How To Delay Sending A Message In Outlook

Posted September 15, 2006 by Rob Rogers in Microsoft Outlook

In some cases, you may want to delay sending a message in Outlook. normally, e-mail messages are sent immediately when you click the Send button in the Message window unless you aren’t connected to the internet (then it will sit in your Outbox until you connect).

You can delay sending the message by postponing the send date as follows:

In the Message window, Click the Options.

In the Message Options dialogue box, select Do Not Deliver Before check box, and choose the desired send date in the calendar drop-down and the desired time you want the message sent in the appropriate drop-down.

Click Close and Send.

Your message will go to the Outbox folder until the assigned date and time to send it.


About Rob Rogers

Once a prolific author here on Tech-Recipes, Rob has moved on to greener pastures.
View more articles by Rob Rogers

The Conversation

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  • tom

    However, Outlook will require you to send (empty your Outbox) if you close down Outlook. it would be better if the SEND occurred and the Outlook server would take care of the delay request.

  • Joe

    I think this is a great feature.

    However the only downside is that the email will have the timestamp of when you actually hit “send”. In other words, if you compose an email at 10am , do a delay for 1pm, and then hit ‘send’, the email will be received at 1pm but it will show as being sent at 10am. Is there a way to adjust the timestamp to reflect the time the email is actually received?


    • Andrew Miller

      One way to get around this in any outlook version is to change your system time. Outlook gets it’s time from whatever time your computer thinks it is. If you have admin rights on your computer you can change the system time, compose and send the message, and then quickly change it back.

      You must be quick, however, since your computer’s time must stay syncronized with your network’s primary domain controller (a server) or you will lose your network connection, making it impossible to send email among other things…

  • cecilia

    I am restating the question written by Joe. Can someone provide a solution?

    I think this is a great feature.

    However the only downside is that the email will have the timestamp of when you actually hit “send”. In other words, if you compose an email at 10am , do a delay for 1pm, and then hit ‘send’, the email will be received at 1pm but it will show as being sent at 10am. Is there a way to adjust the timestamp to reflect the time the email is actually received?

  • Anonymous

    1. Does Outlook have to be running on the local PC?, or,
    2. If there is an Exchange Server, the above does not matter . . .
    as the Exchange Server has the email waiting in the User’s Outbox and the Exchange Server’s clock times out for the delay for when to send?

  • Anonymous

    I have done this and it works EXCEPT when I cc myself, I never get the cc’d version. Any ideas about this?

  • John Williams

    This should be retitled/reworded as … A Way to Delay “Delivery.”

    That’s because this method does NOT delay the sending. I.e., if you use this method, your email will still show the original time you sent it. E.g.:

    If you send an email on Weds, Feb 03, 2010 at 8:00 AM — but make it a “do not deliver” time/date of the next day, in the early morning…

    e.g.: Thurs, Feb 04, 2010 – 4:00 AM

    … your “delayed delivery” email will arrive as specified, but it will also show the original time you sent it — this information WILL appear in your email when it’s opened:

    From: Your Name
    Sent: Wednesday, February 03, 2010 8:00 AM

    In essence, your email recipient gets ONE email from you that has TWO dates/times listed. From the INBOX view, they see when they received it (that’s the result of the “Delayed Email” function). But once they open your email, they see when you actually sent it.

    This double date/time showing on your email might be fine in some instances, but could raise eyebrows in others (“Why did the sender delay my receiving this email?”). In the latter instances, you might want the recipient assume that the date/time it was received is basically also when you sent it (not that you actually sent it hours or days earlier, but just delayed its delivery.

    Anyway, it would be great if one could get the two times to look the same, or very close to each other, rather than showing perhaps hours or days difference between the two. I.e., it would be great if a “delayed” email showed as its “Sent” date, the time/date when it actually mailed FROM the OUTBOX, not the time/date it went INTO the OUTBOX.

    Let’s tell Microsoft to give us this functionality! Peace Out…

  • Anonymous

    I just found this feature and LOVE it! HOWEVER, you MUST leave Outlook up and running in order for this feature to work! In other words, if you are accustomed to shutting down your computer OR logging off at the end of the day (at work, it’s highly recommended!), a warning window will appear, letting you know that if you exit Outlook, unsent messages will not be sent! The only way around this is to just lock down your computer!

  • Anonymous

    New email in Outlook 2007, hit options, then dalayed send, select date and time to send, then close then send. email goes to outbox, but does not send when the date and time arrive. Using Vistas on home computer, Any solution. I have tried delayed sending it to myself numerous times and it never gets sent, yet remains in outbox.???????????????

  • Christina


    Both you and John are correct in your tests. If you want to do a true test, you have to do a test on Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007 to see what we are talking about. I used to delay messages sent in Outlook 2003. The sent timestamp and the delivery timestamp would match on your recipient’s email (like you said). However, my office just got Office 2007 and Outlook 2007 has changed this feature. John and the others are correct. Now when you set up a delayed message, the sent timestamp is when you hit send and the received timestamp is when you delayed your message. So, your recipient now sees when you actually composed the email and when you wanted them to receive it. I don’t know why Microsoft changed this awesome feature in 2007, but I wish my office still had 2003. Now the delay feature is for nothing…nothing but raising eye-brows, as mentioned in earlier posts. That’s why I’ve been searching the Net trying to find a way to get the timestamps to match. So far, there is no way. Microsoft is the only one who can fix it. 🙁

    • Bleechy

      This is correct.
      The feature that I use in Outlook 2010 is to create a rule: ‘delay send by a number of minutes’.
      Furthermore, you could ‘force the send’ in Outlook 2003 by simply clicking send/receive, whereas in Outlook 2010 you can only force the send by making an exception to the rule e.g. ‘High Importance’ tag can be an exception that sends immediately.
      This is relatively annoying for some users who use/like the 2003 feature.
      Why do Microsoft etc make such short-sighted changes and annoy their loyal customers?

      • ashish phillips

        > Yes it is really irritating that the behavior has changed for Delayed delivery wherein we could earlier (2007) Force a send when you want to send immediately, however in Outlook 2010, nothing happens when you hit the Send/Rcv, is there any way to FOrce a Send, even with Delayed delivery set on ?


  • Thanks! Do you know if there is a way to repeatedly send a message? In other words, can I schedule it to send in one hour, in two hours, in four hours, etc.?

  • Santosh


  • murphy

    how do you cancel a delay message prior to the scheduled time?

  • Nobody

    You forgot an important point and that is how to get to the Message window. Right click on the message in the Draft folder and choose options.

  • Umberhulk

    If you have Cached Exchange Mode on (assuming your connected to an Exchange server), it will not send unless the email client is up. Turn Cached mode off, and it’ll send the delayed email regardless.

    • Cody

      Not sure if this is true or not, I haven’t tested yet, but THANK YOU in advance for mentioning the ‘cached exchange mode’ piece. I have a laptop and can’t leave it running for a week, just to delay one email. I will update you next week whether it worked.

  • Danielsydney

    Do you need to keep your pc and outlook open for this to work?

  • Anon

    You have to set up the email delay to the desired timestamp AND change your pc’s date and time to the same. When you hit send, the email will be timestamped with your pc’s future date and time, then sit in your outbox until the email delay triggers.

    PC time and date => sent timestamp. Email delay => received timestamp. Ideally they should be the same.

    Yes, outlook must be open.

    Tested in 2003.

  • Bea

    How do you make it work on Outlook for Mac?

  • Gers69

    Hi, tried testing this and delayed a message to myself from 11.23 to send at 11.30.
    Sure enougth it sat in my Outbaox until the required time but when arrived showed as Sent at 11.30 as well as delivered at 11.30.

    Does this mean the comments above have been responded to?
    Or is this just a fluke?

  • Brian

    I can confirm that this works as desired in Outlook 2010, meaning the sent and received times match the time that it left the outbox. So if you use the delay feature in Outlook 2010 and tell it to not send before 9:00 am the following day, both the received date & time in Outlook and the sent date & time in the top right corner of the message will match, and will be ~9:00 the next day. Yea they fixed it !

  • Ihab Ragab

    OK but when my PC go to locked mode in deliver time and date , message not send.

    ( i prepared mail to sent @ 5 PM, left outlook opened, PC locked before 5 PM and mail not sent )


  • Marc

    I am a member of the shared mailbox If I send a current e-mail from this shared mailbox to myself, the e-mail message is saved correctly in the Sent folder of this shared mailbox. However, if I send a future e-mail from this same shared mailbox to myself, the e-mail message is saved in my own Outbox folder, instead of the shared mailbox Outbox folder which should have happened.

  • Very disappointed

    It is unbelievable how many years Microsoft would need to deliver a piece of software that works as expected!

    Everybody is complaining that obviously! the Send time should be the time that was chosen the email to be sent at (with delay), and not the time that the (in this case) _schedule_ button Send was pressed!

    Only Microsoft product designers after so many years still don’t realize the above ugly and irritating bug in their Outlook and continue to sell this piece of s…oftware that doesn’t do the delay job as it ought to, but only disappoints the customer, often left without any choice!

    Shame on you, Microsoft!
    Shame on us, as well, for continuing to buy this piece of s…oftware!

  • mtrexler

    In one of the Microsoft support forums it says that this feature is “by design.” i.e. that the sending time is the time you press “send,” even for delayed delivery. Does anyone have any idea what the supposed reason would be for doing it the way it’s currently implemented?

  • Uri

    I have delayed emails waiting to be sent out to different parties. I was quite embarrassed when these emails were sent out early. E.g. About a month ago, I prepared a delayed email to be sent in March-2013 to remind certain parties about an event & it was sent out today. Anybody know what happened & how to avoid this in the future ?

  • suraj

    can recipient track when the emails has actually sent???

  • Yves

    The “Do not deliver before” box stays checked permanently and even if I unchecked it, it comes back automatically showing the actual date and 5:00pm. I cannot get rid of it! Therefore, all my messages stay in the Outbox until that day and time. Help please!

  • Jez

    Can someone send you an email and modify or manipulate it, so that you do not ever receive it,but they have it in their sent box as proof.