Auto-response (out-of-office) message - how to enable

A few notes before the actual instructions:

  • The instructions below are for the web version of Microsoft 365.  If you use the desktop version that is part of Microsoft Office, you can still login to the web version ( to set your out-of-office message.
  • If you are trying to set an auto-reply message for a shared mailbox (such as one for your department) you first need to access that shared mailbox in a separate window.  See the "Shared Mailbox" steps at the bottom of this article.


Setting an auto-reply message on your Outlook account

  1. Click the gear icon at the top right then click View all Outlook settings at the bottom.
    Screenshot from Outlook Web Access with the gear icon for settings, and the "View all Outlook settings" buttons at the bottom highlighted
  2. Click Automatic Replies on the left.
  3. Click Turn on automatic replies (note: if you are doing this to edit an existing auto-reply - you can skip this as it will already say "Automatic replies on")
  4. Optional: If you only want to set an automatic reply for a set time period (for example for a vacation, conference, set medical leave, etc.) - then check the box that says Send replies only during a time period and set the start and end time as desired.
  5. Place your auto-reply message text in the "Send automatic replies inside your organization" box.​​​​​  If you want your auto-reply message to go out to all external senders - also check the box that says "Send replies outside your organization" and copy your message there (you can have different versions for internal and external staff).
    • Note: Any email originating outside of Microsoft 365 at New Paltz (including Hawkmail users) is considered "outside your organization".  If you don't click the Send replies outside your organization box, and don't have text in the lower box - then external senders will not receive your auto-response.
  6. When done, don't forget to click Save at the top.


Special note for shared mailboxes

If you need to set an auto-reply message on a shared mailbox (such as an account for your department), you need to open that account separately.  Here's how:

  1. Login to any account that has access to the shared mailbox.
  2. Click the icon at the very top right (either your profile image if you've set one - or your initials).
  3. Choose Open another mailbox and enter the address of the shared mailbox.
  4. Follow the steps in the Setting an Auto Reply section at the top of this page.
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Article ID: 17914
Mon 10/31/16 4:15 PM
Mon 5/20/24 10:11 AM