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Recalling Emails Directly from Outlook Web Access/App

Alexander Zammit

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Alexander Zammit has been developing server applications for over 15 years. Most of his works involve Exchange integrated applications, including a FAX server, a mail security product and anti-spam products.

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MS Exchange 2007/2010 Outlook Web Access lacks the ability to recall emails sent in error, even though this functionality has been available in Outlook for many years. A new OWA extension is making up for this omission, bringing the web interface closer to Office Outlook.

For many years MS Outlook users had the ability to recall emails sent in error using the Recall This Message command. We discussed this functionality in How Exchange Message Recalling Works and Message Recall Success! ...kind of.

With every MS Exchange release, the Outlook Web Access/App interface made significant leaps forward. Today for many Exchange users OWA is the primary mailbox interface. However not all Outlook features made it into OWA and Message Recalling is one of these.

Whenever OWA users hit Send in error, there is little they can do. To recall a message sent from OWA you need to open Office Outlook, lookup the email just sent from OWA and click Recall This Message.

Of course this is not a valid solution, especially for those using OWA as their only mailbox interface. Furthermore message recalling is a race against time. Any time wasted in switching to Outlook is going to greatly reduce the likeliness that the recall operation succeeds.

Luckily an OWA extension that adds message recalling to the OWA interface is now available. This is WinDeveloper OWA Recall, an OWA add-on included with the latest WinDeveloper Message Recall release.

OWA Recall Sidebar Extension

The extension is available for both MS Exchange 2007 and 2010. As an OWA add-on, this is installed on the Exchange Client Access server(s) where OWA is running.

Apart for installing the OWA extension, the Message Recall Engine is also required. This is the component that processes recall requests and must be installed on the Exchange Hub Transport server(s). Of course Organizations running everything on a single Exchange server machine (as in SBS) would simply install both OWA Recall and the Engine on the same server.

As shown in the previous screenshot, this extension adds a new sidebar entry. OWA by default allows for up to 6 full-size sidebar entries. Once the limit is exceeded, additional entries are shown as small icons. So the extension may look a bit differently depending on your Exchange version and on whether you have other OWA sidebar add-ons.

Recalling emails is fairly intuitive. Once the inevitable error happens, click on Recall Messages.

OWA Recall Email List

This opens the list of emails under Sent Items sorted by date/time. From here double click the email just sent to open the Recall This Message dialog.

OWA Recall This Message

This dialog shows the salient email details allowing us to confirm we are recalling the right email. The options relevant to message recalling are located at the bottom.

Setting the checkbox 'Tell me if recall succeeds or fails for each recipient' we request for notifications on the recall outcome. Clicking the Recall button causes the recall request to be submitted.

Note how there is no 'Recall and Replace' option. This was intentionally left out in order to encourage users to act quickly. Recalling is a race against time and one should immediately submit the recall request without wasting any. A few seconds can easily make all the difference between a successful and a failed recall. So the best approach is always that to recall an email immediately and to submit the corrected email calmly without committing further errors.

After hitting the Recall button you will get the following success response.

Recall Request Submitted

This dialog is simply saying that the recall request was submitted. Whether or not the request is fulfilled will be reported through notification emails (if requested). This is what a success notification looks like in OWA 2010.

Recall Success Notification

Final Tips

Erring is human, but the fact remains that some errors can be damaging to an Organization. So having the ability to recall emails directly from OWA will be welcomed by many.

With a single server unlimited users license priced at $290, there is little question on the ROI. Recovering from a single bad error will easily justify the investment. Added to that, for this price you get the entire WinDeveloper Message Recall package including a message recalling engine that greatly improves the success rate of recalled emails.

User Comments - Page 1 of 1

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Plamy 17 Jan 2014 09:00
Our Exchangeinbox not have command recall at web. How can we add on it
Bill Smith 1 Jun 2012 12:52
This is awesome, we successfully implemented it for one of our big client. We are also doing some innovative work, we can customize outlook to match a company's brand identity. Please have a look at http://www.custominterface.co/outlook-web-app-2010.htm
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