Set up automatic replies when you’re out of the office in Outlook

Microsoft Outlook has an auto-reply feature that you can use to leave messages with your colleagues or other people when you go on vacation. This feature is only available with an Exchange account, which is used by many organizations, businesses, and schools. Home users generally do not have an Exchange account, and some POP and IMAP accounts do not support Outlook’s auto-reply feature.

This process works in Microsoft Office Outlook 2016, 2013, and 2010 with Exchange accounts.

Using the Automatic Answers (Out of Office) feature

Customize your automatic replies and schedule start and stop times in Outlook. Here’s how:

  1. Open Outlook and go to the tab File

  2. Select tab Information from the menu displayed in the panel on the left side of the screen.

  3. Press the button Automatic Replies (Out of Office) on the main screen. (If you don’t see this option, you probably don’t have an Exchange account.)

  4. Check the box in the dialog that opens Send automatic replies

  5. Check box Only ship within this period and enter the start and end time.

  6. You can leave two messages outside the office – one for your colleagues and one for everyone else. Go to the tab Within my organization to enter a message to send to colleagues. Go to the tab Outside my organization to enter a message to send to everyone else.

  7. Click Okay to save the information.

Out of office responses are automatically activated on entry and activated before the end time. Every time an email arrives during this time, your out of office response will be sent to the sender. To stop the automatic replies at any time during the scheduled time, go back to the button Automatic Replies (Out of Office) and choose Do not send automatic replies

How to determine if you have an Exchange account

If you’re not sure if you’re using Outlook with an Exchange account, check the status bar. You will see “Connected to Microsoft Exchange” in the status bar if you are using an Exchange account.

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