Yesterday, Google added an “Undo Send” feature to Gmail. This is a poorly named feature, as it doesn’t actually allow you to recall a message from a recipient’s inbox. What it does, is to allow you to set a delay on messages you send. If you change your mind before the delay expires you can prevent the message from sending.
Microsoft Outlook has had the same functionality for years! You can create a rule in Outlook to delay sending messages by some number or minutes. If you need to “undo send”, just find the message in your Outbox folder and open it. That’s enough to prevent it from sending. You can then modify it and send again, or delete it as necessary.
Here’s how to configure a “Delay Sending” rule in Outlook:
Start by clicking the Rules button; then click Manage Rules & Alerts….
Click the New Rule… button.
Select Apply rule on messages I send and click Next >.
Do not select anything on the next screen. Just click Next >.
You’ll receive a warning that the rule will be applied to every message you send. Click Yes.
Check the box next to defer delivery by a number of minutes.
In the lower section (Step 2), click a number of.
Enter the number of minutes you want to set as a delay (1—5 is probably the most appropriate range); then click OK.
Click Next >.
At this point, you can create an exception to this rule, if you want. We’re going to cover that in another section, below. If you’re happy with a delay on all messages, simply click Next >.
Name your rule, and click Finish.
You’ll get a warning that the rule will only run when you’re running Outlook. If you send mail from Outlook Web App, or through your smart phone or tablet, your messages will not be delayed.
Click OK to exit the Rules and Alerts window.
Creating an Exception to Send Immediately
For some messages, you may not want to introduce any delay. You can set exceptions to your rule to force some messages to go out immediately.
You can set exceptions for specific recipients, or subjects with specific words, but the easiest way to create an ad hoc exception is to tie it to the High Importance tag.
On the Exceptions window, check the box next to except if it is marked as importance.
In the lower section (Step 2) click the word, importance.
Select High from the list; then, click OK.
Click Next > to continue editing the rule.
By the Way . . .
If you ever do want to recall a message you’ve sent through Outlook, there is a feature for that:
Open the message from your Sent Items folder.
Click Actions, then Recall This Message….
Check the box to receive a message letting you know whether your recall succeeded or failed. Click OK.
This only works on messages sent within your organization, and only for messages the recipients have not yet read. If you sent it to an outside contact, or if your inside recipients have read the message, you the recall will fail.