How to Set out-of-office in Gmail - 2024 Guide

April 16, 2024
12 Minutes
Modified on:
April 16, 2024
Written by:
Swati Bucha
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It can be devastating to effectively handle your emails when you are away from the office. You can use Gmail’s built-in out-of-office (OOO) functionality during such instances. This feature ensures its usefulness if you are on vacation, touring, ill, or unavailable due to other causes. This tool automatically sends messages to anybody attempting to contact you. It informs them that you can’t reply immediately. 

Vacation responder on Gmail, one of the reputed free email service providers for businesses, is a tool that sends out automatic replies to incoming emails while you are away from the office. Configuring the corresponding automated response on Gmail's mobile app and desktop platform is straightforward. Furthermore, it allows you to indicate your unavailability status when other people attempt to contact you. Before diving deep into how to set out-of-office in Gmail, let’s first get familiar with various relevant aspects.

Reasons to Use Out-of-office in Gmail

Setting up an out-of-office AutoReply will automatically inform people that you will be unavailable for the specified duration. This Gmail feature helps you reply faster, avoid the need to check emails, and keep your inbox cleaner frequently.

  • If you are on vacation, sick, or away from the office, your clients or other team members may not know about it. This feature makes sure they acknowledge your unavailability.
  • While you are unavailable, the set out-of-office in Gmail will inform people when you will be back. Moreover, it guides them on whom to contact during your absence.
  • The feature ensures your first day when you return to work doesn’t feel devastating.
  • Since fewer emails will be sent to your inbox during this period, you do not need to waste your vacation period reviewing or replying to work emails.
  • Configuring this automatic response assures that the same recipients will not frequently populate your inbox during your unavailability. Consequently, it decreases unnecessary emails in your inbox.
  • You can witness a more peaceful inbox when you return to work.

Other Use Cases of Setting Out-of-Office in Gmail:

This feature lets you promptly respond to job applications, sales inquiries, client referrals, order confirmations, and customer queries.

Key Considerations Before Enabling Out-of-Office in Gmail

Before familiarizing yourself with how to set out of the office in Gmail, the following considerations will help you better use this feature on your Gmail business account.

  • Make sure to select the appropriate start and end dates before configuring your out-of-office message in Gmail. The message should commence when you are available and end when you return to work. 
  • It is better to tailor your out-of-office message. You can accomplish this by specifying details like the cause of your unavailability, an estimated timeframe for your return communication, and an alternate contact person. Besides, starting your email is essential; an expert guide will help if you are out of ideas. 
  • Make sure you can access your Gmail settings on mobile devices or desktops. Henceforth, you can quickly deactivate the out-of-office response if the situation changes and you return to work sooner than the scheduled time.
  • You can dispatch a trial email to your alternate personal Gmail address, which you can create quickly, or a colleague's address before configuring the automatic response. Consequently, it helps you verify that the corresponding automatic response works correctly and appears professional.

Steps to Set out-of-office (Desktop Version)

How to set out-of-office in Gmail.

Step 1: Open Gmail on your desktop. 

Step 2: Click Settings, located at the top right corner. 

Step 3: Next, click on See all settings.

Step 4: Click on the General tab.

Step 5: Select “Vacation Responder” from the “Vacation Responder” section.

Step 6: Enter a message body and subject.

Step 7: Select your absence’s first and last days in the first and last days fields, respectively.

Step 8: Select Only Send a Response to People in My Contacts

Step 9: Scroll down the page and click on Save Changes.

Note: If you have enabled Gmail signature, Gmail will display it at the end of your out-of-office reply.

How to Disable Out-of-Office AutoReply?

When the status of your out-of-office automatic response is on, the top of your Gmail inbox displays a banner. It indicates the out-of-office message’s subject. Click "End now" to turn off the out-of-office response. Click on Vacation Settings to edit your vacation response.

Note: By default, your vacation responder will be disabled at the end date being configured by you. However, if you get back to work earlier, you can manually turn off your vacation response by clicking on the End Now option. 

Bonus: How to Set out-of-office in Gmail (Mobile Version)?

Here’s how you can set vacation responder through your mobile: 

Step 1. Open the Gmail app on your mobile.

Step 2. Click on the icon representing three horizontal lines at the upper left part of the screen. 

Step 3. Navigate down and click on “Settings”.

Step 4. Tap on your email address shown there. After tapping your desired email address, it will take you to the settings of that particular email address. If you scroll down through the settings, you will see the out-of-office AutoReply option. Click on it. 

Step 5. Specify the start and end date. Edit the message and the subject line. If you wish to send your vacation response only to your contacts, tap on the slider beside “Send only to my Contacts.” Then, click on the “Done” button.

Notification of Your Out-of-Office AutoReply

Knowing how to set out-of-office in Gmail is not enough. It is also vital to understand when your out-of-office automatic reply is dispatched. The corresponding automatic reply begins at 12:00 AM on the start date and concludes at 11:59 pm on the end date being scheduled. Note that this may change if you return to work earlier. Usually, your out-of-office response is only delivered to people the first time they send you a message.

There are several occasions when somebody might see your out-of-office response multiple times. For example, if the same individual contacts you again after four days, and your out-of-office automatic response is still enabled, he/she will see your out-of-office response again.

Note: Your out-of-office automatic response restarts whenever you edit it. For instance, if an individual receives your out-of-office response, you edit it. In such a case, he/she will view your new response if he/she sends you emails again.

Tips to Effectively Set out-of-office in Gmail

Here are some tips that ensure you effectively set out-of-office in Gmail: 

  1. You get the flexibility to choose who can receive your response. The available options are only your contacts, everyone, and only people working in your organization.  
  2. If you have triggered 'only send a response to people in my domain' as well as 'only send a response to people in my contacts,' then Gmail will showcase the automatic response being set by you to those who exist in your gmail domain and even in your contacts.
  3. Your out-of-office response will not be delivered for messages sent to a mailing list you are subscribed to and messages delivered to your spam folder.

How to Find and Share Out-of-Office Status?

To notify your out-of-office status with your colleagues, you have to share your Google calendar and configure an out-of-office event. Ensure the corresponding out-of-office event covers a whole day or at least extends beyond your standard working hours.

Finding and sharing your out-of-office status is identical on the Gmail mobile app and Gmail desktop website.

Wrapping up, 

Gmail’s out-of-office is an efficient feature that eliminates the urge to check emails while you are on vacation frequently or you are away from the office due to some personal reason. It also improves your efficiency while you are at work. 

The feature demonstrates that you follow professional email etiquette standards by informing individuals about your unavailability. It keeps them informed on when to expect a response from you. A similar feature is available in Outlook as well. You can refer to a guide if you want to set out-of-office in Outlook as well! 


1. Does Gmail show your out-of-office status to somebody who doesn’t have permission to view this event?

If somebody is not permitted to see your out-of-office status, then Gmail will not show the status to them.

2. Can you configure unique Office messages for external and internal contacts?

Gmail’s built-in vacation responder feature does not allow you to configure different messages for external and internal contacts. All the emails received in your inbox during the out-of-office period will receive the same message.

3. Is it possible to deliver automated responses to particular email addresses?

The built-in vacation responder feature of Gmail will deliver automatic Office replies to specific email addresses once every quadrennial period.

4. What approach can you follow if your Gmail auto-reply doesn’t work?

If your out-of-office reply is not working, review the criteria you set up. Test your reply in advance to ensure it works while you are away.

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