If you are going on vacation and will not be able to answer your emails, it is recommended that you set your Outlook computer to “out of office”. This way, anyone who sends you an email will receive an automatic response about your absence from the office.
Outlook allows you to create custom replies that will automatically be sent to everyone who sends you an email. You can also specify a configurable period of time during which the application should process your emails for you.
Set out-of-office responses in Outlook for Exchange accounts
If you work in a business environment and your company or organization uses Microsoft Exchange, you have a really easy way to customize out of office responses in Outlook for your email account.
- Start Outlook on your computer.
- Click the tab labeled “File” at the top and you will see various options. Select the option labeled “Automatic replies (out of office)”. If you don’t see this option, skip to the next section to learn how to complete the task.
- A window will appear on your screen allowing you to enter information in various fields. To send automatic custom responses, you will need to fill in the following fields.
Check the “Send automatic replies at the top” checkbox.
Check the Send to this time period only box. Then choose dates when you won’t be able to reply to your emails.
If you want your reply to be sent only to those who work in your organization, go to the Within My Organization tab. Otherwise, click the other tab that says Outside of My Organization.
Enter the answer you want to automatically send in the field on the screen. You can also use formatting tools to format and change the style of your text.
When finished, click OK to save your changes.
Outlook will now automatically send your predefined custom message to anyone who sends you an email within the specified time period.
Set out-of-office responses in Outlook for IMAP / POP3 accounts
Most regular users use IMAP or POP3 accounts in their Outlook This usually involves using Hotmail, Gmail, and other email accounts with the Outlook application. If you are one of these users, you will need to create a rule to send automatic replies as the above method does not work for you.
Fortunately, it’s not that hard to create your own message and rule to automate sending replies in Outlook
Create an Automatic Reply Template
- Open Outlook on your computer and click the New Email button at the top.
- A regular email compose window will open. Here you need to enter an email that Outlook will send automatically. Just enter your email text, which usually mentions how long you won’t be available and when you will return.
- Click the File tab at the top and select Save As.
- Enter a name for your out of office reply template and select Outlook Template from the Save as type drop-down menu. Then click “Save”.
- Close the compose email window and select “No” when prompted to save changes.
Configure an Automatic Reply Rule
- Click the Home tab, select Rules, and select Manage Rules and Alerts.
- On the Email Rules tab, click New Rule to create a new rule.
- Select Apply Rule To Messages I Receive And Click Next.
- Select the obtained in a certain condition of the date range and click on the corresponding link in the large white field.
Check the “After” and “Before” boxes and specify a date range in which you will not be able to reply to your emails. Then click “OK” and then “Next”.
- Flag an answer using a specific template and click its link.
- Select the email template you created earlier, click Open, and then click Next.
- If desired, apply any exceptions if desired and click Next.
- Enter a name for your rule and click Finish.
Set up an out-of-office response on the web version of Outlook
Many users are ditching their desktop apps and replacing them with their web counterparts. If you’ve already done this and are using Outlook on the web for your emails, you can also customize out of office reply in Outlook on the web.
This is easier to do than any of the other methods described above.
- Go to the Outlook website and sign in to your account if you haven’t already.
- Once you see your mailbox, click the settings icon in the upper right corner, and then select “View all Outlook settings” at the bottom. The settings menu will open.
- You will see several options that you can configure for your Outlook account. You want to find the Automatic Replies option and click on it.
- Several new options will appear in the right pane.
First of all, enable the “Turn on automatic replies” option.
Select the “Send only replies” checkbox within a time period. Specify the date range in the Start Time and End Time boxes. At this point, the app will send your automatic replies.
You can then enter your own response, which will be automatically sent to the people who send you an email. Feel free to use the formatting options available.
Optionally, enable Send replies only to contacts if you want to automatically reply only to your contacts.
Finally, click Save at the bottom to save your changes.
- If you ever want to turn off automatic replies, just uncheck the “Automatic replies enabled” checkbox.
The ability to customize out of office reply in Outlook is really cool. Let us know if you are using it and what your autoresponder message looks like in the comments below.