How to Delay or Schedule an Email in Outlook

Delay delivery of your Outlook emails for a more appropriate time

What to Know

  • Go to Options > Delay Delivery, then select the Do not deliver before check box in the Properties dialog. Set a date and time.
  • To change the delivery time or date, go to the Outbox folder, open the email, and select Options > Delay Delivery.
  • To delay delivery for all emails, select the File tab, go to Rules and Alerts > Manage Rules & Alerts, and create a custom rule.

This article explains how to schedule an email in Outlook. Instructions apply to Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, and Outlook for Microsoft 365.

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. Select New Email. Or choose an existing email and select Reply, Reply All, or Forward.

    Creating a new email in Outlook.
  2. In the message window, compose and address the message.

    A newly composed email in Outlook.
  3. Go to the Options tab and select Delay Delivery.

    An open email with the Delay Delivery button highlighted in Outlook.
  4. In the Properties dialog, under Delivery options, select the Do not deliver before check box.

    Email properties is displayed showing the delay delivery enabled and scheduled.
  5. Set the date and time you want the email to be sent.

    Setting the time in an email delay.
  6. Select Close.

    Closing the Delay Delivery dialog box.
  7. In the message window, select Send.

    Selecting to send the email in Outlook.
  8. Go to the Outbox folder to find the email messages that are scheduled but have not yet been sent.

    Delayed delivery of an email in the outbox in Outlook.
  9. To change the delivery time or date, open the email in a separate window, select Options > Delay Delivery, and reschedule a different send time.

    Changing the date and\or time to delay an email delivery.
  10. 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 followed by Send.

    Turning off delay delivery in Outlook.

Create a Send Delay for All Emails

You can create an email message 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.

By adding a default delay to all your emails, you prevent them from being sent immediately. This gives you an opportunity to make changes or cancel them if it's within the delay you create.

To create an email template with a send delay:

  1. Go to the File tab.

    The file menu in Outlook.
  2. Under Info > Rules and Alerts, select Manage Rules & Alerts.

    Selecting Manage Rules & Alerts in Outlook.
  3. In the Rules and Alerts, go to the Email Rules tab and select New Rule.

    Viewing the new rules dialog box in Outlook.
  4. In the Rules Wizard, go to the Start from a blank rule section, select Apply rule on messages I send, then select Next.

    Selecting a rule to apply on messages sent.
  5. In the Select condition(s) list, select the check boxes for options that you want to apply to sent messages. To apply a delay send to all messages, clear all the check boxes. Then select Next.

    Choosing what to do with a blank rule.
  6. If you cleared all the check boxes, a confirmation box appears. Select Yes to apply the rule to all sent messages.

    Confirmation that the delayed rule will be applied to all sent messages.
  7. In the Select action(s) list, select the defer delivery by a number of minutes check box.

    Selecting the action to defer delivery by an unset number of minutes.
  8. In the Edit the rule description list, select a number of.

    Selecting a number of option in Outlook.
  9. In the Deferred Delivery dialog box, enter the number of minutes you want to delay emails before they are sent. The maximum is 120 minutes. Then select OK.

    Setting the delay for 3 minutes for delivery.
  10. In the Rules Wizard, select Next.

    Selecting Next to continue in the Rules Wizard.
  11. Select any exceptions, then select Next.

    Viewing the delay delivery rules before saving.
  12. In the Specify a name for this rule text box, type a descriptive name.

    Naming the new delayed delivery email rule.
  13. Select the Turn on this rule check box if it isn't already checked.

    Selecting to turn on rule.
  14. Select Finish.

    Selecting Finish to complete the new rule.
  15. In the Rules and Alerts dialog box, select OK to apply the changes.

    Confirming rule creation.
  16. 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.

    A new delay delivery rule has been created.

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. The next time you launch Outlook, the message is sent immediately.

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

If you are not connected to the internet at the time of scheduled delivery and Outlook is open, Outlook attempts to deliver the email at the specified time, but it will fail. You will see an Outlook Send/Receive Progress error window.

Outlook also automatically attempts to send again, though, at a later time. When the connection is restored, Outlook sends the message.

If Outlook is set to work in offline mode at the scheduled time of delivery, Outlook automatically sends as soon as the account used for the message is working online again.

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