How to Make Outlook Send and Receive Periodically and at Startup

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Set up a schedule for Outlook to check mail automatically.

Automatic Mail Retrieval

Whether you want to control your obsession with checking mail or indulge in it (or, of course, whether you have no such obsession), possibly you will find Outlook's retrieving and sending mail periodically and on its own helpful.

You can set Outlook to check for new mail every minute or every few hours, and you can specify exactly the accounts you want checked (you can even set different intervals for different accounts).

Having Outlook check for new mail periodically means mail for included accounts is also retrieved immediately after Outlook starts.

Make Outlook Send and Receive Periodically and at Startup

To have Outlook look for and retrieve new messages automatically on a schedule:

  1. Open your Outlook inbox.
  2. Make sure the Send / Receive ribbon is expanded.
  3. Click Send/Receive Groups in the Send/Receive section.
  4. Select Define Send/Receive Groups from the menu that has appeared.
  5. Make sure All Accounts is highlighted under Group Name.
  6. Now make sure Schedule an automatic send/receive every ___ minutes. is checked under Setting for group "All Accounts".
  7. Enter the desired interval for automatic mail retrieval.
    • ​Note that IMAP and Exchange server inboxes and other folders may update almost immediately as new messages arrive regardless of the interval.
  8. Typically, make sure Schedule an automatic send/receive every __ minutes. is not checked under When Outlook is Offline.
  1. Click Close.

Choose the Accounts Included in Periodic Outlook Mail Checking

To pick the accounts included in periodic, automatic mail checking:

  1. Make sure All Accounts is highlighted under Group Name in the Send/Receive Groups dialog.
  2. Click Edit….
  3. For each account you want to remove fro automatic checking:
    1. Make sure the account is selected under Accounts.
    2. Make sure Include the selected account in this group is not checked.
  1. Click OK.

Using New... you can then set up a new group that does not include any other accounts and set up a specific schedule for the account not checked during All Accounts send/receive.

To set up a new mail checking group that downloads (and, perhaps, sends) mail for certain accounts on a  different and, perhaps, additional schedule:

  1. Click New… in the Send/Receive Groups dialog.
  2. Enter a name for the sending and receiving schedule under Send/Receive Group Name:.
  3. Click OK.
  4. For each account you want to include in the schedule:
    1. Select the account under Accounts.
    2. Make sure Include the selected account in this group is selected.
    3. Choose checking options under Account Options and Folder Options.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Pick the desired mail checking interval and options for the new schedule.

Send and Receive Periodically and at Startup in Outlook 2007

To have Outlook look for and retrieve new messages automatically on a schedule:

  • Select Tools | Send/Receive | Send/Receive Settings | Define Send/Receive Groups from the menu in Outlook.
  • Highlight the All Accounts group.
  • Make sure Schedule an automatic send/receive every ___ minutes. is checked under Setting for group "All Accounts".
    • Typically, you want the same setting unchecked under When Outlook is Offline.
  • Enter the desired interval for automatic mail retrieval.
  • Click Close.

If you want to exclude certain accounts from automatic mail checking:

  • Highlight the All Accounts group in the Send/Receive Groups dialog.
  • Click Edit....
  • Now highlight the account you want to exclude on the left.
  • Make sure Include the selected account in this group is not checked.
  • Click OK.

(Updated May 2016, tested with Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2016)

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