How to Use an Email Expire Date in Microsoft Outlook

Outlook lets you add an expiration date to email you send or receive. Once the expiration date has passed the email will be displayed with different formatting, a strikethrough, and you can use Outlook’s built-in tools to manage expired email automatically.

Microsoft Outlook Header

Outlook lets you add an expiration date to email you send or receive. Once the expiration date has passed the email will be displayed with different formatting, a strikethrough, and you can use Outlook’s built-in tools to manage expired email automatically.

This is for Microsoft Outlook 2010 and later. Screenshots are from Microsoft 365 Outlook

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Set an Expire Date for a Sent Email

To add an expiration date to an email you’re sending, you need to open the Properties window for the email.

Open Outlook and compose a message. Then click on Options. Next, in the More Options Group click on Message Options. The Propeties window will be displayed. Now, in the Delivery Options Group, checkmark Expires after and set the Date and Time you wish for the email to expire. Refer to below image:

Outlook Expire Date 1
Settring Expire Date for a sent email

Outlook has a formatting rule for expired emails. This rule can be found under the Conditional Formatting dialog. The dialog box is displayed from the View tab, then select View Settings. Next, select Conditional Formatting option. The email that has expired has a grey font and the text has a strikethrough. See below image:

Outlook Expire Date 2
Setting Expire date formatting

This formatting rule will be applied to the receiptents’s Outlook as well as other web apps, like GMail. Now, click OK twice to close the dialog boxes.

For demonstration purposes, I am backdating the email to show the strikethrough formatting when I open the email. Now, close the Properties window and send the email. You will get a prompt saying the Expire Date has passed if backdating or if the date has actually passed, just click Yes. It can still be opened but the strikethrough gives a visual indication that the email is no longer relevant. See following image:

Outlook Expire Date 3
The sent email with formatting

Set an Expire Date for All Messages You Send

You can setup Outlook to automatically add an expiration date of some number of days after the message is sent.

Double-click to open the message. Next, click on File then Options. Next, click on the Mail tab. Under the Send Messages Group, checkmark Mark messages as expired after this many days and set the days you wish for the email to expire. Click OK to save your change. Refer to below image:

Outlook Expire Date 4
Setting the Expire Date for all emails you send

Delete An Expired Email

To delete an expired email. Just select the strikethrough emails and click the Delete icon in the ribbon or press the Del key. You could also show the expired emails by adding a column to a folder that shows the expiration date.

If you have turned on Outlook auto archive feature, then you can delete emails automatically based on expire date.

Open the AutoArchives window by File > Options > Advanced. Select the option AutoArchive Settings. Checkmark the option Run AutoArchive every 14 days (the default). Select OK twice to save your change. See following image:

Outlook Expire Date 5
Setting the AutoArchive feature

When this option is enabled, emails will be deleted or moved (depending on other settings) when the date has passed.

Set an Expire Date for Received Email

You can set an expiration date for a message you have received.

Double-click to open the message. You can not set an expiration date from the Reading Pane.

Select File then Properties. Under Delivery Options, checkmark the box Expires after amd se;ect a date and time for your message to expire. Then, click Close and the Save icon in the upper left hand corner of your message or click File > Save to save your change. Refer to below image:

Outlook Expire Date 6
Setting Expire Date for received email

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I Would Like to Hear From You

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help us out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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Author: Raymond

I am Raymond Oglesby, an Information Technology (IT) specialist with 30 years in the field. I have taught Microsoft Applications and troubleshot computers in 15 countries and many States. My career was focused on mainframes and desktops from application development to implementation. I have written hundreds of programs for various architectures. I decided to start a blog to share my knowledge and experiences with you. I plan on updating this blog at least twice a week about smart phone apps to Windows. Please feel free to leave a Comment or Tweet. I would love to hear from you. Do you have a computer tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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