Software

Use a rule in Outlook to delay email messages

By creating a delay rule, you can control when Outlook sends specific messages. Susan Harkins explains.

We all work differently and there's no reason you can't configure Outlook to accommodate your needs, when possible. For instance, you might write emails, but want to send them at a specific time. Maybe you want to edit the email later or you have some kind of timeline to maintain. One way to do this is to save messages to the Drafts folder until you're ready to send them and then send them manually. If you do this as a matter of routine, you might want to create a delay rule.

For example, you might want to delay messages for an hour, giving you ample time to return later to make last minute changes. To create a delay rule, do the following:

  1. In the Mail window, click the Home tab.
  2. In the Move group, click the Rules dropdown.
  3. Choose Manage Rules & Alerts.
  4. In the resulting window, click New Rule.
  5. In the Start From A Blank Rule section, select Apply Rule On Messages I Send.
  6. Click Next twice and then Yes (you don't need to set a condition at this point, but you could).
  7. Check the Delay Deliver By A Number Of Minutes option.
  8. In the step 2 pane, click the a number of minutes link, enter 60, and click OK.
  9. Click Next. In the next window, you could specify exceptions to your delay rule.
  10. Click Next.
  11. In the last pane, enter a name, such as Delay Send Rule.
  12. Click Finish, and then OK.

Delay rules come with an inherent problem-Outlook will send messages when the time arrives, regardless of your intentions. In addition, a delay rule like our example will impact all of your mail, not just those you actually need to delay. In other words, a delay rule might have some unfortunate repercussions, so use these rules judiciously.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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