Send the perfect out-of-office reply automatically in Outlook

Finally, it’s the day that you’ve been looking forward to for so long. You take one last look at your desk and are ready to leave the office for your vacation and swap the office chair for a lounge chair on the beach. However, your gaze drifts over your computer for a second too long and you immediately get a bad feeling at the thought of the overcrowded email inbox that you can expect to find after the holiday. At the last second, you remember: You have to write and activate the out-of-office message for your email.


Writing the perfect out-of-office reply is very important as it can otherwise lead to confusion for coworkers and clients as well as more work for yourself after you return. If you don’t clearly state the dates of your absence, it is likely that you’ll receive multiple emails and follow-ups clogging your inbox. Additionally, it is important to find someone who can be contacted in your absence and give information about that contact. You surely don’t want to get phone calls about urgent matters while lying on the beach!


Here you can learn how you can find important emails in your inbox faster!

How to set up an automatic reply in Outlook

Step 1: Open Outlook and select File. There you can Automatic Replies.

Note: If you don’t see the field Automatic Replies then click here to learn how to use rules to create an out of office message.


Step 2: The Automatic Replies Box opens and you can select Send automatic replies. You can either manually turn the automatic replies off after your vacation or you can set a date and select only send during this time rage.

Step 3: On the Inside My Organization tab, you can type the response you want to send to your colleagues during the time you are out of office. For clients and people outside the office you can type a different text selecting Outside my organization. If you don’t want Outlook to answer every newsletter, advertisement and junk email, you also have the option to choose My contacts only.

How to write the perfect out-of-office message

Writing the perfect out of office message can be challenging. You want to keep it short but you also need to give all the important details. In the following, you can read about what to include and what to avoid in the perfect out-of-office message for your Outlook:


    • Don’t just reactivate the message you typed during your last time off, as it is important to give the exact dates of your time off to avoid confusion from coworkers and clients – always double check here!
    • If you don’t give a reason for your absence, coworkers might still try to contact you. They’ll be less likely to call you if they know that you are taking your well-deserved vacation time off!
    • Provide names, email addresses and/or phone numbers of people who can help while you’re out. If you handle multiple areas, make sure to specify each person’s area of expertise so your contacts know where to go for assistance!
  • Avoid giving too much detail! Simply noting that you are taking personal time off or that you are on vacation is absolutely enough. Rather keep it short and simple instead of giving your exact plans.
  • Don’t try to be funny as this can easily give the wrong impression – except if you’re a comedy writer of course ;-) keep it professional!
  • As your out-of-office message could go to your manager as well as to your clients, avoid typing mistakes with careful proofreading!



Here you can learn how you can find important emails in your inbox faster!

Out-of-office message example

An example for your out-of-office message could be:

“Thanks for your email. I am out of the office as I am taking some personal time off and will not return until Nov. 18. If you need immediate assistance, you can contact Olivia Jones at (email and phone number) for sales matters as well as Charlie Brown at (email and phone number) for marketing questions. Otherwise, I will respond to your email as soon as possible after my return.”


With this article you should be prepared to write the perfect out-of-office reply in your Outlook and therefore nothing should get in the way of your vacation. Enjoy your well-deserved time off knowing that everything at the office is handled. Good luck and don’t forget your sun protection at the beach!


Aline & the Lookeen Team


Date: 29. Jun 2021
Author: Aline Gengenbach

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