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Set Defer Delivery in Outlook 2007 and 2010

Have you ever sent an e-mail that you wished you hadn’t sent?  It happens quite often, and it recently happened to me. I intended to reply to just one person on a distribution list, but accidently replied to everyone on the list, which is everyone that works in my office. How embarrassing! Since we use Outlook 2010 on an Exchange server, I was at least able to try and recall the message. But that only works if the message hasn’t been opened or previewed.  Once the message has been viewed, there is no turning back. In my case, I was able to recall my message from about half of the recipients that received it. Not counting the one that went to our CEO. Oh joy.

Unfortunately, while Outlook is the most used mail client on the planet, it does not have the capability to go back in time and prevent the message from going out. Nor does Outlook have a way of detecting when a user is about to do something stupid. Too bad, really.

There are steps however, that can at least buy a few minutes to realize a mistake and prevent a message from being sent. You simply create a rule to defer delivery of a message for a set number of minutes. Here’s how to set up the rule in Office 2010:

For Outlook 2010

  1. From the Home menu, select Rules.
  2. Select Manage Rules & Alerts.
  3. Select New Rule.
  4. Select Apply Rule on Messages I send from the list of rule templates.
  5. Click Next.
  6. Ignore the Select Conditions. Click Next.
  7. On Select Actions, Check the defer delivery by a number of minutes.
  8. In the lower box, click a number of minutes and enter the number of minutes of delay you desire.
  9. Click OK, Next.
  10. Ignore the Select Exceptions. Click Next.
  11. Give the rule a name, possibly Delay Send.
  12. Click Finish.

For Outlook 2007

In Outlook 2007, the process is slightly different, but the results are the same:

  1. On the Tools menu, select Rules and Alerts
  2. Click New Rule
  3. Select Check messages after sending and then click Next
  4. Click Next again.
  5. Click Yes to confirm that you want this rule to apply to every message
  6. Check the checkbox next to defer delivery by a number of minutes
  7. Click on “a number of”  in the lower box and set your delay time
  8. Click Next, Next
  9. Give the rule a name, possibly Delay Sending
  10. Click Finish, OK, and OK

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