"How do I make an Out of Office AutoResponder, if I use Outlook *without* Exchange
This is a question I get asked a lot. If you have Outlook at work (with Exchange
Server), you are used to the Out of Office Assistant which is easy to use to
set up a reply to all of your mail when you are away from the office. But, without
Exchange Server, this option is not available to you in your Tools menu, so
you have to create a rule that will reply to all using a template.
Note! For this to work correctly, do not use Word as your email editor
and choose plain text as your email format!
How To Make the Template
Open a new blank email and write your message with any info you want included.
Hi. I'm out of town for three days. If you want to reach me, you can
email me at email@example.com. Otherwise, I will reply to you when I return
on Dec. 15, 2002.
Once you are done setting up the message, click on the File menu within
the email and choose Save As. When the Save As dialog box
appears, use the dropdown menu at the bottom that says Save as type and
choose Outlook Template (*.oft).
Notice when you choose to save it as a template, at the top of the Save
As box where it says Save In, it now shows that it is being saved
in your Templates folder. Do not change this location! It needs
to be saved there so you can select it from your Templates library.
Give the template a name and click the Save button. Now you can just
close this email message by clicking on the X in its upper right corner.
Say No when Outlook asks if you want to save the mail; since you have
already saved the Template, there is no need to save the actual email.
How To Make the Rule So It AutoReplies To Everyone
Now go to your Tools menu in Outlook and select Rules Wizard.
Click on New to start the Wizard. In the first step where it asks what
conditions you want to set for this rule, just leave everything unchecked
and click on Next. Outlook will then give you a message that tells
you this rule will be applied to all mail you receive. Click Yes.
Note! In Outlook 2002, the first step of the Rules Wizard asks if you
want to base this rule on an existing rule or start with a new rule. Tell it
to start with a new blank rule.
The next step asks what you want to do with the mail. Look through the list
of choices and check the one that says Reply with a specific template.
Now you will see the words a specific template in the bottom pane. Click
on these underlined words and use the dropdown box at the top of the dialog
box you now see to select User Templates in File System and you will
see your template. Select it and click on Open. Now you will see that
your rule is setup to reply to everyone with this template.
If you want to setup any exceptions for this rule, you can click Next.
Otherwise, just click on Finish and your rule is made and turned on.
If you don't want the rule to run now, but instead, want it to start running
tomorrow or some other time, just go back to Tools/Rules Wizard and locate
your rule. Uncheck the box beside the rule. Then, you can just return
here before you go away to turn the rule on by checking it again. When you return
home, remember to go back here and uncheck it again to turn it off, or click
on it to select it and click on the button that says Delete to remove
I'm sure you noticed inside the Rules Wizard that there are many different
things you can do with rules in Outlook. To create a simple rule to move all
mail from a person or persons into a specific folder, read my instructions for
this here: http://personal-computer-tutor.com/outlook.htm#organize
Also, notice that you can make a rule for Outlook to forward all of your mail,
while you are away, to a specific email address.
I suggest that if you aren't familiar with creating rules in Outlook, you spend
some time in the Wizard exploring your different options. And, remember that
if you create a rule to run while you are away, your computer must be turned
on and connected to the Internet with Outlook setup to automatically download
your email in order to have the rule work. (Some people just have a friend or
relative turn on their computer once a day and download mail, so the rule will
If you want to learn more about what Outlook can do, go to my Outlook page
Or check out my Outlook eBook and online class at: