The 'undo send' button for email - prevent that red face!

Posted on 18 April 2012 by Paul Weeden

So... we've all been there: hastily typing an email; you hit send and then you have a Homer Simpson moment - Doh!

You've forgotten to send that attachment or you might have just handed in your notice by mistake (true story)!

'Doh!' is promptly followed by a panicked call to IT, which goes something like this: "can you recall a sent message?" or as one client said "can you go into my manager's inbox and delete the message?" - unfortunately the answer to both is no!

BUT - we can stop it from happening again!  All you need is Google Apps or Microsoft Outlook.

Prevention is better than a cure!

G-Mail users, your answer is below, Microsoft Outlook users click here.


If you are using Google Apps for Business you will need to make sure your IT department has not disabled 'Labs'.  Glick here for instructions on how to enable Labs

  1. Open your inbox<yourdomainname>
  2. Click the cog icon next to your name and select 'Mail Settings'
  3. Click the tab 'Labs'
  4. Find 'Undo Send' from the list of 'Available Labs'
  5. Select click Enable and then click 'Save Changes'

Now each time you send an email through G-Mail you be given the option to 'Undo' the transmission of that email (see below).

Clicking 'Undo' will take you back into the message edit page.

Microsoft Outlook

Go to your Inbox in Outlook:

  • Outlook 2010: Click 'Rules' in the ribbon (the icons along the top) and select 'Manage Rules & Alerts'
  • Outlook 2003 & 2007: Click Tools from the menu along the top and select 'Manage Rules & Alerts'
  1. Click 'New Rule'
  2. Select 'Apply rule on messages I send' from the section 'Start from a blank rule' and click Next
  3. In step 1, leave all options blank and click Next
  4. Click Yes to the 'This rule will be applied to every message you send.  Is this correct?' message
  5. Click the tick box next to 'defer delivery by a number of minutes'
  6. Click 'a number of minutes' in the lower part of the window (this will be underlined in blue)
  7. Select how many minutes you want to delay delivery for and click OK.  The minimum is 1 minute
  8. Click Next
  9. Click Next to skip the exceptions part of the wizard
  10. Enter 'Undo Send' into the 'Specify a name for this rule' and click finish.
  11. Click OK to close the 'Rules and Alerts' window

Now each time you send an email from Microsoft Outlook the email will remain in your inbox for the number of minutes you specified in step 6.

To cancel the sending of the message, open your Outbox and either drag the message into 'Drafts' or double click on the subject and make the necessary edits.

N.B. If you are using Microsoft Exchange this rule will NOT apply to messages you send via 'Outlook Web Access' (webmail).  Also if you have Outlook running on your office PC and at home you will have to create a rule in both locations!


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