Out of Office Assistant (or Auto-replies) is a functionality which allows to automatically respond to messages and notify a sender that you aren’t in the office or your response might be delayed. You can change the wording of the Automatic Replies and include details, such as alternate contact information.

Note: Out Of Office cannot be setup for multiple users. It can only be setup individually for each user.

Note: Out of Office reply is sent to each sender only once. In order for each sender to receive an Out of Office reply again, Ouf of Office Assistant must be turned off and back on.

Outlook

To set up Out of Office replies in Outlook, an Autodiscover record must exist for your domain. Read the Knowledge Base article on What Is An Autodiscover Record And Why Do I Need It? for more information.

Without an Autodiscover record the users will receive the following error:

Your automatic reply settings cannot be displayed because the server is currently unavailable. Try again later

Outlook 2010/2013/2016

  1. Navigate to File > Automatic Replies (Out of Office)
  2. Automatic replies can be sent either to users inside of your organization or to everyone. The wording can be different. You can also specify the time range in which the auto-replies will be sent (if you don’t specify a start and end time, auto-replies will be sent until you select the Do not send automatic replies option):

Notes:

  • Organization is usually defined as your company and includes people who have an Exchange Server account on your email system.
  • If you select My Contacts only, replies are sent only to contacts that exist in your Exchange Server Contacts folder. If the contact exists only in a folder that is a part of an Outlook Data File (.pst), then the auto-reply message isn’t sent.

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Outlook 2007

  1. Navigate to Tools > Out of Office Assistant
  2. Automatic replies can be sent either to users inside of your organization or to everyone. The wording can be different. You can also specify the time range in which the auto-replies will be sent (if you don’t specify a start and end time, auto-replies will be sent until you select the Do not send automatic replies option):

Notes:

  • Organization is usually defined as your company and includes people who have an Exchange Server account on your email system.
  • If you select My Contacts only, replies are sent only to contacts that exist in your Exchange Server Contacts folder. If the contact exists only in a folder that is a part of an Outlook Data File (.pst), then the auto-reply message isn’t sent.

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OWA

OWA 2010:

  1. Navigate to Options > Set Automatic Replies (or Options > See All Options > Organize E-mail > Automatic Replies):
  2. Automatic replies can be sent either to users inside of your organization or to everyone. The wording can be different. You can also specify the time range in which the auto-replies will be sent (if you don’t specify a start and end time, auto-replies will be sent until you select the Don't send automatic replies option):

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OWA 2013:

  1. Navigate to Options > Set automatic replies (or Options > Options > Organize E-mail > Automatic Replies):
  2. Automatic replies can be sent either to users inside of your organization or to everyone. The wording can be different. You can also specify the time range in which the auto-replies will be sent (if you don’t specify a start and end time, auto-replies will be sent until you select the Don't send automatic replies option):

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OWA 2016

  1. Navigate to Options > Automatic replies ( or Options > Options > Automatic replies):
  2. Automatic replies can be sent either to users inside of your organization or to everyone. The wording can be different. You can also specify the time range in which the auto-replies will be sent (if you don’t specify a start and end time, auto-replies will be sent until you select the Don't send automatic replies option): 

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Server-side rules

Alternatively, instead of using the Out of Office assistant, you can use a server-side rule to set up an auto-reply.

Note: using server-side rules allows you to get round the one reply to one sender limitation. You do not need to have Outlook or OWA open for the rule to work.

  1. Navigate to Rules Wizard. Depending on Outlook version:
    • Outlook 2007: Tools > Rules Wizard
    • Outlook 2010/2013: Home > Rules > Manage Rules & Alerts
  2. Under E-mail Rules select New Rule. A Rules Wizard window will pop up.
  3. Select Start from a blank rule > Apply rule on the messages I receive. Click Next
  4. Select the condition. If you want to send automatic replies to all messages, check where my name is in the To or CC box checkbox. Click Next
  5. Check the have server reply using a specific message box and click on the words a specific message under Step 2. Enter the text and the subject of you auto-reply message and click Save & Close. Click Next.
  6. Add exception to the rules if necessary. Click Next
  7. Enter the rule name, make sure the Turn on this rule box is checked and click Finish

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