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Defer Delivery of Sent Items Email for Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook 2007 IconA few days ago I explained .  This deferral process is particularly handy for those “OH NO I HIT SEND” moments where you wish you could take back an email almost the same instant you sent it.  Personally, I’ll never forget an early period in my career when a VP of HR insisted I open my manager’s inbox and delete an email she had sent him by accident.  I wish she had read a tip like this one before she sent that email seeing that her email almost ended my career.


Update 5/19/2010 – Outlook 2010 Users – Please see the latest update here: – How-to Delay or Schedule Email Delivery for Outlook 2010


Anyway, after I wrote the How-To for GMAIL, I almost instantly looked to see if I could defer/delay the delivery of emails using Outlook…???  Guess what; YOU CAN!  The feature is available for both Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007.  Very groovy indeed.  Being that it only took me 15 seconds to find the Outlook Rule I guess I’m a bit late to the party (sorry groovyReaders!)  Either way, read on for the 15-second tip!  You never know, this How-To might just save YOUR job (or perhaps your IT guy’s job.) 😉


How-To Defer Delivery of Sent Items/Email using Microsoft Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007


1.   Open Outlook, Click Tools, Rules and Alerts

Create new Outlook Rule and Alert


2.   Click New Rule

Create new Outlook Rule and Alert


3.   Click Check Message after sending, Next

Create new Outlook Rule and Alert


4.   Click Next again

Create new Outlook Rule and Alert


5.   Click Yes

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Outlook Rule - Set Defer delivery time


6.   Check Box defer delivery by a number of minutes, then Click a number of to configure the number of minutes of delivery deferral time

Outlook Rule - Set Defer delivery time


7.   Enter number of MINUTES you wish to defer the delivery of Sent email; Click OK when done

Outlook Rule - Set Defer delivery time

Note: Deferral time is MINUTES, not seconds.  Personally, 3 minutes is plenty for me.


8.   Click Finish to save rule

How-To Defer Delivery of Sent Items / Email


9.   Click OK when told about client-only rule

Outlook Click OK for This rule is client-Only


Because we clicked Finish early, you didn’t get to name the rule.  To correct that just Click the New Rule and give it a new name as shown in Step 10.  Name it something like, SAVE MY JOB DELAY.  😉


10.   Click the rule you just created, Click Change Rule, Rename Rule

Rename an Outlook Rule


Wow, ten steps for a 15-second tip!  Questions?  Comments?  Stories?  Would love to hear from you!

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12 Responses to Defer Delivery of Sent Items Email for Microsoft Outlook

  1. Alexmvp March 31, 2009 at 8:15 am #

    Awesome tip. Just enabled a 5 minute delay for all emails sent to people at work and all emails marked urgent (high importance). Thanks again!

    • speeddemon April 1, 2009 at 8:25 am #

      @Alexmvp, good point. 5 minutes seems a bit long so I set mine for just 2….

  2. speeddemon April 1, 2009 at 8:25 am #

    very cool tip being that I spend all day in outlook and I NEVER think before I send. heheheh. thnx

  3. Christopher Woods June 4, 2009 at 10:41 am #

    Excellent tip, I’ll have to remember that you can set up Defer rules!

    I have the same send-first-think-later problem sometimes – I ended up hunting round for an app which could intercept outgoing emails to give me a chance to review (also useful as I have about five outgoing email accounts, and sometimes I send via the wrong one the first time).

    I ended up finding an app called SoftX Email Monitor – it’s designed to watch for any and all outgoing emails (to flag up spammy applications, etc), but a side effect of this is that whenever you send an email in Outlook (without whitelisting the application) it will show the email. It’s one more click to send the email (otherwise it blocks it) but it’s saved me quite a few times now! If you hit Block Send, the Send/Receive times out in Outlook and you can just open the email up, modify it / change the outgoing account etc, and then send/receive again.

    It’s freeware, and works like a charm. A useful alternative to setting up a rule if you want more detailed control on a per-email basis. You can get the app from 🙂

    (not affiliated with SoftX, just a happy user and recommender!)

  4. Erin Napier October 21, 2009 at 9:05 am #

    Great tip! I don’t know how many times I send an email without its attachment, only to follow-up with a second email and the attachment. Thanks!

  5. Carlos September 28, 2010 at 3:21 am #

    In older versions of Outlook, you didn’t need a rule; subsequently, you could force a send of the email before the alloted time. There doesn’t seem to be a way to do that with this solution. Also, Outlook will not warn you that you have a message waiting to be sent when you close the application. At least mine didn’t. I have Office Professional Plus 2010 if that makes any difference.

    I’m baffled about why Microsoft would take send/receive options out of Outlook.

    • Sophia August 13, 2013 at 7:07 am #

      I agree, that is one thing I miss from the previous version, that you cant force the email to go sooner than the allotted time

  6. Abhijit October 19, 2010 at 9:39 pm #

    What a tip!! I really liked it. It is useful in our daily mailing operations where a mistake can happen any time. Thanks Groovy!!

  7. Jessica February 28, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    After I have sent the email, then realize that I need to make a change, how do I get to that email again, before it has been sent?

    • Cheryl May 13, 2013 at 1:00 am #

      It will be in your outbox

  8. Avishai December 10, 2011 at 12:12 am #

    1. In Outlook 2007/2010, what is the differece between setting a delay period using rules (like you explained here) and setting it using tools-options and setting send/receive to, lets say, every 2 minutes? I guess that means you sometimes click “send” and it goes right off. The question is – if (at least in 2007) I use the rules options, and set it for, e.g., 5 minutes – can I force sending earlier by clicking “send/receive”?
    2. The default time for defering a single mail is the same day at 5 pm. Can this default be changed, so it will be, for example, the next day at 8am?

  9. Natalie September 30, 2013 at 6:57 am #

    Thank you for this Groovy tip!

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