How to unsend an email in Outlook: A step-by-step guide

Hitting the send button with a glaring typo or before the correspondence is complete can be embarrassing, but it is preventable. Here's how.

outlook.jpg

Image: iStock/fizkes

Many people spend considerable amounts of time in their personal and professional lives penning, reading, responding to emails. In fact, according to a 2019 Grammarly survey, more than one-third of respondents said they spend at least three hours of the workday using email. That said, as these digital correspondences pile up so too does the risk of error. In the same survey, 63% of respondents reported that they'd included "embarrassing typos or grammatical errors" in their emails and 63% said they had hit send on an unfinished email.

SEE: Report: SMB's unprepared to tackle data privacy (TechRepublic Premium)

Fortunately, it is possible to unsend an email immediately after hitting the send button. Outlook and other email systems offer a short grace period of sorts immediately after pressing the send button via a small popup window. During this time, it is possible to undo the send and prevent the email from hitting the recipient's inbox. Outlook has a setting allowing those so inclined to extend this window of time, providing an increased opportunity to undo the send. Below, we've created a step-by-step guide detailing how to unsend an email in Outlook with an extended delay.

SEE: How to recall a message sent in Microsoft Outlook (TechRepublic)

How to unsend an email in outlook

To set the preferred send delay, people will first need to adjust their email settings. To do so, first click the sprocket icon at the top right of the screen in Outlook. Next, a settings sidebar will appear on the right side of the screen. Once this appears, click "view all Outlook settings" at the bottom of the settings sidebar. Once this button is clicked a popup settings window will appear.

outlook

Image: TechRepublic

To access the unsend feature, people have two options: Using the setting search feature in the pop-up window or scrolling down through the "compose and reply" settings within the general mail settings. By typing "undo send" in the search bar and pressing enter, individuals will be directed to the appropriate field within the "compose and reply" settings. For a more manual approach, select "mail" on the left side of the popup window and then click on "compose and reply" settings. Next, scroll down through settings dedicated to the email signature, message format, link preview, and more to access the undo send feature.

SEE: How to migrate from Gmail to Outlook: 6 tips to ease the digital transition (TechRepublic)

Below "undo send," people are able to set their preferred sending delay. This is the amount of time the system will wait to send a message after pressing "send." People have the option to choose either a five or 10 second delay as well as no delay whatsoever. To complete the action, people will need to save these settings at the bottom right of the popup window.

Also see