Have you ever sent an important email to a colleague, partner or customer only to have it go unanswered for a few days, or even weeks, only to get a reply stating that they were away on vacation? It can be frustrating when people are incommunicado and go away without letting others know. If you use Office 365’s Outlook Web App, you can limit problems like this by setting an automatic reply to keep people in the loop.
Here is an overview of the different types of automatic reply available within the Outlook Web App, and how to set up an auto-response.
If you are going to be out of the office for an extended period and will not be checking your email regularly, setting an auto-reply makes sense. Outlook’s auto-replies are highly customizable, and can be set up quickly and easily.
When you set an auto-reply, you are able to pick the length of time for which it will be active, who will receive the message (either internal, external, or all contacts), and even schedule it to turn off automatically.
Setting an auto-reply
- Log into the Outlook Web App portal on your Web browser. This will either be mail.office365.com or mail.yourcompany.com.
- Click on Options, which is located in the right, above your emails, followed by Tell people you’re on vacation.
- Select Send automatic replies and set a start and end time for your reply.
- Enter the message you would like to send to your contacts when they email you. It is best to keep your message short, saying you will be out of the office and stating the time and dates you will be gone, as well as who the sender should contact should they need emergency help.
- OPTIONAL: Check Send automatic reply message to external contacts if you want the message to be sent to contacts who are not part of your organization.
- OPTIONAL: Enter a message in the body that you want people who email you from outside the organization to receive.
- Click Save followed by My mail to return to the main Inbox.
If you use auto-reply, it is advisable that you always set a start and end date and time, as this will ensure that the reply will not be accidentally sent once you are back in the office, causing confusion and making you look unprofessional. If you don’t set these dates the automatic reply will also start as soon as you hit save.