Outlook is one of the most convenient email clients regardless of whether you are using it in company or for personal use. Obviously, you cannot work the entire time and need to take a break due to sick or vacation. In such case, it is good idea to inform the email senders that you are not in office and the possible time you can respond to their emails. OOO is a popular term in organizations for indicating out of office. In this article, we will explain how to setup out of office reply in Microsoft Outlook emails.
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How to Setup Out of Office Reply in Microsoft Outlook?
Follow the below instructions to setup automatic out of office replies in Outlook:
- Launch Outlook and go to “File > Info” menu. If you have multiple emails in Outlook choose from which email you want to trigger auto reply.
- Click “Automatic Replies” button.
- You will see two options for disabling and enabling auto reply form your email.
- Select “Send automatics replies” option. Now, you will see, Outlook enables all other options for editing.
Setup Time Range for Auto Reply
When you enable auto reply, Outlook will consider sending auto respond immediately without any end date. This is useful if you are permanently closing the email or going on long leave like maternity reason. In this case, type the relevant message in the text box and click “OK” to apply the changes.
However, going on indefinite leave is not the general case. You may be taking a day or week for sick or vacation. In this case, you should setup the exact time you want to send auto respond.
- Click on the “Only send during this time range” option.
- Select the start and end date / time.
Auto Reply Message
After setup from and to dates, next step is to type the message as a reply to the email sender. You can send auto reply to people from having your company email address as well as from outsider.
- Type the relevant message under “Inside My Organization” tab. You can format the reply by setting up different font, size and colors. Click “OK” and close the popup to send auto reply during the specified time.
- If you want to send reply to people outside your company, go to “Outside My Organization” tab.
- Enable “Auto-reply to reply outside my organization” option. You can choose to respond only to the people in your contacts or all the people who sends you an email during the out of office period.
- Type you message content and format if required.
- Click “OK” to apply your changes.
That is it; you have setup the OOO reply in Outlook. Remember to type the meaningful message with clear details. Below is an example of the out of office message with the reason for leave, return time, alternate contact and emergency contact number (if you are willing).
Setting Up Rules
The fun part is to setup rules to send auto reply only for certain emails. Click on “Rules” button in the automatic replies popup and again click “Add Rule…”.
On the “Edit Rule” dialog, setup the rule want to apply. For example, type the from email address so that Outlook will only send auto reply to that email sender. Other senders will NOT receive auto response. On the other hand, you can consider sending auto reply only to the emails sent to you directly with your email in To address field. In this manner, you can ignore hundreds of emails coming to you with your email in CC field.
Testing Auto Reply
Outlook will show an alert message, when you open Outlook during the out of office period. You can also send a test email to your own id to receive OOO reply.
Turn Off Out of office Reply
If you want to turn off OOO reply during the specified period, open Outlook and click on “Turn off” option to disable OOO settings. You can also go to “Files > Info” menu and disable the automatic replies.
Otherwise, the settings will automatically expire after the specified time.