Lagos, Nigeria

How to Set an Out of Office Message in Gmail

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When you’re out of the office, your work emails should be left firmly behind. To give you a break, you can set up out of office messages in Gmail to let people know you’re away. Here’s how.

Set an Out of Office Message in Gmail Online

The easiest way to set an out of office message in Gmail is to do so from your Windows PC or Mac. You’ll need to be signed in to your Google account to be able to do this.

RELATED: The Complete Guide to Gmail

Head to the Gmail website and click the “Settings” gear icon in the top-right corner to begin. From the “Quick Settings” menu that appears, select the “See All Settings” option.

In the Gmail web interface, press the settings cog icon, then press the "See All Settings" option.

This will take you to the Gmail settings area for your account. Scroll down to the bottom of the “General” tab until you see the “Vacation Responder” options.

In certain locales, such as the U.K., this area is named “Out-Of-Office AutoReply” instead, which is what you’ll see in the screenshots shown below. This is because the U.K. doesn’t typically use the term “vacation” to refer to breaks away.

The settings remain the same for all locales, however.

The Gmail Vacation Responder settings area, labelled "Out of Office AutoReply" in a UK Gmail account

Out-of-office messages work by automatically replying to emails you receive, alerting them to the fact that you are unavailable to respond. You can set the date range that you’ll be “out of office” or “on vacation” and away from your emails in the “First Day” and “Last Day” date boxes.

You’ll need to enable the “Last Day” checkbox if you want to enable an end date. Otherwise, Gmail will continue to send out of office messages until you disable it manually.

Provide the date range for the vacation responder/out of office message to apply from in the "First Day" and "Last Day" date boxes

Once the date range is set, you’ll need to set the message you want to send automatically. Provide a subject title for the email in the “Subject” box and then type a message in the “Message” box.

This text box is a good place to indicate how long you’ll be away from the office, for instance.

Provide a subject and out of office/vacation responder message in the "Subject" and "Message" boxes.

If you want to limit out of office replies to your Gmail contacts only, check the “Only send a response to people in my contacts” checkbox. This checkbox will stop you from replying automatically to people you might not know or automated emails, for instance.

Press the "Only send a response to people in my contacts" checkbox to limit the number of messages being sent.

Once you’re ready to save and apply the out of office message, select the “Vacation Responder On” radio button or the “Out of Office AutoReply On” radio button, depending on your location.

If this radio button is enabled and you’re happy with your out of office message, click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the screen.

Click the "Vacation Responder On" or "Out of Office AutoReply On" (depending on your locale) to switch your out of office message on, then press the "Save Changes" option.

This will activate the out of office message you’ve set from 12 a.m. on the date you specified. If you set a “Last Day” value, the message will stop being sent at 11:59 p.m. on that date.

Set an Out of Office Message in Gmail on Mobile Devices

You can also set an out of office message in the Gmail app on your Android, iPhone, or iPad device. These steps will work on all mobile platforms.

To start, open the “Gmail” app on your phone or tablet. Once opened, tap the “hamburger” menu icon in the top-left corner of the app.

Tap the hamburger menu icon in the top-left of the Gmail app.

Scroll down to the bottom of the list and then tap the “Settings” option.

Tap the "Settings" option at the bottom of the Gmail menu.

In the “Settings” menu, tap the Google account you wish to add a Gmail out of office message to.

Choose your account in the Gmail settings account list

Your Gmail account settings menu will have options that are specific to your account, including out-of-office messages.

To add an out of office message, tap the “Vacation Responder” or “Out Of Office AutoReply” option, depending on your locale.

Tap the "Vacation Responder" or "Out of Office AutoReply" option

You’ll need to set your out-of-office message settings next.

Tap the “Vacation Responder” or “Out of Office AutoReply” slider to allow you to modify the message settings.

Tap the "Vacation Responder" or "Out of Office AutoReply" slider to enable it.

Just like the Gmail out-of-office message settings in your desktop browser, you’ll need to set how long you wish the message to be active from (and to) using the “First Day” and “Last Day” drop-down options.

If you don’t wish to have an end date, set the “Last Day” option to “None” instead.

You’ll also need to add a subject and message to send to users. If you only want to send messages to your contacts, tap the “Send to my contacts only” checkbox.

Set the date, subject, and message settings for your Gmail out of office message in the boxes provided, and tap "Send to my contacts only" to limit messages to contacts.

To save and apply the message, tap the “Done” option in the top-right corner.

Tap "Done" to save the Gmail out of office message

This will enable your out of office message from 12 a.m. on the date specified in the “First Day” options. If you set an end date, the messages will stop at 11:59 a.m. on that day.

This post was written by Ben Stockton and was first posted to

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