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Open Gmail on your desktop. Click the Settings gear icon. Next, click "See All Settings" and scroll down to the Vacation Responder options. Add your date range, a subject, and a body message, then click the radio button next to "Vacation responder on." Click "Save Changes" to save your email.

When you’re out of the office, your work emails should be left firmly behind. To give you a break, you can set up out-of-office messages in Gmail to let people know you’re away. Here’s how.

Set an Out-of-Office Message in Gmail Online

The easiest way to set an out-of-office message in Gmail is to do so from your Windows PC or Mac. You’ll need to be signed in to your Google account to be able to do this.

RELATED: The Complete Guide to Gmail

Head to the Gmail website and click the Settings gear icon in the top-right corner to begin. From the Quick Settings menu that appears, select the “See All Settings” option.

This will take you to the Gmail settings area for your account. Scroll down to the bottom of the General tab until you see the Vacation Responder options.

In certain locales, such as the U.K., this area is named “Out-Of-Office AutoReply” instead. This is because the U.K. doesn’t typically use the term “vacation” to refer to breaks away.

The settings remain the same for all locales, however.

Vacation Responder settings in Gmail

Out-of-office messages work by automatically replying to emails you receive, alerting them to the fact that you are unavailable to respond. You can set the date range that you’ll be “out of office” or “on vacation” and away from your emails in the First Day and Last Day date boxes.

You’ll need to enable the Last Day checkbox if you want to enable an end date. Otherwise, Gmail will continue to send out of office messages until you disable it manually.

First and Last Day fields

Once the date range is set, you’ll need to set the message you want to send automatically. Provide a subject title for the email in the Subject box and then type a message in the Message box.

This text box is a good place to indicate how long you’ll be away from the office, for instance.

Subject and Message fields

If you want to limit out of office replies to your Gmail contacts only, check the Only Send a Response to People in My Contacts checkbox. This checkbox will stop you from replying automatically to people you might not know or automated emails, for instance.

Contacts Only checkbox

Once you’re ready to save and apply the out-of-office message, select the Vacation Responder On radio button or the Out of Office AutoReply On radio button, depending on your location.

If this radio button is enabled and you’re happy with your out-of-office message, click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the screen.

Vacation Responder On and Save Changes

This will activate the out-of-office message you’ve set from 12 a.m. on the date you specified. If you set a Last Day value, the message will stop being sent at 11:59 p.m. on that date.

Set an Out-of-Office Message in Gmail on Mobile Devices

You can also set an out of office message in the Gmail app on your Android, iPhone, or iPad device. These steps will work on all mobile platforms.

RELATED: How to Set Up an Out of Office Message in Outlook

To start, open the Gmail app on your phone or tablet. Select your profile icon on the top right to choose an account if you have more than one. Then, tap the hamburger menu icon (three horizontal lines) in the top-left corner of the app.

Scroll down to the bottom of the list and then tap the “Settings” option.

Settings in the Gmail menu

In the Settings menu on Android only, tap the Google account you wish to add a Gmail out-of-office message to.

Your Gmail account settings menu will have options that are specific to your account, including out-of-office messages.

To add an out of office message, tap the “Vacation Responder” or “Out Of Office AutoReply” option, depending on your locale.

Vacation Responder in the Settings

You’ll need to set your out-of-office message settings next.

Tap the Vacation Responder or Out of Office AutoReply slider to allow you to modify the message settings.

Vacation Responder turned on

Just like the Gmail out-of-office message settings in your desktop browser, you’ll need to set how long you wish the message to be active from (and to) using the First Day and Last Day drop-down options.

If you don’t wish to have an end date, set the Last Day option to “None” instead.

You’ll also need to add a subject and message to send to users. If you only want to send messages to your contacts, toggle on the Send Only to My Contacts option.

Vacation Responder fields completed

To save and apply the message, tap the “Done” or “Save” option in the top-right corner.

Save the Vacation Responder settings

This will enable your out-of-office message from 12 a.m. on the date specified in the “First Day” options. If you set an end date, the messages will stop at 11:59 a.m. on that day.

Out-of-Office Message Examples

If you’ve never set an out-of-office message, we have a few examples you can follow. When you begin the message, you should let others know when you’ll be away.

Hello, I will be out of the office from June 1st through June 6th.

If you’re unsure of your return date due to an emergency or something similar, just include the start date.

Hello, I will be away from the office beginning on June 1st. I’ll reply to your message when I return.

You may also include contact information for those backing you up during your time away, including email addresses or phone numbers.

Hello, I will be away from the office beginning on June 1st. I’ll reply to your message when I return.

In my absence, you can contact Bill Brown at or 515-555-1234.

You should also consider whether or not you have an automatic signature set up in Gmail for replies. If you do, that signature is automatically added to your out-of-office message. So, you might  wrap up the email with a simple closing like “Thank you.”

Hello, I will be away from the office beginning on June 1st. I’ll reply to your message when I return.

In my absence, you can contact Bill Brown at or 515-555-1234.

Thank you.

Again, these are just out-of-office message examples. If this is for your job, you might check with your supervisor or manager in case your company uses a specific email template for out-of-office emails.

Letting others know you’ll be away with an out-of-office message in Gmail is courteous and helpful. Your senders will know why you’re not responding to them and who they can contact in the meantime.

For more, look at how to set up an out-of-office response in Google Calendar.

Profile Photo for Ben Stockton Ben Stockton
Ben Stockton is a freelance tech writer from the United Kingdom. In a past life, he was a UK college lecturer, training teens and adults. Since leaving the classroom, he's been a tech writer, writing how-to articles and tutorials for MakeUseOf, MakeTechEasier, and He has a degree in History and a postgraduate qualification in Computing.
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Profile Photo for Sandy Writtenhouse Sandy Writtenhouse
With her B.S. in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She learned how technology can enrich both professional and personal lives by using the right tools. And, she has shared those suggestions and how-tos on many websites over time. With thousands of articles under her belt, Sandy strives to help others use technology to their advantage.
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