How To Set Up Automatic Reply in Outlook? [A Quick and Efficient Guide]

Last Updated on July 22, 2023 by Amit Bansal

In today’s fast-paced world, staying connected while managing our busy schedules can be a challenge.

Whether you’re heading out on vacation, attending a conference, or simply need some focused time away from your inbox, setting up an automatic reply in Outlook can be a lifesaver.

With this essential feature, you can let others know that you may not be readily available to respond to their emails, ensuring smooth and efficient communication even when you’re away.

In this comprehensive blog post, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of setting up an automatic reply in Microsoft Outlook.

We’ll cover different scenarios, such as how to create a simple out-of-office message, customize your response for specific contacts or periods, and ensure that your automatic reply doesn’t inadvertently lead to information overload for the sender.

Whether you’re using Outlook for work or personal emails, learning to use this handy feature effectively can streamline your communication and provide peace of mind when you’re away from your desk.

Join us as we explore the various options, best practices, and pro tips for setting up an automatic reply in Outlook, so you can maintain professional communication and stay organized without missing a beat.

Get ready to master the art of automating your email responses and take control of your inbox like a pro!

Automatic Replies for Microsoft Exchange Accounts

These steps only work for users with a Microsoft Exchange account. If you don’t see the words, ‘Automatic replies’ in the information section, you can’t set up an out-of-office autoreply directly on the server.

There is a step-by-step method:

  • Open Microsoft Outlook.
  • Click the File tab from the upper left corner of the screen.
  • Hit Info >> Select the email address having a Microsoft Exchange server from the drop-down list.
Automatic Replies for Microsoft Exchange Accounts
  • Then Click the Automatic Replies option.
  • Outlook allows you to create custom replies to be automatically sent to anyone who sends you an email and let them know of your absence in the office.
Automatic Replies for Microsoft Outlook
  1. Select the option to Send an Automatic reply first.
  2. Select the check box of the time range, select the period you need auto-reply enabled, and set up the Start date/Time and end date/time.
  3. Compose the message which indicates your unavailability and another person to reach (refer to the image above).
  4. Simply Hit Ok, the dialog box closes automatically, and you can check the options.

If you are unable to attach a signature in the automatic reply message body, you need to copy and paste your designed signature manually. 

Send an Automatic

All is set from now onwards you receive an email message from anybody (even if you are not online), will get an automatic reply, and you have created a customized message, which will be delivered to your sender.

If you want your reply to be only sent to those who are in your organization, click on the Inside My Organization tab. Otherwise, click on the other tab that says Outside My Organization.

This process is active until the end date and time hit, in case you need to disable this feature, simply Click File Tab >> Info >> choose your Microsoft Exchange account >> turn off the automatic replies.

Setting Up Automatic Reply in Outlook

Microsoft 365 and Outlook on the Web

Setting up automatic replies in Microsoft 365 or Outlook on the Web is quite easy.

Firstly, we need to access the Outlook settings.

To do this, go to the top of the page and click on Setting (Gear Icon) from the top right-hand corner of the screen.

outlook web application setting

Select Settings >> View all Outlook settings >> Mail >> Automatic replies.

Then, toggle on the “Turn on automatic replies” option. If we want to send replies only during a specific time period, we should check the “Send replies only during a time period” box and enter the start and end times.

Automatic Replies for Microsoft Outlook web application

The selection of the checkbox indicates that additional information is needed. You may choose to provide the required details by checking the checkboxes provided or consider using them to proceed with the process. [refer: image]

select time frame Outlook

Draft the message you want to send while automatic replies are enabled, Hit the Save button to close the window.

From Now onwards all your senders will get Out of Office messages and let every sender know of your unavailability.

Turn off the toggle (Automatic reply on) if disable the feature. This feature is only available in the Microsoft Outlook exchange account.

Outlook does not attach your signature when it sends automatic replies. If you have a signature, you might want to paste it below your message.

Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, and 2010

For Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, and 2010, we’ll need to begin by selecting File > Automatic Replies.

Note that if we’re using Outlook 2007, we should choose Tools >> Out of Office Assistant instead.

In the Automatic Replies box, click on “Send automatic replies.”

If desired, we can set a date range for the automatic replies by checking the “Only send during this time range” option and choosing the desired dates and times.

Exchange Server Account

If we’re using an Exchange Server account, we’ll need to open Outlook, select File >> Account Settings >> Account Settings, and look in the Type column.

If our account is a Microsoft Exchange account, we can follow the steps for setting up automatic replies within Outlook as mentioned in the previous sub-section.

Outlook for Windows

In Outlook for Windows, the process for setting up automatic replies is quite similar to the steps mentioned earlier. We need to start by selecting File >> Automatic Replies.

If the “Automatic Replies” button is not visible, we can use rules to create an out-of-office message.

To do this, click on File >> Manage Rules & Alerts. In the “Rules and Alerts” dialog box, click on the E-mail Rules tab and then on New Rule.

Under “Start from a blank rule,” click on “Apply rule on messages I receive” and click on Next.

To reply to every email message we receive, we can leave the Step 1 and Step 2 boxes unchanged and click Next again.

By following these steps for our specific Outlook version and ensuring the relevant settings are correctly configured, we can efficiently set up automatic out-of-office replies for incoming emails.

Customizing Automatic Replies

Set Time Range for Replies

To customize your automatic replies in Outlook, you can set a specific time range for the replies to be active.

This way, the auto-reply message will only be sent during the specified period. To do this, go to Settings >> View all Outlook settings >> Mail >> Automatic replies.

Then, select the Turn on automatic replies toggle and check the box for Send replies only during a time period.

Enter the start and end times that you want the automatic replies to be active.

Reply to People Outside Organization

Sometimes, you might want to send automatic replies to people outside your organization, such as clients or partners.

In Outlook, you can configure this setting by selecting the option Send replies to all external senders or Send replies only to senders in the My Contacts list under the Outside My Organization tab when editing your automatic reply settings.

This ensures that your automatic replies are sent to the appropriate audience.

Create Templates for Replies

Creating custom templates for your automatic replies in Outlook can make your messages more personalized and useful.

To create a template, first, compose a new email message.

Type your desired automatic reply message, format it as needed (e.g., with bullet points, bold text, etc.), and then save it as an email template by selecting File >> Save As and choosing “Outlook Template” as the file type.

To use your custom template as an autoreply, go to Rules >> Manage Rules and Alerts and create a new rule.

Select Apply rule on messages I receive and configure the conditions under which the rule will be applied.

Then, choose the action reply using a specific template and select your custom template from the User Templates in File System.

Save the rule, and your customized automatic reply will be active during the specified time range or conditions.

Using Rules to Manage Replies

Create Out of Office Message with Rules

In Outlook, we can use rules to create an out-of-office message for when we’re unavailable to respond to emails.

To do this, first, go to File >> Manage Rules & Alerts. In the Rules and Alerts dialog box, on the E-mail Rules tab, click New Rule.

Under “Start from a blank rule,” click Apply rule on messages I receive and then click Next.

Leave the Step 1 and Step 2 boxes unchanged and click Next again. In the next window, select “Send an automatic reply” and customize your out-of-office message.

Follow the prompts to complete the rule setup. For more information, visit Microsoft Support.

Control Replies to Specific Emails

We can also use rules in Outlook to manage and control automatic replies for specific emails. To set this up, follow the same steps mentioned above to create a new rule.

In the “Rules Wizard,” choose the conditions that apply to the specific emails you want to manage.

For example, you can select from options like “from people or public group,” “sent to,” or “with specific words in the subject.”

Once you’ve set your conditions, click Next and choose the action to apply to these specific emails, such as “forward it to people or a public group” or “move it to the specified folder.

For more advanced options, you can also select “reply using a specific template.” Complete the setup by following the prompts.

To manage email settings and automatic replies, visit the View All Outlook settings page on Microsoft Support.

By utilizing these features in Outlook, we can effectively manage our out-of-office replies and handle specific emails according to our needs.

Just remember to stay confident, knowledgeable, and clear when setting up these rules, as they can significantly impact our email management.

Troubleshooting and Tips

Dealing with Large Monitors and Screen Resolution

When using Outlook on large monitors with high screen resolutions, it’s important to adjust your scaling settings to ensure an optimal viewing experience.

A common issue faced by users with high-resolution monitors is that the text and icons in the Outlook application might appear too small and difficult to read.

To fix this, we recommend adjusting your display scaling settings. In Windows 10, you can do this by going to Settings >> System >> Display.

Under “Scale and Layout,” you can adjust the scaling percentage to a value that works best for your monitor.

This will make the Outlook interface more user-friendly and easier to navigate on large-screen monitors. Remember to log out and log back in for the changes to take effect.

Secure Your Device During Automatic Replies

Setting up automatic replies in Outlook is a useful feature for managing your out-of-office email responses.

However, it is also essential to ensure that your device and email account are properly secured during this time.

Here are a few tips for securing your device and email account while using automatic replies:

  1. Update your software: Make sure that your computer’s operating system, antivirus, and Outlook application are up to date with the latest security patches and updates. This will protect your device from potential security threats.
  1. Strong passwords: Use a strong and unique password for your email account. Consider using a reliable password manager to help create and store complex passwords.
  1. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA): Implementing MFA on your email account adds an extra layer of security, as it requires you to verify your identity using a secondary method, such as a text message or an authentication app.
  1. Educate your organization: Encourage your organization to participate in training courses on email security and best practices. This will help everyone understand the potential risks and the importance of taking necessary security measures.
  1. Review email forwarding rules: Check your Outlook email forwarding rules to ensure that no unauthorized changes have been made. Malicious forwarding rules can be set up by an attacker to intercept your emails.

By taking these precautions, you can maintain a secure email environment while utilizing the convenience of automatic replies in Outlook.

Remember, it is crucial to protect your device, email account, and organization from potential cyber threats. Your security is a top priority.

Alternative Email Clients

In this section, we will discuss how to set up automatic replies in alternative email clients such as Gmail and Yahoo Mail.

Setting up out-of-office replies for these email clients is relatively easy and can be done in a few simple steps.

Setting Up Automatic Replies in Gmail

To set up automatic replies in Gmail, follow these steps:

  1. Sign into your Gmail account.
  2. In the top right corner, click on the gear icon and select “See all settings.”
  3. Navigate to the “General” tab.
  4. Scroll down to “Vacation responder” and toggle it on.
  5. Choose a start and end date for your automatic reply.
  6. Type in the subject and the body of your reply message.
  7. Optionally, you can choose to send automatic replies to people within your organization only by checking the box next to “Send responses only to people in my Contacts.”
  8. Click on “Save Changes” at the bottom of the page when finished.

Your Gmail account will now send automatic out-of-office replies during the specified dates.

Setting Up Automatic Replies in Yahoo

Follow these steps to set up automatic replies in Yahoo Mail:

  1. Log in to your Yahoo Mail account.
  2. In the top right corner, click on the gear icon and select “More Settings.”
  3. Click on the “Mailboxes” tab on the left sidebar.
  4. Select the email address you want to set up an automatic reply.
  5. Scroll down to find the “Vacation response” section and toggle it on.
  6. Choose a start and end date for your automatic reply.
  7. Type in the subject and the body of your reply message.
  8. Optionally, you can choose to send automatic replies only to people in your contacts by checking the box next to “Send replies only to people in my Contacts.”
  9. Click “Save” to apply your changes.

Now, your Yahoo Mail account will send out-of-office replies during the specified dates, ensuring that your contacts are informed about your absence.

Wrap Up

In conclusion, setting up an automatic reply in Microsoft Outlook can be a game-changer for maintaining professional communication and work-life balance.

Whether you’re going on vacation, attending a conference, or simply need some focused time away from your inbox, this handy feature ensures that your contacts are informed of your unavailability and prevents them from feeling ignored.

Throughout this blog post, we explored the step-by-step process of creating automatic replies in different scenarios, from a simple out-of-office message to customizing responses for specific contacts or time periods.

We also discussed best practices to avoid overwhelming senders with unnecessary information and the importance of including an alternative contact for urgent matters.

By mastering this essential feature, you can effectively manage your emails and maintain a professional image, even when you’re away.

Keep in mind that automatic replies are only available for Microsoft Outlook exchange accounts, and your signature will not be attached to the automatic responses.

Remember to enable and disable the feature as needed and double-check your message for accuracy before activating it.

With these tips in mind, you can confidently set up automatic replies in Outlook and enjoy a stress-free time away, knowing that your contacts are well-informed.

Now, take the plunge and empower yourself with this powerful Outlook tool.

Embrace the convenience and efficiency of automatic replies, and never miss a beat in your communication again!

Happy emailing!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is an automatic reply in Outlook?

An automatic reply, also known as an out-of-office message, is a pre-set response sent automatically to incoming emails when you are away or unavailable.

How do I set up an automatic reply in Microsoft Outlook?

To set up an automatic reply, open Outlook, go to “File,” select “Automatic Replies,” choose the duration and message content, and then click “OK” to activate the automatic reply.

Can I customize the automatic reply message for different contacts or time periods?

Yes, in Outlook, you can create different automatic reply messages and set rules to apply them based on specific contacts or date ranges.

Can I schedule the automatic reply in advance?

Absolutely! You can schedule the automatic reply to start and end on specific dates, ensuring it activates and deactivates as needed.

Does the automatic reply feature work with shared calendars?

Yes, when you set up an automatic reply in Outlook, it works seamlessly with shared calendars, providing accurate information to others about your availability.

Can I include my contact details in the automatic reply message?

While it’s generally not recommended to share personal contact details in automatic replies, you can include an alternative contact for urgent matters.

Does the automatic reply feature work for all types of email accounts in Outlook?

No, the automatic reply feature is only available for Microsoft Outlook exchange accounts, not for web-based or POP/IMAP email accounts.

Will Outlook automatically apply my email signature to the automatic reply message?

No, Outlook does not automatically attach your email signature to the automatic reply. You may need to manually paste it below the message if desired.

Can I enable or disable the automatic reply feature remotely?

Yes, you can enable or disable the automatic reply remotely by accessing your Outlook account from any device with internet access.

Can I set up an automatic reply on the Outlook mobile app?

Yes, the automatic reply feature is also available on the Outlook mobile app, allowing you to manage your responses on the go.

Setting up an automatic reply in Outlook is a valuable tool to manage your emails efficiently and professionally, especially when you’re away or unavailable.

By following these FAQs, you can master this feature and keep your contacts well-informed during your absence.

Related articles:

Amit Bansal

Hello, my name is Amit Kumar Bansal, and I am the founder of MailSmartly.com. Through this blog, I focus on Microsoft Outlook, offering insightful and informative content. Additionally, I produce educational videos on YouTube to further enhance the understanding of my audience. visit my YouTube Channel

View all posts

Leave a Comment