How to set an out of the office message in Outlook 2013 and 2016?

Debbie asks:

The other day I sent a note to a friend and got a nice automatic reply from her stating she was on vacation and a list of contact people to be contacted when she’s away. Can you explain how can I make such a message and have it posted automatically next time I am out for business?

Thanks Debbie for sending us this nice question. I agree that the out-of-the-office auto reply is one of the most useful Outlook features, in this is not an exception in version 2013.

From your question, I wasn’t able to figure out whether your mailbox is managed in an Exchange server. This is typically the case in business accounts.


Out of the office messages on Exchange:

Assuming you run on Exchange, here’s how you set one in your mailbox: First off, hit File, now under the Account Information section you’ll note the Automatic Replies button .

Hit that button and set your auto reply message (note that you are able to define different messages to senders from within or without your organization)., once you are done hit OK.

Once you are back don’t forget to turn off the message by selecting the “Do not send automatic replies” option.


Out of the office messages on Hotmail, Gmail or other POP3 and IMAP account:

Here the process is a bit more complex, and it is based on Outlook Rules engine. The gist of this trick is to define a custom message as a template (write a message, hit Save as and select Outlook template), then create a rule (Rules>> Create Rule) that will automatically respond to all incoming email with the custom message you have previously defined.

Also in this case it’s key to remember to turn-off the rule once you are back to business.

Update (8/9/2015): The process described above works also on the available Microsoft Office Outlook 2016 Preview version.

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