Are you worried about sharing sensitive information in an email?
With the increasing prevalence of digital communication, it's more important than ever to know how to redact an email in Outlook to protect your privacy and prevent the unauthorized disclosure of confidential information.
If you've ever felt stuck in a situation where you've sent an email with personal information or realized you've included the wrong recipient, don't worry - there's a solution.
By redacting your emails in Outlook, you can remove personal or confidential information from the emails before or after it's sent.
In this blog, we'll walk you through the steps to redact an email in Outlook, so you can confidently communicate and ensure that your sensitive information remains private.
If you want to take control of your email communications and protect your privacy, keep reading to learn how to redact an email in Outlook.
Why do you need to Redact an Email?
As we continue relying more heavily on electronic communication, we must be aware of the potential risks of sharing PII through email.
You could accidentally share confidential information with the wrong person or group with a simple typo or a click of the wrong button.
I am sure you have found yourself frantically searching for the "Undo" button after realizing you've made a typo or accidentally hit "send" before finishing your email. We've all been there, and it's an uncomfortable feeling. That's where email redaction helps.
Email redaction removes or obscures sensitive information from an email, such as personal details or confidential data. Redaction is vital for maintaining your privacy and protecting yourself against potential data breaches or identity theft.
If your emails contain any personally identifiable information like:
- Social Security Number
- Bank Account Number
- Telephone Numbers
- Identification Numbers
You must redact this information before sending your emails to avoid thefts or crimes. If you're someone who uses Outlook, this is why you need to know how to redact an email in Outlook.
But what if you've already hit "send"?
Worry not. Microsoft Outlook's wizard-like recall feature can help.
However, there are limitations to the recall feature, and it may not work in all situations. That's why it's essential to use email redaction and the recall feature as an extra layer of protection for sensitive information.
You can minimize the risk of a potential data breach or privacy violation and safeguard your personal and professional communications with the recall feature. But let us understand first what is "Recall."
Recall vs Redaction
Microsoft Outlook offers a recall feature, allowing you to recall (delete the message from the recipient’s inbox) a message you've already sent, but only if the recipient is using Outlook and the email is still unread in their inbox.
Recalling an email may not be possible if the email was sent to or from an account such as Hotmail, Gmail, or live.com.
This feature can be helpful when you've made an error in your email or sent it to the wrong person, but it's essential to remember that it's not foolproof and will only work in some situations.
Conversely, redaction is the process of removing or hiding sensitive information from an email before sending it. Redaction is practical when you include confidential information or personal data in an email but don't want others to access it.
Redaction tools allow you to obscure specific text or images in the email without altering the rest of the content. While recall can help correct mistakes, it has its limitations, and redaction is a more comprehensive solution for protecting sensitive information.
How to Redact an Email In Outlook?
- If you haven’t already sent the Email
Outlook has no built-in redaction feature, but you can still redact sensitive information from an email before sending it. You can do this by manually blacking the text or images with a digital redaction tool.
Read here to learn about the top 5 free tools to redact data quickly.
- If you have sent the Email
You can recall and replace the original email with a newly redacted version. Here’s how to redact an email in Outlook if you’ve hit the ‘send’ button:
- Open your sent items folder and find the email you want to recall.
- Double-click the email to open it in a new window.
- Select the three dots on the top right corner, click the "Actions" button in the top ribbon, and select "Recall This Message."
- If you don't see the three dots, select Move from the toolbar, then choose Actions and Recall this message.
- Once you initiate the recall process, a pop-up window will appear on your screen, giving you two options: Delete Unread Copies of This Message or Delete Unread Copies and Replace With a New Message.
You can also choose to have Outlook notify you if the process is successful or not. Choose your desired option(s) and click OK to proceed.
- If you choose to delete the message, it will be permanently removed. If you want to replace it, you will be directed to a second screen where you can revise the email. Once you're done composing the new email, click Send.
NOTE- When you recall a message, the original email doesn't simply go away. The recipient may need to open the new email first for the initial email to disappear.
To avoid this, it's suggested that you include the word "URGENT" or something similar in the recall message's subject line.
Keep in mind that the recipient may still be notified when the messages are deleted from their inbox. So, even if you recall an email, the recipient may still be aware that a message was sent to them, but they won't be able to view its contents.
What if you can’t Recall an Email in Outlook?
Even when you know how to redact an email in Outlook, you must recall the email (if already sent) to redact your personal data. If the receiver has already opened your message, recalling it won't be possible.
However, to avoid such situations, Outlook provides a feature to delay the delivery of emails, allowing you more time to reconsider the message before it sends.
If you reply to emails back and forth, exchange private information, or make mistakes, consider delaying or scheduling your Outlook emails. Follow these straightforward instructions to set it up for all your Outlook emails.
Step 1: Open Outlook and click on File in the upper-left corner.
Step 2: Scroll down and click on Manage Rules & Alerts.
Step 3: From the Rules and Alerts window, select the New Rule option.
Step 4: In the new pop-up window, click on Apply Rule on Messages I Send. Hit Next to continue.
Step 5: On the Conditions screen, click Next to continue.
Step 6: Select Defer Delivery By a Number of Minutes option, and choose your preferred duration (120 minutes is the max you can go). Click OK, then hit Next.
Step 7: If there are any exceptions, select them as needed, and click Next to continue.
Step 8: Finally, give your rule a name, check the Turn On This Rule, and hit Finish.
When you compose an email in Outlook, you’ll notice a new Options tab at the top. From there, you can click on Delay Delivery and set a specific time for your emails to be sent. This will give you extra time to reconsider your message and make any necessary changes.
Limitations of Recalling Emails in Outlook
Yes! Recalling emails has T&C with it. Keep reading to know-
- Recalling a message is not supported in the web-based version of Outlook, only in the desktop client.
- It is only effective if both sender and receiver use a Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft 365 account within the same organization.
- The recall feature won't work with email addresses outside the sender's organization.
- Recalling an email in Outlook must be done quickly, as there is only a limited window in which the recall can be attempted.
Will the Recipient Know?
You know how to redact an email in Outlook, but will the recipient know you edited it?
If the initial email is never opened, the recipient will not know that the email is recalled and redacted. However, if the original message is opened, the recall will not work, and the recipient will still have access to the initial email.
In some cases, the recipient will still be notified when recalled emails are deleted from their inbox, so it's essential to keep these in mind-
Recalling Opened Messages:
- If the original message is opened, the recall will not work, and the recipient will still have access to the original message.
- The receiver can still get and read the new email, but the original stays in their Outlook inbox.
Redirects to Other Folders:
- The recall will fail if Outlook rerouted the email to a specific folder.
- If the email was redirected to a public folder, the recall fails.
So what’s the solution?
If you've not sent the email yet, consider using Redactable.
Redactable is a safe and easy-to-use redaction software that helps you permanently redact any PII from emails, documents, and PDFs to safeguard your privacy and allow secure sharing.
Redactable is a data redaction software that helps organizations protect sensitive information by allowing them to remove confidential data from digital documents.
Redactable uses advanced algorithms to detect and redact personally identifiable information (PII), protected health information (PHI), financial data, and other sensitive content. Redactable can be used to edit data from various file types, including PDFs, Microsoft Word documents, and images.
The software also supports automated batch processing, making it easier for organizations to redact multiple files simultaneously. Redactable offers advanced search and redaction, allowing users to search for specific keywords or patterns within a document and redact them automatically.
- Redaction Wizard
You can redact documents easily with the help of our Redaction Wizard—no need to worry about complex manuals or training. Our wizard guides you through the entire process.
You have multiple redaction methods, such as Manual, Patterns, Search text, and Auto. Pick the one that suits your requirements.
- Redaction Workflow
Keep your redactions organized with our easy-to-use workflow. From task management to setting up a hierarchical review process, we make it simple for you to work on your redaction projects. Redactable lets you organize your redaction projects efficiently.
You can use Folders, Version Control, Tags, Projects, and Stats to stay on top of your work.
- Collaborative Redaction
Collaborate with your colleagues on large redaction projects using our cloud-based platform. You can redact documents simultaneously and efficiently. Collaborate with your colleagues on large redaction projects using our cloud-based platform.
You can redact all your documents simultaneously and efficiently.
- Fast Redaction
Redactable is a fast and efficient solution for redacting sensitive information from your documents. With our easy-to-use tools and cloud-based platform, you can quickly edit your documents without spending too much time and effort.
On average, a user of Redactable spends only two and a half minutes redacting a ten-page document.
Start your Redactable journey for free; you don’t need to provide your credit card details. Here are the plans and features we offer-
- $39/ month billed monthly
$31/ month billed annually
- Redact 40 documents/ month.
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- $89/ month billed monthly
$71/ month billed annually
- Redact 150 documents/ month.
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- Get in touch
- Redact unlimited documents.
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You've just learned how to redact an email in Outlook and take control of your privacy and confidentiality. With just a few simple steps, you can now ensure your sensitive information stays protected, even after hitting "send."
Remember to act quickly and follow our guidelines to ensure your recall attempts are successful. But even with the best intentions, mistakes can happen. That's where Redactable comes in.