Sending E-mails in the Future with Outlook’s Delay Delivery Feature

Have you needed to remind someone about a topic at a later date? If so, do you typically need someone to remind you to send the reminder? Instead of assuming that you'll remember or adding another sticky note to your monitor, let's look at utilizing Outlook's Delay Delivery feature.

Whether sending the e-mail out tomorrow or next month, Outlook's option to delay messages makes sure it gets there on time. Note that the following information is based on Microsoft Outlook 2010 for Windows 7.

First, you'll compose an e-mail message as normal. When done, click the Options ribbon and click Delay Delivery (see Figure 1).

Outlook screenshot showing the Delay Delivery option
Figure 1. Click Delay Delivery

Make sure the "Do not deliver before:" option is checked and enter the date / time to send the message (see Figure 2).

Outlook screenshot showing the delivery date options
Figure 2. Enter the Delivery Date

Click Close. Note that the "Delay Delivery" button is highlighted to show the feature is active for the current e-mail message (see Figure 3).

Outlook screenshot showing the highlighted Delay Delivery button
Figure 3. Highlighted Delay Delivery Button

Next, you may want to include your e-mail address in the "Bcc" field so you receive the message at the same time as the main recipient(s). In addition to letting you know the message was sent, it's a good reminder of what was said which may be helpful in future correspondence. Note that the "Bcc" field may be hidden. Clicking Bcc under the Options ribbon makes it visible (see Figure 4).

Outlook screenshot showing how to unhide the BCC field
Figure 4. Show the Bcc Field

Although it's a little counterintuitive, you click Send when done. Changing the button to something like "Schedule" would have been nice, but we'll just have to trust the system. The e-mail should have been moved to the "Outbox" and stay there until the scheduled time.

Note that Outlook needs to be open when the message is scheduled to be sent, so plan accordingly. If it isn't open, the message is sent the next time Outlook is running.


We now have another tool for keeping on top of our correspondence. Just be mindful of the messages scheduled—needs may changed. For example, the e-mail may ask for bio information and a photo. If the photo is provided prior to the message being sent, the e-mail should be modified to avoid confusion.

It should also be noted that the error message in Figure 5 pops up every time Outlook is closed when there are messages in the Outbox. It's too bad that Microsoft doesn't look at the pending date. For now, you can click Exit Without Sending.

Outlook screenshot showing the pending messages warning
Figure 5. Pending Messages Warning

1 Comment

  • #1 Mark on 02.20.13 at 1:15 pm

    Thanks for writing this up. I have used the Delayed Delivery feature in the past; it never occurred to me that I was getting the Error message (Figure 5) because something was sitting in the out box. It also explained where I could find pending delivery messages. The Outbox, why didn't I think of that!?!?!?!! Thanks a ton.

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