Out of Office autoreplies

When you are going to be away for more than a day or so, you can set Microsoft Office Outlook to automatically reply to email messages sent to you during your absence. Using this facility, you can acknowledge receipt of the message and advise the sender when you will be back at work and able to respond to their message. 

You can specify a time range when you want these replies to be sent.

You can also choose whether you want your message to be sent to internal senders only or both internal and external, and set a different message for each if appropriate.


Never create an Inbox rule to send messages while you're out of the office - lots of University systems (and others you may use outside of LJMU) are configured to automatically detect and ignore standard 'out of office' replies (as created by the procedure described below) when they send you emails.  If you configure your own none-standard rule, those systems will keep replying to your message and could easily fill up your mailbox. 

Security Guidance

Depending on your settings, external senders can receive an out of office reply, so your absence details will be accessible to third parties outside of the University. Theoretically, this information in the out of office reply could be cross referenced with information, publicly available, to determine personal details associated with the email address, such as phone numbers, home addresses and so on.

IT Services recommend the following when composing an out of office reply:

  • Never say specifically you are going on holiday
  • Never include your home address
  • Never include personal contact details, such as home phone or personal mobile number
  • Keep the information generic, and whenever possible, redirect enquiries to a colleague

Setting up Out of Office Replies from any managed LJMU PC

Click the Email icon on the desktop top open Microsoft Outlook.

Click on File (in the menu at the top of the window)

Then click the Automatic Replies (Out of Office) button:

Out of Office Setup

Click on the Send automatic replies button.

Out of Office Setup

  • If you only want to send replies during a specific time range, tick the box “Only send during this time range” and adjust the time range.  (This is helpful as you do not need to remember to switch off out of office when you return, and means you can set up your out of office message a few days in advance)
  • If you want replies to occur all the time until you switch the feature off, leave this box unchecked.

By default Outlook will only send out of office messages to people inside your organization,

Out of Office Setup

If you want to reply to external messages as well, click on the outside my Organization tab and tick the box “Auto reply to people outside my organization”.

You can limit this to only people in your contacts, or to anyone that sends you an email from outside of LJMU.

You can create a different reply message for outside contacts or simply copy and paste the message from your inside organization tab and paste it into your outside reply.

Setting up Out of Office replies using Outlook Web App

Use this method to set up your Out of office reply from any internet enabled PC using Outlook Web Access.

Using your web browser:

From the LJMU Staff Home Page select Email

Log On using your LJMU username and password as normal. You will now be logged in to your email via Outlook’s web interface.

In the toolbar running across the top of the page, click on Options, then Set automatic replies.

Out of Office Setup

You will be presented with the following window. The options available are the same as using Outlook from an LJMU PC (see above). You can set the time range, decide whether you want to reply to both inside and outside your organisation and send the same or a different message to each.

Out of Office Setup