How to Leave Out of Office Messages in Outlook

By Daniel Hatter

One of the things many people worry about is leaving people hanging when they go on vacation. Not everyone has a laptop, so when people leave their home computers and their email for an extended period of time, it is easy to see why they might be worried. If you use Microsoft Outlook as your email program, you can keep friends and colleagues from worrying about you by setting an out of office message to be sent to anyone who emails you.

Step 1

Open Microsoft Outlook, click on "File" in the menu bar and scroll over "New." Click on "Mail Message," open the "Options" tab and then click on "Plain Text" underneath "Format."

Step 2

Type in the desired message you want to be sent as an out of office message. Click the "Save As" button in the "Microsoft Office" menu. Type in a name for the message and then select "Outlook Template" from the "Save as type" selector and click on the "Save" button.

Step 3

Click "Tools" in the menu bar, select "Rules and Alerts" and choose "New Rule." Select "Check messages when they arrive," click the "Next" button and then check the "sent only to me" check box and click "Next."

Step 4

Click "Yes" to confirm the new message rule, check the check box for "reply using a specific template," click on the "a specific template" button and then select "User Templates in the File System."

Step 5

Double-click on the message template you created, click "Next," enable exceptions (if desired), click "Next," type in a name for the message rule, then click on the "Finish" button. To turn off the rule, go to "Rules and Alerts" under "Tools," open the "E-mail Rules" tab and then deselect the check box next to the out of office message rule you created.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you don't want to create an out of office message yourself, go to one of the Resource links below for downloadable message templates.