Create Out-of-Office Replies in Outlook 2016 for POP or IMAP Accounts

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If you work in a corporation, chances are your email mailbox is running on a corporate email server which your IT team manages. Setting up automatic Out-of-Office replies is this scenario is simple and can be done in just a few simple steps.

If you’re a home user running Outlook with a POP or IMAP email account (i.e. Yahoo, Gmail, or you can still create auto-replies; however there is a bit more work involved.

Create Auto Reply (Out-of-Office) in Outlook for POP or IMAP


First, you need to create a message template. To do this click the Home tab on the ribbon and create a new email. Then type in the message you want to send as your auto-reply.

After creating your message go to File > Save As. Name the file out-of-office. Under "Save as type" select Outlook Template from the drop-down menu. By default, it will be saved in C:\Users\pcname\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates\*.oft but you can save it wherever is most convenient for you.

Now you need to create a rule to automatically reply to new messages with your out-of-office template. Head to Home > Rules > Manage Rules & Alerts.

Select New Rule and under the “Start from a blank rule” section click “Apply rules on messages I receive” and click Next.

When the Rules Wizard starts up, check any conditions you want.

In the next step of the wizard check “reply using a specific template” and click the “a specific template” link in the Step 2 box.

In the Reply Template dialog browse to the location of the template you saved and click Open, select any exceptions you want (you don’t have to choose any if you don't want to), and then click Next.

Give your rule a name – Out of Office seems appropriate. Under "Step 2: Setup rule Options" make sure the rule is turned on and click Finish and then OK twice to close out of the wizard.

Note that the Rules Wizard will send your automated reply one time to each sender during a session — each time you open Outlook. The rule prevents sending repetitive replies to a single sender you receive multiple messages from. Remember that a new session will start if you close and restart the application.

Also note that to send the automatic reply, Outlook must be running and configured to check for new messages periodically.

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