Difference Wiki

Outbox vs. Sent: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on May 23, 2024
The outbox is a temporary holding place for emails being sent, while the sent folder contains emails that have been successfully transmitted.

Key Differences

The outbox and sent folders are integral parts of email management. The outbox serves as a temporary storage area for emails that are in the process of being sent. Emails remain in the outbox until they are successfully transmitted to the recipient's email server. On the other hand, the sent folder is where emails are stored once they have been successfully sent.
When you compose an email and hit send, it first goes to the outbox. This is where the email client starts the process of sending the email to the intended recipient. If there's a problem with your internet connection, or if the email server is temporarily unreachable, the email will stay in the outbox until the issue is resolved. In contrast, the sent folder is a record of all the emails that have been successfully delivered from your email account to the recipient's email server.
The outbox acts as a buffer zone in email communication. It allows for the temporary storage and management of outgoing emails, especially useful when sending emails in offline mode or when there's a delay in sending. The sent folder, however, is more like a confirmation box, confirming that your email has been dispatched and is no longer under your control.
In some email applications, users can edit or even cancel emails that are still in the outbox. This feature is not available for emails that have moved to the sent folder, as they have already been transmitted. Thus, the outbox provides a last chance to make changes or corrections to emails before they are irrevocably sent.
The outbox is a transitional storage area for outgoing emails, providing a space for emails before they are successfully sent. The sent folder, however, is a permanent record of all successfully sent emails, indicating that the emails have left your email client and have been handed over to the recipient's server.

Comparison Chart


Holds emails temporarily during sending
Stores emails that have been sent

Email Status

Emails not yet sent or in the process
Emails successfully sent


Emails can often be edited or cancelled
Emails cannot be edited or cancelled


Accessible in offline mode for preparation
Only accessible after successful sending


Indicates pending or ongoing transmission
Confirms successful transmission

Outbox and Sent Definitions


A folder for emails waiting to be sent.
I'll check my outbox to see if the email is still there.


Shows emails that have left the outbox.
After checking, the email was in my sent items.


Holds emails during sending process.
The email stayed in the outbox due to a poor connection.


Permanent record of sent communications.
I keep track of my responses in the sent folder.


Can store emails in offline mode.
I saved the draft in my outbox to send later.


Cannot be edited once in sent status.
Once it's in the sent folder, I can't change the email.


Temporary storage for outgoing emails.
He edited the email in his outbox before it was sent.


A folder containing successfully sent emails.
I found your message in my sent folder.


Area where emails are before successful transmission.
My outbox shows that the message hasn't been sent yet.


Confirms email delivery to recipient's server.
The sent folder shows my email was delivered.


An electronic folder for outgoing emails or text messages.


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


What does the sent folder indicate?

The sent folder indicates emails have been successfully sent.

Why is my email stuck in the outbox?

Emails may stick in the outbox due to connection issues.

Can I move emails from sent to outbox?

No, once emails are sent, they can't be moved back to the outbox.

Are all sent emails stored in the sent folder?

Yes, all successfully sent emails should appear in the sent folder.

Can I edit an email in the outbox?

Yes, emails in the outbox can often be edited.

Is outbox accessible offline?

Yes, you can access and prepare emails in the outbox offline.

Why don’t I see my email in the sent folder?

If an email isn’t in the sent folder, it may not have been successfully sent.

What is an outbox in email?

An outbox is a temporary folder for emails that are being sent.

Can I delete emails from the outbox?

Yes, you can delete emails from the outbox.

Can I resend an email from the sent folder?

Yes, you can usually forward or resend emails from the sent folder.

Are sent emails editable?

No, once emails are in the sent folder, they can't be edited.

How do I know if an email left the outbox?

If an email is no longer in the outbox, it has been sent or deleted.

Can I organize emails in the sent folder?

Yes, you can organize emails in the sent folder like any other folder.

Do sent emails confirm delivery to the recipient?

Sent emails confirm sending to the server, but not necessarily delivery to the recipient.

Can I recover deleted emails from the outbox?

Recovery depends on your email service's features and settings.

What happens to emails in the outbox when I go online?

Emails in the outbox are sent automatically when you go online.

Does sent mean the recipient received the email?

Sent means the email reached the recipient's server, not necessarily their inbox.

How long do emails stay in the sent folder?

Emails stay in the sent folder until deleted or archived.

Is the outbox the same as a draft folder?

No, the outbox holds emails being sent, while the draft folder stores unsent compositions.

Do emails in the sent folder use storage space?

Yes, emails in the sent folder occupy storage space.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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