How to Set Up Out-of-Office Replies in Outlook? (Automatic Responses)

Out-of-office replies, also known as automatic replies, are highly useful features in Microsoft Outlook that enable you to send automated responses to individuals who email you when you’re away. This function keeps senders informed about your availability. All versions of Outlook include this feature, although the steps to activate it may differ. It’s commonly used to indicate when you’re out of the office, but it can also be used in a variety of other scenarios.

Please note that the out-of-office reply feature is compatible only with specific accounts. If the option is not visible, it may be necessary to establish rules to manage automatic replies, as described later in this article.

  1. In Microsoft Outlook, click File.

  1. Select Info > Automatic Replies (Out of Office).

Note: If the Automatic Replies (Out of Office) option isn’t present, your account might not be on an Exchange server. Refer to the last section to learn how to set up automatic replies for non-Exchange accounts.

  1. Check the Send Automatic Replies option. If you want to schedule the start and end times for the automatic replies, select the Only send during this time range option, then set your preferred dates and times.
  2. In the Inside My Organization tab, type the response message that will be sent to colleagues within your organization.

  1. In the Outside My Organization tab, activate the Auto-reply to people outside my organization option and then select My contacts only or Anyone outside my organization.

Automatic replies will turn off at the specified end date and time. If you choose to disable the feature sooner, reopen the automatic replies settings and select Do not send automatic replies.

Set Up an Out-of-Office Reply in Outlook for Mac

  1. Open Outlook.
  2. Go to Tools > Automatic Replies.

  1. Tick the “Send automatic replies for account” checkbox.
  2. Write your message and decide on the timeframe for the out-of-office reply by checking the “Send replies during this time period” option.
  3. Enable responses to senders outside your organization by selecting the corresponding checkbox and formulating an alternative message.
  4. Click OK to complete the setup.

Set Up an Out-of-Office Reply in or Outlook on the Web

  1. Log into Outlook through your web browser.
  2. Click the gear wheel icon at the top of the page to open settings.

  1. Choose Automatic Replies and turn on the Send automatic replies option.
  2. Set your date and time range for the automatic replies, if needed.
  3. Type your message for the auto-reply.

  1. Click Save to apply the settings.

Set Up Rules for an Out-of-Office Reply in Outlook

For non-Exchange email accounts like POP or IMAP (e.g.,,,, you can simulate out-of-office behavior by pairing an Outlook email template with Outlook rules.

  1. Navigate to Home and select New Email.

  1. Write the automatic reply message, making sure to leave the “To” and “Cc” fields empty.

  1. Go to File > Save As, and in the Save as Type dropdown menu, select Outlook Template.

  1. Give your template a name and click Save.

  1. Create a rule to automate replies to incoming emails.
  2. Click Rules, then Manage Rules & Alerts. Alternatively, you can access this from File on the top menu.

  1. Select New Rule.

  1. Choose Apply rules on messages I receive under Start from a blank rule and click Next.

  1. Select any desired condition, or simply click Next to proceed without specific conditions.
  2. Select the Reply using a specific template option under the section titled What do you want to do with the messages? Then, click the hyperlink for “a specific template” located at the bottom of the dialog box.

  1. In the Select a Reply Template dialog, find and select the template you saved earlier.
  2. Click Open.

  1. Define any necessary rule exceptions, then click Next.

  1. Name the rule, make sure it’s enabled, and click Finish.

Outlook’s Rules Wizard ensures that only one reply is sent to each sender per session to prevent sending multiple replies. A session is regarded as the time period between when Outlook is opened and closed.

Always remember to disable the rule when it is no longer needed to stop sending automated replies. If you encounter any trouble setting this up, please do not hesitate to bring up your questions in the comments, and we will be happy to provide further assistance.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.