How to Send Out of Office Reply in Outlook: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Are you heading out of the office and worried about missing important emails? Setting up an out of office reply in Outlook can help you stay connected with your contacts and ensure they receive a timely response. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of sending out of office replies in Outlook, allowing you to enjoy your time away without any worries.

Understanding Out of Office Reply in Outlook

Before we dive into the steps of setting up an out of office reply in Outlook, let’s take a moment to understand what it actually is. An out of office reply, also known as an automatic reply, is a feature in Outlook that automatically sends a predefined message to anyone who emails you while you’re away. This message informs the sender about your absence and provides them with relevant information, such as your return date or alternative contacts.

Setting up an out of office reply can be incredibly useful, as it helps manage expectations and ensures that important messages are acknowledged even when you’re not available. Whether you’re on vacation, attending a conference, or simply taking a day off, an out of office reply in Outlook can save you time and keep your contacts informed.

Steps to Set Up Out of Office Reply in Outlook

Now that we understand the purpose and benefits of an out of office reply, let’s explore the step-by-step process of setting it up in Outlook. Follow these simple instructions to ensure your out of office reply is configured correctly:

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Step 1: Accessing the Automatic Replies feature in Outlook

To begin, open Outlook and navigate to the “File” tab at the top left corner of the screen. Click on “Automatic Replies” to access the necessary settings.

Step 2: Enabling the Out of Office reply

In the Automatic Replies window, you’ll find two options: “Send automatic replies” and “Turn off automatic replies.” Choose the first option to enable the out of office reply.

Step 3: Customizing the message and setting the duration

Once you’ve enabled the out of office reply, you’ll see two tabs: “Inside My Organization” and “Outside My Organization.” The former allows you to set different messages for colleagues within your organization, while the latter is for external contacts. Customize your messages accordingly by entering the desired text.

Additionally, set the duration for your out of office reply by selecting the “Only send during this time range” option and specifying the start and end dates.

Step 4: Activating the out of office reply

After customizing your messages and setting the duration, click on “OK” to activate your out of office reply. Outlook will now automatically send the configured messages to anyone who emails you during the specified period.

Tips for Crafting an Effective Out of Office Message

Crafting an effective out of office message is essential to ensure that your contacts receive the information they need while you’re away. Here are some valuable tips to help you create an impactful out of office message:

  1. Keep it clear and concise: Your message should be brief and to the point. Avoid unnecessary details and focus on conveying the essential information.

  2. Include relevant details: Make sure to mention the dates you’ll be out of the office and provide alternative contacts if necessary. This helps manage expectations and ensures that urgent matters are properly addressed.

  3. Personalize the message: Tailor your out of office message based on the recipient. If you’re sending different messages to colleagues and external contacts, ensure that the tone and content are appropriate for each audience.

  4. Express gratitude: Show appreciation for the sender’s message and let them know you’ll respond as soon as you return. A simple “Thank you for your email” can go a long way in maintaining positive relationships.

  5. Use a professional tone: While it’s important to be friendly and approachable, remember to maintain a professional tone throughout your message. This helps maintain your credibility and ensures a level of professionalism in your absence.

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By following these tips, you can create an out of office message that is informative, respectful, and leaves a positive impression on your contacts.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can I set up different out of office messages for internal and external senders?

Absolutely! Outlook allows you to customize separate messages for colleagues within your organization and external contacts. This feature ensures that the content and tone of your out of office replies are tailored to each recipient.

How can I disable the out of office reply before the set duration?

To disable the out of office reply before the specified end date, simply return to the Automatic Replies settings in Outlook and choose the option “Turn off automatic replies.” This will immediately stop sending out the configured out of office messages.


Setting up an out of office reply in Outlook is a simple yet effective way to manage your email communications while you’re away. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this article, you can easily configure your out of office reply and ensure that your contacts receive timely notifications about your absence. Remember to craft an informative and professional message, and consider personalizing it for different audiences. With Outlook’s out of office reply feature, you can enjoy your time off without worrying about missed emails or leaving contacts in the dark.

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