Delayed Delivery in Microsoft Outlook

Planning emails ahead of time is quick and easy with Microsoft Outlook's Delayed Delivery function. This is a step by step guide to setting up and canceling a delayed email.

Outlook has a ton of amazing features that often get overlooked. (Partly due to the fact that they have so many features). One that people often forget to utilize is Delayed Delivery. This feature allows you to schedule an outgoing email to be sent at a future day or time. This is great for sending reminders, emailing at strategic times, or lowering expectations on your response time (that last one is a joke… Or is it?) 

Step by step guide to setting delayed delivery

Start by composing your email as normal. Fill out your subject, body, etc.

This is a compose email screen from Outlook 2019

In the top toolbar go to the “options” tab.

Options tab is located between the insert and format text tabs.

You’ll find delay delivery in the left most options are “more options”.

The delayed delivery icon has a clock over an email in an outbox tray.  

When you click the icon a new window will pop up with a variety of options. Under delivery options, you will see a check mark next to “do not deliver before”. Outlook will have defaulted to a time in the near future (this one defaults to 5 pm.)

Properties has a number of options including delayed delivery.

You can change the date by either typing in a date or clicking the drop-down arrow and selecting your date from the calendar.  

A calendar will pop up for you to select the date, or you can just type in the space provided.

Edit the time by either typing in your desired time or clicking the second drop down arrow and selecting a time.  

Change the time of email delivery in two ways.

Click to close this window.  The Delay Delivery option will now be a darker gray indicating this setting is in use.  

The delay delivery symbol has darkened to show it has been activated.

Lastly, click send as you normally would to finalize this email to be sent at your specified time.   

Locating Your Delayed Emails

If you made an error and want to edit or delete an email that has delayed delivery activated, you just need to know where to find it. In your default outlook folders, you will find a folder called outbox.  

Locate you outbox folder to find emails in a queue to be sent, usually located towards the bottom of your default folders.

To edit your email, simply open the email to make changes and click send once more.

To delete the email entirely, you have to open the email to edit and turn off delayed delivery by unchecking the do not deliver before box.

Make sure you uncheck the box to prevent your mail from being delivered.

(Tip: Deleting as you would any email either by clicking the delete button will send the item to your deleted items folder. The delayed send will still activate even form this folder. Make sure you remove the delayed delivery checkmark and/or permanently delete the item from your deleted items folder).   

Author’s Assessment

This tool is only available in the desktop application. I expect they will work on rolling this out to the mobile app and webmail eventually. However, it can be very useful if you do use the desktop application. Try it the next time you need to send an email on the weekends but don’t want to set the precedent of working off the clock. It is super useful in a variety of scenarios so feel free to experiment.

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