Delay your Outlook Outbox

Not my usual fare for this blog, but it may be useful for someone else:

I had a user come in today and say she accidentally did a “Reply All” on an email and wanted to recall the message.  After showing her how to do it, I remembered that me and the guys had set a one minute delay on our outboxes to help save us from these awww, crap! moments.  It has saved our skins on a few occasions.  Problem was, I forgot how we did it!

So, here it is.  This is cited directly from Microsoft’s Outlook support site:

Delay the delivery of all messages

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Click Manage Rules and Alerts.
  3. Click New Rule.
  4. In the Step 1: Select a template box, under Start from a Blank Rule, click Apply rule on messages I send, and then click Next.
  5. In the Step 1: Select condition(s) list, select the check boxes for any options that you want, and then clickNext.

If you do not select any check boxes, a confirmation dialog box appears. If you click Yes, the rule that you are creating is applied to all messages that you send.

  1. In the Step 1: Select action(s) list, select the defer delivery by a number of minutes check box.
  2. In the Step 2: Edit the rule description (click an underlined value) box, click the underlined phrase a number of and enter the number of minutes for which you want the messages to be held before sending.

Delivery can be delayed up to 120 minutes.

  1. Click OK, and then click Next.
  2. Select the check boxes for any exceptions that you want.
  3. Click Next.
  4. In the Step 1: Specify a name for this rule box, type a name for the rule.
  5. Select the Turn on this rule check box.
  6. Click Finish.

After you click Send, each message remains in the Outbox folder for the time that you specified.

We find that a one minute delay is just long enough to catch a bad email, yet short enough that it didn’t annoy us.  To stop the email from being sent, simply open or delete it from your outbox.  I have an exception set on mine to immediately send high-priority messages (for when I’m just writing silly love notes to my wife, etc.).



  1. Jeff
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Although the above works, the dleayed emails can not be sent until the set time expries — even using the manual F9 send the email will not send. A potentially better option is to use settings under File, Options, Advanced, Send/Receive:
    – uncheck “Send immediately…”
    – click “Send/Receive” button
    – under “Setting for group “All Accounts”, check “Schedule an automatic send/receive every”
    – set the minutes to the desired time you want the email to be delayed
    – click Close

    Now the emails will be delayed by the set time, unless the user hits F9, then the email is sent immediately.

    • Posted April 4, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Jeff,

      You are correct, in that the manual send/receive will not work with this time day. What I do to get around this is to add an exception to the rule if the message is marked as High Importance. That way, if I can’t wait the minute for Outlook to send the email automatically, I just mark the message as important. The concern with your proposed method is that the send/receive timing is fixed (it’s not the time since the message was placed in the Outbox), so if you’re close to the interval end, you won’t have time to stop the message from being sent.

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