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Oops! How to Undo an Email Sent in Gmail or Outlook

Oh no…

gmailHave you ever sent an email that says, “Hey Fred,” when you meant “Hey Alice,” making it clear that you’re either stupid or you copied and pasted from another form email? Or have you ever hit “reply all” and said something out of line that you only meant to send to your coworker buddy?

We’ve all been there and had that moment of panic where your entire career or a deal flashes before your eyes. If you realize the faux pas the next day, it’s probably too late, but if you realize immediately, there’s a chance that you can take it back if no one has read it, and here’s how:

  • In Gmail, all you have to do is go to “Settings” and click “Labs” (or the beaker symbol) and find “Undo Send.” All you have to do is click “Enable” to turn on this feature. Now, if you need to “undo” an email from Gmail, just click your new “Undo” button/link.
  • In Outlook, in the Navigation Pane, click “Sent Items” and open the message you want to recall/undo. On the “Actions” menu, click “Recall This Message” and click “Delete Unread Copies of this Message.” In Outlook, you have a few options for whether or not you want to replace it, and see who has or has not read the message.

Since we’re on the topic, have you ever wanted to undo an email you’ve sent? Tell us about it in comments and we might share some of our own 1990s “oops” stories!

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Judy Moriarty

    January 29, 2010 at 10:07 am

    ARGH Lani! This post is just one stinkin’ day late! Just yesterday I hit “reply” instead of “forward” in Outlook and sent a not so flattering email about my daughter’s teacher directly to her!!! This post is favorited and I’m thinking of having it tattooed on my hand as well!

  2. Joycevdb

    January 29, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Good article. I once worked at a company, where the Dir. of HR accidently sent an excel spreadsheet list of the entire company’s salary to THE ENTIRE COMPANY!! Unfortunately for me I was making more than my manager….not a good situation to say the least!!

  3. yep, I did

    February 12, 2010 at 11:26 am

    In the middle of a by-email argument with my sister-in-law, A, (who should have been talking to my husband!), I got a message from another in-law, B, that the A’s newest grandchild was born.

    I hit reply (intending to send it to B, only) and said something like, “Thanks for letting us know. She had all afternoon to bitch at me about….but didn’t even mention her new grandson!”

    yeah, that message went to the whole family.

    At the next family wedding a few days later, everyone but her was still laughing about it. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t laughing because she wasn’t speaking to me that night.

    and yeah, things are ok, now.

  4. The Lord

    June 6, 2010 at 12:17 am

    Thanks for the lesson. I have learned something new today.:-)

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