How to Tweak When Outlook Sends and Receives Emails

Have Outlook check for new mail periodically and on your schedule

Email messages automatically delivered to a laptop

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If you want to limit how often you check your mail or if you want to manage your inbox more efficiently, set Outlook to check for new mail every few minutes or every few hours. You can even pick which email accounts to check and when to check them. Having Outlook check for new mail periodically means mail for included accounts is also retrieved immediately after Outlook starts.

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, and Outlook for Office 365.

Make Outlook Send and Receive Periodically and at Startup

To set up Outlook to look for and retrieve new messages automatically on a schedule:

  1. Select the Outlook Inbox and go to the Send / Receive tab.

    The send receive tab selected in Outlook.
  2. In the Send & Receive group, select Send/Receive Groups.

    Selecting send/receive groups in Outlook.
  3. Select Define Send/Receive Groups.

    Screenshot showing Define Send/Receive Groups
  4. In the Send/Receive Groups dialog box, highlight All Accounts.

    Screenshot of Send/Receive Groups dialog
  5. Select the Schedule an automatic send/receive every check box.

    Selecting to schedule an automatic send/receive in Outlook.
  6. Enter the desired interval for automatic mail retrieval.

    IMAP and Exchange server inboxes and other folders may update immediately as new messages arrive regardless of the interval.

  7. Select Close.

Choose the Accounts Included in Periodic Outlook Mail Checking

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

  1. In the Send/Receive Groups dialog box, highlight All Accounts.

    Screenshot of Send/Receive Groups dialog
  2. Select Edit.

    Selecting edit in the send receive groups in Outlook.
  3. To add an account to automatic checking, choose the account and select the Include the selected account in this group check box.

    Screenshot of Send/Receive Settings
  4. Select OK.

  5. To set up a new mail checking group that downloads and sends mail for certain accounts on a different schedule, select New.

    Selecting New in Send receive groups in Outlook.
  6. In the Send/Receive Group Name dialog box, enter a name for the sending and receiving schedule, then select OK.

    Screenshot of New Group dialog
  7. In the Send/Receive Settings dialog box, go to the Accounts pane and select the account you want to include in the schedule.

    Selecting an account to add to send receive group.
  8. Select the Include the selected account in this group check box.

    Selecting to include the selected account in the new group.
  9. Under Receive mail items, select Use the custom behavior defined below. Or, select Download complete items including attachments for subscribed folders.

    Selecting to use the custom behavior defined in Outlook.
  10. In the Account Options and Folder Options sections, choose which items to send, receive, and download.

  11. Repeat steps 7, 8, and 9 for each account you want to add to the schedule.

  12. Select OK.

  13. In the Send/Receive Groups dialog box, highlight the new send/receive group you created.

    Selecting to schedule the new group in Outlook.
  14. Select the Schedule an automatic send/receive every check box and choose the desired mail checking interval.

  15. Select Close when you're finished.