Out of Office auto reply message for emails


Leaving on vacation or planning any other absence? Don’t forget to set up am Out of Office auto reply message for your incoming emails.

While you benefit from not having to deal with incoming messages Outlook can reply to new emails in the meantime.
Emails, similar to non-electronic correspondence often create the initial impression. It is therefore important to conform to the rules of email etiquette, guidelines that help avoid mistakes (like offending someone when you don’t mean to) and misunderstandings (like being offended when you’re not meant to). These core rules of email etiquette help us communicate better via email.
Many Out of Office auto replies give the impression that they were set up almost as an afterthought. To the recipient, they seem unprofessional and rude and furthermore are often incorrect.

The obvious question: “Does ETH Zurich have uniform templates for Out of Office email replies, or does Corporate Communications perhaps provide any guidelines regarding email etiquette?”
ETH Corporate Communication confirms that there are actually no official guidelines for Out of Office auto replies. However they do recommend bilingual Out of office e-mail replies and providing an alternate e-mail address and telephone number. Additionally, an individual message is certainly much more personal than a standard template.
What to consider?

Address Format

ETH Zurich uses a uniform address format which also applies to Out of Office auto replies.
www.hk./ethz.ch/ docs/corporate_design/address/index_EN

For a complete documentation of design guidelines, check the Corporate-Design-Manual der ETH Zürich (available in German only). More information on “email” on page 21.

Common Out of Office reply blunders

  • Subject line missing or unclear
  • No salutation
  • No signature
  • Sender name missing
  • Spelling mistakes in the text
  • Missing commas or punctuation, too many exclamation marks
  • Text in lowercase
  • Text too informal, unprofessional
  • Outdated terms and phrases
  • Rude telegraphic style
  • Insufficient information regarding how incoming emails are handled or whom to contact during absence
  • Incorrect spelling for “email” at ETH: German/E-Mail, Eng/email
  • Sincerely” or “Best regards” can be used to sign off; the latter is less formal
  • Date when sender will be back missing, should include weekday
  • Previous date entries not updated and show old date or year
  • Incorrect translations for multilingual or English Out of Office messages


To set up an Outlook Out of Office auto reply:

1. Click on Tools in the upper left hand corner of the main Mail list view.

2. Select Out of Office Assistant.

3. Select the Send Out of Office option.

4. Next enter the message you want sent out.

5. Select the check box Only send during this time range option and fill out Start time and End time.

Make sure that both tabs “Inside/Outside My Organization” are completed and updated.






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4 comments on «Out of Office auto reply message for emails»

  1. Quality Assurance:
    After setting up the out-of-office message make a test. Send yourself an email from a different email address and check your text.

    Additional Mistakes that crop up in out-of-office messages
    The out-of-office message includes text which has been copied from elsewhere and contains different formatting, font size and text color. It goes without saying that a short out-of-office message should have uniform formatting throughout.

  2. Caution with Out of Office messages “outside my organization.”
    Indicating a date when you will be accessible can have undesirable side effects. During vacation time, spammers can find out about absences and determine the corresponding private addresse. This information is then sold to regional burglary rings. Outside the organization it is enough to mention who is filling in during your absence without specifying the exact period of absence.

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