I'd like to write up an email that gets sent out in a few days. I'd prefer to use Gmail, but I could use some other client if necessary. It doesn't look like Gmail has this feature in their labs anywhere, but it could just be hiding somewhere.

Any ideas?

EDIT: a bit more backstory on my particular situation. My wife is out of town for three weeks, and I've decided to email her every day while she's out. Unfortunately, I myself am going camping this weekend, so I wanted to pre-record a message that gets sent while I'm out.

Unfortunately, FutureMail and FutureMe both are for sending email to yourself, probably for anti-spam reasons.

I guess the best solution is to use thunderbird on my laptop (so it's shielded from power outages). Seems a little excessive to keep a computer running just to send a few emails, but whatever gets the job done :).


10 Answers 10


Unfortunately there is no way to do this in Gmail.

If you have Outlook 2007 available create a new mail and click on the Options tab. There should be a button in the More Options group called Delay Delivery. Clicking that will allows you to choose when your mail is sent. Outlook has to be running at your selected time, so don't just close it and forget about it! This option may be available in earlier versions, but I don't have them installed so I can't check to see where they are

If you don't have access to Outlook, Thunderbird can do this, just go to File > Send Later (or press Ctrl + Shift + Enter)

If you must use a web-based program, you can use something like FutureMail, though I would test them first to make sure you're not going to be sending ad-filled email which looks like it's being sent from a strange email address.

If all else fails there is always the manual way - write the email, save it in your drafts, and then when it's time to send it, manually do so.

  • Thunderbird's "Send later" will just ask you every time you start it again whether you want to send your unsent messages now. Great when you write e-mail on your notebook without internet access, but not really a replacement for timed email sending...
    – mihi
    Jul 20, 2009 at 20:12
  • I didn't know that; I've never used that feature of Thunderbird before. I believe the SendTools ( addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/761 ) addon will fix that problem.
    – Dan Walker
    Jul 20, 2009 at 21:16

If you have access to a *nix system, use the "at" command along with the "mail" command to schedule a job doing your e-mail send (great for birthday e-mails, etc!).

  • Will it handle reboots? Jul 26, 2009 at 19:04
  • Yes, but if you're doing a recurring thing (which it sounds like now that the post has been edited), editing the crontabs might be a better choice. Jul 27, 2009 at 13:46

TimeCave looks like it might do that for you. From their "about" page:

The idea is simple: drop an email message into Time Cave and tell it when to come out. It'll stay there for as long as you'd like, within reason. (We wouldn't want stalactites to dissolve it.) So for days, weeks, months, or even years, Time Cave will hold onto your message. Once the message's time comes, it's speedily sent on its way back toward you (or whomever you addressed it to).

(emphasis mine)


There are a few ways to do this, unfortunately I can't think of a way to do it directly through the gmail web interface.

  1. You could use a pop3 client such as outlook, to deliver it at a future date ( Delivery options -> Do not deliver before check box ).
  2. You could setup an event in google calendar to send reminder at some future date, but that isn't really the same thing.
  3. You can use a 3rd party site to send an email at a future date, but then you're relying on their site and possibly your message security. For example: http://futureme.org/, http://futuremail.bensinclair.com/ (I'm sure there are others.)

Hope this helps.


So it turns out that Thunderbird's "Send Later" Button only saves it in a folder. Lame.

Luckily, there's a Send Later Extension that does what I want it to do. Hopefully it works!


Could you send the mail from your phone? Most Mobile (Cell) phones can send email now if correctly set up?


I would use web based scripted simple mail function, and run it every midnight by cron. (php would be great for this)


You can use Google Calendar as a work around. Create a Google calendar event and add a reminder be sent to you by email with the subject or comments listing whatever info you need that will remind you to send the note from your drafts folder or whatever. I agree that it would be nice to have this feature in Gmail.


The Sendible service is great for this type of thing. It does not use Gmail, and it is a paid service, but it works very well.

Aside from that, there are various solutions out there which solve this problem by using Google's Apps Script. Apps Script runs within a Google Docs file, and has the ability to access email in your Gmail account. There are several ways that these pieces can be used together to, say, save a draft email with a "send time" in the subject or body, then have a script run every hour to look for that type of message and, if found, send the draft. It's relatively complicated to setup this sort of thing but it can solve the problem entirely within Gmail.


Boomerang for Gmail is the best service that naturally integrates with GMail.


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