How to use a Template as an Automatic Reply in Outlook

In a previous post I mentioned about the Automatic Replies (Out Off Office) feature that is available in Outlook 2010.  In this post I will describe how to use a template (which I will have to create) in order to be used as an automatic reply

If we are leaving for holidays or for a business trip, we will find the need to send out e-mails automatically to the senders, so they could get in contact with us with an alternative way. With Outlook 2010, we can manipulate the incoming messages in a variety of ways. For example, we can create a template that includes important telephones to communicate, addresses, etc. for direct communication. When they will contact us via e-mail, the specific template will be sent to them as an answer. Further down I will describe the way of creating a simple rule which will allow us to create an automatic reply. For us to be able to use this feature, we must have Microsoft Exchange Server as well with Outlook 2010.

First we will need to create the template that will be sent automatically to the senders address. We must start Outlook 2010 and then from the Home Tab to select the command New Mail. When the New Mail window appears, we must type in all the necessary information that we need to be shown in our reply message as we can see in the image below.


After typing all the information, we select the File Tab of the message and from the drop down menu we select the command Save As, as we can see below.


Once the Save As window appears, in the area Save As Type, we must select form the list the type Outlook Template (*.oft). Then we will have to type a name for our message and press the Save button, for the window to be closed.


Since, we have saved our message as a template, we close it (we don’t save anything again) and we select the Home Tab of the ribbon. We then locate the Move area of the ribbon and we select the arrow at the right of the command Rules, and from the drop down menu we select the command Manage Rules & Alerts.


The Rules & Alerts window appears, where we select the New Rule command, and the New Rule Wizard appears. In the area Start From a Blank Rule, we select the command Apply Rule On Messages I Receive and then we press the Next button.


In this step of the wizard we activate the control button left of the command Sent Only To Me and we press the Next button.


In the next step of the wizard, we must activate the control button left of the command Reply Using a Specific Template and at the bottom of the wizard’s window we select the command  A Specific Template. The Select A Reply Template window appears straight away. From this window in the area Look In, we must select the folder User Templates in File System as we can see in the image below. All the e-mail templates that we have saved appear here, and we just need to select the appropriate one and press the Open button.


Once we pressed the Open button for our template, we return to the Rule Wizard window, where at the bottom of the window and at the right of the command Reply Using we see the file path and name of the file we used as shown in the image below. We press the Finish button in order to close the window.


Pressing the Finish button, we return to the Rules & Alerts window where we can see the rule that we have just created with the name Sent Only To Me. Finally, we press the OK button to close the window.


When someone will send us a message, an automatic response based on the template that we specified will be sent to the sender’s address.

We must be careful what 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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MVP: Honored with the MVP (Most Valuable Professional) for OFFICE SYSTEM title for the years 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 by Microsoft, for my contribution and commitment to the technical communities worldwide. Microsoft Master Specialist: This certification provides skill-verification tools that not only help assess a person's skills in using Microsoft Office programs but also the ability to quickly complete on-the-job tasks across multiple programs in the Microsoft Office system

Posted on June 6, 2011, in Microsoft Office 2010 English, Outlook 2010 English and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. trudy glidden

    How do you remove an automatic reply?
    I have auto reply set but am not leaving
    the office. Help!

    • Select Rules from the Home tab of Outlook and under the section Move. From the drop down menu that appears select Manage Rules & Alerts and from the window that appears select the rule that you have created and then select Delete rule button