How to Create Outlook Out of Office Message: A Step-by-Step Guide

Creating an out of office message in Outlook is a simple task that ensures your contacts are informed about your unavailability. By setting up an automatic reply, you let people know when you’ll be back and who to contact in your absence. In just a few steps, you can set up your message and enjoy your time away without worrying about missing important emails.

Step by Step Tutorial: Creating an Outlook Out of Office Message

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to note that setting up an out of office message can prevent confusion and maintain communication while you’re away. Whether you’re on vacation, attending a conference, or out for personal reasons, this feature is a must for professional email management.

Step 1: Open Outlook and Select File

Open your Outlook application and click on the ‘File’ tab located in the top-left corner of the window.

This step takes you to the ‘Account Information’ section where you’ll find various options including automatic replies.

Step 2: Click on ‘Automatic Replies (Out of Office)’

In the ‘Account Information’ section, click on the button labeled ‘Automatic Replies (Out of Office).’

A new window will pop up, giving you the option to turn on automatic replies and set specific time ranges for your absence.

Step 3: Set the Time Range for Your Automatic Replies

In the ‘Automatic Replies’ window, you can specify the exact start and end time for your out of office period.

It’s crucial to set a clear time range so that contacts know when to expect your return. This helps in managing their expectations and reduces the risk of misunderstanding.

Step 4: Write Your Out of Office Message

Write a concise and informative out of office message in the provided text box. Include the dates you’ll be away and alternative contact information if necessary.

A well-crafted message leaves a professional impression and provides all the necessary details without being too lengthy.

Step 5: Choose Who Will Receive Your Out of Office Message

You can select whether all external senders will receive your out of office message or only those within your contacts list.

Consider your privacy and the nature of your work when choosing who should receive your automated replies.

Step 6: Save Your Settings

After composing your message and setting your preferences, click ‘OK’ to save your out of office message settings.

Make sure to review your message for any errors or typos before saving to maintain a professional image.

After completing these steps, your out of office message will be active for the duration you specified. Your contacts will receive an automated reply informing them of your unavailability, and you can relax knowing that your email communications are taken care of.

Tips for Creating an Effective Outlook Out of Office Message

  • Keep your message brief and to the point; no one needs your life story.
  • Clearly state the dates of your absence so there’s no confusion.
  • Provide alternative contact information for urgent matters.
  • Be professional, even if you’re off to the beach for a week.
  • Double-check your message and settings before activating.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it necessary to set a time range for out of office replies?

Yes, setting a time range informs your contacts when you’ll be back and prevents the out of office message from being sent indefinitely.

Can I set up different messages for internal and external contacts?

Absolutely! Outlook allows you to customize messages for people within your organization and those outside of it.

Should I include personal contact information in my out of office message?

Generally, it’s not recommended to include personal contact info. Instead, provide an alternative work contact or department.

What happens to my emails while I’m out of office?

Your emails will be stored in your inbox as usual. The out of office reply is simply a notification sent to the sender.

Can I cancel or edit my out of office message before the end date?

Yes, you can modify or cancel your automatic replies at any time by revisiting the ‘Automatic Replies’ settings.


  1. Open Outlook and select ‘File’
  2. Click ‘Automatic Replies (Out of Office)’
  3. Set the time range for replies
  4. Write your out of office message
  5. Choose recipients of your message
  6. Save your settings


Setting up an out of office message in Outlook is a straightforward process that can save you a lot of headaches. It’s a professional courtesy to inform your contacts about your unavailability and provide them with alternative ways to get assistance. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure your out of office message is clear, informative, and effective. Remember, a well-crafted message can make a great impression, even when you’re not there to respond personally. Keep the tips in mind to craft the perfect message and don’t hesitate to revisit your settings if your plans change. Now, go enjoy your time off and rest easy knowing your out of office message has got your back!

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