Out of Office Replies in Outlook


Out of office replies, also referred to as "vacation rules," are automated replies used to let people know when you may be unavailable for a period of time, when to expect you back and who they might contact in your absence.

Set up an "out of office" reply in Outlook Desktop Client:

  1. Click File in the upper-left corner of the Outlook 2013 window.
  2. Select Automatic Replies in the Account Information section of the window.
  3. Select Send automatic replies and provide a message that you wish to have sent to others within the WVU Office 365 system. You may also choose Only send during this time range and provide start and end dates and times for your automatic reply.
  4. If you want your automatic replies sent to those whose addresses do not end in "@mail.wvu.edu," click the Outside My Organization tab.
    • Select Auto-reply to people outside my organization.
    • Choose whether replies should be sent to anyone emailing you from outside of the WVU Office 365 system or only addresses already in your address book.
  5. Click OK. It is suggested that you have messages sent to your @mail.wvu.edu address from both inside and outside addresses once the rule is active to confirm it is functioning as desired.

Set up an "out of office" reply in Outlook Web App:

  1. Go to outlook.com/mail.wvu.edu and sign in with your Login credentials.

  2. Click the gear icon next to your name in the upper-right corner. Search for "Automatic replies" in the Search Outlook settings search box and select the Automatic replies option. If you are unable to view this option by searching, click View all Outlook settings and select Automatic replies from the popup settings window. 

  3. Click the toggle button next to Turn on automatic replies

  4. Check the box to Send replies only during this time period.

  5. Designate a date and time for the system to start and stop sending the automatic reply.

  6. In the first text box, provide a response message that others within the WVU Office 365 system will receive when attempting to send messages to you. Those having addresses ending with "@mail.wvu.edu" will receive this.

  7. If you want senders outside of the Office 365 system to receive an automatic reply message, make sure the Send replies outside your organization option is checked. If you do not wish for senders outside of the Office 365 system to receive an automatic reply message, skip to step 10.

  8. Choose whether only senders from your contact list or all external senders should receive the message.

  9. Provide an out of office message that external recipients will receive. This can be identical to the message internal recipients receive or uniquely customized.

  10. Click OK. Your vacation rule will automatically start at the designated time and will shut off when specified. If you wish to test this, once the rule is running, have a colleague send you a message from within the system, and then send another message to your account from an external address.

What to do if the "out of office" reply isn't working:

If your automated "out of office" reply is active and it does not appear to be sending out reply messages, consider the following: 

  • Once a vacation rule is activated, it will only send one response to each sender from whom your account receives a message. If you are testing it and received a single response, but sending a second message from the same account to your Office 365 account does not result in a second reply, this is normal. 

  • Vacation rules will not send out reply messages if your account has been set to forward your e-mail to another account. Disable forwarding by following these steps:

  1. Log in to Outlook Web App.
  2. Click the gear icon, located next to your name in the upper-right corner of the window. Search "Forwarding" in the Search Outlook settings search box. Select the Forwarding option from the search results. 
  3. Uncheck the Enable forwarding option. 

Other guides for automating rules in Outlook:

If you would like to edit or automate rules in Outlook, view these guides from Microsoft:


Article ID: 8849
Tue 9/22/15 9:20 AM
Wed 3/10/21 4:17 PM