Delayed Delivery-Sending Emails On Your Own Schedule

It was 3 a.m. and I couldn’t sleep.

Totally random and mostly useless information was running through my head. Suddenly, out of this sea of nonsense sprung an important thought.

I had to send a very important email to a coworker the next day regarding a revised deadline. Remembering to send that email was now all that I could think about. Would I remember to send it tomorrow?

It then dawned on me that I could send the email that night using a handy tool in Outlook. Why worry about sending an email tomorrow when I could get it off my to-do list now? Utilizing the “Delay Delivery” feature in Outlook is a wonderful tool for insomniacs.

It works equally well for people who sleep at night and prefer to use the tool during the day.

This feature can be used in any number of situations. Perhaps you have more time to send emails first thing in the morning, but you prefer to reach out to the recipient later in the day. Or, you know that this particular person tends to respond to emails faster if they are sent at the end of the day.

You can utilize Xobni Statistics to track a recipient’s email habits.


Maybe you have coworkers who work half way across the world and you’d like an important email to be the first thing that they see when they get to work the next morning.

Follow the simple steps below to send an email at a future time or date. Please note, these instructions are for MS Outlook 2007.

-Launch MS Outlook.
  • Create your email message.
  • With the message still open, click on Options in the toolbar.
  • Click, “Delay Delivery” on the right side of the toolbar.
  • Check the box next to, “Do Not Deliver Before.”


  • Set the time and date that you would like the message to be sent.
  • Click Close.
  • Send the message.
You should see the message in your Outbox until it is sent. You may never have realized it, but many people that email you may have been using this nifty trick for years without you even knowing it!

7 Responses to “Delayed Delivery-Sending Emails On Your Own Schedule”

  1. 1 Robin Capper July 9, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    You can also add a rule to delay Outlook all email sent for a minute or two, or whatever you choose, which is great for those “Click send, Doh I forgot to add…” moments.

  2. 2 Alex July 9, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    Great tip guys, the joys of Outlook!

  3. 3 Jared Goralnick July 10, 2009 at 8:36 am

    It’s a great tip but someone has to be very very careful with:
    * this a client side setting, which means that if Outlook is closed the message will not go out until Outlook is running again and online. This gets people in trouble all the time
    * Do not deliver before means do not deliver before. The message could very well go out 5 hours or 5 days later, depending on when you send/receive. If you don’t have send/receive every X minutes set up or Outlook is in Offline mode you can be assured the message will not go out anywhere near the time you set it to
    * The Outbox is the only folder that (when on Exchange) does not synchronize, thus if you want to edit the message on a handheld or another machine you cannot. In the Drafts folder you do have that luxury.
    * The default delay delivery until time is 5pm of that day. So if at 11pm you leave it at the default, thinking that it’s 5pm tomorrow when the message will go out, the message will go out today. That’s true for any time you set it…Outlook isn’t smart enough to tell you when you set a time that’s before now, so people often accidentally check the do not deliver before and then find that the message goes out right away. Oops!

    Like many things in Outlook, everyone gets really excited when they find them. But the devil is in the details. Don’t even get me started on how this plays out with travelers and timezones…

  4. 4 Peter R Hawkes July 13, 2009 at 11:45 am

    The other problem is that in your Sent folder the mail is listed, after it is finally sent, as going at the time the message was created rather than sent!

  5. 5 Matt Brezina July 13, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Jared, Robin, Peter – thanks for those helpful updates, warnings and tips. Outlook can be a complicated beast, but if we all help each other out, hopefully we can manage to use it effectively.


  6. 6 Josh July 14, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Make sure to look in your Sent folder the next day that it was actually sent. From experiance.

  7. 7 jill August 2, 2009 at 10:04 am

    yeah this can be useful. I find however that while the message is sent when expected the time on the email is when it is saved…a but confusing. also as notted above you have to have your computer on.

    thats why sites like come in handy. 🙂 You can set an email up to be sent from your existing email address, and you know nothing will stop it being sent at the right time. if your computer puts itself to sleep it won’t matter….

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