How to Delay or Schedule an Email in Outlook

What to Know

  • Go to Options > three dots > Delay Delivery. Select Do not deliver before and set a date and time.
  • To change the delivery time, open the email from the Outbox folder and return to the Delay Delivery window.
  • To delay delivery for all emails, go to File > Manage Rules & Alerts, and create a custom rule.

This article explains how to schedule an email in Outlook so you can write it now but have it sent at the date and time you specify. Instructions apply to the desktop version of Outlook 2010 and newer.

Scheduling Delayed Delivery of Emails in Outlook

Microsoft Outlook supports the scheduling of email messages to send at a later date and time instead of sending them immediately.

  1. Write your message as you normally would, whether it’s a new email, a reply, or a forward. Then, go to the Options tab and select Delay Delivery (it’s nested in the three-dot menu in some versions of Outlook).

  2. Select the box next to Do not deliver before.

  3. Set the date and time you want the email to be sent.

  4. Select Close.

  5. In the message window, select Send.

How to Edit a Scheduled Email in Outlook

Emails you’ve delayed are stored in a special folder. You can go there to edit or cancel a scheduled email.

  1. Open the Outbox folder to find the messages that are scheduled but have not yet been sent.

  2. To stop the scheduled email, simply delete it. To change the delivery time or date, open the email in a separate window (double-click it), select Options > Delay Delivery, change the deliver time, and then select Close.

  3. To send a scheduled email immediately, open the message in a separate window, return to the Delay Delivery screen, uncheck the box next to Do not deliver before, and then press Close > Send.

Create a Send Delay for All Emails

Outlook lets you make an email template that automatically includes a send delay for all messages you create and send. This is handy if you often make a change to an email you just sent, or you’ve sent an email that you regretted sending hastily.

  1. Go to File > Manage Rules & Alerts.

  2. Select New Rule from the the Email Rules tab.

  3. Select Apply rule on messages I send, then select Next.

  4. To apply a delay send to all messages, clear all the checkboxes, then select Next.

  5. Select Yes to apply the rule to all sent messages.

  6. Select the box next to defer delivery by a number of minutes.

  7. Select a number of from the box at the bottom of the wizard.

  8. In the Deferred Delivery dialog box, enter the number of minutes you want to delay emails before they are sent (the max is 120 minutes), then select OK.

  9. Select Next.

  10. Define any exceptions if you want to, then select Next.

  11. Enter a descriptive name in the Step 1 box.

  12. Select the Turn on this rule checkbox if it isn’t already checked.

  13. Select Finish.

  14. Select OK on the confirmation prompt to apply the changes.

Now, when you select Send for any email, it is stored in the Outbox or Drafts folder where it waits the specified amount of time before being sent.

What Happens If Outlook Is Not Running at the Delivery Time?

If Outlook is not open and running at the time a message reaches its scheduled delivery time, the message is not delivered. It will be sent immediately the next time you open Outlook.

What Happens If There Is No Internet Connection at the Delivery Time?

If Outlook is open but you’re not connected to the internet at the time of scheduled delivery, the email will not send and you’ll see a progress error window. Once the internet connection is restored, the email will be sent immediately. The same is true if Work Offline is enabled.

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About the Author: Rayne Chancer