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How to unsend email using Gmail

How to unsend email using Gmail
Aleksey Boldin | Dreamstime.com

Imagine this scenario. You just finished up a meeting with your coworker Claire, and it didn’t go well. You are writing an email using Gmail to another coworker expressing your frustration with Claire and her lack of intelligence, and you hit the send button.

As you watch your email being sent, you realize you copied in the entire company. Beads of sweat swiftly pool on your brow and your heart begins palpitating. You are overwrought with worry about sharing your thoughts with everyone in the office, including Claire.

Don’t panic, as this scenario is unlikely to occur if you adjust the Undo Send setting in Gmail before you send out the email.

Enabling the Undo Send feature when using Gmail on the web

The ability to unsend an email is a matter of adjusting one setting prior to writing your email. Retrieving an email sent in error will prevent you from having an embarrassing situation with Claire. This recall of a message will also allow you to modify spelling errors, incorrect recipients, subject line and even append forgotten attachments. Once you are satisfied with any editing, send the email on its way.

The catch to unsending an email is you must adjust the setting to a higher number than the default setting of five seconds. Let’s face it; five seconds isn’t even enough to realize you made an error, let alone hit the unsend button. Thankfully, Gmail settings provide the option of pausing an email delivery up to 30 seconds. So, let’s get to it.

Open up your settings in Gmail, then select settings:

In the Undo Send section, the default will be set to five seconds. Select the range and choose an option. It is recommended you opt for the 30 seconds as this allows a few extra moments to contemplate your email.

Once you have made your adjustment, scroll down the page and click Save Changes for it to take effect.

Done. Couldn’t be any easier. Now, it's time to try out this potential job-saving feature.

Testing the Unsend feature

If you have an additional email address, here is your chance to test the unsend feature out. If not, send the email to the address from which you are writing your message. Here are a couple of methods for recalling your message. First, the Undo option notification.

After clicking the send button on your email, a message box will pop up in the lower left corner with the Undo option, select it and your email is instantly retrieved for you to make any corrections.

Your second method of recovering your email is using a digital trick called a keyboard shortcut. Pressing the Z key after you send your email will result in its prompt rescue. This technique is faster than selecting Undo notification with your cursor.

How to Unsend an email using the Gmail mobile app

This Unsend feature is available in the Gmail app, regardless of your device’s operating system. As with the web version, you will notice an Undo message at the bottom of your screen. Clicking the button will retrieve your message and display it for editing.

If you choose not to resend your email and return to your inbox, a message will appear at the bottom of your screen notifying you a draft of the email was saved along with the option to discard. If you decide not to delete it straightaway, the draft will be kept in your draft folder for later review.

The bad news is you probably wish you had known this tip before you sent out the email that caused a ruckus. The good news is now you are privy to this setting you will be able to save face when sending out your emails.

Settings that will change the way you send emails

Having saved your email, are you looking to get more use out of your Gmail settings? If so, several features will save you time and effort when sending emails. You may want to check these 10 settings.

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