When you're about to leave the office, especially for a vacation or a long trip, you might consider activating your out-of-office message. With this enabled, anyone who e-mails you will immediately receive an automated reply. You can use this to tell them when you'll return, or provide other useful information. I'll show you how to activate the out-of-office message while you're at the office and how to do it if you've already left. You can activate the Out of Office feature from anywhere within Outlook by clicking on the File menu in the upper left-hand corner. This brings you Backstage where you will find Automatic Replies.
Now the features that you see in this screen will depend on the type of server that you're connected to, and its version. While connected to an Exchange 2010 server, I have the option to specify a date range for my auto-reply to automatically start and finish. I'll turn on the feature and say only send during this time range. We'll start it on Friday and stop it on the third of next year.
Below, I can write the message that senders will receive. Note that when connected to an Exchange 2010 server, I can specify different messages for those inside and outside my organization. I recommend your message says the following: when you're leaving and returning, whether or not you'll be checking your e-mail and voicemail, and who to contact in your absence. Wrap it up with the signature, and you're all set.
Additionally, you could create rules that are only run while out of the office. For example, you might create a rule that forwards all e-mails from your boss to your home e-mail address. If you're already out of the office, and need to activate this feature, you probably can. This is especially useful if you've woken up and just don't feel like coming into the office. If your organization has enabled Outlook web access like what you see here, you can log in to check your e-mail and perform other duties. Again, your screen may look different depending on the software your organization's running.
Here we have Exchange 2010. To activate my out-of-office message, I'll click on Options in the upper right-hand corner. Here I will click on the Tell people you're on vacation link, and then like before, turn on Automatic Replies, specify my date range, and a message for those to receive. This feature is a great way to remind those who have e-mailed you that you probably won't be reading their e-mails until you get back. It avoids a lot of communication problems, so I highly suggest you use this whenever you've gone for more than half a day. Don't worry.
If somebody e-mails you twice or more, they will only receive one message per 24-hour period. Speaking of traveling, let's head out to the next video and discuss working offline.
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