How To Unsend an Email in Gmail and Outlook

We have all had that moment of fear, regret, anxiety and realisation; I replied all.

No? Just me? Well, nonetheless, here’s my story.

It was a typical day here at Techwell when I received a company-wide email regarding a critical housekeeping issue.

My first mistake was deciding to reply. I apologised profusely for not abiding the correct process - a, “Please excuse my ignorance,” was even involved. Long-story-short, the email was an essay and not at all a simple, “Sorry, thanks!” Happy with my email, I sent it off and eagerly awaited a response.

As time went by, I decided to reread my email to ensure I was still happy with it. It was then that I realised I ‘replied-all’ to a company-wide email.

Fortunately for me, I work with some wonderful people that clarified my concerns and laughed with me. However, I did learn a lesson that I will take with me to the grave. That is, how to unsend an email in Gmail.

I thought I’d share this lesson with you, so you don’t make the same mistake.

Disclaimer: this trick will not work on a phone, so I’d suggest you wait until you are back at your desk before sending anything you may need to unsend. You also need a quick reaction time for this trick, so it’s not for the faint-hearted.

Undo send gmail.png

For Gmail:

  1. Go to ‘Settings’ in your Gmail.
  2. Select the ‘General’ tab.
  3. In the ‘Undo Send’ section, place a check next to ‘Enable Undo Send’.
  4. Choose the number of seconds you’d like to have as a buffer after sending - choices range from 5 to 30 seconds. (I’d recommend 30).
  5. Click ‘Save Changes’.
  6. You should now be able to undo an email merely by pressing the ‘Z’ key on your keyboard. Otherwise, you can press ‘undo’ when prompted.

For Outlook 2016, 2013, 2010:

  1. In the folder pane, 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 that it appears in the reading pane, won't allow you to recall the message.
  3. Under the Message tab, choose Actions > Recall This Message.

recall message outlook.png

Note: 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 organisation.

  1. Click Delete unread copies of this message or Delete unread copies and replace with a new message, and then click OK.

recall message outlook1.png

  1. If you’re sending a replacement message, compose the message, and then click Send.

Please share the word! Others do not need to suffer from P.T.S.D.D.T.R.A (Post-traumatic stress disorder due to replying all).

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Image Credit: giphy.com

Remember to get in touch with the team at Techwell on 1300 369 662 or visit the website for solutions to any of your tech problems.

Vanessa Antal


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