Configure an Outlook Auto Reply without an Exchange Server

If you are a Microsoft Outlook user and don't have an Exchange email server taking care of your email like you would at the office then you might have noticed there is no out of the office option within Outlook. So if you want to configure an auto reply to occur with specific information while you are gone you will have to create a rule to do so.

The first step is to create a template to be used for the auto reply. Click New E-Mail and make sure to use plain text for the mail format. Then enter all the information you want in the body and subject of the message. Then click File and then click Save As. In the Save As dialog box, select Outlook Template as the type and give it a name and then save it.

Outlook Auto Reply Template

Then within Outlook click on the File tab and then on Rules and Alerts. Click the New Rule button and then click on Apply rule on messages I receive.

Outlook Auto Reply Configuration

If you want the rule to apply to all emails and not have any specific conditions then leave all of the checkboxes in the step for Which condition(s) do you want to check section blank. You will get a popup message saying that this rule will apply to every message you receive and you should click on the Yes button.

In the next step where it asks What do you want to do with the message check the box for reply using a specific template and then click on the link for a specific template on the bottom pane for Step 2 and click Next.

Outlook Auto Reply Configuration

Then where it says Look in change the dropdown to say Use Templates in File System and select the template you created earlier and click on Next. If you need to add any special exceptions you can do it from the next page otherwise click on Next again.

Finally review the configuration and decide if you want the rule to be turned on immediately and also if you want it to run on all the messages in your Inbox. You probably don't want this option otherwise it will reply to all of the emails in your Inbox saying you are out of the office.

Outlook Auto Reply Configuration

If everything looks good then click on Finish and then Ok. You can come back to your rule listing and turn off or delete the rule when you are done with it. You should also test the rule by sending yourself an email from a different email address and see if you get a reply back. Keep in mind for this to work Outlook must be running and connected to the Internet and you will most likely need to have the automatic send and receive enabled as well. This can be configured by going to the File tab and then Options. From there click on Advanced and then click on the Send/Receive button and check the box that says Schedule an automatic send/receive every and then choose an interval in minutes.

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