What Does Outbox Mean in Email?

• 4 minutes READ

The Outbox is a specific folder within an email client where outgoing emails are temporarily stored before they are successfully sent to the recipient. Think of it as a waiting room where emails pause briefly before embarking on their journey to the recipient’s Inbox. The Outbox plays a vital role in sending emails, ensuring that all messages are properly processed and sent by the email server.

What Does Outbox Mean in Email

In today’s digital age, email communication is integral to our personal and professional lives. Whether for business correspondence, personal messages, or information sharing, email has become a primary mode of communication. Email clients, the software applications we use to send and receive emails, are equipped with various components such as the Inbox, Sent folder, Drafts, and the often overlooked yet crucial Outbox. For those looking to enhance their email communication with visually appealing designs, resources like Designmodo’s email templates offer excellent email templates. This article delves into the function and importance of the Outbox in email communication and highlights which email clients feature an Outbox.

How the Outbox Works in Email

Understanding the workflow of the Outbox can help demystify its purpose:

  1. Composing Email: When you compose an email and click the send button, the email is first moved to the Outbox.
  2. Temporary Storage: The email remains in the Outbox while the email client and server process it.
  3. Processing and Sending: The email server attempts to send the email to the recipient’s email server. If the process is successful, the email is moved from the Outbox to the Sent folder.
  4. Sent Folder: Once in the Sent folder, the email is no longer the sender’s responsibility and can be successfully delivered, barring any server-side issues on the recipient’s end.

Why is My Email Getting Stuck in the Outbox?

Emails can get stuck in the Outbox for several reasons, including:

  • Connection Issues: A poor or lost internet connection can prevent the email from being sent.
  • Server Errors: Problems with the email server, such as maintenance or outages, can hinder the sending process.
  • Large Attachments: Due to size limitations, emails with large attachments may take longer to send or be blocked by the server.
  • Incorrect Recipient Addresses: Mistyped or invalid email addresses can cause the email to fail to send.

How Do I Move an Email from Outbox to Sent?

Typically, you cannot manually move an email from the Outbox to the Sent folder because it must be successfully sent by the email server. However, you can try the following steps:

  1. Resend the Email: Open the email in the Outbox and click the Send button again.
  2. Check Connectivity: Ensure you have a stable internet connection and try resending the email.
  3. Correct Errors: Check for any errors in the email, such as large attachments or incorrect recipient addresses, and correct them before resending.

How Do I Fix Unsent Emails in My Outbox?

To fix unsent emails stuck in your Outbox, follow these steps:

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  1. Check Internet Connection: Ensure that your device is connected to the internet. A stable connection is necessary for sending emails.
  2. Verify Server Settings: Make sure that your email server settings are correctly configured. Incorrect settings can prevent emails from being sent.
  3. Reduce Attachment Size: If you suspect the attachment is too large, try compressing the file or sending it through a file-sharing service.
  4. Check Recipient Addresses: Verify that the email addresses are correct and properly formatted.
  5. Restart Your Email Client: Sometimes, simply restarting your email client or device can resolve the issue.
  6. Clear Outbox: If multiple emails are stuck, try sending them one by one, or delete the stuck emails and compose new ones if necessary.

Importance of the Outbox

The Outbox is crucial for ensuring that emails are sent correctly. It provides a buffer zone where emails can be retried if the initial sending attempt fails. This is especially important for large emails or emails sent over unstable connections, as it ensures the sender does not have to resend the email multiple times manually.

Best Practices for Managing Your Outbox

  • Regularly Check the Outbox: Make it a habit to check your Outbox periodically, especially if you notice that a recipient has not received an expected email.
  • Understand Notifications: Pay attention to notifications from your email client regarding unsent emails. These notifications often provide clues to the problem.
  • Keep the Outbox Clear: A cluttered Outbox can cause confusion and delays. Regularly clearing sent items from the Outbox helps maintain efficient email operations.

Which Email Clients Have an Outbox?

Most modern email clients feature an Outbox. Here are some popular ones:

  • Microsoft Outlook: A widely used email client for personal and business use, Outlook has a clearly defined Outbox.
  • Apple Mail: The default email client for macOS and iOS devices, Apple Mail includes an Outbox.
  • Mozilla Thunderbird: A free and open-source email client, Thunderbird also has an Outbox.
  • Gmail: While primarily known as a web-based email service, Gmail’s mobile app versions feature an Outbox.
  • Yahoo Mail: This email client includes an Outbox feature, especially in its mobile applications.
  • Android Email Clients: Most default email applications on Android devices, such as Samsung Email, have an Outbox.


The Outbox is a pivotal part of the email-sending process, acting as a temporary holding area for outgoing emails. Understanding its function and addressing common issues can help ensure your emails are sent successfully and timely.

Regular monitoring and maintenance of your Outbox will lead to smoother and more efficient email communication. By following these best practices, you can avoid common pitfalls and ensure that your emails reach their intended recipients without delay.

Andrian Valeanu

Andrian is a skilled web designer, email marketer, and SEO expert with over 20 years of experience. He founded Designmodo, a reputable company specializing in website and email building. Andrian shares his knowledge through guest lectures, interviews, and online publications, and is a respected voice in the industry.

Posts by Andrian Valeanu