How to Set an Out of Office Reply in Outlook 2016 and Prior

If you don't plan on checking your email for a while, whether you're going on vacation or to a busy conference, you'll want to set up an out of office message. These handy automatic responses let your colleagues know they shouldn't hold their breath waiting for a reply, and can inform others about who to contact with their urgent concerns.

Outlook gives users the option to only send responses to people within your organization and send alternate messages to those who don't work at the same company. You can also set a start and end date, so the messages will begin sending the moment you leave the office and stop automatically. Here are step-by-step instructions for setting an out of office reply.

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How to Set an Out of Office Reply in Outlook 2016 and Prior

1. Click File.

2. Click Automatic Replies.

3. Select Send automatic replies.

4. Write the message you want sent to your coworkers. You may want to suggest other colleagues that your coworkers should reach out to in your absence.

5. Click OK. To send responses to senders outside of your organization, click Outside My Organization and then fill in a separate message. To set a time range for your out of office message, click "Only send during this time range" and select parameters.

Now your colleagues will receive your out of office reply when they contact you, and they'll also be notified that the reply is set when they add you to an email.

Microsoft Outlook Tips