How to set up recurring Out of Office auto-reply for certain days of the week in Outlook 2016

In the event of you being away, you can use Out of Office to show people who email you that you’re loving life abroad, or you may only work several days of the week and need to find a way to automate your messages.

How to set up recurring Out of Office auto-reply for certain days of the week in Outlook 2016
Out Of Office Automation Windows 10, Outlook 2016

In the event of you being away, you can use Out of Office to show people who email you that you’re loving life abroad, or you may only work several days of the week and need to find a way to automate your messages.

Unfortunately, Microsoft hasn’t been able to add this into their systems as of yet, however, there are ways around this! (Microsoft… please add.)

The way we’re doing this is with the rules within Outlook. It should work 100% of the time as long as the headers are all correct with the rules. If you have a better way to do this let us know! Let’s get into it.

1. Open Outlook, head over to the ‘Home’ tab and press ‘Rules’. Once in, go to ‘Manage Rules and Alerts’.

Outlook New Rule Settings System

2. Select ‘New Rule’.

New Rule Outlook

3. Select the option within the list “Apply rule on messages I receive”. This is under the category “Start from a blank rule”. Once selected, click next. 

Rules Wizzard in Outlook

4. Tick the box that has “with specific words in the message header”.

Rules Wizzard Specific Conditions Image

5. Once ticked and selected, under the list, you should see “Apply this rule after the message arrives with specific words in the message header.”. If you click the underlined “specific words”, this will bring up another menu. In this box, you can type in the abbreviation for the day of the week you want this to apply to, for example, we used ‘Friday’ and for the word we want to filter by is ‘Fri’. Once done, click add and then okay.

Text Preemp Image

6. Once you’ve clicked OK, it will take you back to the previous screen. You can just hit “Next” to go to the next screen.

7. The next screen looks very much like the above, however, it does have a few differences. In this new list, select “have server reply using a specific message”. Again, similar to Step 5, at the bottom, you have the option to select ‘a specific message’ doing so, will bring up a new option to enter your Out of Office message, just how you would normally. Once completed, just hit ‘Save & Close’.

Specfic Message Review Rules Wizard OutlookPreview Message Out of Office reply

8. After completing the above step, you will be taken back to the same window. You can make sure everything looks okay by clicking the underlined blue text in the ‘Step 2’ section at the bottom. Once confirmed, just hit ‘Next’. 

9. In the next stage, you are given the option to select any exceptions. In most cases, this won’t be needed however you can take a look through them and see what’s in them should you want to select any. Once confirmed, you can just hit next.

Rules Exceptions Wizard Outlook

10. Now you’re on the final screen of the rule, you can review your rule again and make sure everything is looking good. Once confirmed, make sure to hit the ‘Turn on this rule’ and name it something that you like. This bit doesn’t matter!

Rules Wizard Final Confirmation

Once confirmed, all emails that have your day (for us it’s Friday) will have ‘Fri’ in its header and this rule sends the Out of Office on receipt of that email. 


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