When you’re away from your computer for an extended period of time, your unanswered correspondence gets lost in cyberspace. If you need to communicate through email for work, an important message buried at the bottom of an overflowing inbox could mean a waiting client or an unhappy boss. Auto-replies allow you to compose a stock message stating that you’re away from your desk and letting people know when you’ll be back. Learning how to set up auto-replies on common email providers like Hotmail, Outlook, Mail.com, Yahoo! Mail and Gmail ensures nobody is left waiting for a reply.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Click on the “Options” drop-down box in the top right hand corner of the Inbox screen. Look directly underneath your name to find it. Left-click “More Options” on the drop-down list.
Select “Sending automated vacation replies,” located under the “Managing your account” heading. You’ll be taken to a page where you can adjust the settings and enter your auto-response message.
Left-click the radio button beside “Send vacation replies to people who email me.” The auto response is now activated. Enter your message in the central field, explaining that you aren’t currently available and the date you’ll be able to respond again.
Uncheck the box below the message text if you want the response to be sent to everybody who emails you. If the box is checked, only emails from your contacts will receive the automatic response. Remember that not everybody who emails you will be in your contacts list, so you should add any important people if you leave the box checked.
Click the grey “Save” button to store your changes.
Click “File,” then hover your mouse pointer over “New” to bring up the options before left-clicking “Mail Message.” Select the “Options” tab and choose “Plain Text,” which you can find in the “Format” group.
Write your message in the text field, and then click on the Microsoft Office button before choosing “Save As.” Click on the “Outlook Template” option from the “Save as type” drop-down list, and type a name for your template.
Click the “Tools” menu and choose “Rules and Alerts” to open a dialogue box. Click on “New Rule” and then “Check messages when they arrive” from the options underneath “Start from a blank rule.”
Check the box beside “sent only to me” from the options below “Which condition(s) do you want to check?” Choose any other criteria you want to check for messages under and click “Next.” Answer “Yes” to the dialogue box confirming your choices.
Select “Reply using a specific template” from the options located under “What do you want to do with the message?” Click the hyperlinked text “a specific template” to open the “Select a Reply Template” dialogue box.
Choose “User Templates in File System” from the “Look in” box. Find your template and click “Open.” Click “Next,” check the relevant boxes if you want to add exceptions to the rule and click “Next” again.
Type a name for the rule under “Step 1: Specify a name for this rule” and then click “Finish.”
Microsoft Office Outlook
Click the “Settings” tab in the top right hand corner of the screen. Look for the spanner icon. This opens up the “Settings” dialogue box.
Select “Autoresponder” from the options listed on the left of the dialogue box. These are directly underneath the “E-Mail” icon.
Type your message in the text field underneath “Active Autoresponders.” Click on the radio button beside “Always” to activate the auto-response. Alternatively, choose “Expires” and select a date, entering the four-digit year, the two-digit month and the two-digit date values.
Click “Save” to store your changes.
Click on the cog icon towards the top right of the screen to activate the drop-down menu. Choose “Settings” from the menu and you’ll be taken to a new page.
Scroll down under the “General” tab (which is automatically selected) until you find “Vacation responder.” Click on the radio button beside “Vacation responder on.”
Enter the dates you want the responder to be activates using the “First day” and “Ends” fields. Check the box beside “Ends” if you want the auto-response to stop on a specified date.
Type the subject and your desired auto-response message into the appropriately-named fields. Click the check-box underneath the “Message” field if you only want to auto-respond to your contacts.
Click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the screen when you’re done.
Select the gear icon in the top right hand corner of the screen, just beside your name. Click “Mail Options” from the drop-down menu and you’ll be taken to the relevant screen.
Choose “Holiday Response” from the list of options to the left of the screen. This is the third option below the “Mail Options” heading.
Check the box beside “Enable auto-response during these dates (inclusive).” Select your required dates using the “From” and “Until” drop-down boxes and then write your message in the large field provided.
Click the box beside “Different response to emails from a specific domain” if you want different messages depending on the sender. The fields below this box allow you to add two domains to an alternate message.
Left-click the orange “Save” box to store your changes.
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