How to Recall an Email in Gmail

We’ve all been there. You press send on an email, and you immediately notice a mistake and wish you could undo it. An email isn’t like a message or a tweet that you can simply delete – a sent email lives on someone else’s email server, which is out of your control.

Reasons You May Want to Recall an Email

Why might you want to recall an email? Here are some of the most common reasons.

  • You spot a typo as soon as you’ve pressed the send button
  • You sent it to the wrong email address
  • You instantly regret sending it
  • You attached the wrong document or proposal.

Whatever the reason, the good news is that it’s possible to turn back time and recall your email natively within Gmail.

This is where Undo Send comes in.

Using Undo Send in Gmail to Recall an Email

Step 1. Head up to the top right of the Gmail interface and press the cog icon and Settings.

Step 2.  On the first tab, you should see the Undo Send option. Simply click Enable.

Step 3. You should now see that you have four timing options: 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 20 seconds, or 30 seconds. Pick whichever option you prefer.

Step 4. Make sure that you scroll down to the bottom and click Save Changes – this isn’t obvious the first time you do it

Step 5. Send yourself or a coworker a test message. After clicking the Send button, you should see a message that gives you the option to Undo.

Step 6. Click that, and your email will never make it to the recipient. You can now make the changes that had you in a panic in the first place and send it again at your own leisure.

It really is that simple.

A few words of warning, though. Unlike other email clients, this is time-based – there is no real recall button. If you miss the time frame, then your email will get sent. It might be worth setting the Undo Send to the 30-second threshold when you first start using it.

It’s also essential that you make sure not to navigate away while the Undo Send message is visible, as this could also result in your email being sent.

You now know how to recall an email, but there will always be some that slip through the cracks.

It’s always worth considering more preventative action in order to reduce the number of emails you have to recall.

How to Prevent Having to Recall an Email

Here are four tips to help you get your emails right the first time:

Tip #1: Use a Tool Like Grammarly to Detect Issues and Tone

There are a bunch of tools out there that can help you spot spelling mistakes and detect tone, but Grammarly is one of the best.

By installing their Chrome plugin, you’ll not only get specific recommendations on spelling and grammar, but it will also detect your tone and give hints on how to make your email read better.

Tip #2: Ask Your Teammates and Colleagues for Help

One of the easiest ways to detect any typos or to check for the right tone is to get a teammate or colleague to read it over before you send it.

If you actively seek input from your coworkers, remain open to feedback and don’t take it personally – they’re only trying to help, and they will likely pick up on things that you may have missed.

Tip #3: Use Tried and Tested Templates

If you write many of the same types of emails over and over, try using templates to lower the risk of typos or other errors. You can easily save common emails as templates with Right Inbox.

Always be sure to carefully check them over and make sure they’re error-free. Then, you don’t have to worry about proofreading the entire email every time you use the templates – just double check the new content that you add.

Tip #4: Utilize a Grace Period for Emails That Need a Cool-Down Period

Never send an email to a contact right after they’ve written an email complaining about your service or your work. Take the time to cool off, and wait until the following day when you’ve had time to sleep on it.

Your response will be much more deliberate and carefully considered. Also, at this point, you’ll still want to run it through Grammarly and/or get a teammate to check it.


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