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Outbox vs. Sent — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on March 16, 2024
Outbox holds emails awaiting dispatch, while Sent contains successfully sent messages.
Outbox vs. Sent — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Outbox and Sent


Key Differences

The outbox is a temporary holding area in an email client where emails are stored before they are successfully sent to their recipients. This can occur due to a delay in the internet connection or if the email client is set to send emails at specified intervals. On the other hand, the Sent folder contains emails that have already been successfully transmitted from the outbox to the intended recipients, indicating that the email server has processed and dispatched these messages.
Emails in the outbox may sometimes remain there longer than expected if there are issues with the email settings, server, or internet connection, which prevents the emails from being sent. Conversely, once an email appears in the Sent folder, it signifies that the email has been dispatched without any issues, and no further action is typically required from the sender's side.
The outbox serves as a cue for users to know that certain emails are pending and have not yet been sent, allowing them to take necessary actions, such as troubleshooting connectivity issues or revising the email before final sending. The Sent folder, however, acts as a record of all successfully sent communications, enabling users to reference or follow up on previous correspondences.
Managing emails in the outbox can involve resolving issues that prevent them from being sent or manually initiating the send process if the email client allows. Management of the Sent folder involves organizing, archiving, or deleting emails to keep a clean and useful record of sent items.
While the outbox is essential for ensuring that emails are ready and waiting to be sent, the Sent folder is crucial for confirming that the intended communication has been successfully completed and for keeping a history of sent messages for future reference or proof of communication.

Comparison Chart


Holds emails awaiting dispatch.
Contains emails that have been successfully sent.


Indicates pending email dispatch.
Confirms successful email transmission.

Common Issues

Connectivity problems, server issues, incorrect settings.
Typically, few issues once email is moved here.

User Action

May need to troubleshoot or manually send.
Often used for referencing or following up.


Resolving sending issues, initiating send.
Organizing, archiving, deleting emails for clarity.

Compare with Definitions


A folder in an email client holding emails that are in the process of being sent.
He checked his outbox to ensure all client emails were sent before leaving the office.


A folder containing emails that have been successfully sent to recipients.
He double-checked the Sent folder to confirm his application was submitted.


The temporary storage for outgoing emails until successfully dispatched.
Several emails remained in her outbox due to a poor internet connection.


The archive of all dispatched email communications.
She found the confirmation email in her Sent folder to follow up on the order.


A location in email applications where unsent emails are stored.
He revisited the outbox to add more information to a pending email.


A location for referencing previous sent emails.
He referred to the Sent folder for details on the project discussed in previous correspondences.


A cue for emails that have not yet been successfully transmitted.
The outbox had several drafts that needed final edits before sending.


A record of successful email transmissions.
The Sent folder served as proof of his timely submission.


An area indicating the pending status of email dispatch.
She noticed an important email stuck in the outbox and resolved the issue.


An area confirming the completion of email sending processes.
The confirmation email was found in the Sent folder, ensuring the message was delivered.


An electronic folder for outgoing emails or text messages.


Sent is a former municipality in the district of Inn in the Swiss Canton of Graubünden. On 1 January 2015 the former municipalities of Ardez, Guarda, Tarasp, Ftan and Sent merged into the municipality of Scuol.


A container for outgoing documents, located in or near one's office or work area.


(until the introduction of the euro in 2011) a monetary unit of Estonia, equal to one hundredth of a kroon.


A box holding papers to be transmitted to others, eg, by mail.


Past tense and past participle of send1.


(computing) An electronic folder serving the same purpose, for electronic mail.


Simple past tense and past participle of send


To box better than.


A subdivision of currency, equal to one hundredth of an Estonian kroon.


Obsolete form of scent


100 senti equal 1 kroon


Caused or enabled to go or be conveyed or transmitted

Common Curiosities

What does it mean if an email is in the Outbox?

An email in the Outbox is awaiting dispatch, possibly due to connectivity issues or scheduled sending.

Is it possible to edit an email in the Outbox?

Often, emails in the Outbox can be edited before they are successfully sent.

What should I do if emails are not moving from the Outbox to the Sent folder?

Check your internet connection, email server settings, and ensure there are no large attachments blocking the send process.

Can I delete an email from the Sent folder?

Yes, emails in the Sent folder can be deleted, though it's wise to keep important sent emails for reference.

Does moving an email to the Sent folder manually change its status to 'sent'?

Manually moving an email to the Sent folder does not change its status; the email server must process it for successful transmission.

Are there any privacy concerns with Sent emails?

Like all digital communications, Sent emails can be subject to hacking or unauthorized access, so sensitive information should be encrypted or shared securely.

How do I know if my email was sent successfully?

An email moved to the Sent folder indicates successful transmission.

Can emails get stuck in the Outbox?

Yes, emails can remain in the Outbox due to internet or server issues, or incorrect email settings.

Can I retrieve an email from the Sent folder if I made a mistake?

Once an email is in the Sent folder, it cannot be recalled through most email clients, though some corporate email systems may have this feature.

How can I organize my Sent folder efficiently?

Use folders or labels to categorize emails and archive or delete old or irrelevant emails regularly.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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