Here is a link from the Microsoft Outlook archives which explains step-by-step how to set up an automatic out of office reply in Outlook 2007:http://blogs.office.com/b/microsoft-outlook/archive/2008/11/25/preparing-to-be-away.aspx
Before you go on vacation or leave the office for an extended period
of time (for example, before you leave for Thanksgiving), there are a
few small things you can do to make your colleagues aware of your
upcoming absence and to plan accordingly.
Letting people know you are going away It
is generally a good idea to let the people you work with know that you
are going away. Over the years, I have seen many different techniques,
and this one seems to be the most effective while being the least
intrusive: schedule a meeting
. The key is to remember that this
meeting is for their calendars and not for yours. This way, while you
are away, they will have their calendar as a reference
- Recipients: Your manager, your peers who contact you regularly or who you work with closely.
Check the "All day event" checkbox and schedule the meeting for the
work days you are away. (Do not use the exact times you will be leaving
unless your absence is for less than a day.) For example, if you are
leaving over the weekend, set the start date to Monday.
You don't need to add a location, but if you do, you can put where you
are going, or how you can be contacted (or not contacted.)
- Free/Busy: Mark the meeting as a "Free" meeting (as opposed to busy, out of office or tentative) This is the default for all day events.
- Responses: Request no responses. Your colleagues shouldn't have to approve your vacation. ;-)
Include the dates you will be gone and alternate contacts. You should
use the same message in your Out of Office message (see below).
Setting an Out of Office message - Microsoft Exchange Accounts only Next you should set your Out of Office message
anytime before you leave.
Check the box next to "Only send during this time range" so that when
you return to the office, Out of Office messages will automatically stop
being sent . You should set the dates to encompass the entire time you
will be away, including weekends and up until the moment you return to
- Message: It is a best practice to include:
- When you will be back. The
date of your return should be included as part of your message, and it
is best if it is in bold. If you want to take it a step further, you can
add a mini-calendar to illustrate when and how long you will be away.
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
2 3 4
5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25
26 27 28 29
2 3 4
This mini-calendar was created just by typing it in using the font Lucida Console and bold purple for vacation, gray for in the office, and bold red for the day I get back.
- Who to contact for various matters in your absence.
Other uses for Out of Office Messages You
can use the Out of Office assistant any time you want to let people
know that you will be delayed in responding to their e-mail. For
example, just after you return from vacation and have a mountain of
e-mail to go through, it is wise to set up an Out of Office message
indicating that you will not be responding quickly. If you are working
on a project, even if you are in the office, setting an Out of Office
message will help set realistic expectations of when people will receive
If you do not have an Exchange account You can still send automatic replies to incoming e-mail, just like the Out of Office feature. For details, see this article
. If you have a Hotmail account, you can use Hotmail's vacation feature.
Program Manager, Outlook