Microsoft Outlook Tips: Auto-Replies

With how busy people are getting in the working day, sometimes it’s just too hard to reply to an email. Microsoft Outlook 07/10/13 gives you the opportunity to send an automatic reply if certain “rules” are met.


The first way to do this is by using the built in “Out of Office” feature. This only works when you are connected to a Microsoft Exchange Server account. To set up your Out of Office Feature you must do the following:


  1. Click File > Automatic Replies.


If you don’t see this command, you probably don’t have an Exchange Server account.


  1. Select Send automatic replies.


  1. If you want, select the Only send during this time range check box to schedule when your out of office replies are active. If you don’t specify a start and end time, auto-replies are sent until you select the Do not send automatic replies check box.


  1. On the Inside My Organization tab, type the response that you want to send to teammates or colleagues while you are out of the office.


  1. On the Outside My Organization tab, select the Auto-reply to people outside my organization check box, and then type the response that you want to send while you are out of the office. Select whether you want replies sent to My contacts only or to Anyone outside my organization who sends you messages.



You may not be using an Exchange server account for Outlook and if this is the case the above steps will not work. The steps below are how to create an Automatic reply using rules for (formerly Hotmail), POP3 and IMAP email address.



Firstly you need to create an email template.


  1. Click Home > New Email.

Auto-Replies 1


  1. In the message body, type the message that you want to send as your automated reply.


  1. In the message window, click File > Save As.


  1. In the Save As dialog box, in the Save as type list, click Outlook Template.


  1. In the File name box, type a name for your message template, and then click Save.



Now, create a rule to automatically reply to new email messages.


  1. Click Home > Rules > Manage Rules & Alerts.


  1. In the Rules and Alerts dialog box, click New Rule.


  1. Under Start from a blank rule, click Apply rules on messages I receive, and then click Next.


  1. Under Which condition(s) do you want to check?, check any criteria that you want, and then click Next. Typically, you don’t need to check any items.


  1. Under What do you want to do with the message?, check reply using a specific template.


  1. Under Step 2: Edit the rule description (click an underlined value), click a specific template.


  1. In the Select a Reply Template dialog box, in the Look In box, click User Templates in File System.


  1. Select the template that you created in the previous section or one that you have created or downloaded, and then click Open.


  1. Click Next.


  1. Check any exceptions to the auto-reply rule. It’s common not to add any exceptions.


  1. Click Next.


  1. Under Step 1: Specify a name for this rule, type a name for the auto-reply rule, and then click Finish.


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