The Complete Guide to Scheduling Emails in Outlook

Email is most professionals‘ primary means of communication today. Being able to efficiently manage your inbox and draft high-quality messages is critical for workplace productivity.

But juggling the many emails we send and receive every day can be challenging. Have you ever found yourself stuck waiting for the "right" time to send a particular message?

This common problem has a simple solution – email scheduling.

What Is Email Scheduling and Why Use It?

Email scheduling allows you to compose emails whenever you want, but have them delivered at specific dates and times in the future.

For example, you could draft a message to a colleague at 8 AM on a Monday, but schedule it to send automatically at 10 AM on Tuesday.

There are several compelling reasons to start utilizing Outlook‘s scheduling capability:

Increased Productivity

No more wasting time trying to decide when is the best moment to send that email! Just write it whenever you‘re feeling productive, then schedule delivery for later.

This allows you to resume focus on other tasks without breaking concentration. A major boost to workflow.

Respects Time Zones

For teammates, clients, or partners located in different time zones, scheduled sends at convenient times are a courteous move. This prevents catching someone off-guard with a 3 AM buzz of their phone.

Strategic Timing

Carefully planning when your email reaches someone‘s inbox can have huge impact on open rates and response times. Coordinate delivery around important events for maximum effect.

According to research by Boomerang, emails sent between 6-7 AM can see open rates over 40% in some industries. Scheduling allows you to optimize timing.

Now let‘s examine how to schedule emails in Outlook step-by-step.

Step 1: Log Into Your Outlook Account

First, log into the Outlook webmail interface or desktop app if you haven‘t already.

You can sign in using the email address, phone number, or Skype account associated with your Outlook profile:

Enter credentials to log into Outlook account

Be sure you are logged into the specific account you want to use for scheduling emails.

Pro Tip: Enable two-factor authentication for enhanced security, especially when accessing Outlook via the web.

Step 2: Compose Your Email

With Outlook open, start drafting the email you wish to eventually schedule:

Compose email in Outlook webmail

When composing your message, be sure to:

  • Carefully enter the recipient(s) email address(es) in the "To" field
  • Fill out a clear, descriptive subject line summarizing the content
  • Write the complete body of the email as needed

Mistake Prevention

Before scheduling, double and triple check that all information entered is accurate. Unlike normal sends, you cannot edit a scheduled email after confirming the details.

If you notice a mistake, you would need to unschedule the message completely and redo the process.

Step 3: Click the Send Arrow

With your email fully composed and proofread, click the down arrow icon next to the standard Send button in Outlook‘s top toolbar:

Click the arrow icon next to Send email button

This expands a dropdown menu directly underneath with additional send options:

Expanded send options menu in Outlook

The ability to schedule emails lives here.

Step 4: Select "Schedule Send"

In the newly opened menu, click on the option that reads "Schedule Send":

Choose Schedule Send option in dropdown menu

Caution: Be careful not to accidentally click "Send" in this menu or your message will be sent immediately!

Choosing "Schedule Send" is the right path for, well, scheduling a send.

Step 5: Pick Date/Time

After selecting "Schedule Send", a pop-up will appear with some pre-determined send date and time suggestions:

Outlook suggests send dates and times

If one of the proposed options works for your scheduling needs, simply click it to schedule delivery then. Easy!

However, in most cases you‘ll want to choose a custom date and time instead…

Step 6: Set a Custom Send Date/Time

To pick a specific date and time rather than the suggested defaults, click the link labeled Custom time:

Select custom time option

This opens a menu with an interactive calendar and clock interface:

Calendar and clock tools for choosing custom send time

Use these tools to select the precise date and time you wish to schedule the email for delivery.

When finished, click Send to confirm details. Your message is now scheduled!

Recurring Schedules

For emails you need to send regularly on a schedule, enable the "Recurring" option to specify a repeating interval, such as daily, weekly, monthly, etc.

Step 7: Verify Scheduled Details

With your email scheduled, Outlook provides confirmation of the send date/time:

Outlook displays details of scheduled email

Carefully review the confirmation to ensure:

  • The scheduled delivery date/time matches your intention
  • The recipient(s), subject, and content also appear accurately

If anything looks incorrect, click "Undo" immediately and reschedule with the proper details.

If all‘s well, you have successfully scheduled your email! Return after the scheduled time to ensure smooth delivery.

Cautions With Scheduling

While scheduling emails can be invaluable, there are a few limitations users should be aware of:

  • Attachment size limits (20MB by default)
  • Lack of external recipient support (both parties need Microsoft/O365 accounts)
  • Inability to edit once scheduled (must unschedule and redo if mistakes found)
  • Potential send delays or non-delivery (server glitches)

Despite minor caveats, scheduled sending remains an essential tool for any Outlook user.

Best Practices For Scheduling Emails

Now that we‘ve covered the basics, let‘s dig into some pro tips and best practices:

Include Multiple Recipients

Need to send your scheduled message to more than one person? No problem!

When composing in Step 2, separate each recipient email address with a semicolon in the "To" field:

To: [email protected]; [email protected]

You can also add other contacts in the CC and BCC fields as desired.

Resource: Learn more about adding multiple recipients in Outlook

Always Set the Right Priority

Notice the "High", "Normal" and "Low" priority options when scheduling?

Message priority options in Outlook email

Use this setting ethically to indicate the importance of a message to recipients. This helps them triage items in their flooded inboxes:

  • High – Very important action likely needed
  • Normal – Standard informational message
  • Low – Non-urgent FYI

Don‘t cry wolf on priority unless it‘s warranted!

Mind Attachment Size Limits

When attaching files to scheduled emails, be aware that Outlook has maximums, typically 20MB total per message:

Outlook attachment size warning

If you need to share larger assets, try a cloud service like OneDrive instead. Links avoid clogging inboxes while allowing access.

Schedule Strategically

As mentioned earlier in the benefits section, timing is everything!

Aim to schedule email delivery to coincide with events for maximum relevance and response:

Strategic email scheduling example

Sends first thing Monday morning generally see high open rates as people plan their week. Late Friday? Not so much.

Unsending With Care

Made an unfortunate mistake and need to revoke that scheduled message? Here is what to know about Outlook‘s "unsend" capability:

  • Open the Sent folder, locate the problem email, and select Recall
  • This ONLY works if the intended recipient has not yet viewed the message
  • Both sender and recipient must use Microsoft or Office 365 accounts
    -acted quickly, unscheduling works more reliably than recalling

In many cases, you‘re better off catching the mistake early and unscheduling the message completely before confirmed delivery.

Key Takeaways

We‘ve covered quite a bit of ground on efficiently scheduling emails in Outlook. Let‘s recap the key learnings:

  • Why – Scheduling boosts productivity, respects time zones, allows strategic timing
  • How – Draft email → Click Send Arrow → Select Schedule → Pick Date/Time
  • Best Practices – Add multiple recipients appropriately, set priority, check attachments
  • Limitations – Attachment sizes, external recipient issues, editing inability
  • Unsending – Recall option, but better to unschedule proactively when possible

While minor limitations exist, scheduling emails remains an invaluable tactic for any busy Outlook user.

Next Steps

We encourage you to start putting your new scheduling skills to work immediately:

  • Practice on a few non-critical emails to get comfortable with the process before relying on it heavily. Repetition builds muscle memory.

  • Schedule Strategically around important communications, presentations, events and announcements to optimize impact and opens.

  • Let us know if you have any other questions as you begin scheduling! We‘re happy to help clarify any points needed.

Used proactively, email scheduling can take your Outlook game to the next level. Give it a shot and never agonize over email timing again!

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