How to Retract an Accidentally Sent Email

By Matthew Chorlton

Retracting -- also known as recalling -- an accidentally sent email in a Microsoft Outlook environment means forcibly deleting the email before it is read by the recipient. This can be useful for obvious reasons. You may have sent by mistake an email destined for one user to several users. Or the information contained within the email may have been updated after the email was sent. Retracting or recalling an email in Outlook can be done by anyone with the know-how.

Step 1

Open your Outlook application by clicking "Start," "All Programs," then "Microsoft Outlook."

Step 2

Click "Mail" and then click "Sent Items." This is a list of all emails you have sent.

Step 3

Double-click the email you want to retract and on the Actions menu click "Recall This Message."

Step 4

Click the entry marked "Delete Unread Copies and Replace with a New Message." Type in the message that will replace the email; for example, "This email was sent in error."

Step 5

Click "OK" then click "Send." The message will be sent and all copies deleted, recalled, and retracted.

Tips & Warnings

  • The email can be recalled only if it has not been opened by the recipient.