Add a buffer to that email you wish you hadn’t sent

We have all sent e-mails that we later regretted (usually that regret comes seconds after hitting the “send” button).  If you are running Outlook along with Exchange, you can occasionally recall/replace the message.  However, message recall doesn’t tend to work if you:

  1. Wait too long to recall
  2. Sent the e-mail to a distribution list
  3. Sent a really really stupid email that you would give anything to get back

If only there were a way to add a delay of just a few minutes between hitting the “send” button and having the bits actually hit the wire.

Fortunately, there is!  You can do it on a per-email basis using the following steps:

  • In the message, click Options.
  • Under Delivery options, select the Do not deliver before check box, and then click the delivery date and time you want.
  • If you are like me, however, you do not remember to check this box before sending a regrettable e-mail.  So, let’s setup a global delay for all e-mails.

  • On the Tools menu, click Rules and Alerts, and then click New Rule.
  • Select Start from a blank rule.
  • In the Step 1: Select when messages should be checked box, click Check messages after sending, and then click Next.
  • In the Step 1: Select condition(s) list, select any options you want, and then click Next. (For example, you can have the delay only apply to e-mails you send to a particular Distribution List or a specific co-worker)
  • If you do not select any check boxes, a confirmation dialog box appears. Clicking Yes applies this rule to all messages you send.


    In the Step 1: Select action(s) list, select defer delivery by a number of minutes. Delivery can be delayed up to two hours.

    In the Step 2: Edit the rule description (click on an underlined value) box, click the underlined phrase a number of and enter the number of minutes you want messages held before sending.


  • Click OK, and then click Next.
  • Select any exceptions, and then click Next.
  • In the Step 1: Specify a name for this rule box, type a name for the rule.
  • Click Finish.
  • Voila! you now have <whatever number you picked> minutes to go into your outbox and edit the email to include a forgotten attachment, rephrase your scathing attack on someone’s integrity, or delete the e-mail altogether until you have had time to sleep on your reply.

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