Microsoft Outlook has an out-of-office messages feature that lets you automatically send replies with relevant information when you’re on vacation or don’t have access to your mail. There are several ways to customize Outlook’s automatic reply feature.
In this article, we will cover the following topics in detail –
- Introduction to Outlook Automatic Reply
- Turning on Automatic Reply in Desktop Version
- Setting Custom Reply Rules
- Toggling Between Turning Reply On and Off
- Testing Automatic Reply
- Outlook Online Version of Automatic Replies
- Options in Outlook.com Not Available on Desktop
Let’s look at each of these sub-topics one by one!
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An Automatic reply email is a triggered response based on email received or an autoresponder email message. The purpose is to inform the customer that a company has received their inquiry.
It is used when you won’t be able to respond or read emails because you’re absent from work for a specified period.
It’s a proper business etiquette to set up an out-of-office reply any time you’re unable to check emails during regular work hours. They tell your contacts why your response will be delayed and how to get the information or whom to reach out to while you are away.
- Go to File
- Select the Automatic Replies box
- In the dialog box, select Send automatic replies
- Check Only send during this time range box and enter the start time and end time.
This will ensure that the out of office message is sent only during the time frame mentioned.
- Type in a message
You can format the text using the toolbar to customize the appearance of your automatic reply.
- Select OK
Using Microsoft Outlook, you can create rules to reply automatically to incoming messages while you are out of the office. After you have typed a message in the automatic replies text box, then:
- Select Rules
- Click on Add Rules
- In the Edit Rule box, one can create custom rules or exceptions for a few people in your Automatic reply
- In the Perform these actions section, select –
- Click OK
Once you have set your automatic reply, you will see that the Automatic Replies section is highlighted in yellow.
You will also find a message under the Outlook ribbon stating that the automatic reply feature is turned on. This will remind you to disable the automatic reply option once you are back in the office.
Simply, click on the Turn off if you no longer want to send an automatic reply.
To check whether your automatic reply message is working or not –
- Open any other mail account of yours (eg. Gmail account) and compose a mail.
- Send this mail to your Outlook account.
- Check your inbox of your other mail account.
- You will see a new message in your inbox. Once you open it, you will find the same text message you have composed as your automatic reply message in your Outlook account.
This shows that your Automatic reply is working perfectly in your Outlook account.
We can use Automatic replies not only Desktop version of Outlook but also on the online version at outlook.com.
- Open the Website – https://outlook.live.com/
- Click the cog button in the top right of the toolbar to bring up the Settings menu.
- Type Automatic replies on the Search tab of the setting menu and click on Automatic replies
- Once the Automatic replies dialogue box is open, turn on Automatic replies
- Click the box Send replies only during this time period and fill in the start date and end time for the time you will be away from the office and won’t be able to check your emails.
- Create a message which you want as an Automatic reply in the “Add a message here” dialogue box.
- Click on Save and your automatic replies setting will be saved
There are a few extra features available on Outlook online version compared to the outlook desktop version. Once you have turned on the Automatic reply option and you have selected your time period, the following are the extra options available:
- Block my calendar – You can click this option if you are sharing your account with someone else, so people will know that you are out of the office.
- Automatically decline new invitations – By clicking on this option, all new invitations that you receive during this period will be declined automatically. So, you will not have to worry about responding to any of the requests or meetings, or events you are receiving emails for.
- Decline and cancel my meetings – You can automatically decline or cancel any request for meetings scheduled during the period you are out of the office.
- Send replies only to contacts – Below the message box, there is an option of sending replies only to people in your contact list. By clicking on this option, your automatic reply will only be sent to those emails which you have received from your contact list while you are out. And if you are receiving messages from outside your contact list, then your automatic replies will not be sent to those people.
In this article, we have learned how to set up Microsoft Outlook Automatic Reply & Out of Office Messages and send an automatic email reply to the email sender if you are out of the office or sick. We have also learned where to set Automatic Reply, set a custom reply for a specific person, how to turn automatic reply off, how to set Automatic Reply in the online version, and much more.
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