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Create an Out Of Office AutoReply in Outlook

When you know you are going to be out of the office for a few days, you can set up the Out of Office Assistant to reply automatically, letting people know that you are enjoying your vacation while they are stuck at work. You can also add rules to forward messages based on different criteria.

Open Outlook and Click on Tools \ Out of Office Assistant.

Next check I am currently Out of the Office and compose a message for the sender. You can include as little or as much information in this box. In this example I wrote a fairly generic reply message.

After filling this out you can just click OK or you can continue to add specific rules to the message. To do this click on the Add Rule button.

If you want the rule to only apply to a small set of contacts, you can add contacts or a contact list by clicking on the From button and selecting them there. If you want the rule to apply to any incoming email, then select a combination of both “Sent directly to me” and “Copied (Cc) to me”.

You can choose different actions to take for this rule. For instance if the message is coming from your boss you might want to have the message forwarded to another account, such as your mobile. Or you might want to have it reply with a different template. In this example I just chose to have them sent to my Inbox folder.

When you are done click on OK. You can then add another rule if you want to, just remember that the first matching rule in the list will be executed, but the rest of the matching rules will be executed if you don’t check the “Do not process subsequent rules” option. (Notice the options to move the rules up and down in the last screen)

When you’ve completed everything you will be back to the Out of Office Assistant window. Once you have verified everything click OK.

Now every time you get an email from a specified address the user will automatically get your Auto Reply. This is very useful in the office and in business environments. It allows your customers and co-workers know you are not available and who to contact if they need further assistance.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 05/9/07

Comments (57)

  1. Teresa

    What version of Outlook are you saying has Out of Office Assistant? I have 2003 and dont have it. Is there an add on? thanks

  2. CIJI

    yeah, i have outlook 2007 and no feature for out of office.

  3. kevin curran

    I am using Microsoft Vista. Within Outlook – Tools – there is no “Out of Office Assistant” option – is this the case with MS Vista or how can i turn on Out of Office?

  4. peter dowling

    In tools on office 2007 you can see out of office assistant about 6 options down

  5. Nikos

    Is there a way to get the out of office assistant to reply more than once (ideally every time) to each sender and show them my out of office message?

  6. Daniel Prentice

    You only have the option of an OOO reply if you have an Exchange email account i.e one run from the server.

  7. ash

    you have to have exchange server fpr this feature to be avalible

  8. Mikael

    I have tryed to find the Out of Office AutoReply. It’s no where to be found. I have outlook 2007. Can it be in a submap?

  9. mysticgeek

    Outlook 2007 Does not include the Out of Office wizard. However here are two Microsoft KB articles on how to emulate the same effect:

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/311107
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/248830/

  10. mysticgeek

    However … Office 2007 Business Edition includes Out of Office Assistant.

  11. anthony

    FYI

    Outlook 2007 included “Out of Office Assistant”, but it only occur on exchange server account,

    if you use other kind of email server ( eg, qmail), it will not show.

  12. heather

    I have XP how do I put auto reply on my computer I have netscape 7

  13. InDiSent

    I am running outlook 2003 with the Lotus Notes connector. I have the out of office assistant and i am able to set it up. However, i do not have the add rules option. What i would like is to reply with my out of office message every time someone sends me an email and not just once. I know there is a way to do it, but i forget.

  14. Robert

    You need an Exchange server to get the Out-of-office assistant.

  15. Steph

    I am running Outlook 2003 with Exchange 2003. I enabled autoreplies in Exchange and set a user to Away using the Out of Office Assistant in Outlook. It worked fine except that when the user logged out of Outlook, the autoreplies stopped working. I thought it was handled in Exchange, not Outlook. Does the user need to leave his PC on and Outlook running for the autoreply to work?

    Thanks,
    -Steph

  16. Kirti

    I have XP how do I put auto reply on my computer .

    Let me know all the steps

  17. Marius_Romania

    Hey!

    I am missing the “Out of Office Assistant” in Outlook 2003 (Office 2003 install.)

    I found some info here on EE that said to do the following…

    1. On the Tools menu, click Options, click Other, click Advanced Options, and click Add In Manager.
    2. If Exchange Extensions Commands appears in the list of add-ins, click to select it.
    3. If Exchange Extensions Commands is not on the list, click Install. From the list of add-ins that appears, double-click Emsuix.ecf

    Unfortunately, the “Exchange Extensions Commands” does NOT appear…and when I click “install” for the list of add-ins…neither does emsuix.ecf.

    I have not been able to find that file (on the CD, on any of my machines, or even on the inet for download.)

    What can I do to correct this?

    Thanks!

    Start Free Trial

  18. Bj

    Kinda annoying, the out of office reply should be linked the calendar so that if you set your status to “out of office” then the assistant thinks your out of office on the proper days instead of having to manually set it up each time and then hit the button when you walk out the door.

  19. sick of outlook

    I have found Out of Office Assistant flat out doesn’t work a lot of the times, must have Exchange, even then very spotty and unreliable.

    From the Outlook front end, it is so deceptively simple to set up, just no way to even begin troubleshooting why it won’t work.

    Seems to be a common trait for Microsoft products. Can’t say how many times I have just given up on something that appears so simple but just does not work properly.

  20. clinton

    What version of Outlook are you saying has Out of Office Assistant? I have 2003 and dont have it. Is there an add on? thanks

  21. KP Lim

    Am using Vista in my microsoft outlook , how do I find “out of office assistant “

  22. Antonio M oreschini

    I can not create an out of office template because I dont have Out of Office Assistant in my Outlook. Can you please let me know what I should do?

  23. Mei

    Hi,
    i need help on how to set the out of office in my outlook. i had tried as per below and to no avail.im using window XP.

    1. On the Tools menu, click Options, click Other, click Advanced Options, and click Add In Manager.
    2. If Exchange Extensions Commands appears in the list of add-ins, click to select it.
    3. If Exchange Extensions Commands is not on the list, click Install. From the list of add-ins that appears, double-click Emsuix.ecf

    Unfortunately, the “Exchange Extensions Commands” does NOT appear…and when I click “install” for the list of add-ins…neither does emsuix.ecf.

    Need help…on the steps to set it up on my tools in outlook. Thanks.

  24. luis Gomez

    i have Outlook 2003 and can’t find the out of the office replay
    please help me.

    thanks,

  25. Najeeb

    i have Microsoft Outlook 2007 and can’t find the out of the office replay
    please help me.

    thanks,

  26. Don Budge

    I have Windows 2007 Vista, but I cannot find where the out of office assistant is. Where can I find it?

  27. Sunitha

    I am missing the “Out of Office Assistant” in Outlook 2003 (Office 2003 install.)

    I found some info here on EE that said to do the following…

    1. On the Tools menu, click Options, click Other, click Advanced Options, and click Add In Manager.
    2. If Exchange Extensions Commands appears in the list of add-ins, click to select it.
    3. If Exchange Extensions Commands is not on the list, click Install. From the list of add-ins that appears, double-click Emsuix.ecf

    Unfortunately, the “Exchange Extensions Commands” does NOT appear…and when I click “install” for the list of add-ins…neither does emsuix.ecf.

    I have not been able to find that file (on the CD, on any of my machines, or even on the inet for download.)

    Pls suggest me on this?

  28. Kirsten

    Hi I have lost so much business whilst I’ve been on maternity leave because I’ve not been able to set up Out of office Auto reply?
    I have Outlook express 6. Can somebody help me?
    Thank you.

  29. Khan

    In your Outlook 2003 / 2007. Go to Tools Menu and under Tools menu click on Out of Office Assistant. Typing in your Autoreply message click OK and thats it…..Dont forget to expand your Tools menu.

  30. Kirsten

    I have outlook express not outlook. There is no option in the tools menu. But thank you anyway. Two family members have told me that it’s really simple but I think they have ‘exchange’ because they work for the council and huge global companies. I’m self employed.

  31. Clarence

    With ooo reply do you still receive the e-mail?

  32. jim

    You can set up a rule with outlook or outlook express. It is more of a pain with outlook express but check out this site for step by step instructions. http://email.about.com/od/outlookexpresstips/qt/et102806.htm

    “If it can be googled, it can be done!”

  33. Mike

    Like several of the other outlook users, I have no “out of office” listed under tools. Can you help ?

    Thx

  34. Baxter

    The out of office assistant only shows up if you are using a Microsoft Exchange server. If you don’t have an exchange server running you can emulate the same process using rules.

    I found an easy to understand explanation on how to do this here:
    http://www.groovypost.com/howto/microsoft/outlook/send-out-of-office-response-outlook-2007-exchange-server/

  35. Raj

    hi, i use Outlook 2007 with exchange server, with the 2007 OOO assistant, how can i setup OOO msgs for office mails only and ignore the personal mails coming into the same exchange account, any help will much appreciated.. thank you in advance…

  36. Sue

    I have Outlook 2003 and have created an auto-reply message in plain text (Word not enabled), saved it as an Outlook template. I’ve followed all the instructions to create the rule but IT DOESN’T WORK! I have tried this over a dozen times and it’s not working! I’ve done this in the past and it’s worked. Nothing’s changed so why isn’t it working now? I’m running Vista and always have been when doing this in the past.

    Can anyone help?

  37. Narendra Singh

    i am using office 2007 but i have no showing option out of office assistance. please help me, i want to use this option in urgent basis.

  38. Suneesh Kallinkeel

    ANSWER / SOLUTIION
    If you cant find Out of Office Assistance Option on your Outlook, then you are not directly connected with Microsoft Exchage. This Option will not be available if you are using POP3/IMAP

    if you have any Querries
    Email to me

  39. rob

    I am using POP3/IMAP and still not getting the option on Out of office on my outlook 2007

  40. Ed

    I’m using Outlook 2007 connected to an Exchange 2003 server. The mail account is definitely not POP3/IMAP. It is an Exchange account. I don’t have the Out Of Office option under the Tools menu. There are no disabled add-in’s listed under the Help->Disabled Items option either. Any other ideas on what to check for?

  41. Kok

    May I know how install or open for “out of office assistant”? I current using i Microsoft Outlook 2007 with Window Vista.

    Thanks,

  42. Habeeb

    You can install an out of office assistance

    Open Outlook –> Click on Tool
    –> Options
    –> Other Panel
    –> Advanced Options
    –> Add-In Manager
    –> Check all the boxes and click on install
    –> Now select OUTEX.ECF click open and ok
    –> Now again click on install select OUTEX2.ECF click open and ok,ok,ok,ok
    Close and reopen the outlook u r done !!!!!

  43. Dina

    I have tried to install the office assistant on 2007 but am stuck. under advanced options, i can’t find the add in manager….please help!!!

  44. Ian

    Hi All,

    I need to set up my out of office but add a rule that DOES NOT reply to emails with certain Subject matter, for e.g, “[BLOGGS”, the rule function does not give you the option to not reply to certain emails….any ideas?

  45. thaicar

    Hi All,

    I need to set up my out of office but add a rule that DOES NOT reply to emails with certain Subject matter, for e.g, “[BLOGGS”, the rule function does not give you the option to not reply to certain emails….any ideas?
    too.

  46. elie

    for “ThaiCar”

    after step 12, choose the emails that you dont want to include in this rule.
    Enjoy

  47. Ken

    Hi all,

    When I get a “Out of Office AutoReply” from the person I sent the email to that specifies a date range,
    does the email I sent go through or do I need to send it again after they return?
    I don’t want to be annoying by sending multiple emails.

  48. Dinithi Semini

    Nice stuff thak you for sharing .i really love it because i want it just moment ago :)

    FLY
    Regars
    Dinithi Semini
    Director of HR
    CE Coperation
    SL

  49. Shafeek

    ms outlook 2003 – their is no option for out of office, what can i do? how can i find it? Advice us soon………..,

  50. Robert

    Its require a mail exchange server.

  51. Mudaser

    Hi,

    Im using outlook 2007 version but when i checked under tools there is no option of Out of office.

    Pls suggest ASAP.

  52. Angela

    Is there a way when you return the office and open Outlook 2007 to be reminded to turn off the “out of office assistant”? This feature was there in 2003.

  53. Eric

    SOLUTION WITHOUT OUT OF OFFICE ASSISTANT:

    Just create a rule for that:
    Tools–> Rules and alerts –>new rule –> check message when they arrive –> tick “with specific words in the recipient address” –> type your email address as the “specific word” –> next –> tick “reply with specific template”, etc.

    CREATE A TEMPLATE:
    Create new message with your out of office text, save as a template

  54. scott kendall

    Eric is brilliant– I need assistance on how to insert the actual “Template” tellng people i’m out of office

    i get seemly to the end but cant develop the correct template
    the message reads c/doc settings scott app data temlate/ oft

    any words of help

  55. Barry

    I have Outlook 2010 and there is no ‘tools’ menu.

  56. Mark Laramie

    I get mail from reflectors that if you reply, goes to everyone on the reflector. Is there a way to have the out of office assistant NOT reply to mails from reflectors (or designated addresses?)

  57. Cyrus

    I recently went on leave without creating an Out Of Office AutoReply, but I now notice that my email address is sending out auto replies that I certainly did not create. Is it possible for someone else in the company to have set up AutoReply for my Outlook without accessing it through my Windows user settings and password? Or would the company have reset my Windows user settings and password to access my Outlook account and set up the Autoreply?

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