Setting up out-of-office in Outlook: let your colleagues know you won't be around for a while

Establishing a out-of-office message in Outlook is essential for letting your colleagues know you will be absent. Whether you're on vacation, home sick or on a work trip, a well-drafted absence notice helps avoid miscommunication. In this article, you will learn step by step how to set up an out-of-office message in Outlook, and we provide practical tips to ensure that your message comes across clearly and professionally. This article is useful not only for beginners, but also for experienced users who want to improve their skills.

Setting up out-of-office in Outlook: let your colleagues's know you'll be away for a while

What is an out-of-office message?

A out-of-office message is an automatic e-mail sent to anyone who sends you a message while you are absent. It informs the sender that you are currently unavailable and when you will be back. The purpose of an out-of-office message is to ensure professional communication, even if you are unable to reply immediately. This avoids frustration with the sender and gives them alternative contact information if needed. Out-of-office messages are useful in several situations, such as vacations, illnesses, and work trips. By setting up an out-of-office message, you ensure that your colleagues and clients are always aware of your availability.



Steps to set up an out-of-office message in Outlook

Step 1: Open Outlook

First of all, you should Open Outlook on your computer. You can do this from the Start menu or by selecting the program icon on your desktop. Make sure you are logged in with your work account to access the appropriate settings.


Step 2: Go to the settings

Click on the cog icon at top right in the screen to go to settings. Then select "Show all Outlook settings" at the bottom of the menu. This will give you access to all the options you need to set up your out-of-office message.


Step 3: Create a new message

Go to the tab "E-mail." and click on "Automatic responses." Enable the feature by clicking the slider. Fill in the field with your absence message. This message will automatically be sent to anyone who emails you during your absence.


Step 4: Adjust the settings

You can set the time period of your absence by select the start and end date and time. This ensures that your automatic replies are sent only during the specified time period. Remember to check these times carefully.


Step 5: Personalize your message

Personalize your out-of-office message to make it relevant and informative. Include important details such as the reason for your absence, the date you will return, and alternative contact information. Use a professional and polite tone in your message to leave a good impression.



Example of a good out-of-office message

A good out-of-office message is clear, informative and professional. Here is an example of an effective out-of-office message:


Thank you for your message. I am currently absent and will be back on [date]. For urgent matters, please contact [colleague's name and contact information].

Yours sincerely, [Your name].

This example is effective because it contains all the necessary information and maintains a professional tone. It ensures that the sender knows when you are available again and provides an alternative contact for urgent matters. Using a standard format such as this can help you maintain a consistent professional image.



Common mistakes and how to avoid them

There are some common mistakes in drafting out-of-office messages that you can easily avoid. A common mistake is not providing enough information. Be sure to clearly state when you will be absent and when you will be available again. Another mistake is using an unprofessional tone. Always keep your message professional and polite, even when working with close friends. Also remember to include alternative contact information. This helps the sender reach someone else for urgent matters while you are away. By avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure that your out-of-office message is effective and professional.



Tips for an effective out-of-office message

Be clear and concise

Make sure your message is short and sweet. Avoid long sentences and redundant information. Clearly state why you are absent and when you will be available again.


Use a professional tone

Always use a polite and professional tone in your out-of-office message. This helps to leave a good impression and shows respect for the sender.


Provide alternative contact options

Be sure to provide alternate contact information. This could be a colleague who can handle urgent matters or a general phone number for the office.


State the duration of your absence

Indicate clearly how long you will be absent. This helps to avoid misunderstandings and ensures that people know when they can reach you again.



Out-of-office messages in different languages

It can be helpful to have your make out-of-office message available in multiple languages, especially if you work with international clients or colleagues. Here are some examples of out-of-office messages in different languages:




Thank you for your message. I am currently out of the office and will return on [date]. For urgent matters, please contact [name and contact information of colleague].

Best regards, [Your name]



Merci pour votre message. Je suis actuellement absent et je reviendrai le [date]. Pour les urgences, veuillez contacter [nom et coordonnées du collègue].

Cordialement, [Votre nom].



Vielen Dank für Ihre Nachricht. Ich bin derzeit abwesend und werde am [Datum] zurück sein. Für dringende Angelegenheiten wenden Sie sich bitte an [Name und Kontaktdaten des Kollegen].

Mit freundlichen Grüßen, [Ihr Name]



Gracias por tu mensaje. Actualmente estoy fuera de la oficina y regresaré el [fecha]. Para asuntos urgentes, por favor contacta a [nombre e información de contacto del colega].

Saludos, [Tu nombre]

Advanced tips for out-of-office messaging


Take advantage of automation tools to manage your out-of-office messages. This can help you save time and ensure that your messages are always up-to-date.


Adaptation for different target groups

Customize your message for different audiences. For example, use a slightly different tone for internal colleagues than for external customers. This ensures that your message is always relevant and appropriate.


Instructions for emergency situations

Provide clear instructions for emergency situations. Let the sender know what to do if there is an urgent situation while you are away. This may include listing a phone number that can be reached at all times or a specific person responsible for emergency situations.




Establishing a out-of-office message in Outlook is a simple but effective way to ensure your professional communication. By following the steps in this article and using the tips given, you can ensure that your absence messages are always clear, professional and informative. Don't forget to personalize your message and adaptable to your specific situation. With a well-crafted out-of-office message you leave a positive impression and make sure your colleagues and customers are always aware of your availability.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can set up an out-of-office message on your mobile device by opening the Outlook app, going to settings and enabling and configuring automatic replies there.

Yes, you can edit your out-of-office message at any time through the Outlook web app or mobile app, as long as you have access to your account.

If you forget to set up an out-of-office message, you can still do so through the Outlook web app or mobile app, even if you are already absent.

If you regularly communicate with international clients or colleagues, it may be helpful to write your out-of-office message in multiple languages.

Clearly include the name, e-mail address and/or phone number of the person who can be contacted during your absence. Make sure this information is easy to find in your message.

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