How to Write an Auto-Reply

Email has become such a communication lifeline that it’s hard to imagine not answering it promptly. When we are away from the office for even a day or two, we want people to receive a response from us. We shudder to imagine not sending a response for an entire one- or two-week vacation.

Since it has become an essential message, here are suggestions on how to write an email automatic reply.

Depending on the type of email account you have, you may have options for controlling who receives your message and how it appears. These tips focus on only the content and etiquette of your message:

  1. Include the date of your return.
  2. Let people know of any other individuals they can contact for help in your absence. (Be sure those individuals will be available.)
  3. If people typically contact you for a certain type of information or approval, let readers know how they can find the information or get the approval in your absence.
  4. Remember that anyone who sends you an email will receive your autoreply (unless your software allows you to limit who receives it). Be sure your reply is suitable for senior executives, citizens, customers, patients, coworkers, clients, members, friends, strangers, and others.
  5. Since anyone may receive your reply, avoid personal information about where you will be during your absence. Avoid sharing contact information that you do not want everyone to have.
  6. Proofread your message very carefully–even though you may be rushing out the door to catch a plane. Any errors will be read by every reader, including that prestigious client, prospective employer, or huge donor.
  7. During a holiday season, you may want to include a "Happy holidays!" sentiment if it will apply to everyone who receives your reply.


Thank you for your email. I am away from the office and will return on Monday, February 27. If your message requires a reply, I will respond when I return.

For immediate needs, please contact these people: 
–To reserve the conference center, please email Michael at (email address).

–With questions about a reimbursement check, email Rhonda at (email address).

–With other urgent administrative issues, please email Rishi at (email address).

Micha Stern
Human Resources

When you return to your office, be sure to turn off your auto-reply if your software doesn’t allow you to set an end date. (Mark your calendar before you leave the office, since you will probably be very busy when you return.)

I based these suggestions on the automatic response messages I have received–some excellent, some embarrassing. If you have additional tips, please send them.

Other search spellings: emial, replys, Outlook, absense, abcense, etiquete, etiquitte


  1. really great efforts, i was looking for more automated reply templates and yes this out of office automated reply is a good start for my requirements.

  2. Thanks for keeping it straigt forward and simple. Fits exactly to what i am looking for. Thanks very much!

  3. Dear Lynn, thanks for your information. i would like to know even for resignation of the job. could help me out !!!!

  4. Finally, I found this! I’ve been wondering why I couldn’t leave some sort of default message when I’m on vacation or something. I usually print out a message and put it on my office door, but now I don’t need to :]

  5. Hi Lynn – I wonder if it is appropriate to not say when you will be back, i.e. if one is on ‘indefinite leave’? How would you word it?

  6. Hello, Aspergiana. You might try sentences like these:

    “I am away from the office for an indefinite period of time.”


    “I do not know when I will return.”

    Be sure to include the names of other people who can be helpful in your absence.


  7. hi lynn.. could you help me with a format on autoreply messages for customer queries, with a manual attatched along with it regarding the product. this is in connection with my assignment for biz comm.

  8. Hi lynn, Hope you doing well! could you please help me with a format on autoreply messages for a Quote Request from Customer???


  9. Hello Ms. Lynn,
    I’d like to write an auto reply for any email received. Since i resigned from the organisation, the person should understand that i’m not in this org, how to tell them that i won’t be part of the organisation and the alternate contact info.
    Can you help me?
    i need a formal auto reply. Please help me.

  10. Thank you for your email. I am away from the office and will return on Monday, june 10. If your message requires a reply, I will respond when I return.
    Bonjour ! Je suis en congés et vous répondrai dès que j’aurai lu votre message.

    Yimian Kabore

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