Out of Office Vacation Auto-Reply in Outlook for Mac

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You can let people who email you know you're unavailable with an "out of office" auto-responder. Outlook for Mac offers two kinds: one for Exchange accounts that have the automatic replies come from the server and one it does itself for any kind of email account.

Set Up an Out of Office Vacation Auto-Reply in Outlook for Mac Using Exchange

To have your Exchange account reply to new messages automatically (even when Outlook for Mac is not running):

  • Select Tools | Out of Office… from the menu in Outlook for Mac.
  • Make sure Send Out Of Office messages is selected.
  • Enter the desired message under Reply to messages with:
    • Include when — or if — people mailing you in your absence can expect a personal answer. This might be some time after you will have returned.
  • Make sure More options are visible.
  • If you know when you will be unavailable:
    • Make sure I am out of the office between.
    • Enter the date and time you'll leave behind email under Start date:.
    • Enter the date and time you'll be back under End date:.
  • To have Exchange send messages not only to people in your organization:
    • Make sure Send replies outside my company to: is checked.
    • Select Address Book contacts only or Anyone outside my company.
    • Enter the desired message for the out-of-office reply for senders outside your organization under Reply once to each sender outside my company with:.
      • You can leave out contact details in this message for the world, for example.
  • Click OK.

Set Up an Out of Office Vacation Auto-Reply in Outlook for Mac Using Other Email Accounts

To have Outlook for Mac reply to messages automatically as long as it is running and fetching mail for accounts other than Exchange:

  • Select Tools | Rules… from the menu in Outlook for Mac.
  • Go to the IMAP or POP category depending on the account for which you are setting up the out-of-office auto-reply.
  • Click +.
  • Enter "Out of Office Auto-Reply" under Rule name:.
  • Make sure if all criteria are met is selected under If.
  • Select All messages as the only criterion.
    • To send auto-replies only to people in your address book, make the criterion read From Is a contact.
  • Under Then, select Reply as the first action.
  • Click Reply Text….
  • Type the desired reply for your out-of-office auto-responder.
  • Click OK.
  • Optionally, highlight the second action in the list (Set category None) and click Remove Action.
  • Make sure Do not apply other rules to messages that meet these criteria is not checked.
  • Do make sure Enabled is checked.
  • Click OK.
  • If you have other rules, use the blue up arrow button to make sure the new "Out of Office Auto-Reply" rule comes early enough to be applied to all desired messages. (You can file or delete certain messages before, for example, but have the auto-responder come before rules categorize mail and would stop further processing of these messages.)
  • Repeat setting up an identical rule for POP (or IMAP) if you also have accounts of the other type.
  • Close the Rules window.

To disable an out-of-office auto-responder rule in Outlook for Mac:

  • Select Tools | Rules… from the menu
  • Highlight POP or IMAP, depending on where you set up the auto-reply.
  • Make sure the "Out of Office Auto-Reply" rule is not checked.
    • You can late easily re-enable the rule by checking it.
  • Close the Rules window.