How to set out of office automatic reply in Outlook

share to other networks share to twitter share to facebook
A screenshot of the Automatic Replies tab in Microsoft Outlook.

When you're going out of town, you should let your co-workers and/or clients know that you're away. They might be sending you emails during a vacation and the lack of response from you may become concerning. This is where out-of-office replies come in handy. This feature in emails can help you send an automatic reply to your co-workers or clients when they try contacting you through email. They'll be immediately notified that you're unavailable but will return on a later date.

It's very helpful when you want to focus on important personal matters you took a leave for. You can easily separate your work and personal life with the help of automatic replies. We'll be teaching you how to set an out of office automatic reply in Outlook

Creating your own out of office automatic reply in Outlook is pretty simple. But it does take a couple of minutes to set up. There are two ways to set up this feature. Take note that the way your use of an out of office automatic reply depends on the type of email account you have. Here are the steps below on setting an out of office automatic reply on the platform.

How to set an out of office automatic reply in Outlook

In setting an out of office automatic reply in Outlook, you must first make sure you have a Microsoft account. This way you'll be able to access Outlook and set out of office automatic replies.

1. First, click on File on the left end of the ribbon. You'll then try matching your screen to the following images to see if you have an Automatic Replies button or not. For those using Outlook 2007, you'll be selecting Tools and then Out of Office Assist

A screenshot of the File tab in Microsoft Outlook.
click to enlarge
Credit: Microsoft Corporation
A screenshot of the Account Information window in Microsoft Outlook.
click to enlarge
Credit: Microsoft Corporation
A screenshot of the Account Information tab without Automatic replies in Microsoft Outlook.
click to enlarge
Credit: Microsoft Corporation

2. If you have the aforementioned button, click Automatic Replies and then select Send automatic replies. You can also set a date range for your automatic replies. This will turn off automatic replies at the date and time you set. So if you want to let people know you don't work on weekends, setting a date range will majorly help.

A screenshot of the Automatic Replies option in Microsoft Outlook.
click to enlarge
Credit: Microsoft Corporation

3. In the Inside My Organization tab, you can type the reply you want people to receive when they get your automatic reply.

A screenshot of the Automatic Reply settings and options in Microsoft Outlook.
click to enlarge
Credit: Microsoft Corporation

Take note though that you should also set if your replies will be sent to anyone outside my organization or my contacts only. This helps in filtering out how you want only specific people to contact you when you're away.

4. Afterwards, you can select OK to save your settings.

If you're not an Outlook app user and you tend to check your emails on the web, we also got a tutorial for you on setting up automatic replies on Outlook.com

Loading...

How to set out of office automatic replies in Outlook web

To set out of office automatic replies in Outlook on the web, just follow these few steps below:

1. Select Settings which is found at the top of Outlook's page. You can then select View all Outlook settings then head to Mail, and finally, select Automatic replies.

2. Enable the Turn on automatic replies toggle.

3. You can then click ethe Send replies only during a time period check box. This allows you to enter a start and end time for sending your automatic replies such as during the weekends.

Remember that if you don't set a time period, your automatic reply will be enabled util you turn it off by toggling the Automatic replies on toggle.

4. Select the check box of any options you want to add to your automatic replies:

  • Block my calendar for this period
  • Automatically decline new invitations for events that occur during this period
  • Decline and cancel my meetings during this period

5. In the window's box at the bottom, you can then draft the message you plan to send to people as an automatic reply. You can also customize this similar to regular emails.

6. If you want senders outside of your organization to get your automatic replies or not, just select the check box for Send replies outside your organization.

7. Finally, select Save at the top of the window.

How to set an out of office automatic reply in Outlook using rules

You should know that there are particular accounts that support the Automatic Replies feature of Outlook. If you don't have the option, that just means your email account doesn't support the feature. There's a way around this though by using rules to reply to incoming emails when you're away.

1. Select File in Outlook, and you should see a screen that looks like the screenshot below.

2. Next, create a new email message. This will be where you enter your subject and message body for your out-of-office automatic reply.

3. Select File and then Save As.

A screenshot of the Automatic reply draft that's being made on Microsoft Outlook.
click to enlarge
Credit: Microsoft Corporation

4. Name your template and in the Save as type drop-down, you can select to make it an Outlook Template (*.oft).

5. After that, you can change the location of your template.

6. You can then create an out of office rule by first heading to File and then clicking Manage Rules & Alerts.

7. In the Rules and Alerts dialog box, you'll find the E-mail Rules tab. Select New Rule from that tab.

A screenshot of the Rules and Alerts dialog box in Microsoft Outlook.
click to enlarge
Credit: Microsoft Corporation

8. Under the Start from a blank rule option, you can then click Apply rule on the message I receive and hit Next.

9. So you can reply to every email message you receive, leave the Step 1 and Step 2 boxes unchanged and click Next again. You can then click on Yes when Outlook asks if you want to apply this rule to all messages.

10. Then, under "What do you want to do with the message, in Step 1: Select action(s), and then click reply using a specific template.

11. For Step 2: Edit the rule description, and click the underlined text for a specific template.

12. In the Look In box at the top section, you can then Select a Reply Template box which allows you to select and access the User Templates in File System.

13. You'll be able to select the template you created earlier by hitting Open and then Next.

14. After that, you can add any necessary exceptions you want to add then select Next.

Loading...

15. Once you do that, you can give your rule a name such as "Out of Office."

16. You can then turn on your rule by heading to File and the Manage Rules & Alerts tab.

17. There in the Rules and Alerts dialog box, you can find the E-mail Rules tab. You'll find the rule you created earlier and check the box to the left of the rule. Then select OK to apply the rule.

Be sure to remember to turn on your out of office reply by checking the Turn on this rule checkbox.

There you have it, how to set an out of office automatic reply in Outlook using rules. It's a lengthy process but it will make separating your work and personal life much easier.

If you want to read more how to guides like this, feel free to read through our article on how to pause a download on a PS4 console and how to overlock your monitor. We also have a piece on how to make your Apple Watch battery last longer if you're interested in that.

For more articles like this, take a look at our Tech and How To page.