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Delay Outlook E-mail

No, I’m not talking about procrastination today… although I am excellent at it… it’s not the focus for today.

What I’m discussing today is delaying e-mail messages from being sent.

Why would you want that?

Well, how many times have you sent a message then immediately thought “Darn, I also should have added…” or, the ever popular, “Man… I shouldn’t have said it that way”?

Yeah – I hear you. We’ve all done it way too many times for our liking.

So, with that in mind, may I suggest that we set Outlook to delay the message a few minutes after we hit the Send button?

Sound likes a good idea to me, so let’s get on with the “how to” of the solution to these types of problems.

First, you need to go to Outlook’s Tool menu, Rules and Alerts choice.

Once in the Rules and Alerts dialog box click the Create New Rule button. (My Outlook 2007 button was labeled simply as New Rule.)


At this point you should be looking at the first step of the Rules Wizard dialog box.

In the bottom section, Start from a blank rule, click “Check messages after sending“.

Now we’re ready to click the Next button.

Since we want to delay all messages that we send, simply click Next again to bypass setting any conditions for our rule.

Outlook may warn you that your rule will apply to all messages, click Yes to accept that information and move on.

This next step is where we select what actions Outlook should take with all of our outgoing messages.

Locate and select the “defer delivery by a number of minutes” choice.


Once this is selected and added to the syntax of the rule (bottom pane of the dialog box) you’ll find that the phrase “a number of” is a link. Click it.

You’ll now be presented with a dialog box where you set your time delay.


Obviously the choice is yours… how much time do you want added? Obviously enough to allow you to catch most problems but not so much that the extra time becomes an issue with someone.

Anyway, set a time and click OK.

After clicking OK you should find that the number of minutes you selected is now actually written in the rule – but is still a link – so you can click the number and change it later if necessary.

Click the Next button.

The next step is to set any exceptions you want Outlook to make. If you really want all messages delayed then you leave all of this unselected and click the Next button.

Otherwise, set your exceptions then click the Next button.

In our last step you have an opportunity to name your new rule.


Enter a name that make sense to you and click the Finish button.

Voila! All your messages will go to the Outbox and be delayed before actually being sent.

Give it a try… you probably won’t notice that the delay is even there. Well, you won’t notice until the day you catch a problem before it actually becomes a problem!

~ April