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Outlook Automatic Reply Options and Settings

These instructions refer to Outlook 2013. Screens may vary for other versions of Outlook.

Outlook offers a number of ways to customize your Automatic Reply (out of office) message. The most common way is to use the Inside Organization/Outside Organization options. However, some users may benefit from creating a custom rule, to either only reply to certain messages, or NOT reply to certain messages.

Inside Org/Outside Org replies

  1. Go to File > Automatic Replies.
  2. Click the Send automatic replies radio button, then set the date/time range you wish to have your out of office message sent.
  3. Add a message on the Inside My Organization tab. Anyone with an email address will receive this reply.
  4. If you also want to have replies go to people outside of MIT, select the Outside My Organization tab, check the box for auto-replies, and enter your out of office message in the area provided. This can be the same, or a different message, as the one going to MIT senders.
  5. Click OK when done.

Outside my Organization tab
Checkbox: 'Autoreply to people outside my organization'

Custom Rule

You can create a custom rule, which would replace using the default Inside My Org/Outside My Org tabs for your message.

  1. Go to File > Automatic Replies.
  2. Click the Send automatic replies radio button, then set the date/time range you wish to have your out of office message sent.
  3. Click the Rules button in the bottom left corner.
  4. In the next window, click Add Rule and the Edit Rule window will open.
    • To have the reply send only when you are emailed directly, check the box for Sent directly to me.
      Edit rule window with template for new rule
    • To have the reply not send when the email came from a mailing list, click the Sent To… button, and find the mailing list you wish to exclude (don’t just type it in, be sure to select it from the lookup list so that it appears in the field bold with an underline). Then, click the Advanced button on the right. In the Advanced options, check the box for Only items that do not match these conditions, then click OK.
      Choose specific mailing list with Send To button
      Advanced options for new rule
  5. Toward the bottom of this window, check the box for Reply with, and then click the Template button next to it.
    This will open a message window where you will compose the OOO reply you want to go to senders. (Leave the TO field blank.) Save and close the message window when done.
  6. Click OK when you are done creating the Rule. You should then see that a rule has been created called Sent Directly to Me. Click OK, then OK again to close the Automatic Replies window.
Be sure you do NOT also have an auto reply message set up on the Inside My Organization or Outside My Organization tabs. Leaving these turned on will result in duplicate messages going out.

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

November 11, 2016

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