Out of Office Vacation Auto-Reply in Outlook for Mac

Tell friends, family, and co-workers that you're away from the office

Let the 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.

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook for Microsoft 365 for Mac, Outlook 2016 for Mac, and Outlook for Mac 2011.

Set Up an Out of Office 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):

  1. Select Tools > Out of Office.

    Screenshot of Tools > Out of Office
  2. Select the Send Out of Office messages check box.

    Screenshot of Send Out of Office Messages
  3. In the Reply to messages with text box, enter the desired message along with a date when recipients can expect a personal answer.

    Screenshot showing message
  4. In the Start date text box, enter the date and time when you plan to be unavailable to view your email.

  5. In the End date text box, enter the date and time you'll be back.

  6. Select the Send replies outside my company to check box.

  7. Choose either Address Book contacts only or Anyone outside my company.

  8. In the Reply once to each sender outside my company with text box, enter a message for the out-of-office reply for senders outside your organization.

    Screenshot of completed out of office message
  9. Select 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 receiving mail for accounts other than Exchange:

  1. Select Tools > Rules.

    Screenshot of Create Rule
  2. Go to the IMAP or POP category depending on the account for which you are setting up the out-of-office auto-reply.

  3. Click +.

  4. In the Rule name text box, enter Out of Office Auto-Reply.

    Screenshot of Rule box
  5. To send auto-replies only to people in your address book, make the criterion read From Is a contact.

  6. In the Sent to text box, enter your email address.

  7. Select the Do the Following dropdown arrow and choose Reply as the first action.

    Screenshot of Reply under Do the Following
  8. Select Reply Text and type the desired reply for your out-of-office auto-responder.

  9. Select OK.

    If you have other rules, use the blue up and down buttons to change the order of the Out of Office Auto-Reply rule. For example, when you want to file or delete messages before sending the auto-reply, but have the auto-responder come before rules that categorize mail and stop further processing of these messages.

  10. Close the Rules window.

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