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How to recall a message sent in Microsoft Outlook

Shocked stressed woman looking at laptop reading negative surprise online

Image: fizkes, Getty Images/iStockphoto

It’s inevitable. You send someone an email in Microsoft Outlook. And then you realize for one reason or another that the message has a mistake or that it shouldn’t have been sent at all. You can fix your error after the fact by recalling a message. Using the recall feature under the right conditions, your previous email is deleted without the recipient ever seeing it. You can also send a replacement message with the correct information.

SEE: How to add a drop-down list to an Excel cell (TechRepublic)

There are some requirements if the recall feature is to work properly. For your recalled message to be deleted, both you and the recipient must have a Microsoft 365 Business account or Microsoft Exchange email account in the same organization, meaning the same Exchange system on the backend. The email must have been delivered to the recipient’s mail server but it must not have been read yet.

However, even if you and the recipient use different email clients or backend systems, or you fail to recall the message before it’s been read, the recall feature can still serve a purpose. Though the initial email won’t be deleted, the recipient receives a follow-up message indicating that you want to recall the previous email. That tells them that your initial email is incorrect or invalid for some reason. You should then follow up your initial email and recall message with another email that contains the right information or corrects the initial one.

SEE: 50 time-saving tips to speed your work in Microsoft Office (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

How to recall a message in Microsoft Outlook

To try this, open Outlook. Start a new email and address it to the recipient. Send the email (Figure A).

Figure A


Now, let’s say you notice an error in your email and want to recall it. Open the email from your Sent Items folder. Select the Actions icon and click the option to Recall This Message (Figure B).

Figure B


The Recall This Message window offers two options. Choosing to “Delete unread copies of this message” tries to remove the message with no follow up. Choosing to “Delete unread copies and replace with a new message” gives you an opportunity to immediately send a follow-up message with the correct information. To learn if the recall succeeds, keep the box checked for “Tell me if recall succeeds or fails for each recipient.” Click OK (Figure C).

Figure C


If you chose the option to replace with a new message, a new email appears with the text from the original message so you can fix the problem and send the corrected version (Figure D).

Figure D


If you and the recipient use the same Microsoft 365 Business or Exchange backend environment, then the email should be deleted from the recipient’s inbox automatically. If so, you’ll receive an email indicating that the recall was successful for that particular user.

If you and the recipient use different email clients or backend mail services, the initial email remains in that person’s inbox. A follow-up email then arrives that tells the recipient that you would like to recall the message. You then have to rely on your recipient to ignore or delete the original message in favor of the corrected one (Figure E).

Figure E


For more information on the different recall scenarios, check out Microsoft’s support page on “Recall or replace an email message that you sent.”

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Also see


FAQ – File sharing request

I’m a client receiving a file request. What do I do?

When a ShareFile user sends you a Share a File link with the “Require User to Login” option checked, you will be asked to create a ShareFile account in order to access the link you have received. If the ShareFile user sent you a file request via the ShareFile Email System, you will receive an email with a link, as shown below.

  1. Click the link to activate your account.
  2. Before you can upload files, you must set a password for your account. For security reasons, please do not close the browser window or navigate away from this page until you have configured your password. If the ShareFile user does not permit users to set their own passwords, your password will be displayed here.
  3. Once you have set your password and clicked Save, you can upload files.

I closed the window before setting my password. How should I proceed now?

Don’t worry. Simply return to the original email message and click on the link again. Instead of a password configuration page, you will be sent a new email message. Check your Inbox for a new email message containing an activation code. This code must be entered in the field shown above within one hour.

Why do I have multiple emails with activation codes? Which one should I use?

  • The first time you click the link in your message, you will be taken to the password configuration page shown further up in this section.
  • If you clicked the link but then didn’t finish setting your password information, an activation code will be generated every time you click the link in the original email message.
  • In order to verify your account, you must use the most recent activation code in your Inbox.


ShareFile notify users of their own activity

Notify users of their own activity

By default, ShareFile account settings prevent email notifications from being sent to any user regarding their own activity, even if they have Upload Alerts or Download Alerts enabled on a folder.

This setting can be changed so that users can receive notifications of their own uploads and downloads. Some accounts choose to make this change so that users can keep notifications as receipts of their own activity. This setting can be changed in the Advanced Preferences menu.

When you set upload or download notifications for particular users on folders, by default, the users will receive notifications about these uploads/downloads in real-time. Users can change this default behavior by clicking the Personal Settings link in their account. However, if you want to set a default value for this setting for all users on your account, you may do so using this setting.


Changing this setting does not affect existing users in the system (it is only applied to newly-created users). You can update this setting for individual users in the at their individual profile page found under People. In Real-Time is the default value.

Users can receive email notifications in the following languages: English, German, Spanish, French, Dutch, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese.


ShareFile localized notifications

Localized Notifications

Users can configure the default language of emails sent by the ShareFile system.

Admin users can set the account-wide default language in Admin Settings > Advanced Preferences > Email Settings. Under Email and Notifications, use the drop-down menu to adjust the default notification language.

User-added image

ShareFile users on an account can set their own default notification language on a user-by-user basis. This can be adjusted in the Personal Settings menu.The chosen setting will override the account-wide default for that specific user.


ShareFile distribution group

Use Distribution Groups to consolidate users into functional groups for more efficient account management. This feature is useful for managing large groups of users with similar folder access needs.


Managing Distribution Groups requires the create shared distribution groups and edit shared distribution groups permissions

Distribution Groups and User Permissions

  • Members added to the Distribution Group will inherit the folder access permissions of the group.
  • Members removed from the Distribution Group will lose the folder access permissions given to that group.
  • Permissions given on a folder to a distribution group will apply to every member. This includes notifications about downloads and uploads.

Create a Distribution Group

  1. People > Manage Users or Distribution Group
  2. On the Distribution page click on the Create Group button.
  3. The next page will allow you to name the group and give you the option to share the group with employees in your account.
  4. Click the Create Group button.
  5. Check the box beside Share this distribution group with all employees if you want users with the edit shared distribution group permission to be able to edit your group.
  6. On the Managing group page, you can add users with one of the following options:
  • Click Add Member to enter a user’s email, name and company manually. Click the checkbox when done entering a single user’s information.
  • Access the Add From drop down menu and choose Add from Personal Address Book or Add from Shared Address Book
  • Access the Add From drop down menu and choose Add from Employee List
  • Access the Add From drop down menu and choose Add from Excel. A template spreadsheet will be provided to you. Please fill in this spreadsheet and follow the instructions provided in the web app.
  • Access the Add From drop down menu and choose Classic Bulk Add. You may enter users via email. Each entry should be on its own line. Entries should NOT be separated by commas. Entering first and last names for each entry is not required. To associate a first and last name with an entry, place the name in parentheses after the email address.

Once you have saved our Distribution Group, you can return to the Distribution Groups menu to modify your group as needed.

Sending or Receiving Files from a Distribution Group

You can select a Distribution Group as the recipient of your message when sharing or requesting files. Distribution Groups can be accessed via the Address Book icon. When receiving an email sent to an entire Distribution Group, your recipient will only see his or her own email address in the recipient field. For security purposes, recipients cannot view other email addresses that may have been sent the file.

User-added image

Adding a Distribution Group to a Folder

A distribution group may be added to a folder in much the same way an individual user would be. Folder permissions can be customized across the distribution group. When receiving notifications sent to an entire Distribution Group, your recipient will only see his or her own email address in the recipient field. For security purposes, recipients cannot view other email addresses that may have received the notification.

User-added image

Distribution Group FAQ

How many users can I add to a Distribution Group?

A distribution group can have a maximum of 2000 users.

I added a user to a folder when they already had access through a Distribution Group. What permissions apply?

The individual user’s access will override that of his/her group. Example: John Doe has Download permissions on a folder due to his membership in the Doe Distribution Group. You add John Doe to the folder manually, and grant him Upload permissions. He will have both Download and Upload permissions, even though his Distribution Group membership does not include Upload.

Generate a Group Membership List

To generate a membership list for your review, access People > Manage Users or Distribution Groups. Click on the group name to access it. Access the Generate Report drop-down menu and choose Export Group List. Once the list is generated, a spreadsheet will be downloaded to your local computer.

Generate a Folder Access report

A Folder Access report shows which folders and permissions the Distribution Group has access to. To generate a folder access report for your review, access People > Manage Users or Distribution Groups. Click on the group name to access it. Access the Generate Report drop-down menu and choose Folder Access. You may print this list for your records.