Startup Resources

How to recall an email in Gmail and Outlook

Quick—the sooner you recall and correct that unfortunate work email, the better!
how to unsend emails in gmail and outlook

We’ve all been there. That feeling of terror when you realize you hit send on an email at work that you shouldn’t have. Thankfully there are a few ways to recall that email so don’t panic.

Can you unsend an email in Gmail or Outlook?

It seems like such an obvious innovation, right? While recalling an email can be a bit complicated, it is possible in Gmail and Outlook to undo that send. Well, sort of. Let’s take a deeper look.

Unsending in Gmail

Gmail users everywhere, rejoice! You can unsend an email in Gmail after accidentally sending it. Simply follow the brief instructions below to recall your email in Gmail.

  1. In the bottom left corner of your screen, you should see a “Message sent” tab. You should see two options within that pop-up: “Undo” and “View message”.
  2. Simply click on “Undo” — the email will be recalled and you’ll have a second chance to get it right! Edit the email in Gmail as normal, and then re-click “Send” once you’ve finished correcting the email.

how to recall an email in gmail using the undo menu

It’s important to emphasize that Gmail has imposed a few important limits for recalling emails. Unfortunately you are unable to unsend an email if you have clicked away from your email after hitting send. You’re also unable to unsend an email if you’ve waited longer than 30 seconds. Unless you’re immediately aware of your mistake, you can’t use the “unsend email” feature in Gmail.

So, can you unsend an email in Gmail? Yes. But the usability is limited, and there’s a giant asterisk next to the “yes”. And unfortunately, if you’re looking to unsend an email in Gmail after an hour or after a day, the best Gmail can do is encourage you to proofread and double-check attachments in the future.

(Thankfully, we can do a little better—check out our email sending best practices below!)

Unsending in Outlook

Outlook users are in a similar position to Gmail users; you can unsend email in Outlook, but there’s a catch. In Microsoft Outlook, you can either recall a given email or replace it with a replacement message.

Here’s the catch, though: this offering is only available if both you and your recipient have an Office 365 or Microsoft Exchange email account in the same organization. In other words, you can unsend email in Outlook if that email is internal and if it hasn’t been viewed yet. Otherwise you’re sadly out of luck. (Note: You’ll have to check the unread/read status of the email in question in order to determine whether it can be successfully recalled.)

If, however, these limitations fit the bill for your particular situation, it’s pretty simple and easy to unsend that work email. Simply double click to open the message you wish to recall and, under the Messages tab, select Actions > Recall This Message.

how to recall an email in gmail and outlook

You’ll then see a pop-up menu. You can select the option that best meets your preferences, either unsend the email or unsend the email and replace it.

Email best practices

Since neither of these overwhelmingly popular platforms has a truly ideal solution for recalling emails, the best remedy is to avoid the need to unsend email. Professionals around the world use DocSend to securely send important documents of all major file types with the knowledge that documents can always be updated after you send them—without changing the link you just sent out to your friends, family, or business partners.

How does this translate into your life? Let’s say you sent an important PDF using DocSend. After you hit send you realize there’s a typo on the third page. No big deal. Simply upload the new version, and you’re good! No race with the clock to recall an email before someone’s opened it. And no need to predict whether you’ve made an error before viewing what you’ve sent (looking at you, Gmail!).

unsend email gmail

In fact, you can even share secure, easy to use folders of documents that can be updated in real-time without links changing.

Does all this sound exciting? If so, you can get started with DocSend for free and start sending documents the way they should be sent! If you have any questions, our support team would be more than happy to hear from you.