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Sometimes the Send button can backfire. Have you ever sent a mail to the wrong person by mistake? Have you ever sent an email and then realized a second too late that you forgot an important point, or could have worded things more carefully, or even misspelled something obvious, like your own name?
Luckily, in Outlook you can set up a safety net for the Send button. On the Outlook team, we call it “delayed send.” You may find that it saves you a lot of potential embarrassment.
Delayed send is a simple idea: When you hit Send, Outlook automatically retains the message in your Outbox folder for a short length of time (for instance, one minute) before sending. Most times you won’t notice the delay. And if you hit Send and then realize you made a mistake, you can go to your Outbox, open up the message, modify it, and then re-send it – and the recipients never see the mistake.
But what about e-mails that need to be sent immediately? With a little more effort you can set up Outlook so that if you tag a message as urgent, it will be sent without the delay.
Here’s how you set up delayed send in Outlook 2007:
1. Go to Tools>Rules and Alerts. 2. Click New Rule. 3. Select Check messages after sending and then click Next. 4. Click Next again. When Outlook confirms that you want this rule to apply to every message you send, click Yes. 5. Check the checkbox next to defer delivery by a number of minutes:
6. Click on “a number of” and choose how many minutes you want mail to be delayed. I find that 1 minute works very well. 7. Click Finish. 8. If your mail server is Microsoft Exchange, Outlook will tell you that this is a client-side rule, which is fine; click OK. 9. Click OK to close the Rules and Alerts window.
And now the safety net is in place! Try it – send a mail message, then go to the Outbox. Your message will wait patiently in the Outbox until the delay is over, and then away it goes. During the delay, you can double-click the message at any time to stop it from being sent, so you can make modifications and hit Send again. (Hitting Send again will reset the delay, so that you get another minute to rethink your changes.)
Note that Outlook needs to be running in order to actually send the message, so you should leave Outlook open until the message leaves the Outbox. If you’re in the habit of dashing off a quick mail and then immediately closing your laptop or powering down your computer, you’ll want to set up an exception to the delayed-send rule, which leads me to…
The exception to the rule
It’s important to remember that this delayed-send rule will apply to every message you send. There may be times when you don’t want the delay in place. For instance, you may want to send mail immediately. Or, you may want to delay the delivery of a single message for longer than the rule specifies. (The delayed-send rule will override any delay-delivery settings you put on a single message, so it could cause messages to be sent sooner than you want.) If you want to be able to send mails without triggering the rule, you can set up category that exempts mail from the delayed-send rule. Here’s how to do that:
1. Go back to Tools>Rules and Alerts. 2. Select the delayed-send rule that you just created and click Change Rule > Edit Rule Settings. 3. Click Next, and click Yes for the “apply to every message” prompt. 4. Click Next again. 5. Under “Are there any exceptions,” check the checkbox next to except if assigned to category category.
6. Click on the “category” link. You’ll be taken to the Color Categories window. 7. Click New to create a new category. 8. Name it “Urgent” (or whatever you prefer) and click OK. (Note that some people who receive your messages marked in this manner may see the category attached to your message; it’s best to choose a category name that you don’t mind other people reading.) 9. You should now see the “Urgent” category checked: 10. Click OK. You should now see that the rule will only apply to messages that don’t have the “Urgent” category: 11. Click Finish.
Then you can do the following to mark an individual mail as urgent before sending it:
1. Under the Home tab, click the dialog launcher () for the Options chunk: 2. Click on the Categories button and choose “Urgent.” 3. Click Close.
When you click Send, the message will send immediately.
Let us know if you think this is useful!
Andy Brauninger Outlook Program Manager
Have been using this feature for long time now. Works perfect. Does it break the "delayed send" functionality [ability to send message at a pre-specified time]? Because I never seem to get that feature to work?
I've used this feature for many years, but there is an important caveat: the delay isn't actual minutes but is instead clock minutes. This means that if you have a 1 minute delay set and you click send at 12:12:50, your email will send after 10 seconds as soon as the minute advances from 12 to 13. For this reason, I use a 2 minute delay, which translates into a delay from 1 minute 1 second to 2 minutes.
Hi Gaurav - I'm glad the feature works well for you! Yes, this rule will override the "Do not deliver before" setting in the Message Options dialog box. If you want, you can set up the exception category like I describe above, and use that category selectively on messages that you want to send at a later date. Andy
Hi, yes, that's definitely useful. I've been using it for years now. I have two additional comments: * I use the exception clause for messages marked with high importance (instead of the category you're proposing) or (that's a cool one) a phrase ". " in the subject line. In this way I can unobtrusively send unimportant mail immediately. * This rule unfortunately will make you re-write your message if Outlook works in Exchange mode *and* you have to re-visit the message in the Outbox folder. As soon as you enter Outbox, message's "sent" timestamp is reset to "None", and there is no way I can find to re-send the message. I have to manually put the content into another reply, and submit it all over again. Pirx
Life and Face saving tip, thanks!
I would like to know the answer to the last comment as I use delayed sending often and would hate for the 'defer delivery by a number of minutes' to break that rule
Thank you for this post, I now have the Rule setup. Regarding your note: 8. Name it “Urgent” (or whatever you prefer) and click OK. (Note that some people who receive your messages marked in this manner may see the category attached to your message; it’s best to choose a category name that you don’t mind other people reading.), there is another Rule you can create to 'Clear catagories on mail' to avoid the recipient seeing your catagories. Thanks again. Robin
Thanks for the great tip, Andy!
Hi, one cool feature of KMail is that is warns you when you hit "Send" button and you did not attach an attachment to the message when the text of the message contains word "attachment" (or other words you specify). Something like that available? It's really a common mistake to forget to attach something, so it would be cool to have it in Outlook. (I am not using Outlook, so I apologize if it does this already.)
Doie it work if you do do have Microsoft Exchange, ?
EdwardL, please see the second bullet in my comment above: * This rule unfortunately will make you re-write your message if Outlook works in Exchange mode *and* you have to re-visit the message in the Outbox folder. As soon as you enter Outbox, message's "sent" timestamp is reset to "None", and there is no way I can find to re-send the message. I have to manually put the content into another reply, and submit it all over again. So, it works, but not so conveniently as in the normal POP3 mode. Pirx
@ Andy Brauninger: Nice tips on this blog. I will definitely subscribe to the RSS feed :-). @ Pirx: Thanks for these additional tips. Very welcome!
Prix: I believe the issue with the item not sending that you mentioned is a known issue if you have the reading pane enabled in the Outbox folder. If you turn off the reading pane in that folder (which is the default), then Outlook will process the item as expected and send the message as expected. Ryan, Outlook PM
@Ray On my system it does not appear to be a clock delay, but is in fact an actual 60-second delay. If I send it at 2:17:30, the message sits in my Outbox till 2:18:37. If I send it at 2:18:50 it sits in my Outbox till 2:19:57. In no case can I get it to send in less than 65 seconds or more than about 70 seconds, no matter what part of the minute I hit send. I made my "exception" rule so that the rule won't fire off if the word "sendnow" is in the address. Then if I want to send now I'll simply bcc firstname.lastname@example.org and the message goes out immediately.
@Ryan: thanks for the hint, but nope, my preview pane is hidden for Outbox. Maybe it's some other internal component that marks the message read in the background... I can see the sent timestamp only for a second or so when entering the Outbox. That's a real bummer, you know... Pirx