1. Home
  2. Internet Tips
  3. Turn on out of office outlook

How to Turn on Out-of-Office Reply in Outlook

Taking a break means leaving your work behind, and that includes your email. An out-of-office reply informs anyone who emails you that you’re not at your desk. 

Knowing how to turn on out-of-office replies in Outlook is crucial for two reasons: it will save you time responding to everyone who’s trying to reach you, and nobody will be waiting around for your response because the email will tell them exactly why you’re away.

This article explains how to set an out-of-office message in your email and how to put your OOO status in your calendar. Directions apply to desktop and mobile users.

Man updating out of office status

Send an Out-of-Office Reply in Outlook in the App

Outlook is available as both a desktop app and a mobile app. Let’s look at how this works on both platforms:

  1. Click the settings/gear icon at the top of the desktop app.
  2. When the settings open, select Accounts on the left followed by Automatic replies.
  3. Select Turn on automatic replies.
    The automatic replies settings in the Outlook desktop app
  4. Check the box next to Send replies only during a time period, and then pick the dates and times you’ll be away from work.
  5. Type your out-of-office reply in the text box, and optionally tick any boxes on this page that you want to enable.
  6. Press Save.
    The automatic replies screen in the Outlook desktop app

Tip: Out-of-office emails are different from scheduled emails, although you can easily schedule emails in Outlook as well.

Follow these steps to set up your out-of-office email reply in the Outlook mobile app. We’re using the Outlook Android app, but it should work similarly on iOS and iPadOS:

  1. Tap the menu button at the top left.
  2. Choose the settings/gear icon at the bottom of the slide-out menu.
  3. Tap your account under Mail accounts.
    The settings in the Outlook mobile app
  4. Select Automatic replies, and then tap it once more.
  5. Check the box next to Reply during a time period.
  6. Write your out-of-office email reply and pick a date and time for when you want your OOO reply to run.
  7. To save, tap the checkmark at the top.
    Out of office email settings in the Outlook mobile app

Send an Out-of-Office Reply in Outlook From a Web Browser

If you use Outlook.com, it’s just as easy to set up OOO replies, but the steps are a tad different from when you’re in the app. Here’s how to turn on out of office in Outlook:

  1. Click the settings/gear icon at the top right.
  2. Select Mail from the left column and Automatic replies on the right.
  3. Click the toggle next to Turn on automatic replies.
    Outlook.com automatic replies toggle
  4. Tick the box next to Send replies only during a time period
  5. Fill out the start and end times, and optionally enable any other option you’re interested in. For example, you can automatically decline meetings while you’re away and restrict your message to contacts only.
  6. Write your OOO message in the text box. 
  7. Press Save to set up your out of office message in Outlook.
    An out of office email set up in Outlook on the web

Tip: Out-of-office replies are professional, so make sure to set up an email signature to match.

How to Add Out-of-Office to My Outlook Calendar

If you share your Outlook calendar with your boss, employees, or anyone else who needs to know where you are, it’s smart to put up an out-of-office event. That way, when people are scheduling meetings while you’re away, it’ll be easy to see that you’re on vacation. Here’s how to turn on out of office in Outlook Calendar:

  1. Open your Outlook calendar.
  2. Select New event.
    The new event button highlighted in an Outlook calendar
  3. Name your out-of-office event. It doesn’t really matter what you write; it’s totally up to you.
  4. Select the start time, end time, and specific hours you’ll be away from the office.
    New event details in an Outlook calendar
  5. Change your status to Away or Busy.
  6. Press Save.
    Away status chosen in an Outlook calendar event

How to Set Other Out-of-Office Messages

It’s most important to set up out-of-office replies in the places where people are most likely to reach out while you’re gone, like email and Teams. But did you know other apps support OOO messages, too? If you use them, you’d be wise to configure an automatic reply there, too, in case people try to reach you on those platforms.

For example, there’s an app that can do this on Android if you don’t care to send replies manually from your phone or tablet. Or maybe you manage a Facebook Page; set up an out-of-office reply on Facebook to catch your users there. There’s also one available for Twitter and, of course, other email clients like Gmail.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.