How to Delay the Sending of Emails in Mozilla Thunderbird


From time to time I use GMX‘s free email service. It is a standard freemail service with one very cool functionality — it lets you set a waiting period that counts down before your eyes and before your message is actually sent out to the recipient(s).

Having such a latency solution available came in handy to me a number of times. For example, once I forgot to add a rather important portion of text to the message.


GMX — Your email is being sent

Thanks to the countdown, I had time to realize the omission and stop the sending process before it was too late.

Real-world experience taught me that a five second delay is best for me. This time-frame is long enough to think about the message, but short enough so that it doesn’t bother me.

This is great for all GMX users. But I happen to use Mozilla Thunderbird as my primary emailing tool.

So I set out to find the perfect Thunderbird substitution for GMX’s delayed sending functionality. Here is what I discovered…

Delaying Messages in Mozilla Thunderbird

Native Functionality

Thunderbird has a functionality called Send Later. It is available via the Ctrl+Shift+Enter keyboard shortcut. Instead of sending out the message, it puts the message in a local folder called Outbox.

You can send the message later by right-clicking on the Outbox folder and selecting Send Unsent Messages from the drop-down menu.

Send Later

To expand the abilities of the native functionality, you can install and use the Send Later add-on.

This add-on lets you define when messages stored in the Outbox folder should be sent out — the next time you launch Thunderbird, after a predefined time period (in 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours), or at a specific date and time.

You can also set your own time intervals instead of the above-mentioned 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and 2 hours.

To do this, click on the ≡ hamburger icon located in the upper right corner of Mozilla Thunderbird’s window. Then click on the Options button next to Send Later. In the Send Later preferences window, select the Shortcut 1, Shortcut 2, and Shortcut 3 tabs and type in your preferred time intervals in minutes.

Blunder Delay

Blunder Delay is a very simple add-on that lets you specify the periodicity of sending out messages from the Outbox folder.


Blunder Delay

You can set the interval in seconds, minutes, or hours.

To do so, click on the ≡ hamburger icon located in the upper right corner of Mozilla Thunderbird’s window. Then click on the Options button next to Blunder Delay. In the Options pop-up window you can set your preferred time interval — as seen in the image above.

When you are done composing an email, click File > Send Later in the new message’s menu or use the Ctrl+Shift+Enter shortcut to put the message into the Outbox folder. Blunder Delay will then make sure that your message is sent out when the next predefined interval occurs.

Send Later + Blunder Delay

Alternatively, you can use Send Later and Blunder Delay together. In this case open up Send Later’s options/preferences once again, as described above.


Send Later preferences

Tick the box in front of “Send” does “Send Later” and untick the box in front of Trigger unsent message delivery from Outbox.

This way when you click on the Send button in your Write New Message window in Thunderbird, it will bring up the following pop-up window:


Send this email later

Now click on the Put in Outbox button, so that Send Later moves your message to the Outbox folder. From there, Blunder Delay takes over and sends out the message at the next predefined interval.

Send Later will warn you the first time you do this. Just untick the box in front of Show this warning next time and click OK.


Put in Outbox warning


MagicSLR is an add-on that was created for the purpose of having a combined Get/Send button in Thunderbird.


Get/Send button

But as a side-effect it can also be used to manage unsent messages:


MagicSLR Preferences

Obviously, you need to put your messages into the Outbox folder first (using the Ctrl+Shift+Enter shortcut as described earlier in the post) for the add-on to work meaningfully.

Quote and Compose Manager

Quote and Compose Manager is a relatively obscure add-on that was created to enhance the layout of reply and forward messages in Thunderbird. The download link is located near the bottom of the author’s website.

However, it has a nifty feature buried within its option page. To access it, click on the ≡ hamburger icon located in the upper right corner of Mozilla Thunderbird’s window. Then click on the Options button next to Quote and Compose Manager.

And there it is in the Compose window tab of the options:


Quote and Compose Manager settings

Be sure to untick all other options of this add-on, in case you want to use it singularly for the purpose of delaying the sending out of your newly composed email messages.


Quote and Compose Manager — Pause before sending

When you click Send in your new message, a pop-up window will show up for the predefined amount of seconds counting down.

You can cancel the sending of the email within that time-frame.

Very cool. Just as with GMX. 🙂

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