attach an important file or even worse if you sent an email to the wrong person.

It’s so common- many people have sent emails that they want to take back immediately.


So, the burning question now is, can an email be unsend?

To recall an email in Microsoft Outlook, both the sender and recipient must have Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft 365 in the same organization and use Outlook as the email client. With this feature of Outlook, you can replace the message that you had sent.

However, this is certainly not a good news to many people as we communicate with people outside our organization as well.

Thankfully, there’s a great outlook-addin called SendGuard which easily integrates within Outlook and solves the problem of sending accidental emails even before they happen, saving you from embarrassing email incidents.

This tutorial will at first look at how you can recall emails and delay them as well as how SendGuard can prevent misaddressed emails towards the end of the post.

How to Recall emails in Outlook?

Note: Recalling an email only works if the recipient hasn’t opened your email and the email was sent to someone within your organization. The sender and the recipient both must be using the Desktop version of Outlook.

Go to the Sent Items folder in Outlook.

Double-click on the email message that you want to recall so that it opens in a separate window.

Go to File > Info.

Select Message Resend and Recall > Recall This Message. The following screenshot will appear:

Select either of the options:

Delete unread copies of this email- to recall the sent email

Delete unread copies and replace them with a new message- replace the sent message with a new email message. The original message will open for editing and after editing when you send your new message the original email will be deleted and replaced with the newer email.

Select Tell me if recall succeeds or fails for each recipient as it notifies you whether the recall was successful or not.

Click Ok.

If your recall email was successful, you will get the following notification:

But recalling message is only useful when the recipient hasn’t opened your email?

Well, that’s the downside of this feature.

However, you can delay messages in Outlook, as well.

How to Delay All Messages in Outlook

We will show you how you can delay your messages in Outlook using two methods. The first is through Outlook’s built-in feature which allows you to delay your messages for a maximum of 2 hours.  

The second method using the Delay Guard feature of SendGuard is more elegant as it allows you to delay your messages for a preset time (no limitations). But more on this later.

Here’s how you can delay the delivery of your emails:

Delay the delivery of an individual message

You can delay the delivery of an individual message that you are sending. After writing your message click on More from the Tags group from Compose message window.

In the Properties window, under the Delivery Options group select Do not deliver before option and then set the delivery date and time according to your preference.

Click Close.

The message will now remain in your outbox until the delivery time.

Delay the delivery of all messages

Go to the File tab.

Click Info > Manage Rules & Alerts.

In the Rules & Alerts window, under the Email Rules tab select New Rule.

Under the Step 1: Select a template box, under Start from a Blank Rule, click Apply rule on messages I send, and then click Next.

In Step 1: Select condition(s) list, you can select all the conditions you want to apply. Click Next. If you want all the conditions to apply, you can click Next without checking any options. A dialog box will open, and you can click Yes. This will apply the rule we are creating to all messages we are sending.

In Step 1: Select actions(s) list, select the option to defer delivery by a number of minutes.

In Step 2: Edit the rule description click the underlined phrase to enter the number of minutes you want your messages to be delayed. Messages can be delayed up to 2 hours. In the screenshot below, I have set the delay time to 5 minutes.

In the next window, select any exceptions you want to apply. Click Next.

In the Finish rule setup dialog box, enter the name of your rule. Select Turn on this rule.

Then click Finish.

From now onwards every time you send a message it will stay in your Outbox for a specified period of time (5 minutes in my case).

How to Undo Sending an Email on Outlook on the Web

Outlook on the web has an undo function that you can use to cancel sending your emails.

Here’s how you can enable the undo function.

  • Select Setting from the top-right corner.
  • Click on View all Outlook settings.
  • Under the Mail section click on Compose and reply.
  • In the Undo send section you can decide whether you want your emails to be held for 5 or 10 seconds. 10 seconds is the maximum time frame you can configure to cancel sending.
  • Click Save.

Your emails will stay in the drafts folder for a specified amount of time until they are sent. You click on Undo button to stop your emails from being sent.

But this is not the full-proof solution to stop your emails from going to the wrong recipient or attaching wrong files.

Recalling emails in Outlook only works when both the sender and receiver are on Microsoft Exchange. Recalling emails will only work on the recipient who hasn’t opened the email.

Delaying your emails won’t prevent you from sending emails to the wrong person.

Undo send only gives a maximum of 10 seconds to unsend your email.

Recalling and delaying your emails are only useful in certain situations and they don’t always work.

Prevent Accidents Before They Happen

Even the most responsible person can make mistakes unknowingly.

SendGuard for Outlook can be used to confirm recipients and attachments before emails are sent out. It’s the perfect tool for anyone needing an outgoing email confirmation.

SendGuard prevents you from the pain of recalling or unsending an email.

It’s your first line of defense against risky emailing behavior.

If you don’t want to end up in a similar situation like Gloria from Modern Family then get SendGuard.

Here’s a screenshot that shows SendGuard in action:

SendGuard can even Delay your messages

The DelayGuard component of SendGuard allows you to recall or undo your email after you click Send.

DelayGuard will keep emails in your Outbox for a preset time before it is actually sent out. This gives you a cooling off period after you have clicked Send in which you can change your mind and Cancel the send.

You can configure DelayGuard to delay messages sent to specific email addresses or domains.

You can also use DelayGuard for Outlook on the Web to delay messages. Unlike the default 10 minute delay available for Outlook on the Web, DelayGuard can be configured to delay your messages for a longer period of time.

You can still send urgent emails immediately by ticking the Send Now checkbox on the Ribbon or Send Confirm Screen (see the SendConfirm screenshot above).

SendGuard is a lightweight addin that works within Outlook that is easy to use and deploy.

Any busy emailer will send emails to an unintended recipient occasionally. SendGuard acts as a great balance and check tool for your fast-paced email input.

What would you prefer- sending an email to the wrong recipient and later regretting it or safeguarding yourself from sending that email to the wrong person in the first place?

Interested to learn more about how SendGuard can help prevent accidental email data loss enhance your email security and improve your compliance with regulatory laws like GDPR, CCPA  and HIPAA?

Get in touch with us via  to learn how we can do this for your company.

Even if you don’t want to purchase the full version of SendGuard, you can purchase individual components of it like SendConfirm or DelayGuard.

SendGuard seamlessly works with Outlook on the Desktop, Outlook on the web (OWA version) and MAC.

Download your fully functional 30-day trial to see what SendGuard can do for you.

SendGuard for Outlook

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