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How-To Enable Out Of Office Assistant Auto-Reply in Outlook 2007

Enabling the Out of Office Auto Response feature in Outlook (also called Vacation Mode by some) is a handy way of letting co-workers or customers know your away from the Office (vacation / holiday etc..) and not checking email regularly.  Turning on the feature is very simple both from the Outlook desktop client (outlook 2000/2003/2007) and remotely using the Outlook Web Access client.

 

How to Screencast:

How-to Enable the Microsoft Outlook Out of Office Assistant (Auto Response)

1.   Open Outlook, Click Tools, Out of Office Assistant

Enable / Turn on Microsoft Outlook Out of Office Assistant Auto-Reply

2.   Click Radio Button I am currently Out of the Office, Type the Text you wish to be sent to the people who send you email (note my example text below) and Click OK

Enable / Turn on Microsoft Outlook Out of Office Assistant Auto-Reply

Bottom right corner of Outlook 2007 - Out of Office Auto-Replies Enabled ReminderThe text Out of Office will be displayed on the bottom right corner of your Outlook client as a reminder that your Out of Office Assistant is enabled and your Out of Office Auto-Reply will respond to anyone who sends you email.  I think Microsoft did this because many people (myself included) forget to turn off the Out of Office Assistant when they return to the office.  Granted, only 1 Out of Office auto-reply will be sent to each Sender however the reminder is handy.

 

The Out of Office Reminder also has another purpose, Disabling the Out of Office Auto-Reply Assistant!

To Disable simply Click the Down Arrow on the Out of Office Reminder and Click Turn off Out of Office auto-replies

Disable Out of Office Auto-replies Assistant

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39 Responses to How-To Enable Out Of Office Assistant Auto-Reply in Outlook 2007

  1. alexmvp July 7, 2009 at 11:19 pm #

    best video yet. although a very simple how-to, you actually taught me something on turning off the out-of-office assistant via the bottom right corner of outlook. Nice. I always went into the Tools menu to turn off the out of office.

    Thanks!

    • MrGroove July 14, 2009 at 8:44 am #

      @alexmvp,
      Excellent feedback. I think that’s the 3rd groovyVideo I’ve made so the comment is appreciated. Starting to figure it out I think. ;)

      • Mike A August 21, 2011 at 10:59 am #

        Mr Groove,
        Can you setup Out of office replies only on Thursdays through Sundays??

        Thanks for you time.
        Mike A

        • MrGroove August 21, 2011 at 11:04 am #

          A one-time only thing or every Thursday – Sunday? Also – are you using a company Outlook client that’s connected to corporate email server? That is important being that depending on the Exchange server version (Exchange 2010 Vs. Exchange 2003/2007) the options are different I believe.

          One of the nice upgrade to Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010 was allowing users to set a schedule for the Out-Of-Office. Previously as I showed here, it was a manual on-off thing. I probably need to upgrade this How-to with this new information.

          let me know your setup.

          • mike a August 21, 2011 at 11:13 am #

            Mr Groove,

            This is a corporate email (exchange 2007) and this will be every Thursday through Sunday.

          • Elaine September 18, 2011 at 8:34 am #

            I have Outlook 2007 version however my Tools menu does not show the option for “Out of Office Assistant.” I am not on a Corporate server, this is just my personal laptop and I purchased 2007 Microsoft Office. It seems to me this feature is not available for me to use. I have my “gmail” coming into Outlook. Any help/suggestions/explanations would be appreciated.

          • MrGroove September 18, 2011 at 10:52 pm #

            Unfortunately…. this feature requires a corporate server backend. You do have options.

            1 – Read this groovyPost – http://www.groovypost.com/howto/microsoft/outlook/send-out-of-office-response-outlook-2007-exchange-server/

            2 – If you are using GMAIL as your email server, just setup GMAIL Vacation Auto-Responder. I don’t have the tip written up here but if you can’t figure it out (Gmail -> Options) let me know and I’ll type it up ready fast!

            -Steve

  2. Johanna Smtih July 21, 2009 at 11:42 am #

    Thanks! Awesome!

  3. Leah Hampton September 2, 2009 at 6:19 pm #

    Mr. Groove,

    Your video was excellent. You are easy to understand and you have a great speaking voice. I still have a question for you, however. I have an auto-reply set but when I select Tools from the toolbar, “Out of Office” is not a selection. Is there somewhere else I need to look in order to turn this feature off?
    Thanks!

    LH

    • MrGroove September 2, 2009 at 10:11 pm #

      @Leah Hampton,
      HI Leah and welcome to the groovy community! Thank you for the kind words! A lot of work goes into the site so it’s nice to hear such great feedback!

      To turn off your Out of Office, have you tried the technique I demonstrate at 1:10 on the video in the article? Also, are you running Outlook 2007 or Outlook 2003? And is this a work email account?

      Thanks!

  4. fisherman23 September 25, 2009 at 10:52 am #

    Great video, very helpful. In Outlook 2003, when we came back to the office, a message would pop-up and remind us that the Out-of-Office assistant was on. I thought it was like that 2007 but since we “upgraded” to SP2, that reminder is no longer there. Was that one of the enhancements of SP2?

    • MrGroove October 14, 2009 at 8:52 am #

      @fisherman23,
      NO I don’t think so… Something you can look forward to however is the new functionality between Outlook 2007 and Exchange Server 2007 or 2010. With the newer versions of Exchange you actually get a new menu in Outlook 2007 Out of Office that let’s you setup a range of time for how long you will be out of the office AND, you can also customize the message for internal and external responses. I’ll have to write that one up.

  5. Theresa October 13, 2009 at 3:49 pm #

    I do not see an out office assistant under the tools menu.

  6. Earl Fernan October 29, 2009 at 2:16 pm #

    awesome!!! =)

  7. GabesBa December 21, 2009 at 7:47 am #

    Is there a way to make Outlook 2007 give me a pop-up reminder that my Out of Office Assistant is on? I REALLY miss that.

    • MrGroove September 30, 2010 at 7:41 pm #

      No… but once your system admin upgrades the server to Exchange 2007 and your running Outlook 2007, you can select a time frame for when the Out-of-office is active and when it is disabled. VERY NICE! No more forgetting that it’s still enabled even after you return to work. ;)

  8. mefodei April 20, 2010 at 4:49 am #

    thanks for the video, it taught me a lot,
    And in general … We have no good clear instructions.
    So that your work has not gone in vain.
    Thanks

    • MrGroove April 20, 2010 at 11:38 am #

      @Mefodei,

      No problem! Thanks for the good feedback!

  9. Tan June 3, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

    hi,
    i have some problem with the out of office assistant.
    when i Open Outlook 2007, Click Tools, but cannot find the Out of Office Assistant??
    it need to install some add-in files??
    Try checking Help > Disabled Items , and if the Out Of Office Assistant is in the list, enable it.
    i also try looking at Tools > Trust Center > Add-ins
    at the bottom of the screen choose Manage ‘Exchange Client Extensions’ and click ‘Go’. but do not have ‘Exchange Extensions commands’ only ‘Exchange Extensions property pages’ is available!!
    anyone can give me a hand or some idea??

    • MrGroove September 30, 2010 at 7:39 pm #

      Hi Tan. Where are you using Outlook? Home or at work? I ask because you might not have a Microsoft Exchange Server which is why the feature is missing.

      Yes?

  10. Helena September 30, 2010 at 1:39 am #

    Hi, but I found when I setup OoO like this way, it can only reply to the same sender once . And if this guy sent email to you at 2nd time, there will be no auto-reply to him/her .

    How to solve this problem then ?

    • MrGroove September 30, 2010 at 7:23 pm #

      Hmm… Good question. That is kinda by design however. That way if someone sends you 3-4 emails a day while you away it won’t keep telling them your out of office. Hopefully that 1 alert will be enough to say your gone from DATE -> DATE etc…

      Now that being said, you should be able to setup an outlook rule while you gone to reply to all mail that your out of the office. You can set it up pretty easy. Try it out.

  11. Hilary Jenkins November 23, 2010 at 4:18 am #

    I cannot get my office assistant to switch off. Apparently I am still out of the office.
    The message coming up is “the command is not available. See the program documentation on about how to use this extension”??? I don’t have a clue what that means and have spent two hours trying everything to get this off. Help!

    Hilary

    • MrGroove November 23, 2010 at 1:41 pm #

      Something is very broken…. To confirm – OPen Oulook 2007, Click Tools, Out of Office Assistant – Click first bullet – Do not send out of office auto-replies.

      Then Click OK.

      Fixed?

  12. Hilary Jenkins November 24, 2010 at 12:58 am #

    I do not have that option “do not send out of office auto-replies” when I click on tools I have only “out of office asssistant” – which dosn’t do anything only throw up the same message “the command is not available. See the program documentation on about how to use this extension” ?

  13. Lilian December 30, 2010 at 4:03 am #

    MY OoO replies only gets delivered to recipients within the company domain and not to external recipient.Please offer some guidelines.

    • MrGroove December 31, 2010 at 11:36 pm #

      @Lilian, that is a setting which your email administrator controls at the server level (Microsoft Exchange). Call your IT guy and see. Sometimes it’s not a company policy to block outbound out of office replies, it’s just the IT guy who decided one day it was a good idea to block it.

      Now, be prepared when you speak to him. Sometimes the IT guy will say “The security team wants us to block it because harvesting emails is easier when a spammer can send an email to a company and a bunch of Out of Office replies confirm it’s a legit email address”…. Hopefully you get it figured out!

  14. dev April 25, 2011 at 5:53 am #

    Dear Sir
    I cannot find any option Out of Office Auto reply in my Outlook Express

    can you pls tell me how can i use that option with my mail

    Dev Mishra
    9937081406

  15. abdul May 13, 2011 at 2:17 am #

    Dear
    i cant see the out of office assistance in outlook 2007 tools. please help me.

    thanks and regards
    abdul

    • abdul May 13, 2011 at 2:26 am #

      how to enable out of office assistance in ms office 2007

  16. PJ June 24, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    Using Outlook on home computer. attemping to turn “off” out of office reply. have clicked “tools” bar but there is no selection in drop box for any of the above mentioned features. Help?

    Thanks

  17. Marilyn August 10, 2011 at 5:12 am #

    Mr. Groove,

    Outlook 2010 Exchange

    How can I set up and OoO reply that turns on AUTOMATICALLY EACH DAY at a specific time to reply that I am out of the office for the evening. I shouldn’t have to do this manually every day.

    Thanks!
    Marilyn

  18. Synv September 22, 2011 at 1:03 am #

    Dear
    Pls help me!
    i don’t open Out of Office Assistant in the MS Outlook 2007.

  19. Synv September 22, 2011 at 1:14 am #

    I am a user of Outlook 2007 in my office and recently had this error on Out of office assistant: Your out of office cannot be displayed because server is currently unavailable, Try again later.
    pls help me!
    I updated SP1 to SP2 and fllow multiple instruction but can’t.
    just to find out how to solve this problem ?
    Thanks!

  20. Rose April 18, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    Hi Mr. Groove

    Is there a way to turn on the out of office assistant daily at 5pm but turn it off the next day at 8am automatically?

  21. Charu August 16, 2013 at 12:38 am #

    Dear Sir,

    i am Having problem with enable out of office the error is Server is unavailable try again later. please advice me…

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