How to Create Auto Replies in Outlook: A Step-by-Step Guide

Creating auto-replies in Outlook is a breeze. Whether you’re stepping out for a quick lunch or taking a two-week vacation, setting up automatic responses can keep your contacts informed and at ease. Here’s how to quickly set up an auto-reply in Outlook in just a few steps.

Step by Step Tutorial: Creating Auto Replies in Outlook

Before we dive into the steps, let’s understand what we’re trying to achieve here. Setting up an auto-reply in Outlook allows you to send automated messages to anyone who emails you during a specified period. This is especially useful when you’re not available to respond to emails right away.

Step 1: Open Outlook and Click on ‘File’

First things first, you need to open your Outlook application.

Once you’re in Outlook, click on ‘File’ which is located in the upper left corner of your screen. This will open the Account Information section.

Step 2: Select ‘Automatic Replies’

After clicking on ‘File’, you’ll see a list of options. Look for and click on ‘Automatic Replies (Out of Office)’.

Selecting ‘Automatic Replies’ opens a new window where you can set up your auto-reply message.

Step 3: Choose ‘Send automatic replies’

In the Automatic Replies window, you will have the option to choose ‘Do not send automatic replies’ or ‘Send automatic replies’. Make sure to select ‘Send automatic replies’.

Once selected, you can specify a start and end time for the auto-reply if you wish. This is optional but useful for vacations or specific events.

Step 4: Write Your Auto-reply Message

Now, it’s time to write the message that people will receive when they email you.

There are two tabs – ‘Inside My Organization’ and ‘Outside My Organization’. You can set different messages for people within your company and those outside of it. This can be useful if you want to provide more detailed information to colleagues.

Step 5: Set Rules (Optional)

If you want to get fancy, you can click on ‘Rules…’ at the bottom left of the Automatic Replies window to set specific conditions for your auto-replies.

This step is optional, but it allows you to tailor your auto-replies to specific people or types of messages.

Step 6: Click ‘OK’ to Save Your Settings

Once you’re happy with your message and settings, click ‘OK’ to save everything.

Now, your auto-reply is set up and will respond to incoming emails as you specified.

After you complete these steps, Outlook will automatically reply to incoming messages with the message you’ve set. When the end time you specified arrives, the auto-reply will turn off automatically if you’ve set a time range. If not, you’ll need to manually turn off the auto-replies by following the same steps and selecting ‘Do not send automatic replies’.

Tips for Creating Auto Replies in Outlook

  • Keep your auto-reply message clear and concise.
  • Include the timeframe of your absence in the auto-reply message.
  • Mention an alternative contact in your auto-reply message in case of urgent matters.
  • Review your company’s policy on auto-replies, as some have specific guidelines.
  • Remember to turn off the auto-reply when you return if you didn’t set an end time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I set an auto-reply for a specific contact?

Yes, you can set rules for specific contacts in Step 5 to tailor your auto-replies accordingly.

Will auto-replies be sent during my specified timeframe only?

If you set a start and end time, auto-replies will only be sent during that period.

Can I have different messages for colleagues and external contacts?

Yes, you can have different messages for internal and external contacts by utilizing the ‘Inside My Organization’ and ‘Outside My Organization’ tabs.

What if I forget to turn off my auto-reply?

If you didn’t set an end time, you need to manually turn it off by going back to ‘Automatic Replies’ and selecting ‘Do not send automatic replies’.

Will auto-reply work if Outlook is closed?

Yes, auto-replies will work even when Outlook is closed as they are handled by the server.


  1. Open Outlook and click ‘File’
  2. Select ‘Automatic Replies’
  3. Choose ‘Send automatic replies’
  4. Write your auto-reply message
  5. Set rules (optional)
  6. Click ‘OK’ to save settings


Setting up auto-replies in Outlook is a simple yet effective way to manage your emails when you’re not available. It ensures that your contacts are not left in the dark, wondering why you haven’t replied. The process takes just a few minutes, but the benefits are lasting. Impressions matter, and an auto-reply can be the difference between seeming unresponsive and being considerate of your contacts’ time.

Remember, the key to a great auto-reply is clarity and brevity. You want your message to be understood without any confusion. And, don’t forget to set a reminder to turn off your auto-replies if you haven’t specified an end time. With these tips and steps, you’ll be creating effective auto-replies in Outlook like a pro. Happy emailing!

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