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Delay sending a message the easy way in Outlook

Do you ever wish you could take back an email that you sent too soon or with a mistake? You’re in luck because Outlook lets you delay sending messages for a certain amount of time after you hit Send. It’s like having a second chance to prevent a mistake. We’ll show how it’s done with an important extra tweak not mentioned in the official docs.

This ‘delay send’ is different from ‘Delay Delivery‘ which holds an outgoing email until a certain time. Delay Send holds any message in the Outlook for (your choice) minutes before sending out. That gives you a chance to reopen the message in the Outbox then change or delete the message.

There are also options for recalling a message sent from Outlook . We’ll speak more about delay sending in this article, but you can find out more about message recall here

Delay Sending

To delay sending messages. This leaves the message in the Outbox folder for a period where you can open or delete it before sending. You can delay the delivery of all emails by up to two hours, by creating an Outlook Rule.  

In Outlook go to File | Manage Rules & Alerts | New Rule 

Below the usual option for incoming messages there’s a rule option for messages sent.  

On the next screen you can select which messages will be affected by the rule. Choose NONE of the available options and click ‘Next’.  

Outlook will warn you that the rule will apply to all messages you send – choose Yes to continue. 

The next wizard screen shows the actions to take on outgoing messages. We’re interested in the ‘defer delivery’ choice. 

High Important exception

The next window lets you setup exceptions to the rule. A common exception is for outgoing messages with High importance or messages to certain people. 

In our example, we have deferred delivery by 120 minutes except if it is marked as high important.  120 minutes is a long time, usually Delay Send is set for something under 10 minutes.

After that, you’re able to give a name for your rule, as well as turn the Rule on, and choose whether to run the rule now, once you’re happy you can click finish.  

Once the rule is running, when you click ‘Send’ the message will sit in the Outbox folder for the specified time. When in the Outbox you can click open the message to edit or delete it.

Other exceptions

If you want to get fancy, add exceptions for other messages you want to go out immediately. Perhaps messages to your husband/boyfriend (or both😁), a team leader or someone in a job that needs to act quickly.

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