How To Set Up Out Of Office In Outlook (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Out-of-office messages are the automatic responses that tell others you are out of the office or away from work. If you are planning to go on a vacation or are unable to answer emails for a couple of days then setting up an out-of-office message can be helpful. Learning about this automatic response can allow professionals to communicate with their team members while on leave from work. In this article, we explain how to set up an out of office in Outlook, provide additional tips and examples and mention things you can include in your out-of-office message:

What Is An Out-Of-Office Message?

Out-of-office messages are automatic replies that allow professionals to set up a message specifying their unavailability at the moment. You can use this automatic response to inform the receiver that you are currently out of the office and are unable to reply at the moment. If used effectively, out-of-office messages can be a great tool to highlight your personality and keep your connections engaged. You can tell your clients or other professionals when to expect a reply from you.

There can be several reasons for setting up an out-of-office message. Some common examples are maternity leave, business trips, vacations or medical leaves. A good out-of-office reply can provide your colleagues or clients with information on how they can contact the right person or discuss any urgent matter in your absence.

Related: Guide: Out Of Office Email Messages (With Examples)

How To Set Up Out Of Office In Outlook

Here are the steps that can help you learn how to set up out of office in Outlook:

1. Click 'File' on the outlook menu

The first step for setting up an out-of-office message in Outlook is to go to your account information. To open the account information, click the ‘File' option from the Outlook menu bar. Once the account information tab opens, click on ‘Automatic replies'.

2. Set time and date

After opening the automatic replies menu, you can insert and set the duration and date for your out-of-office message. You can find and click the radio button in the automatic replies menu and set a date for your message in the below box. You can easily set the date range by entering the start date and end date in the boxes.

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3. Write an effective out-of-office message

After successfully entering the start and end date, you can write the out-of-office message you want to deliver. In the text editor, you can paste your composed message or manually type your message. The text editor may contain two tabs which are inside my organisation and outside my organisation. In general, inside my organisation may get selected by default.

You can also change this option according to your preference. The two tabs can allow you to select the audience for your out-of-office message. Outside my organisation tab may allow you to deliver the message to everyone in your email list. On the contrary, the inside my organisation tab may allow you to limit the message to deliver only to people you choose.

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4. Save the settings

After writing the text for your out-of-office message, confirm all the settings twice before clicking on the save button. Once you click on ‘OK', your settings for the out-of-office message get saved automatically for the date you scheduled it. After setting up the out-of-office message, you can also test it by yourself. Email yourself to check if the out-of-office message is working perfectly.

Related: What Is MS Office? (Plus Other Helpful FAQs To Review)

Tips For Setting Out-Of-Office Messages In Outlook

Here are additional tips you can consider while setting out-of-office messages in Outlook:

  • Consider including the exact date of when you are returning back to the office and a greeting note for the customers or clients

  • Avoid sharing your location unless it is necessary

  • Save your message template as it can be helpful for you in the future

  • Avoid spelling and grammar mistakes

  • Check the date and time twice before saving the settings

  • Review the out-of-office message by emailing yourself before making it public for the customers

  • Keep the message short and professional

  • Turn off the out-of-office message after you return back to the office

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Things To Include In Your Out-Of-Office Message

Focusing on the following elements and including them in your out-of-office message can be helpful:

Date and time

Mention the exact date and time of your absence from the office. You can use a previously used template for setting up new out-of-office messages. Make sure to edit the date before saving the settings for the message.

Reason for your absence

Your clients or colleagues may want to know the reason for your absence. Clearly mentioning the reasons can allow others to understand the urgency of your leave. For example, if you are attending a meeting, setting an out-of-office reply can provide a time for your return.

A designated colleague

Mention the names and contact information of your colleagues that can help others on your behalf. You can provide your clients with the names, phone numbers or email addresses of your colleague who can cover your work on your behalf. A designated colleague can handle your calls and emails while you are away.

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Things To Avoid In Out-Of-Office Messages

Here are the things you can avoid including in your out-of-office messages:

Avoid including funny sentences

Including jokes or funny lines in your out-of-office message may affect the professionalism of your message. Others may misinterpret your attempts to make funny comments. Consider composing a clear and simple out-of-office message.

Avoid promising specific time for response

You can avoid promising a specific date to reply back. Once you finish your vacation, you may have multiple queries from clients or colleagues. Responding to all of them may lead to a delay in replying back to every individual message on the given date.

Related: How To Set Up Rules In Outlook (With Types And Tips)

Avoid promising immediate help from your colleagues

When mentioning your colleague who can assist others on your behalf, you may be unaware of how quickly they respond to the emails and messages. You can consult and take permission from your colleagues before mentioning their names and contact details in the out-of-office message. As they may have their own work or projects, you can avoid promising immediate responses from them.

Examples Of Out-Of-Office Responses

Here are examples that you can take inspiration from and create your own out-of-office responses:

  • 'Thank you for the email. I plan to be out of the office from 5 August to 15 August. If you need assistance during my absence, you can contact Rishabh at rishabh@email.com or +91 9999875412 for marketing-related queries and Sameer at sameer@email.com or +91 4848547854 for accounting-related questions.'

  • 'I plan to be away from August 10 to August 20. Please contact Seema at seema@email.com and +91-7575872395 for any doubts.'

  • 'Thanks for your email. I am on vacation with my family and not checking my emails right now. I plan to be out of the office till the 24th of August. For urgent issues and assistance, feel free to contact Rakesh at rakesh@email.com. I intend to get back to you as soon as I return back to the office.'

  • 'Thanks for contacting me. I am at my brother's marriage and am unable to check emails. I plan to get back to you as soon as I can. Until then you can contact Aditya at +91 8787851247 for any assistance.'

  • 'I am attending a conference from May 13 to May 17. Please direct all queries and requests to my assistant. For emergency situations, please contact me on my mobile number at +91 1261872358. I look forward to replying to your emails after getting back. Thank you.'

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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