How to auto respond for some messages

Outlook 365
It is polite to reply to every received message, even if you don't have a time to process the message. For example, if you get lots of CVs and cover letters, you can automatically send a reply to every email, and, just when you have time, process them and send an appropriate email with detailed information.

To create the auto-response, you need to:

   I.   Create a template of the auto-response letter – see how to create a template for more details. For example:

New template in Outlook 2016

   II.   Create a rule for automatic replies.

To create a rule to respond automatically, do the following:

   1.   On the Home tab, in the Move group, click Rules, and then click Manage Rules & Alerts...:

Rules in Outlook 2016

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

New Rule in Outlook 2016

   3.   Outlook launches the Rules Wizard. Click the Apply rule on messages I receive option, and then click Next >:

Rules Wizard Step 1 in Outlook 2016

   4.   The wizard displays the options for creating a blank rule. Select the sent only to me check box and any other criteria that you want. For example, choose the condition with specific words in the subject and click specific words in the Step 2 text box:

Search Text Rules Wizard Step 1 in Outlook 2016

   5.   Click Add to specify words for this rule and then click OK when you finish adding the phrases to the search text and then click Next > to choose your action.

   6.   Select the action to take when the conditions are met by checking the appropriate check box. For an autoreply, check reply using a specific template:

Rules Wizard Step 2 in Outlook 2016

   7.   In the Step 2 area, click a specific template link to select the template message to use:

  • In the Look In list, select User Templates in File System and then click Browse....
  • In the Browser For Folder dialog box, choose the folder with your template file:
Browse the folder in Outlook 2016

   8.   Select the template and click Open:

Choose Form in Outlook 2016

   9.   The rule conditions and actions are listed. Click Next >.

   10.   In the wizard screen that appears, you can click any of the various check boxes to specify any exceptions. Click Next >.

   11.   Outlook displays the completed mail rule. In the Step 1: Specify a name for this rule field, type a name for the auto-reply rule, and then click Finish:

Rules Wizard finish Step in Outlook 2016

   12.   You can build a wide variety of message rules by selecting the appropriate conditions and actions. For instance, for actions, you can select to forward a message, move it, mark it as important, and so on.

Note: The reply using a specific template rule in the Rules Wizard sends your automated reply only once to each sender during a single session. A session is each time you start Outlook until you exit the application. This rule prevents Outlook from sending repetitive replies to a single sender from whom you receive multiple messages. During a session, Outlook keeps track of the list of users to whom it has responded. If you exit and then restart Outlook, however, this is considered a new session and the list of the senders who have received automated replies is reset.

To delete a rule, see Turn off rules in Outlook 2016.

See also this tip in French: Comment répondre automatiquement à certains messages.

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