Do you use Outlook without Microsoft Exchange Server Or are you checking your internet email using the free version – Outlook Express. In both cases, the Out of Assistant is unavailable to help you automatically reply to your email while you are on vacation or not working.

You can however setup the Out of Office Assistant in Outlook Express or Outlook with Exchange using the Message Rules feature.

Step 1: Create an Auto-Reply email template:

Compose a new Outlook message and switch to Plain text. Type your auto-reply text and save the email message as an Outlook Template.

Step 2: Create a Message Reply to send an automatic reply to your emails (Outlook must be running for the Rules Wizard to automatically reply.)

Goto Tools -> Rules and Alerts and create a new email rule. In the Rules Wizard under Start from a blank rule, click Check messages when they arrive, and then click Next.

Under Which condition(s) do you want to check?, click to select the Sent Only To Me check box or any other check box that you want, and then click Next.

Under What do you want to do with the message?, click to select the Reply using a specific template check box. In the Select A Reply Template dialog box, click the template that you saved in step 6 of the “How to Define an Automatic Reply Template” section, and then click Open.

Complete the Rules Wizard instructions, click Finish, and then click OK.

Important: The Rules Wizard rule to “reply using a specific template” is designed to send the reply only one time to each sender during a session. This prevents Outlook from sending repetitive replies to a sender from whom you receive multiple messages.

During a session, Outlook remembers the list of users to whom it has responded. When you restart Outlook, this list is deleted and the rule is reset to start again for each sender.

How to Test: To test your rule, send yourself a message from a different e-mail account.