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How to Schedule an Email in Outlook in 7 Steps, With Photos

Outlook on a computer screen

How to Schedule an Email in Outlook in 7 Steps, With Photos

Key Points

  • Scheduling emails in Outlook can boost productivity by allowing you to draft and schedule emails in advance.
  • Scheduling an email is a courteous way to respect time zones when communicating with colleagues or clients in different time zones.
  • Scheduling emails in Outlook allows for strategic planning of when messages are sent for maximum impact.

Have you ever sat around waiting for the right time to send an email? Perhaps you decided to get a head start on the work day but didn’t want to deliver anything to anyone before working hours. Maybe you were communicating with someone in another time zone and felt you needed to wait for a more convenient time to contact them. This is what scheduling an email is for! The process is quite simple for Outlook users. Simply follow along with the step-by-step process below, complete with photos to help guide you along the way and you’ll be scheduling emails in Outlook in no time. 

Why Schedule an Email in Outlook?

Microsoft Outlook
Outlook makes scheduling emails simple.

As it turns out, there are a few great reasons to learn this nifty trick. When you schedule an email in Outlook, you’re making a smart move that can boost your productivity, make you seem more respectful of time zones, and help you optimize your strategy all at once. This one single move can completely change the way you send emails forever. Let’s review three of the most popular, most important reasons to schedule an email in Outlook below.

Productivity

Scheduling emails in Outlook helps you work smarter, not harder. By drafting and scheduling your emails in advance, you can get back to work faster — no more waiting around for the right time to send. Let’s say you’re most productive in the early morning, but don’t want your emails to be sent until the afternoon. With this, you can schedule everything in advance, and then move on to the next task at hand. Never again will your productive streak be interrupted by the need to stop and wait to send a simple email.

Time Zones

Have you ever worked with a colleague, a client, or even a friend from across different time zones? If you’re on one coast talking to someone on the opposite side of the country, there could be up to three hours separating the two of you (or more, depending on the country). This time difference grows even more drastic when communicating with someone in a different country. By scheduling an email in Outlook, you can ensure that your message lands in their inbox at a convenient and respectful time. It’s a courteous way to keep from alerting them outside of working hours.

Strategy

There’s also a strategic angle to scheduling an email. You see, the timing of an email can have an immense impact on how it’s perceived. The person you’re emailing may be far more receptive to your message first thing Monday morning as opposed to last thing Friday afternoon. Scheduling strategically allows you to plan when your message arrives for maximum impact. Not to mention, you can plan and draft emails around important events or announcements far in advance — ensuring they are sent precisely when they’ll be the most effective.

How to Schedule an Email in Outlook

Now that we’ve clarified what makes the skill of scheduling an email so valuable, let’s discuss how it’s done. We’ll cover the act of scheduling as well as setting custom times. These instructions are exclusive to Outlook, the email service included in the Microsoft 365 software suite. Email scheduling is also possible with Gmail, but the process will look slightly different with Google’s email service compared to Microsoft’s. Follow along with the steps and photos below, and you’ll be scheduling emails with Outlook in no time!

Step One: Log In

Outlook login screen.
Log in to Outlook.

First, log into your Outlook account (if you haven’t already). You can use the email address, phone number, or Skype account associated with your Outlook.

Step Two: Compose Your Email

An email being composed in Outlook.
Compose the email you wish to schedule.

Then, start composing your email. Fill out all the required fields, then double-check that everything’s correct. Verify that the recipient, the subject, and the body of your message are all filled in without mistakes. Once you schedule the email, you won’t be able to edit it unless you unschedule it again.

Step Three: Click Arrow

An email in Outlook with dropdown menu selected.
Click the arrow next to the Send button.

Once you’ve finished composing your message, click the arrow next to the Send button. You’ll soon see a dropdown menu appear below.

Step Four: Select Schedule Send

Schedule send option in Outlook.
Click the Schedule Send button.

From the dropdown menu, select the option that reads “Schedule send.” Be careful not to click the option above that, as it will immediately send the message instead of scheduling it.

Step Five: Choose Time

Email scheduling options in Outlook.
Select the time you want your scheduled email to be sent.

After clicking “Schedule send,” you’ll see a pop-up menu with pre-determined schedule times. At the time, these times were Tuesday morning at 8 AM or Sunday morning at 8 AM. These suggested times will vary depending on when you’re composing your message.

If one of these times works for you, then click the option. This will schedule your message, allowing you to skip ahead to the final step. If you need to set a custom time instead, then proceed to the next step.

Step Six: Set Custom Time

Custom send times in Outlook.
Choose a specific time and date to send your email.

Click “Custom time” next to the pencil icon to choose a specific date and time for your email to be sent. On the next screen, you’ll see a calendar and a clock icon as well as a miniature calendar. Choose the exact time and date to send your message, then click the “Send” button.

Step Seven: Confirm Delivery

List of scheduled emails in Outlook.
Confirm your email will be sent at the right time and date.

After scheduling your email, check to make sure that everything looks right on the following screen. Does the date look right? The time? The content of the email itself? Verify all this information before moving on to the next task at hand. Then, make a note to check back in with the message after its scheduled send time to make sure it was delivered without incident. Repeat as many times as you need.

Summary Table

StepInstructions
Step One: Log InLog into your Outlook account.
Step Two: Compose Your EmailCompose your email, filling out all the required fields.
Step Three: Click ArrowClick the arrow next to the Send button to reveal a dropdown menu.
Step Four: Select Schedule SendSelect the “Schedule send” option from the dropdown menu.
Step Five: Choose TimeChoose one of the pre-determined times or set a custom time.
Step Six: Set Custom TimeClick “Custom time” to choose a specific date and time for your email to be sent.
Step Seven: Confirm DeliveryVerify all the information is correct.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you email multiple people at once in Outlook when scheduling an email?

Yes, you can definitely send emails to multiple recipients in Outlook. Enter each individual email address in the “To” field, separated by commas or semicolons. You can also use the “CC” (Carbon Copy) and “BCC” (Blind Carbon Copy) fields to include additional recipients that might not need to be direct recipients.

What does "Priority" mean when sending a scheduled email?

When sending an email, the “Priority” option lets you select the importance of your email. You can set it to “High,” “Normal,” or “Low,” depending on the significance of the message as you see fit. Essentially, it’s a visual indicator for recipients to help them understand how important the message is.

Is there a size limit for sending attachments in Outlook?

Yes, there is a basic size limit for attachments in Outlook. As of this writing, the limit is capped at 20MB. Any larger than this, and you’ll need to utilize a cloud storage service or share a link to the attachment instead. This goes for multiple attachments, as well. The total number of attachments added to the email you want to schedule cannot exceed the size limit of 20MB.

Can you unsend an email in Outlook?

As long as the email has not been opened or read, Outlook lets you unsend it. Simply go to the “Sent” folder, find the email you want to unsend, and click the “Recall” option. Be cautious, though: This action is only allowed if both the sender and the recipient have a Microsoft email account under the same organization.

If you would like to recall an email you’ve scheduled to be sent, it’s even easier. Just unschedule it and you’re all sorted.

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