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How to Use Microsoft 365’s Outlook “Out of Office” Feature: A Step-by-Step Guide

Jospeh Miller, IT Support Engineer, alphatech IT Solutions

One of the most commonly asked questions of our helpdesk is how to switch your Out of Office on – and then off again!

It’s one of the most useful features of Microsoft 365’s Outlook: the “Out of Office” (OOF) feature. Whether you’re heading on holiday, attending a conference, or simply stepping away from your desk for an extended period, this feature ensures that your contacts know you’re temporarily unavailable and can direct them to the correct place for help.

Let’s get started!

Setting Up the "Out of Office" Feature in Outlook

Step 1: Open Outlook and navigate to the ‘File’ tab located at the top-left corner.

Step 2: From the dropdown menu, select ‘Automatic Replies (Out of Office)’.

Step 3: In the ‘Automatic Replies’ dialog box, select ‘Send automatic replies’.

Step 4: If you want to set a specific time range for the automatic replies, check the box ‘Only send during this time range’. Then, set your desired ‘Start time’ and ‘End time’.

Step 5: In the ‘Inside My Organization’ tab, type your out-of-office message. This message will be sent to anyone within your organization who emails you during the specified time range.

Step 6: If you wish to send automatic replies to senders outside your organization, click on the ‘Outside My Organization’ tab and draft your message there.

Step 7: Once you’re satisfied with your messages, click ‘OK’ to activate the out-of-office feature.

Turning Off the "Out of Office" Feature

Step 1: Open Outlook and go to the ‘File’ tab.

Step 2: Click on ‘Automatic Replies (Out of Office)’.

Step 3: In the ‘Automatic Replies’ dialog box, select ‘Do not send automatic replies’.

Step 4: Click ‘OK’.

And just like that, you’ve deactivated the out-of-office feature!

While we’re talking about Outlook, here are some Outlook tips you might not know about:

We hope this guide helps you make the most of Outlook’s out-of-office feature and other handy tools. Make sure you bookmark this page so you can find us the next time you need us!