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How to Delay Sending an Email in Outlook

At some point or another, almost all of us have felt the pang of regret after hitting the send button without delay.

At some point or another, almost all of us have felt the pang of regret after hitting the send button without delay. Maybe you have sent the mail to the wrong John Smith, accidentally cc’d in the client you are discussing or just realised that the email was a bad idea in the first place.

Luckily, Microsoft Outlook includes a feature which can help you avoid these situations. The delay email feature adds a delay between clicking the send button and actually delivering the mail, allowing you enough time to cancel the message.

While this feature is by no means a secret, in our experience it is rarely used. We recommend that every professional adds a delay to their email to avoid these kinds of situations. And to help you out, we explain step by step how to do just that below.

Delay delivery of a single message

It is possible to delay the delivery of a single email which can be useful if you want to tailor the delay based on the recipient or content. To do this:

  • First, click the Options tab in the compose email window
  • Next, click the Delay Delivery icon
  • Under Delivery options, check the Do not deliver before box
  • You can then select a specific time and date to deliver your current mail

When you click the send button, this email will remain in your inbox until the specified time. If you decide you want to send the email immediately, you can simply open the mail, uncheck the Do not deliver before button, save and then click send.

Delay delivery of every message

You can also choose to add a standard delay defined by you to every email sent from your mailbox. To add this rule:

  • Click on the File tab
  • Next, click the Manage Rules & Alerts icon
  • On the Rules and Alerts window, click New Rule to open the Rules Wizard
  • Select the Apply rule on message I send and then click next
  • To apply this rule to every email, do not select any of the conditions and click next
  • On the Select actions window, check the defer delivery by a number of minutes box
  • Under Step 2, edit the rule by clicking the underlined a number of and select the desired amount of time
  • Click next and then choose any exceptions you want to create, otherwise click next again
  • Next, enter a name for the rule and ensure the Turn on this rule box is checked
  • Click Finish and your rule is now applied

The next time you send an email, it will be stored in the outbox for the specified amount of time.

Now that you know how to avoid this emailing disaster, make sure to check out our 10 Email Mistakes to Avoid blog post to ensure that you never regret hitting the send button again.