It is an inevitable aspect of email use that you will one day accidentally send an email you wish you hadn’t. Whether it was sending the email to the wrong recipient, finding a mistake in the message you just sent, or accidentally hitting “Reply All” when the message was only meant for one colleague—we’ve all been there.
Luckily for Outlook users, there’s a feature that can help you recover the email that was sent erroneously.
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Steps to Recall an Email in Outlook 2016
Recalling an email in Outlook 2016 allows you to retrieve and replace an email that has already been sent. Here are the steps to do it:
- Go to your Sent Items folder. You can access this in the folder pane on the left side of the Outlook window.
- Open the email that you wish to recall. Ensure you double-click on the message and that it opens. Simply having the message on the reading pane won’t enable you to recall it.
- Once you have the email open, head to the Message tab and select Actions. A menu will pop up and you will then have to select the Recall This Message option.
- Two options will appear, “Delete unread copies of this message” and “Delete unread copies and replace with a new message”. Select which option applies to your situation and then click OK.
- If you’re replacing a message, write the message and hit Send once you’re satisfied with it.
It’s worth noting that recalling emails don’t always work. If your attempt at recalling an email has failed, you will receive a notification from Outlook stating so. If this happens to be a familiar case for you, then you may want to look into taking precautions in the future.
How to Prevent Recalls
As the saying goes, prevention is always better than a cure. Here are a couple of things you can try to ensure you won’t have to recall emails in the future.
- Get into the habit of reading through your messages and checking the details of your email before hitting the ‘Send’ button. A trick I personally do when I have to send an important email is to remove the recipient email address before constructing my message. Once I’m happy with what I’ve written—including the subject line—I then enter the email address and send the email.
- You can create a rule in Outlook that delays sending messages. Once you click ‘Send’, your messages can defer from actually sending to the recipient for one minute up to two hours. You can even set up a condition so that the rule only applies to certain emails and not all of them.
And if all else fails, then you will have no choice than to start composing your apology email explaining the mishap. Mistakes happen and the best recourse (apart from preventing them) is to own up to them and learn from the experience.