Last updated Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, at 10:32 a.m.
This article is based on legacy software.
Outlook 2007 provides you with a feature to automatically reply to emails sent to you while you are away. The Out of Office Assistant will send a specified message to each sender. The message helps senders understand why you are unavailable, who to contact in your place, how else to contact you, or other information. Out of Office messages will be sent only once per sender, no matter how many times they send a message to you.
WARNING: If you receive a junk message with Out of Office replies turned on, you may reply to that junk message. Doing so may validate your email address to the sender, inadvertently adding you to the junk sender’s recipient list. You can avoid this by setting Out of Office messages to send to your Contacts only. For more information, refer to Creating Out of Office Replies below. Updating your junk email filters will be helpful too. For more information, refer to Using Junk Email Filters.
Tips and Considerations
The following are some things to consider when creating Out of Office replies.
Some messages may be urgent. Include the names and addresses of alternate contacts in your stead. If you are going to be gone for an extended absence (e.g., sabbatical), consider including multiple contacts.
Explain when you will be available again.
If you are subscribing to any discussion lists (listservs), sign off or suspend your subscription to prevent your Out of Office message from going to all of the list members.
If appropriate, include the reason why you are unavailable.
Creating Out of Office Replies
Consider the creation of Out of Office messages a part of your preparations for your absence. Outlook allows you to create two different Out of Office messages: one which will reply to messages sent from from your organization, and one which will reply to messages sent from anyone not from your organization, or if specified, your Contacts list.
NOTE: Once you have applied the Out of Office Assistant, a a pop-up bubble will appear the next time you open Outlook, notifying you that it is turned on.
From the Tools menu, select Out of Office Assistant.
The Out of Office Assistant appears.
Select Send Out of Office auto-replies.
From the Start time and End time pull-down lists, select the desired date and time range.
In the text box, type your desired message.
In the text box, type the desired message.
The Out of Office Assistant closes and Out of Office messages are applied.
Turning Off Out of Office Replies
When you return from an absence, you will want to promptly turn off Out of Office replies.
Turning Off Out of Office Replies: Opening Outlook
If the Out of Office Assistant is on, when you open Outlook, a pop-up bubble will appear to notify you that it is still activated. You can turn off Out of Office replies with this pop-up bubble.
Outlook loads and a pop-up bubble appears in the lower right corner, indicating that Out of Office replies are still activated.
Click the pop-up bubble.
NOTE: The pop-up bubble will disappear if no action is taken. If this occurs, refer to Turning Off Out of Office Replies: Outlook Already Open below.
The Out of Office Assistant appears.
Select Do not send Out of Office auto-replies.
The Out of Office Assistant closes.
Turning Off Out of Office Replies: Outlook Already Open
At the bottom of the Outlook window, click Out of Office » select Turn off Out of Office auto-replies.
All Out of Office replies are turned off.
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This article applies to: Outlook for Windows
The following link will take you to a Microsoft help page:
But before you go, here’s some additional information you may find helpful.
If you will be out of the office (or otherwise away from your email), people who send you messages may wonder why you haven’t responded. Outlook’s Out of Office assistant lets you create a reply that will be sent once to each person who sends you a message. You can choose to include and exclude people who fall into three categories:
Messages from most e-list managers (including nearly all CIT-hosted lists) delivered to accounts on CIT’s Exchange server won’t trigger an auto-reply. And that’s a good thing.
(Additional information for the technically inclined)
- Inside My Organization – this category is only those people who have accounts on CIT’s Exchange server. This includes most faculty and staff, retirees, and some students.
Note: People in colleges and units that manage their own email servers will never be “Inside.”
- Outside My Organization – this category is everyone who isn’t inside. Most undergraduates (who use G Suite accounts) fall into this group, as do people in colleges and units that manage their own email servers. Everyone with a non-Cornell address is outside. The “Outside” group is broken down into two smaller groups:
- My Contacts only – only people who (1) are not “inside” but (2) have an entry in your Contacts are in this group.
- Anyone outside my organization – and this is everybody else.
Given the amount of unsolicited (and possibly unwelcome) email we receive, we generally recommend that you do not send auto-replies to everyone in the world. This would open you up to responding to spam or marketing messages, which would confirm to the sender that they had reached a valid address, and you would most likely start getting even more junk mail.
The auto-reply function lives on the Exchange server, so you do not need to leave Outlook running on your computer for it to work.
Your messages will be delivered to you exactly the same way whether you have auto-reply turned on or off.