Auto-Reply for all messages without subject

Outlook 365 2013 2010 2007 2003
This rule is useful if you receive a lot of messages from your colleagues and use rules to copy or move correspondence to the specific folders (like Rule to copy all correspondence on some subject to the specific folder or Rule to move all correspondence on some subject to the specific folder). Unfortunately those rules do not work for messages with an empty subject, but you still can create a rule to send an automatic response if the incoming message does not have a subject.

To create an auto-reply rule, follow the next steps:

   1.   Create a template with text that you want to send in the auto-reply email. See Using templates to facilitate more versatile E-mail Distribution for more details.

   2.   Open the Rules and Alerts dialog box by doing one of the following:

  • On the File tab, in the Info view, click the Manage Rules & Alerts button:
    Manage Rules and Alerts button in Outlook 2016
  • On the Home tab, in the Move group, click Rules and then select Manage Rules & Alerts...:
    Rules in Outlook 2016

   3.   In the Rules and Alerts dialog box, click the New Rule... button:

Manage Rules and Alerts button in Outlook 2016

   4.   Choose the Apply rule on messages I receive option to create a new rule for auto-replies and click Next >:

Rules Wizard Step 1 in Outlook 2016

   5.   Choose conditions:

  • If you want to limit the list of people who send you messages, check one or several options:

    When you finish adding the additional conditions, click the Next > button.

  • If you want to use this rule for all incoming messages, click the Next > button. Click Yes in the information dialog box:
    This rule will be applied to every message you receive in Outlook 2016

   6.   Choose reply using a specific template in Step 1, then click a specific template in Step 2 and choose the message template for auto-reply:

  • In the Select a Reply Template dialog box, on the Look In list box, select User Templates in File System:
    Select a Reply Template in Outlook 2016
  • Click the Browse... button and choose the path to your template in the Browse For Folder dialog box:
    Browse For Folder in Outlook 2016
  • In the Select a Reply Template dialog box, choose the template and then click Open.

After you select a template, click Next >.

   7.   Choose exceptions: select except if the subject contains specific words and click specific words in the Step 2 text box. You have to insert numbers and letters (or at least all vowel letters, because any phrase or word in the subject consists not less than one vowel letter):

Rule Exceptions in Outlook 2016

As you might guess, a subject without letters and digits in it is probably empty or incorrect.

   8.   Click Next > again, name your rule (for example, auto-reply to empty subject), and click Finish.

Note: For some rules it is necessary to restart Outlook.

See also this tip in French: Comment répondre automatiquement à tous les messages sans objet.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to ask OfficeToolTips team.