Automatic Replies (Out Of Office) in Outlook 2010

What happens when we are in a big meeting for several hours and we don’t want to be disturbed or occupied with all the incoming messages?

What happens when we don’t have the luxury of time to reply to them straight away, and we just wished that somehow the senders will be notified that we are in a meeting and at the first chance we will reply to them?

Even on our holidays we don’t want to be distracted with all the incoming messages. We just wished that there was a way that all the messages will be archived in a specific folder for the time of our leave, and that the senders will be notified for our abscense.

This is where the Automatic Replies (Out of Office) option appears for Outlook. This feature works with Outlook 2010 and Exchange Server. Let’s see below how this feature can be used for the benefit of our own first, and for the others.

Once we have started Outlook, we select the File Tab and we make sure that the Info category is selected on the left pane of our screen. In the area below where it mentions Account Information we select the command Automatic Replies (Out of Office), as we can see shown in the image below.


When the window named Automatic Replies appears, we see that we have the right to apply automatic responses for people Inside My Organization and for people Outside My Organization.


In the image above I have selected the option Send Automatic Replies and then I also selected the option Only Send During This Time Range. Seeing that I am aware of the date and the hours that I am going to be busy or away, I then define the Start Time and the End Time, as well with the hours of my absence. Finally, I type the text that I want to appear as an automatic answer and I press the OK button to close the Automatic Replies window with all my adjustments.

When the time will come that I have defined as being occupied in the Automatic Reply window, I will notice in Outlook an Info ribbon which notifies me that Automatic Replies Are Being Sent For This Account. If for some reason I return earlier to my office, other than what I have defined, I just select the Turn Off option, so no automatic replies are been sent anymore.


At the image below, I can see in my Inbox that I have received an automatic reply according to rules that I had defined as well with the text message.


When we want to send automatic replies to people that are Outside My Organization, we will have to select the Outside My Organization tab of the window Automatic Replies. Then we activate the check box next to the Auto-reply to people outside my organization. We have the choice of sending automatic replies to My Contacts Only or to Anyone Outside My Organization as we can see in the image below.


Creating a Rule for Automatic Replies

If we want to make a rule for the messages that we receive during our absence from the office, we can select the Rules command that appears at the bottom of the Automatic Reply window.


Once the command is selected the Automatic Reply Rules window appears, where we select the Add Rule command, in order to create our Rule. Then the Edit Rule window appears where we can create a rule with multiple criteria if necessary.


In the image above next to the Sent To text box, I have selected the command Sent Directly To Me and then I typed my full name in the above text box, and checked it by pressing the Check Names button.

Afterwards, I selected the Move To option and from the Move Message To window I selected the folder Holidays and then pressed the OK button. We then return to the Edit Rule Window, which I press the OK button again.


Finally the Automatic Reply Rules window appears, with the rule that we just have created, mentioning the Conditions of the rule, and the Actions that will be taken to the messages. We then select the OK button to return to Outlook.


That is it, all the messages that will arrive at the specific dates and times that we will be absent, will automatically be moved to the Holiday folder and an Automatic Reply will be sent to the senders notifying them for our absence.

We must be careful what message we type in an automatic reply message, because it will be possibly sent to anyone, including spammers. It would be good for us, to avoid giving specific details of the time of our absence, so no one would know exactly the specific time and dates of our absence from the office or home.


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Posted on June 1, 2011, in Microsoft Office 2010 English, Outlook 2010 English and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Normally you would be able to setup rules or use the wizards to do this:

    • This is just an alternative way of use the Out Of office function in Outlook. I checked the link for the post that you mentioned and it describes everything very well.