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Send An Out of Office Response In Outlook 2007 Without An Exchange Server [How-To]


Many Outlook users in the corporate environment are familiar with the and use the outlook function to alert customers or colleagues when they are not checking email because of vacation or illness etc…  As convenient as it might be however, the Outlook feature requires your email server be a Microsoft Exchange Server which for a small or home businesses isn’t normally available/reasonable.

This can obviously cause problems when going on vacation or not checking email for an extended period of time because your customers or business partners may get upset because they think you’ve been ignoring them for days/weeks.  Fortunately, there is a solution for Outlook users who want to leverage the Out the office assistant despite the fact they don’t have a Microsoft Exchange email server.  The process leverages Outlook Rules and Alerts to mimic the Out of Office Assistant functionality and although it may not be as graceful or easy to enable… it does get the job done.

 

A few things to note about sending an auto reply in Outlook 2007 using Rules and Alerts:

  • IMPORTANT!:  Outlook must be running in order for this to work, and it is also required that the  “check periodically for new messages” setting be turned on.
  • The “Reply using a specific template” rule that is used in this technique will send a reply to each sender only once, this is to prevent spam.  To reset the list of who is already emailed, you will need to close and restart Outlook
Ok, with that said, let’s get right into the How-To details.

How to create an automatic reply template in Outlook 2007

 

1.  Compose a New Message in Outlook.  Under the Options > Format tab Set it to Plain Text.  Then Type your own away message, this will be what people receive as an auto-reply while you are away.

How-To Create an Out of Office Template

 2.  After you finish your message Click the Microsoft Office Button, and then click Save As.

How-To Create an Out of Office Template

3.  In the window that appears, Type in your desired File Name.  Next Select Outlook Template (*.oft) as your Save as type.

How-To Create an Out of Office Template Save oft file

Great job! Stage one is now complete, lets get started on stage 2.

 

Next we need to define a rule to send an automatic reply in Outlook 2007.

 

4.  Under the Tools menu, click Rules and Alerts.

Outlook 2007 Rules and Alerts

5.  In the Rules and Alerts Window, Click the New Rule button.  In the Rules Wizard window that appears, Click Star from a blank rule > Check messages when they arrive.  Click Next > to continue.

Outlook 2007 - Create Outlook rule as email arrives

6.  In the next conditions window,  Select the checkbox for Sent Only To Me, then Click Next.  The next page is the actions list, Select the check box for Reply using a specific template.  After you have finished checking the appropriate boxes, Click the blue link to a specific template.

Outlook 2007 - Create Outlook rule as email arrives

Outlook 2007 - Create Outlook rule as email arrives

7.  The Select A Reply Template window should pop up, under Look In:  Select User Templates in File System.  The template we saved earlier should appear on the list, Select your template, and then Click Open.

Outlook 2007 - Create Outlook rule select a template

 8. Name your Rule, make sure the Turn on this rule box is Checked.  When you are done, Click Finish.

Outlook 2007 - Create Outlook enter rule name

 

Voila!  From now on everyone that e-mails you will get an automatic reply containing the custom message you setup in stage one.

 

I’m back in the office! How do I disable automatic reply in Outlook?  <Very Important>

When you return back to the office (or home) you need to remember to DISABLE or DELETE the Outlook Outo fo Office Rule so people won’t continue to get your “I’m out of the Office” message.

 

9.   Click Tools, Rules and Alerts.

Outlook 2007 - Create Outlook rule and alerts

10.   Select the Out of Office Rule we created earlier then either Uncheck the Rule, or Delete the Rule using the delete button.  Click  OK to save changes and finish

 

Note: I recommend you just disable the rule by un-checking the checkbox rather than deleting the rule.  This way you can re-use it the next time your out of the office.

Outlook 2007 - Disable or Delete Outlook 2007 Rule

 

<phew>  All Done!
The Outlook 2007 Rules and Alerts allow you to do almost with your email as shown in this groovy How-To Tutorial.  What are some of the things you do or manage with your Outlook Rules?

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16 Responses to Send An Out of Office Response In Outlook 2007 Without An Exchange Server [How-To]

  1. Theresa October 20, 2009 at 6:14 pm #

    This was extremely helpful!!! Thank You

    • nidhi February 15, 2012 at 9:15 am #

      thanks i was too much confused but this article is really helpful.

  2. dave August 5, 2010 at 6:06 am #

    Did not work. It just puts a message in the outbox with no recipient.

  3. dalian October 10, 2010 at 9:40 pm #

    It do not work… i tried 100 times, diffirent ways. Any one have idea ? I get a scren message.. “error cannot reply to message”

  4. Jo December 1, 2010 at 5:30 pm #

    This method did not work, I get an error msg “cannot reply to message”

  5. Taii December 21, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

    Easy for me

  6. Mag January 24, 2011 at 6:01 am #

    Easy and perfect ! many thanks…..

  7. Linda February 10, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    Worked perfectly! Thanks so much.

  8. dalian February 10, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    it seems it works if you only use 1 e-mail accounts… any one have experiance if have many e-mail accounts..??

  9. outlook 2007 + out of office November 14, 2011 at 4:24 am #

    Just want to say your article is informative. Another site that i found helpful in this regard is http://outlooksetting.com/2011/adjust-outlook-setting-to-auto-handle-your-mails/

  10. Vetor December 16, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    Thanks for some other informative website. The place else may just I get that type of information written in such a perfect way? I have a venture that I’m simply now operating on, and I’ve been on the glance out for such info.

  11. hoklean May 8, 2012 at 10:08 pm #

    This is not helpful to me since I need to have this work during my PC OFF…sorry.

  12. Jordan Llewellyn May 15, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    Worked great!!!

  13. MohammedKaram January 14, 2013 at 1:23 am #

    Big Thanks ,Great Work .

  14. Carla Anderson April 30, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

    This was the perfect solution! Thank you!

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