I am terrified of accidentally sending a reply before I'm finished editing it. Usually what I do is either:

  1. copy the email into word, edit in word, then hit reply-to-all in outlook, paste in my text, and send.
  2. hit reply-to-all, delete the recipient names, edit, add the recipient names, and send.

Is there a way to 'lock' the email so I can't send it while I'm making edits in Outlook? I hate having to switch between programs just so I can edit.

  • 4
    IMHO that's more a matter of "psychological inhibition" rather than a real technical limitation. I also read my emails carefully before sending them (more than once if they are really important) but I'm not afraid of pushing the wrong button. Sometimes it just happens: you delete a piece of text by mistake, you scramble it, but you can almost often ctrl+Z. Sometimes you send out incomplete text (by mail, WhatsApp, social networks or whatever) but it's normal. It may happen to everyone. Just don't make it a habit.
    – Avio
    Jun 25, 2012 at 20:17
  • 15
    Don't fill in the email address until the last thing. Or, on mailers that have the feature, enter a bogus email address that the mailer will choke on and refuse to send to. Jun 26, 2012 at 1:27
  • 3
    @Avio I understand I will accidentally click the wrong button from time to time. But when I am sending a sensitive business email, why should I tolerate human error--especially if it can be prevented? For example, I often hit CTRL+Enter by accident because I want to paste text (ctrl+V) followed by a newline. Unfortunately this sends the email in Outlook.
    – dan
    Jun 26, 2012 at 2:40
  • 2
    Good, now i have a new anxiety! Jun 26, 2012 at 12:56
  • 1
    Microsoft, go add one more button called "Lock/Unlock 'Send'". No one would accidentally unlock the 'Send' button and then click 'Send'.
    – bmm
    Sep 26, 2013 at 8:48

6 Answers 6


Type "zzz" (or something else that won't resolve to a valid email address) into the CC or BCC field. Outlook won't let you send the email until all the email addresses are resolved.

  • 2
    Good idea, but not as effective if you are replying, or worse, replying to all. With a single-recipient reply, you could delete the user and re-add them at the end, but for a multiple recipient email, you may find it to be troublesome to do this.
    – Jeff Olson
    Jun 29, 2012 at 2:34
  • No, it's acutally very effective @JeffOlson. You have your whole list of addresses, and you ADD a single invalid one. As long as that one is there, the email won't be send out!
    – Blitz
    Apr 18, 2014 at 12:48

I create a client-only mail rule called "Defer Send".

  1. Create a new rule, starting from a Blank Rule "Apply Rule on messages I send"
  2. Have it process for all sent mail.
  3. Select "defer delivery by a number of minutes"

Sometimes I'll add "except if it is marked as importance" as well.

This way, if you accidentally send, you can go and reopen it from your outbox, and it won't be sent.

  • 7
    GMail has a similar 'undo sent mail' feature, which is awesome. Jun 25, 2012 at 18:21
  • 1
    This is awesome. Great idea!
    – jftuga
    Jun 25, 2012 at 20:49

While I would prefer to go with CharlieRB's solution any day, a quick way to achieve a similar effect is to simply go offline for a while:

enter image description here

Then go back online once you've finished writing your mail.

  • clever idea +1 :)
    – Devjosh
    Jun 25, 2012 at 19:11
  • Very clever. Has the benefit of being able to retain the recipient list without having to recreate the list or configure additional rules in your Outlook. Downside is you are composing for a while or simply forget to turn it off then you can't receive email either.
    – techturtle
    Jun 25, 2012 at 20:06
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    @techturtle Not necessarily a downside. You should finish that email before you starting reading something else!
    – benzado
    Jun 25, 2012 at 21:18
  • I like this answer more because this method is simple, and therefore works, for example, in Windows Live Mail too.
    – Malcolm
    Jun 25, 2012 at 23:08
  • 1
    @Malcolm: ...and in Thunderbird and perhaps other clients, too -- without configuration!
    – krlmlr
    Jun 26, 2012 at 11:45

Delete (or don't type) anybody's name or email address in the To: or Cc: fields. Then you can't send it until you enter that info.

  • 1
    +1 because I agree this is the best way, although this option was actually his #2 answer for how he already does it.
    – techturtle
    Jun 25, 2012 at 18:45
  • Oops. My bad for not catching that.
    – Fran
    Jun 25, 2012 at 19:00

There is an option in to "not send immediately". It is located from the File tab, then select options. Choose Advance and scroll down about half way. There under Send and receive you will see a check box for "Send immediately when connected" (this is checked by default).

enter image description here

This doesn't "lock" the email, but by removing the check, the messages go into your outbox to wait until the next scheduled send/receive session rather than being sent immediately. In the event you send before you are done editing, you can simply go into the outbox and open the email you were working on.

  • Surely a goood suggestion
    – tiki
    Jun 25, 2012 at 19:11
  • 5
    ...most of the time anyway. When you misclick send a second before the scheduled send time you're still SoL. Jun 25, 2012 at 20:16

Add some invalid character to the email address of the recipient until you're done editing. Like two consecutive at (@) signs.

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