How to recall or replace an Exchange Online email message in Microsoft Outlook

Case #

With message recall, a message that you sent is retrieved from the mailboxes of the recipients who haven’t yet opened it. You can also substitute a replacement message. For example, if you forgot to include an attachment, you can try to retract the message, and then send a replacement message that has the attachment.

Message recall is available after you click Send and is available only if both you and the recipient have a Microsoft 365 or Microsoft Exchange email account in the same organization.

Solution #

Follow the process below:

  1. In the folder pane on the left of the Outlook window, choose the Sent Items folder.
  2. Open the message that you want to recall. You must double-click to open the message. Selecting the message so it appears in the reading pane won't allow you to recall the message.
  3. From the Message tab, select Actions > Recall This Message. Recall a message Notes: 
    • If you don’t see the Recall This Message command, you probably don’t have an Exchange account or the feature isn’t available within your organization.
    • You cannot recall a message that's protected by Azure Information Protection.
    • You cannot recall a message in Outlook on the web.
  4. Click Delete unread copies of this message or Delete unread copies and replace with a new message, and then click OK. Recall this message box
  5. If you’re sending a replacement message, compose the message, and then click Send.

To check on the recall #

The success or failure of a message recall depends on the recipients' settings in Outlook. More details can be found at:

A New Take on Message Recall #

At Microsoft Ignite 2019, the Exchange team discussed a possible solution to the problem using a new Outlook Recall Message service (online recording) that clients can use to request a message recall. The new service can’t recall every message, but it is better than before and internal testing within Microsoft shows that a much higher percentage of requests are successful (from such a low base, this wouldn’t be hard). Microsoft also promises a new aggregate message recall request report to show how successful a request is and who has managed to read a problematic message (see below figure).

An early version of a Message Recall Request status report (image credit: Microsoft)

The work to build a new recall function is ongoing with no committed dates. Given the number of clients involved (especially Outlook desktop) and the complexity of rolling out new functionality across Office 365, it’s unlikely that we will see the new recall function much before the second quarter of 2020. If you can hold off making a fool of yourself until then, the new message recall will help. If not, well, you might not be so concerned about message recall.

Sources #

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