How to auto respond for some messages

Outlook 2016
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 365

   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 365

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

Manage Rules and Alerts button in Outlook 365

   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 365

   4.   The wizard displays the options for creating a blank rule. Select the 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 365

   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 365

   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:
Choose template in Outlook 365

   8.   Select the template and click Open:

Choose Form in Outlook 365

   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 365

   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 for Microsoft 365.

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.