How to Retract an E-mail

There are times when you may experience regret for sending an e-mail to an individual or a group of individuals. Perhaps the email is a confidential message that was sent to the wrong person. The Outlook/Outlook Express e-mail program offers a feature that will allow you to retract (recall) that sent e-mail message. This recall feature is currently not available in other e-mail programs, such as Eudora, Entourage and web mail services.

Open your Microsoft Outlook/Outlook Express e-mail program. Click on the "Sent Items" folder to access your sent messages.

"Double Click" on the sent message that you desire to retract. This will cause the message to open.

Click "Actions" from the Outlook menu bar. If you are using Outlook Express, you will have to click "Actions" from the Outlook Express toolbar and select "Other Actions."

Select the option to "Recall This Message."

Select the option to "Delete Unread Copies Of This Message."

Place a check-mark beside the option that is labelled "Tell Me if Recall Succeeds or Fails For Each Recipient."

Click "OK" to retract your sent message.


Wait to receive the notification of whether or not your recall is successful. If the email recipient has already opened the message your recall will fail. The recall will also fail if the person you sent the message to is not using Outlook or Microsoft Exchange.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Outlook/Outlook Express
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About the Author

Faizah Imani, an educator, minister and published author, has worked with clients such as Harrison House Author, Thomas Weeks III, Candle Of Prayer Company and "Truth & Church Magazine." Her dossier includes JaZaMM WebDesigns, assistant high-school band director, district manager for the Clarion Ledger and event coordinator for the Vicksburg Convention Center.