Set Out of Office Reply in Microsoft Outlook

October 2016

Email client Microsoft Outlook comes with a built-in feature that allows users to set automated away messages that alert contacts when you are out of the office. This feature can be programmed with a specific start and end date, or can be set indefinitely.

This article will walk you through how to use the Out of Office Assistant in Microsoft Outlook. Note that the steps described below are valid for the 2010 and 2013 version of Outlook.

Set Away Message in Microsoft Outlook

Before beginning, do a check to verify whether or not you have an Exchange account, as the procedures to follow vary slightly.

Open Outlook and look at your status bar. If your status bar reads Connected to Microsoft Exchange, please follow the procedure related to Exchange accounts.

With an Exchange Account (Outlook 2010 and 2013)

Click the File tab and then click on Info in the menu that appears. Then select Automatic Replies (this tab will not be displayed if you do not have an Exchange account).

A dialog box will open. Select Send automatic responses and then type your message into the Within my organization or Outside my organization fields according to the people you'd like to alert. Note that you can specify an hour and a start and end date by checking the Send between option.

Confirm by clicking OK.

Without an Exchange Account (Outlook 2010 and 2013)

If you'd like to set an automatic reply without an Exchange account, you need to first create a message template.

Click on the Home tab > New email message. In the message body, type the message that you want to send as your automated reply.

In the message window, click File > Save As. In the Save as dropdown menu, click on Outlook Template.

Type a name for your message template and then click on Save.

Once you've saved your template, it's time to create your inbox rule. Click Home > Rules > Manage Rules & Alerts. In the Rules and Alerts box, select the New Rule option.

Under Start from a blank rule, click Apply rules on messages I receive, followed by Next.

Under Which condition(s) do you want to check?, check any criteria that you would like to set, followed by Next. (Note that most users choose not to check any items.)

Next, head to the section labeled What do you want to do with the message?. Check reply using a specific template and then edit the rule description.

Go to Step 2: Edit the rule description and select a specific template. A dialog box will appear. Head to the Look In box and click User Templates in File System.

Select the template that you created earlier, and then click on Open > Next.

If necessary, check any exceptions you'd like to make to your auto-reply rule, and then click on Next.

Under the Step 1: Specify a name for this rule heading, type a name for the auto-reply rule, and then click on Finish.

Turn Off Automatic Replies

Disabling automatic replies is very simple. Simply go to the Home tab > Rules menu > Manage Rules and Alerts.

In the dialog box that opens, uncheck the rule you would like to disable to turn off your automatic reply.

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