5 Minute HelpDesk – How do I set up an Out of Office or Automatic Reply in Outlook?

Setting an out of office reply on your emails is considered basic professional etiquette. Anyone who sends you a mail will be informed of your absence, and they can take alternate steps. In this article, our IT HelpDesk in Perth shows you how you can set up an automatic out of office reply in outlook.

The first step is to find out which type of account you use.

To know your account type

  • Open Outlook
  • Select File

  • Select Account Settings

  • Then look in the Type column

If you work in an organisational environment, then you would mostly be using Microsoft Exchange account. Setting up an automatic out-of-office reply in outlook can be done very quickly with the following steps.

  • Open Outlook
  • Select File and then Click on Automatic Replies(Out of office).

  • Select Send automatic replies.
  • You can set a date range for your automatic responses, or you can disable it manually according to your need.
  • In the “Inside My Organization” tab and type the message that you want to send as a reply. This will restrict your response to only those within your organisation.

  • Select the “Outside My Organization” tab if you want to send automatic replies to everyone. It would be a good idea, though, to select “My contacts only”. Else the response will be sent to every email, including spam, newsletters etc.

  • Click on OK to save your settings.

IMAP or POP3 account

To create your Out of Office template.

  • Open Outlook
  • Click on ‘New Email’.
  • Type a subject and message body for your automatic reply message template.

  • Click on ‘File’ and select ‘Save As’.
  • In the ‘Save as type’ drop-down, enter a name for your template.
  • Select Outlook Template (*.oft).
  • You can choose to save in the default location or choose a location according to your preference.
  • Click Save.

To create your Out of Office rule.

  • Select File and click on “Manage Rules & Alerts”.

  • ‘Email Rules’ tab can be seen on the top left of ‘Rules and Alerts’ dialogue box
  • Click on ‘New Rule’.
  • Select the option “Apply rule on messages I receive” which is listed below “Start from a blank rule.”
  • Click Next.

In case you want to send a reply to every email message you receive, follow the steps below:

  • Follow the steps above
  • Outlook asks, “if you want to apply this rule to all messages”. Select ‘Yes’.
  • Under’ Rules wizard’, we can see Step 1: Select action(s) and below that different actions are listed.
  • Click on the checkbox “reply using a specific template”, which is listed below “What do you want to do with the message”,

  • Below Step 2: “Edit the rule description”, click on the underlined text reply using a specific template.
  • Click “User Templates in File System “at the top of the “Select a Reply Template” box
  • Click on the template you created
  • Select ‘Open’ and click on ‘Next’.

  • You can add any necessary exceptions if required
  • Select ‘Next’.
  • Give your rule a name
  • “Turn on this rule” will be checked by default. If you want to turn on your automatic reply now, then select Finish, if not uncheck the box and turn on the rule on a later date.

Note: Your Outlook must be running for the rule to send automatic replies to your email messages.

To turn on an already created rule

  • If you want to turn on an already created template and rule, follow the steps below:
  • Click on ‘File’.
  • Select “Manage Rules & Alerts”.

Automatic Reply in Outlook | 5 Minute HelpDesk | Computing Australia

  • ‘Email Rules’ tab can be seen on the top left of ‘Rules and Alerts’ dialogue box
  • Find the rule you created
  • Click the box to the left of the rule.
  • Select OK.

How do I set up an Out of Office or Automatic Reply in Outlook?

These steps let you set up an automatic out of office reply in Outlook easily. If you need help with any of the steps, our IT helpdesk is available 24/7 for your support. Contact us or email at helpdesk@computingaustralia.group for a speedy resolution to your IT queries.

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Jargon Buster

POP3Post Office Protocol (version 3). The first major email protocol used when the Internet started becoming popular. It is considered almost obsolete.
IMAPInternet Image Access Protocol. A major email protocol widely used today, which addresses the outdated features of POP.
Microsoft Exchange – a proprietary platform from Microsoft. It offers all functionalities of IMAP and also additional enterprise-level functionalities.