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How to set auto responders in Microsoft Outlook

One of the biggest things when returning to the office after being away is the amount of emails you have to get through. Imagine the situation of being away for a few weeks, and clients emailing in your absence.

It also helps as in your absence you can arrange for you work colleagues or manager to manage your emails by forwarding them. As long as people have an alternative contact method in your absence, they should be happy.

So to avoid the chances of angry customers, why not use Microsoft outlooks "out of office assistant".

Configuring Microsoft Outlook

From the main Screen click "Tools"

Microsoft Office main screenMicrosoft Office main screen

From the tools menu, click "Out of office assistant…"

Microsoft Office tools menu optionMicrosoft Office tools menu option

This will then bring the following pop up box up:

Out of office assistant pop upOut of office assistant pop up

This box contains the message that someone will get if they email you. Enter something suitable in here – "I am away from the office until the 23/4" or similar.

There are 2 radio buttons. Once you click "I am currently out of the office", you should close Outlook down and re-open it. A pop up will appear asking you if you want to turn auto reply off.

Out of office is now workingOut of office is now working

You can also add message rules to filter incoming messages, so they remain organised even if you are not at the PC.

Click ok to edit filter rulesClick ok to edit filter rules

If you click the add rule button you will see:

Edit filter rules pop up box in OutlookEdit filter rules pop up box in Outlook

This gives you a variety of different options on how to allow outlook to manage your emails.

We will work through each one in turn.


The button titled "From" will only be visible to those users on outlook who have more than one account they send emails from. This will give you the option to choose who your auto response goes from.

Sent To...

The button "Sent To" will allow you to select which email address out of your list you want to add a rule to (sometimes there may only be one you use and this will be picked by default)

"New Message To" pop up window"New Message To" pop up window

There are 2 radio buttons underneath this section they will allow you to choose wether you want to re-direct the ones only sent to you, or the emails you are copied into.


Typing the title in the "subject" field on this screen will allow any emails with that subtitle to be sent to a certain area. For example if you put "May Invoice" any emails with "May Invoice" In the subject field would be sent to the folder you want it to go to.

Message Body

Typing the part of message that could be sent in this field will allow any messages containing the same content will be routed to the folder specified.

! Alert With

This will either a pop up box or text when a message is received. Clicking the button gives you the various options available.

Move to

By clicking move to this will then ask you to choose which folder you would like the emails sent to once receive. Also gives you the opportunity to add a new folder rather than having to close everything down.

Copy To

This button has a similar effect it will make two copies of the email one will direct to the folder you choose to select and the email will remain in your inbox.

Forward To

If you click the forward to button this will allow you to choose out of your contact list all your emails get forwarded to when your away, you can even use this rule to forward the emails to a alternative email address of your own at home.

Reply with

This gives you the option to set a template reply which would look like a normal email, this is useful if you want to send it to a few people so they know the response and you can set this just so it does it to certain emails you receive.

Comments1 Comments

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