How to unsend an email in Gmail and Outlook

Quick—the sooner you recall and correct that unfortunate email, the better!

We’ve all been there: It’s the end of a long week, you’ve got exciting weekend plans, and the last thing you need is a disastrous email typo or snafu.

Thankfully, there are some precautionary measures you can take to prevent a typo-ridden email from being permanently irretrievable. Let’s get started.

Can You Unsend an Email in Gmail or Outlook?

It seems like such an obvious innovation, right? While unsending an email can, unfortunately, be a bit complicated, you can unsend email in Gmail and Outlook. Well, sort of. Let’s take a deeper look—

How to Unsend an Email: Gmail Edition

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

  1. In the bottom left corner of your screen, you should see a “Message sent” tab that pops up upon successful sending of a Gmail email. 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 (and given it a good once-over).

unsend email in gmail

It’s important to emphasize that Gmail has imposed a few important limits for unsending email that, depending on the situation, may render the ‘unsend email’ option rather useless. Unfortunately, in Gmail today, you are unable to unsend an email if you have clicked away from the screen you see after sending it, and you are unable to unsend an email if you have waited longer than 30 seconds. Unless you’re aware of your mistake at the time of sending (without seeing the Gmail email in its sent form), you won’t be able to leverage 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!)

How to Unsend an Email: Outlook Edition

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, but 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 pesky email. Simply double click to open the message you wish to recall and, under the Messages tab, select Actions > Recall This Message.

unsend email in outlook

You’ll then see a pop-up—you should select the option that best meets your preferences, whether you wish to simply unsend the email or unsend the email and replace it. Then click ok, and you’re done!

Email Sending Best Practices

Especially because neither of these overwhelmingly popular platforms has a truly ideal solution for unsending 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 create a DocSend account, send off your important documents, only to realize that there’s a typo in the third page of one of the PDFs. No big deal—simply check to see if your recipient(s) have viewed the document, 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, aesthetically pleasing 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.