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Microsoft Outlook Tips: Out of Office

Sydney's seminar

Most of us who work in the office know and love Microsoft Outlook, so who couldn’t use a few tips and tricks to help make the most of the program? Previously, I’ve published How To’s for Outlook Mail and Calendar, but in this upcoming blog series, I’m going to show off some helpful features that often get overlooked.

Read on to learn How To Set Up Out-of-Office emails, and look out in the upcoming weeks to learn how to configure signatures, set rules and alerts, and tidy up your mailbox.

Microsoft Outlook Tips: Out of Office | Sydney's Seminar | Microsoft Outlook Tips: Out of Office - out of office on beach image with sunglasses

SETTING UP OUT OF OFFICE

Anytime I take the day off or go on vacation, I always dread coming back to the office to find hundreds of emails waiting for me. And all of them seem to be urgent!

If only there were a way to let co-workers and clients know I am temporarily away from the office.

Wait, there is! Setting Outlook’s Out-of-Office feature not only alerts everyone that you’re away but also allows you to send automated messages to direct urgent requests and forward emails to a co-worker. It might not prevent you from receiving a thousand messages but provides the opportunity to set expectations and provide options while you are away.

AUTOMATIC REPLIES

To set up Out-of-Office, click on the File’ button on the top left-hand corner of the screen. This will take you to a screen labeled ‘Account Information.’ Find the button that says ‘Automatic Replies’ and click on it.

Microsoft Outlook Tips: Out of Office | Sydney's Seminar | Microsoft Outlook Tips: Out of Office - automatic replies button

After you click on it, you’ll see the ‘Automatic Replies’ pop-up, which is where you configure the automated responses. At the top of the pop-up, select ‘Send automatic replies’ and add a time range to let everyone know how long you will be out of the office. If you’re like me, however long you put in the fields is not long enough.

Below this are tabs that allow you to add a message. One tab is for your co-workers, and the other is for everyone else, allowing you to customize the text to be relevant to these different groups. Please note that both boxes need to be filled out, but you can just copy-paste one into the other if everyone gets the same message.

EMAIL FORWARDING

To set up email forwarding, click the ‘Rules’ button on the lower corner of the pop-up. Create a new rule by clicking ‘Add Rule.’ In this box, you have a variety of options that can affect your Out-of-Office. When setting up forwarding, follow this rule path:when a message arrives that meets the following conditions: Sent directly to me, Perform these actions: Forward to [insert email of the co-worker who should be receiving the forwards].”

The joy of this feature is that you have many more options than just forwarding, although you follow the same logic for every option. For example, you can choose to have emails from a particular client sent to a co-worker with this rule path: when a message arrives that meets the following conditions, From [email list/address], perform these actions: Forward to [co-worker].”

I recommend taking some time to look over all the options. You can choose to have emails automatically deleted, moved to a different folder, copied to a folder, or even have different replies for different circumstances. Once you save a rule, you can add more rules that stack on top of each other. And at any time, you can go back to the ‘Rules’ option for Automatic replies and check which rules you want and in which order you want them.

Microsoft Outlook Tips: Out of Office | Sydney's Seminar | Microsoft Outlook Tips: Out of Office - automatic reply rules image
At Clark Computer Services, we love working with our clients to teach them all the ingenious ways to use Office 365 applications to make work easier. For additional information or training on Microsoft Outlook or other similar applications, never hesitate to email us at [email protected] or call us at 301-456-6931.
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