Tip 333: Prevent Accidental Sending

Update: Beginning with Outlook 2007, Outlook has an option to enable/disable Ctrl+Enter for send, eliminating the need to edit the registry. In addition, the first time you press Ctrl+Enter while composing a message, Outlook will ask if you want to turn it on.

If you want to disable Alt+S, you'll need to edit the registry. This prevents accidental sending of Meeting and Task Requests as Alt+S saves or sends, depending on the item type. With Alt+S disabled, you will need to click the Send button.

In Outlook 2010, the option is in File, Options, Mail- near the bottom, in the Send Messages section.

Disable Ctrl+Enter for Send Message

In Outlook 2007, it's at Tools, Options, Email Options button, Advanced E-mail options.

Outlook 2007's option to the disable Ctrl+Enter to send

Somewhere on the vast Internet, Chuck saw a tip for disabling the Ctrl+Enter key (so you can't accidentally send a message before you are finished composing it). At the time he didn't think he needed it and now that he does, he can't find it again.

If you have a habit of accidentally hitting the wrong keys and sending messages before you are finished composing them, you have two options:

  1. Enter some characters in the address field that won't resolve, such as like "khnvjd". If you accidentally hit send, the pick names dialog pops up. When you're ready to send it, remove the characters and send. I prefer this method because it keeps me from accidentally sending using Alt+S and gives me a change to change my mind before I send it while leaving the option to use either Alt+S or Ctrl+Enter to send.
  2. If your only problem is accidentally hitting Ctrl+Enter, you can disable the Ctrl+Enter keystroke combination by editing the registry.

You'll need to create the following registry keys. (If the Office key doesn't exist, you'll need to create it and the subkeys.)

Outlook 2003

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\DisabledShortcutKeysCheckBoxes
String Value: CtrlEnter
Value Data: 13,8
String Value: Alt+S
Value Data: 83,16

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Word\DisabledShortcutKeysCheckBoxes
String Value: CtrlEnter
Value Data: 13,8
String Value: Alt+S
Value Data: 83,16

Outlook 2002 / XP

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Outlook\DisabledShortcutKeysCheckBoxes
String Value: CtrlEnter
Value Data: 13,8
String Value: Alt+S
Value Data: 83,16

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Word\DisabledShortcutKeysCheckBoxes
String Value: CtrlEnter
Value Data: 13,8
String Value: Alt+S
Value Data: 83,16

Outlook 2000

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\9.0\Outlook\DisabledShortcutKeysCheckBoxes
String Value: CtrlEnter
Value Data: 13,8
String Value: Alt+S
Value Data: 83,16

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\9.0\Word\DisabledShortcutKeysCheckBoxes
String Value: CtrlEnter
Value Data: 13,8
String Value: Alt+S
Value Data: 83,16

Don't forget to restart Outlook for the changes to take effect.

Do It For Me

If you don't want to edit the registry, you can download a ready-to-use registry file then double click to run it. Ok the security dialogs to add it to the registry.

DisabledShortcutKeysCheckBoxes-2010 | DisabledShortcutKeysCheckBoxes-2007 | DisabledShortcutKeysCheckBoxes-2003 | DisabledShortcutKeysCheckBoxes-2002 | DisabledShortcutKeysCheckBoxes-2000

More Information

What other keys can you disable? Quite a few actually. If you get the group policy .adm file from the Office Resource Kit. More on that in another tip.

Walter Embalsado has this to add to the tip:

Another option is what I usually employ – either:

  1. I don't put anything on the To: CC: or BC: until after I run the Spell checker or
  2. I intentionally misspell any word within the body.

Both are good methods and the first has saved me many a time. Note that it only works on new mail, unless you like deleting and replacing the addresses. The second requires spellcheck on send enabled, which is a good idea anyway, even if you use Word for spell check as you type, since using File, Send to in other applications doesn't use Word as the editor. It also spellchecks your subject field.

Published Jan 28 2006
Merged Tip 334: More Ways to Prevent Accidental Sending and Tip 82: Prevent Accidentally Sending Email

  • Reinhard

    Update for Win7:
    1. Start the Windows 7 cmd.exe in administrator mode
    2. regedit
    3. Find or create \Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook\DisabledShortcutKeysCheckBoxes

    String Value: Ctrl+Enter, Type: Reg_SZ, Value Data: 13,8
    String Value: Alt+S, Type: Reg_SZ, Value Data: 83,16

  • Greg

    Hi there. Sorry to appear like an idiot, but I tried to perform the registry edit technique but it does not work. I am still able to send email with Alt+S.

  • Diane Poremsky

    Did you restart outlook? Many settings wont take affect until outlook is restarted.

  • Diane Poremsky

    BTW, The keys were messed up - WordPress removed the \ between words. I've fixed that and also uploaded registry files you can download and run to add the keys to the registry. I tested Outlook 2003s key and it works. Will test the others next... You will need to restart Outlook for the change to take affect. (Works as expected in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010).

  • Greg

    Hi, I probably do not know how to change the registry. I did regedit.exe and created the folders and the key but it did not work.

    I downloaded your file and it works now. Thank you very much

  • Diane Poremsky

    You're Welcome! I'm trying to add reg files to the articles so it's easier for everyone.

  • Bart

    Diane, thanks a lot for these tips.

    Unfortunately, it (Outlook 2003) doesn't seem to work on a Windows 7 Pro 64bit system when you have Polish keyboard installed :(

    The problem is really strange. At first it seems it is working - the Ctrl+Enter shortcut is blocked. But - when you touch the right Alt key for the first time - all the magic goes away. And in Poland it is unavoidable, since we use the right Alt to get our characters like ą, ę, ś etc.

    Anyway, thanks once again. I've already surrendered, maybe you will not :)

  • D Poremsky

    That is odd, it should work. Is Windows and Office the Polish or English versions?

  • Bart

    Both are Polish.

    I will tell you more - I've just checked it on my old WinXP Pro 32 Bit (both Win and Office are Polish), which I had been using for the last 5 years. And guess what - it's the same! I wasn't aware of that, yet sometimes some emails were going away unexpectedly :)

    So, it seems it's a matter of a Polish keyboard, no WinXP / Win 7 issue.

  • D Poremsky

    Thanks for the update!