How to Set Out of Office in Outlook: A Step-by-Step Guide

Setting up an out-of-office message in Outlook is a straightforward process. All you need to do is access your Outlook settings, create the message, and set the duration for which it will be active. By doing so, you’ll ensure that anyone who emails you during your absence will receive an automatic response letting them know when you’ll be back and who to contact in case of urgent matters.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Set Out of Office in Outlook

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to understand that setting an out-of-office message in Outlook will help inform your contacts about your unavailability. It’s a professional way of letting people know that you’re not ignoring their emails and that you’ll get back to them once you’re available.

Step 1: Open Outlook and Click on ‘File’

Open your Outlook application and click on the ‘File’ tab located at the top left corner of your screen.

The ‘File’ tab is where you can access account information and settings. Once you’ve clicked on it, you’ll see various options including account settings and mailbox cleanup.

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

Under the ‘File’ tab, you will see the ‘Automatic Replies (Out of Office)’ button. Click on it to proceed.

This will open a new window where you can set up your out-of-office message. You’ll find options to set the duration and customize the message.

Step 3: Set the Time Range for Your Out of Office Reply

In the ‘Automatic Replies’ window, you can set the time range for when the out-of-office reply should be active.

You can choose to have the out-of-office message start immediately, or you can specify the start and end dates. This is helpful if you’re planning a vacation or know ahead of time when you’ll be out of the office.

Step 4: Write Your Out of Office Message

In the same window, type in the message you want to be sent automatically to anyone who emails you during the time you’re away.

Be sure to include relevant information such as the dates of your absence, alternative contacts for urgent matters, and a note of appreciation for the sender’s patience. Keep it professional and to the point.

Step 5: Click ‘OK’ to Save Your Settings

Once you’ve set the time range and written your message, click ‘OK’ to save the settings and activate your out-of-office reply.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully set up your out-of-office message in Outlook. Now, anyone who sends you an email while you’re away will receive your preset message.

After completing these steps, your out-of-office message will be active for the time frame you’ve specified. You can rest assured that your contacts will be informed about your absence and will know when to expect a response. Additionally, you have the option to set different messages for people within your organization and external contacts.

Tips on How to Set Out of Office in Outlook

  • Ensure that your out-of-office message includes the dates of your absence.
  • Provide alternative contact information for urgent matters.
  • Keep the message brief and professional.
  • Consider setting up different messages for internal and external contacts.
  • Remember to turn off the out-of-office message when you return.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I turn off the out-of-office reply?

Once you’re back in the office, go back to the ‘Automatic Replies (Out of Office)’ settings and select ‘Do not send automatic replies.’

Can I set up an out-of-office reply for a shared mailbox?

Yes, you can set up an out-of-office reply for a shared mailbox by accessing the mailbox settings and following the same steps.

Is it possible to set recurring out-of-office replies?

Outlook does not natively support recurring out-of-office replies, but you can manually set it each time before you’re away.

Can I include different messages for different people?

Yes, Outlook allows you to set up different messages for people within your organization and for external contacts.

What if I forget to set my out-of-office message before leaving?

You can set up your out-of-office message remotely by accessing your email via Outlook Web Access (OWA) or by asking an IT administrator to do it for you.


  1. Open Outlook and click on ‘File’
  2. Click on ‘Automatic Replies (Out of Office)’
  3. Set the time range for your out-of-office reply
  4. Write your out-of-office message
  5. Click ‘OK’ to save your settings


Remember, setting an out-of-office message in Outlook doesn’t just help those trying to contact you—it also helps you disconnect with peace of mind. It’s a simple, yet effective way to manage expectations and maintain professionalism even when you’re not actively working. And let’s be honest, we all deserve an uninterrupted break every now and then. So go ahead, set your message, and enjoy your time off without worrying about overflowing inboxes and impatient emails. Who knows, maybe your well-crafted out-of-office reply will inspire others to follow suit and prioritize their work-life balance too. Happy out-of-officing!

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