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Out-of-office message: How to set up an automated response in Outlook

Out-of-office notification: Here is how it works

There is no real mystery to setting up an automated reply email. It is little more than a common courtesy that avoids frustration at the other end when a message goes unanswered. All you need to do is write an email that your email server sends automatically to anyone writing to you during your absence. Depending on your company’s internal set-up, you can use it once for each sender or set it up to reply to every attempt to contact you.

Out-of-office automated reply: How to set one up

Follow the following steps to set up an out-of-office automated reply:

1. Open Outlook and click on “File”.

2. In the menu click on “Info”.

3. Click on the box “Automatic Replies (Out of Office).

4. In the Automatic Replies box that appears, click the circle to the left of the “Send automatic replies” option.

5. You can now set start and end times for when your automated reply will begin and end. Activate the option “Only send during this time range” if this is the case. Otherwise, they will continue to be sent until cancelled.

6. In the next step, you can choose whether you want to create separate replies for internal and external contacts. This is done by entering one message in the box under the tab “Inside my Organization” for colleagues and another under the tab “Outside my Organisation” for everyone else.

7. Finish by clicking on OK.

You have now set up your out-of-office automated reply. If you have set an end date, then the reply will only be sent automatically until the specified date. If you have not set an end date, then you will need to repeat the process and turn off the automated reply as soon as you are able to answer your emails in person.

How to write an out-of-office message

The out-of-office message should inform your contacts about the exact duration of your absence and at the same time provide them with alternative contact details that can be reached in emergencies. If your company does not have a standard out-of-office message, you could use the following as a template:

Out-of-office notification for external contacts:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I will be out of the office from XX.XX.XX to XX.XX.XX. If you need immediate assistance during my absence, please contact (contact’s name) at (contact’s email address). Otherwise I will respond to your email as soon as possible upon my return. Thank you for your message.

Kind regards (Your name)

Out-of-office notification for internal contacts:

Dear Colleagues,

I will be out of the office from XX.XX.XX to XX.XX.XX. If you have an urgent question, (colleague’s name) will be able to help you at (colleague’s email and telephone number).

Best wishes (Your name)

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