Telling the truth about SME life today

How To Unsend An Email In Outlook

how to unsend an email in outlook

Click send, then immediately regret your action. It could be a typo, an error in the information, or sent to the wrong person. Whatever the reason, you can’t retrieve it, can you? Well, not unless you’re using a Window’s Outlook email.

Fortunately, Microsoft Outlook allows you to retract and unsend emails that have already been sent, giving users a chance to erase a mistake right away. Whether it’s a personal or professional email, this is an excellent function.

In the forthcoming article, we provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to unsend an email in Outlook ensuring that your personal or professional correspondence remains error-free and sparing your blushes.

What is Microsoft Outlook?

Microsoft Outlook is part of the Microsoft Office Suite and includes a range of functions such as email messages, calendars and contacts, set reminders, to-to lists, and access to shared documents: it’s frequently used in business.

Not only does Microsoft Outlook provide these common features, but it includes additional functionality to support business spaces. On Outlook you can also find a task manager, note-taking tools, and advanced features.

Sending an Email in Outlook

Microsoft Outlook has an exemplary range of personal and professional organisational features, but its main purpose is to send and receive emails. Sending an email in Outlook is straightforward, simply:

  • Open Microsoft Outlook and click on the “New Email” button located in the top left corner of the screen. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl+N” to create a new email.
  • In the “To” field, enter the email address of the recipient. If you want to send the email to multiple recipients, separate the email addresses with a semicolon (;).
  • Enter a relevant and concise subject in the “Subject” field; this helps the recipient to identify the purpose of the email.
  • Compose your email in the main body of the message. It’s possible to use various formatting options, such as font style, size and colour, to customise your message.
  • If you want to attach a file or document to the email, click on the “Attach File” button and browse for the file on your computer.
  • Once you have finished composing the email, click the “Send” button to send it to the recipient.
  • The email will be saved in your “Sent Items” folder for future reference.

Note: If you have multiple email accounts set up in Outlook, make sure to select the correct account in the “From” field before sending the email.

How to Write a Professional Email

Professional emails require professional salutation, attention to detail, etiquette, professional tone of voice, and clear information. Below you can find an outline for writing a successful professional email:

  • Use a clear and concise subject line: The subject line should convey the purpose of the email clearly without any jokes or ambiguity.
  • Use a professional tone of voice: Your email should be polite, respectful and professional; avoid using slang or informal language.
  • Use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation: Grammatical errors, spelling or punctuation issues can undermine your credibility and professionalism. Remember to proofread your email before sending it,
  • Keep it brief and to the point: Avoid rambling or including unnecessary information in the text; be direct and concise in your message, as this will avoid wasting other people’s time.
  • Address the recipient properly: Use the appropriate salutation and address the recipient by their name; if you’re unsure of their preferred name or pronouns, remember to ask.
  • Use a professional email signature: Use a professional email signature that includes your name, job title and contact information.
  • Follow up if necessary: If you don’t receive a response to your email within a reasonable time period, follow up with a polite reminder.

Sending professional emails is a normal part of the business day, but it’s also a chance to strengthen your professional reputation and career; always ensure that you project an image which is professional, friendly, and clear.

What Happens if You Send an Email by Mistake?

Unfortunate emails cause embarrassment and misunderstandings in the best cases, and in the worst cases they can cause serious legal issues; below are some common reasons why you might need to retract a recently sent email.

  • Sending an email to the wrong recipient: This can happen easily when you have multiple contacts with similar names, or if you accidentally select the wrong contact from your address book.
  • Typing errors: Spelling or grammar mistakes can make your email look unprofessional, they can also change the meaning of your message.
  • Sending incomplete or incorrect information: If you realise that you forgot to attach a file or included the wrong information, you may need to unsend the email to avoid confusion.
  • Sending an email in the heat of the moment: When emotions are high, It’s easy to get carried away and send one in a state of anger or frustration. However, sending an email in this mind state can result in damaged relationships and other consequences.
  • Accidentally hitting the “Send” button: Sometimes we hit the “Send” button before we’re ready or before we’ve finished composing the email, again, this can cause confusion and interpersonal issues.

The good news is that Microsoft Outlook offers a feature allowing you to retract emails with a given time period – not every email provider has this functionality, and it can save you from embarrassment or consequences.

Preventing Mistakes When Sending Emails

Preventing is the best cure, so make sure you take time to avoid mistakes.

  • Double-check recipient’s email address: Ensure you enter the correct recipient email address. Take care to verify spelling and punctuation, especially when sending an email to someone for the first time.
  • Proofread email before sending: Take time to read through the email and check for spelling and grammar errors; use tools like spell-check to assist you.
  • Ensure all information is included: Double-check your email is succinct, with all relevant information included; also ensure any attachments are included.
  • Use the “Reply All” feature prudently: Only use the “Reply All” feature when necessary sending an email to unnecessary recipients can clutter inboxes and cause confusion.
  • Use the “Delay Delivery” feature: When sending an email that’s time-sensitive, use the “Delay Delivery” feature to ensure it arrives in the recipient’s inbox at the appropriate time.

By following these tips, you can avoid mistakes and ensure your emails are professional, easy to follow, and free from mistakes or misunderstandings.

How to Unsend an Email in Outlook

No matter how professional we are, mistakes happen on occasion, so if you have hit send on an email that you need to retract, you’re in the right place. Thanks to Outlook, you can retract these emails instantly, using these steps:

  • Open the Outlook application and go to the “Sent Items” folder.
  • Double-click on the email that you want to unsend; this will open the email in a new window.
  • Look for the “Actions” tab at the top of the email window and click it.
  • In the drop-down menu, select “Recall This Message”.
  • In the “Recall This Message” dialogue box, you have two options: “Delete unread copies of this message” or “Delete unread copies and replace them with a new message”. Select the option that applies to your situation.
  • If you choose the second option, you can make changes to the email before sending the new version.
  • Click “OK” to confirm your selection and wait for the notification to appear indicating whether the recall was successful or not.

The recall function works in most scenarios, but its success depends on the recipient’s email server and settings – additionally, it only works if the email has yet to be opened; when the recipient opens the email it can’t be recalled.

What Should You Do if You Can’t Recall an Email?

In the event that you can’t recall an email, don’t panic! There are still a few things you can try to mitigate the situation: follow the steps outlined below:

  • Send a follow-up email: If you realise that you made an error in an email, send a follow-up with the correct information and an apology for any confusion.
  • Contact the recipient directly: If the email contained sensitive or confidential information, contact the recipient directly, perhaps by phone, and explain the situation. Be honest and transparent about the mistake and offer a solution or alternative to resolve the situation.
  • Take responsibility: If you made a mistake, take responsibility for it. Acknowledge the mistake, apologise if necessary and offer a solution.
  • Learn from the mistake: Use the experience as a learning opportunity to prevent future mistakes; consider implementing a review process or double-checking important emails before sending them.

The email recall function in Outlook is highly beneficial, but it should noy be relied upon. While it’s there as a safeguard, you should always take care when writing emails – especially sensitive ones – and spend time proofreading them. Paying attention to the emails you send ensures intentional results.

The Importance of Sending Professional Emails

Email is a vital part of everyday communication, especially in business environments, which is why employees need to be invested in writing professional emails at all times. Professional emails are concise and error-free, they also have a professional tone of voice that gets to the point. Crafting these emails also reflects an employee’s professionalism.

If you want to maintain your professional reputation and further your career, it pays to write professional emails to colleagues and managers. However, this is not the main purpose of writing professional emails, they are designed to communicate information clearly without any misunderstandings. Writing clearly ensures messages are received and acted upon.

Along with maintaining the general business operations, professional emails help to establish bonds with colleagues and positive working relationships. Sending and receiving messages by emails is a form of interaction that can influence relationships in the office building trust and friendship; but remember to maintain a professional tone at all times.

How to Effectively Manage Your Inbox in Outlook

Sending and receiving professional emails is one thing, but managing your Outlook inbox is another; maintaining an organised email inbox reduces clutter and ensures you always have access to the most relevant messages.

  • Use folders to organise emails: Create folders for different email categories, such as work, personal or projects. Move emails to the appropriate folders to keep inbox organised.
  • Use rules to automate actions: Outlook’s Rules feature automatically moves emails to specific folders based on criteria such as sender, subject line or keywords.
  • Set up filters to prioritise emails: Use filters to prioritise emails based on importance. For example, set filters to highlight emails from your boss or key clients.
  • Use the “Unread” filter track of new emails: The “Unread” filter allows you to see all emails you haven’t read yet, making it easier to keep track of new messages.
  • Delete or archive old emails: Regularly delete or archive old emails for a clutter-free inbox and make it easier to find important messages.
  • Use the “Snooze” feature to prioritise emails: If you receive an email that doesn’t require an immediate response, the “Snooze” feature can hide it until a later date.

Outlook inbox hygiene ensures you minimise mistakes and never miss important updates. Using Outlook’s filters and rules features helps you prioritise and address colleagues and clients in a timely professional manner improving productivity and safeguarding your reputation.

Final Thoughts

Microsoft Outlook is a leading email management platform commonly used in the business world, it contains a range of features to support organisation and productivity, such as meeting scheduling, to-do lists, and work calendars. It is a multifunctional platform that is built around a single core feature: email.

One stand-out feature of the platform is its ability to recover emails after they’ve been sent – not every email platform has this capability! While it’s always important to proofread emails, mistakes and issues can happen occasionally affecting someone’s reputation and professionalism at work.

Using the step-by-step process outlined above, emails can be easily recovered on Microsoft Outlook after the send button has been pressed; however, the email must remain unopened for recovery to be effective. Ensure care is taken to prevent any mistakes in your emails before hitting send.


Related Stories

Most Read


If you enjoyed this article,
why not join our newsletter?

We promise only quality content, tailored to suit what our readers like to see!