Q: Is there a way I can delay the sending of email from Outlook?
Sometimes you click Send and then immediately regret it because you wanted to change something, there’s a nifty Outlook trick that most people don’t know about called “delayed send.” With it, you can buy yourself some extra time before your mail goes out. If you remember something you want to fix, you can fish it out of the Outbox and make further edits.
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:
When you click Send, the message will send immediately.