Send Out of Office notices automatically with an Exchange account

You can set up Microsoft Outlook 2010 to automatically respond to people who send you send an email message. This helps inform people that you aren’t in the office or that your response might be delayed. Automatic Replies can include details, such as alternate contact information.

Note:  A Microsoft Exchange Server account is required. This feature doesn’t work with POP3 or IMAP email accounts.

Important:  The Automatic Replies command is available only in Outlook 2010 when it is used with a Microsoft Exchange Server account. If you are using an (formerly Hotmail), Google Gmail, POP3, or IMAP account, see Automatically reply to email messages without using an Exchange Server account.

How can I tell if I have a Microsoft Exchange Server account?

Click the File tab. Click Account Settings, and then click Account Settings. On the E-mail tab, the list of accounts indicates the type of each account.

Example of an Exchange Account in the Account Settings dialog box

Turn Automatic Replies on or off

Microsoft Exchange 2010 and Exchange 2007 accounts

If you aren’t sure which version of Exchange Server your account uses, see Determine the version of Microsoft Exchange Server my account connects to.

  1. Click the File tab.

  2. Click Automatic Replies.

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

  3. Select Send automatic replies.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.


    • Organization is usually defined as your company and includes people who have an Exchange Server account on your email system.

    • If you select My Contacts only, replies are sent only to contacts that exist in your Exchange Server Contacts folder. If the contact exists only in a folder that is a part of an Outlook Data File (.pst), then the auto-reply message isn’t sent.

Microsoft Exchange 2003 accounts

  1. Click the File tab.

  2. Click Automatic Replies.

  3. Click I am currently Out of the Office.

  4. In the AutoReply only once to each sender with the following text box, type the message that you want to send to other people while you are out.

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Use rules with Automatic Replies

If you aren’t going to check email messages while you are out of the office, use Automatic Replies with rules to automatically manage incoming messages by specifying what action Outlook should take with them. For example, you can create rules to automatically move or copy messages to other folders, to delete messages, to send custom replies, and so on.

  1. Click the File tab.

  2. Click Automatic Replies.

  3. Click Rules, and then click Add Rule.

  4. Under When a message arrives that meets the following conditions, specify the conditions that the message must meet for the rule to be applied. If you want to specify more conditions, click Advanced, enter or select the options that you want, and then click OK.

  5. If you want to specify that this rule must be applied last, select the Do not process subsequent rules check box.

  6. Under Perform these actions, select the actions that you want. You can select more than one action.

  7. Click OK three times.


    Follow the previous procedure also to edit Automatic Replies rules that you already have.

    • To turn Automatic Replies rules on or off, in the Automatic Reply Rules dialog box, select or clear the check box of the rule that you want to turn on or off.

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See Also

Send Automatic Replies when you're away

Send Out of Office notices with POP3, IMAP, and accounts

Determine the version of Microsoft Exchange Server my account connects to

Create and add an email message signature (Outlook 2010)

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