How to Retrieve a Sent Message

By Jan Hill

There is no way to turn back time, but when it comes to email, there is a way to do a "do over." When using Microsoft Outlook, it is possible to retrieve a sent message before the sender has a chance to read it, but don't wait too long.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Outlook 2003 or 2007

Outlook 2003

Step 1

Go to "Sent Items" folder.

Step 2

Find the message you want to retrieve and double-click on it.

Step 3

Select "Recall This Message" in the "Actions" menu.

Step 4

Select "Delete Unread Copies of This Message."

Outlook 2007

Step 1

Click on "Sent Items."

Step 2

Find the message you want to retrieve, and double-click on it.

Step 3

Go to the "Ribbon."

Step 4

Click "Other Actions" in the "Actions" section, and then select "Recall This Message."

Step 5

Select "Delete Unread Copies of This Message."

Tips & Warnings

  • In Outlook 2003 and 2007, if you want to be informed about the success of the message retrieval, check the "Tell Me if Recall Succeeds or Fails" for each recipient box.
  • To avoid having to retrieve a message that you didn't intend to send, always check the recipients address line before hitting "Send."
  • In Outlook 2003, the recipient needs to have Outlook open for the message to be deleted.
  • If you are working in GMail, a feature in GMail lab allows you to retrieve an email after it was sent, but you only have five seconds to do it, so time is definitely of the essence.