How to Set Up an Out of Office Auto-Reply Email in Gmail

How to Set Up Auto-Reply in Gmail header (new)

If you’re going away and are going to be out of the office for a period of time, you shouldn’t have to be responding to emails during your vacation. However, if you don’t give any response to people trying to get in touch with you for an extended period of time, they may feel like you’re ignoring them or have left them hanging. That’s where automatic replies come in handy!

If you’re a Gmail user and want to set up an automatic out of office response for while you’re away, we can help you out. Gmail has a feature called “Canned Responses” that allows you to set up your email account to automatically reply to emails. We’re going to walk you through the steps to setting up a Gmail vacation responder, and give you tips, including:

To start off, we’re going to discuss some reasons to make use of Gmail auto-replies.


Reasons to set up an automatic response to emails

  • When you’re going away – whenever you’re going to be out of the office, whether it’s just for a day or a longer period of time, Gmail vacation notice emails can help you out.
  • To let people know when you’ll be back – give people the date you’re going to be back in the office so they know when you expect an actual response from you.
  • Avoid paying someone else to do your job – save someone else having to go through your emails and reply to them while you’re gone.
  • Keep your clients happy – don’t leave people hanging without any reply to their emails.

As you can tell, there are many benefits to using Gmail automatic responses. Now that we’ve given you some great reasons to use this feature, we’re going to show you how to set them up for your own account.


How to set up an email auto-reply in Gmail:

1. Go to and sign in.

To access your Gmail email inbox, open your web browser and go to Then, enter your email address and password to log in to your account.

Gmail sign in screen

2. Click the gear icon, then select Settings.

Once you’re logged in to your Gmail account, click on the gear button in the top right corner. From the drop-down menu that pops up below it, click Settings.

Gmail gear settings icon

3. Select the Labs tab.

When you get to the main Settings page, you will see several different sections, separated by tabs that appear at the top of the page. Click on the Labs tab to move on to the next step.

Gmail labs tab

4. Enable Canned Responses.

On the Labs page, scroll down to find “Canned Responses” in the list. Then, click Enable where it appears to the right side.

Enable canned responses in Gmail

Once you have enabled the Canned Responses feature, click Save Changes near the top of the page.

Save Changes button

5. Create a response template.

Now that you’ve turned on Canned Responses, it’s time to create the message you would like to have sent automatically while you’re away. Start by creating a new email message.

Compose Gmail email button

Write whatever you would like to include in your response. When you’re done writing, click the More Options button near the bottom of the message window.

More options button

From the menu that appears, select Canned Responses, then click on New Canned Response.

New canned response

6. Make a filter for your auto-replies.

To indicate when you’d like your Gmail automatic replies to be sent, and to whom, you can create an email filter. To do this, click the downwards arrow icon in the search bar to reveal more options.

Search options

Fill out the window that appears with the criteria you’d like to be required for an auto-response to be sent. Be sure to set a time period if you want auto replies to stop being sent after a certain amount of time. Then, click Create Filter With This Search at the bottom right corner of the window.

Create filter

7. Set your Canned Response to automatically send in response to emails meeting your filter criteria.

To have your Canned Response send automatically when you receive an email that meets the criteria you’ve indicated, click the check box labelled “Send Canned Response.” Then, choose the canned response you’d like to use for this filter (if you’ve created more than one.) Finally, click the Create Filter button at the bottom of the window.

Canned response filter

Once you’ve completed these seven steps, your automatic responses will be set up to send. If you do not specify a time period for auto replies to stop being sent, you will need to disable the Canned Response feature upon your return to the office. To do this, go to Gmail > Settings > Labs > Canned Responses > Disable.

We’ve covered everything you need to do to set up your Gmail automatic responses. Now we have some useful tips for what we think should be included in your Canned Responses. Here are 4 key components of any automatic reply email.


4 things to include in an email auto-reply

  • The reason for your absence – let them know whether you’re on vacation, out due to illness, etc. If you’re going to be in another country, you could mention that you’ll have limited access to the Internet, etc.
  • When you expect to be back at work – include the date you’ll be returning to work and give an estimate of when you expect to get back to them. People appreciate having an approximate timeline of when you will be in contact again.
  • Who to contact instead of you – if a client is trying to reach you and there is someone else who may be able to help them before you return to work, give them the contact information of one of your colleagues.
  • Emergency contact information – In case of emergency, you may want to provide a phone number or personal email address where you can be reached while you’re gone.


That’s all it takes to set up your out of office message in Gmail. Now you have all the information you need to write the perfect automatic response email and know how to set it up for while you’re away from work. If you’re looking to learn more about Gmail, you can use our free Gmail tutorials to become the office expert. Want to try out other email and messaging apps? Check out the messaging and chat section of our site to find out which ones are the best.

More Great Related Articles