How To Add Signature & Send Automatic Replies Using Microsoft Outlook

Outlook-Settings

Microsoft Outlook is loaded with hundreds of features to give you the ease of access to manage your email accounts. You can configure multiple email accounts in Outlook 365 and centrally access all your emails using this application.

While sending emails or replying to someone’s email, we generally create an email signature in Outlook and add our signature that acts as a visiting card for the receiver. Instead of repeatedly typing in our signature for every individual email, we can configure an Outlook Signature for all the outgoing emails we send.

When we are not in the office or traveling or on long leaves with limited or no access to emails, we can also set up Outlook out of office assistant to send an auto-reply on Outlook. Let’s figure out the steps to perform these options.

Add Email Signature to Outlook

Using Outlook 365 and other versions, you can create an email signature in Outlook and add one or more personalized Outlook Signatures for your multiple email accounts. You may also add images, a logo, your E-business card, or an image of your handwritten signature to your Outlook signature. Your signature can be automatically added or you can add it to email messages on a case-by-case basis.

add signature to outlook


To create an email signature in Outlook, you will need to follow these steps.

 Step 1. Open a new email message.

Step 2. On the Message Menu, Click on ‘Signature’ and again select ‘Signatures’ from the drop-down list.

Create a new signature in Outlook

Step 3. Under ‘Select Signature to Edit’ option, click on the ‘New’ button to add a new signature.

Step 3. Give a name to your signature and click on ‘Okay’

Outlook Signature Settings
Step 4. Add your signature details under ‘Edit Signature’. You can also copy-paste your signature from your primary email client. The formatting bar on the top allows you to format and give styling to your Outlook signature. You can select the Image icon next to ‘Business Card’, browse your image file and click on ‘Insert’. You can also resize the image as per your needs.

“Note: You can add your website link, Email addresses, and images to your signature. You can also add social media icons and links to your signature or customize a pre-designed signature template from the Signature Gallery.”

Step 5. Under ‘Choose Default Signature’, configure these options for your signature:

  • Choose an email account to associate with the signature under the email account drop-down box. You can configure different Outlook signatures for individual email accounts.
  • Choose the default signature for New Messages and Replies/Forwards.
  • If you don’t want an automatic Outlook email signature, keep the option as ‘None’.

Step 6. Click on ‘Okay’ to save the settings and come back to the new email page.

“Note: You can also click on the ‘File’ menu 🡪 Go to the ‘Options’ tab on the left-hand side options 🡪 Select ‘Mail’ from left-hand side options in the new window and click on ‘Signatures’ (Third Option) from the top.”

Setup Automatic Replies – Formerly Known As Out of Office Assistant

We use automatic replies in Outlook whenever we want to let senders know that we won’t be able to respond to their messages right away. Once we set up automatic replies, they are automatically sent as a reply to every email we receive.

You may follow the below-mentioned steps to set up Automatic Replies (Out Of Office) Assistance on Microsoft Office Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, 2013, 2010 and Outlook for Office 365.

“Note: ‘Automatic Replies’ feature is only available with an Exchange account that is widely used by many of the organizations. Home users or users with Outlook.com (formerly Hotmail), POP3, IMAP don’t have this feature.”

For Exchange Account Users


Automatic replies for Exchange Account users

Step 1. Click on the ‘File’ menu and go to ‘Info’ Tab.

Step 2. Click on Automatic Replies (Out of Office) button.

“Note: If you do not see this option, you are not using an Exchange Account. Jump On To Alternates.”

Step 3. Select the ‘Send Automatic Replies’ checkbox in the Automatic Replies dialog box.

Step 4. If you are certain about the date and timings, select the ‘Only Send During This Time Range’ checkbox. And set up the Start and End time.

Step 5. In the ‘Inside My Organization’ tab, Enter a message that you wish to send within your organization, and in the ‘Outside My Organization’ tab, Enter a message that you wish to send to others and click on ‘Okay’.

“Note: If you have selected the ‘Only send during this time range’ checkbox, the messages will be automatically sent to all the senders until the specified date & time are met, else it will continue until you turn off the option manually by following Step 1 and check ‘Do not send automatic replies’ option.”

For Non-Exchange Account Users

If you’re using a Non-Exchange account, the process becomes a bit problematic to set up an auto-reply on Outlook. You’ll need to create a message template and then set up a rule to send that message in reply to the received messages.

Create a Message Template


creating out of office template in outlook

Step 1. Open a new mail message and enter the subject line as, ‘Out of Office.’

Step 2. Type in your ‘Out-Of-Office’ reply (May include your travel details, alternate contact details, your SPOC, etc.) Keep the message short and simple.

Step 3. Click on the ‘File’ menu and select ‘Save As’.

Step 4. Under the ‘Save As Type’ dropdown, choose ‘Outlook Template (*.oft)’ and give it a name.

Step 5. Click on the ‘Save’ button and close the message window. If prompted, you may click on the ‘Save’ option.

“Once you have created a message, you’ll need to create a rule to set up an auto-reply on Outlook.”

Also Read: Configure Gmail and Windows Live Hotmail with Microsoft Outlook

Create a Rule to Set Up An Auto-Reply in Outlook


create rule for auto reply in Outlook

Step 1. Once you’re on the Outlook ‘Home’ tab, click on the ‘Rules’ button and select ‘Manage Rules & Alerts’ from the dropdown list.

Step 2. By default you should be on the ‘Email Rules’ tab, If not, select it.

Step 3. By default the new rule will be applied to the ‘Inbox Folder’ you have selected before clicking on the ‘Rule’ button.

New rule settings

Step 4. Click on the ‘New Rule’ button and under ‘Start From A Blank Rule’ section, select ‘Apply Rule on Messages I Receive’ and click on the ‘Next’ button.

Step 5. Select option(s) as per your priority as I selected ‘When My Name Is In The To Box’. You can select multiple options here as ‘Marked as Important’, ‘Marked as Sensitive’ or from specific people and click on the ‘Next’ button.

Outlook Email rule setup wizard

Step 6. Here, you need to put a check in front of ‘Reply Using A Specific Template’ and then click the link called ‘A Specific Template’ under Step 2: Edit the rule description box.


Enable or Disable a Rule in Outlook

Here, you need to browse through the template that you created and saved earlier.

Step 7. In the next window, Set an exception is needed else click on the ‘Next’ button. If you set up exceptions, it will not send an auto-reply on Outlook to those exceptions.

Step 8. Give a name to the rule you created and ensure that the ‘Turn ON This Rule’ checkbox is checked and click on the ‘Finish’ button.

Finish creating a rule in outlook

“Note: It will show you a warning message stating that the rule is not applied and the Outlook should not be closed to keep the rule active.”

Step 9. If you want to enable the rule later, leave the ‘Turn ON This Rule’ checkbox unchecked and click on the ‘Finish’ button. Whenever you wish to enable the rule, Simply follow Step 1. and Put a Check in front of the newly added rule and click on the ‘Apply’ and ‘Ok’ button.

“Note: To Disable the Rule once you come back and resume your services, you will need to follow Step 1 again and uncheck the Rule which was live throughout the offline time and click on the ‘Apply’ and ‘Okay’ button.”

Change or Edit outlook rules

You can also edit the rule by selecting it and clicking on the ‘Change Rule’ button and selecting ‘Edit Rule Settings..’. It will open up the editing console of the rule which you used to create it earlier.

In the same window, you can find an option to delete the rule if you think this is no longer useful to you or the settings are not set up as per your desire.

Summing Up

Here we have covered 2 most useful settings of Microsoft Outlook. Setting up an Outlook Signature is one of the basic requirements of emailing. Now you can easily create an email signature in Outlook with your company logo links and proper formatting. Once you add an Outlook email signature, it gets automatically added to all your outgoing emails or can be customized as per your interest.

We have also covered setting up an auto-reply on Outlook to send Outlook out of office assistant emails. An automatic reply from Outlook is sent to all or customized emails which we receive in our inbox.

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Raj Soni

Raj is a creative technical content blogger. He is an experienced analyst coming from Information Technology world proficient in analyzing information and defining a flawless resolution. His technical knowledge and expertise to research, blended with an intimate passion to write made him love his profession to the core. New rides, extreme sports and relishing cooking is his passion. He also dreams of writing a book truly dedicated to an Indian mother.

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