Skip to main content

How to create an Outlook 'Out of Office' calendar entry

Outlook calendar out of office event
(Image credit: Future)

If you plan to take a few days off from work, in addition to configuring automatic email replies, it's a good idea to update your Outlook calendar to ensure no one tries to drag you into meetings or projects during your time away.

This guide will walk you through the steps to create an out-of-office calendar event to remind people that you'll be taking a few days of vacation using the Outlook desktop app, Outlook.com, and even the default Mail app on Windows 11.

How to create an 'Out of Office' calendar event using Outlook app

If you use Outlook 2021, 2019, or 2016 on Windows 11 (or 10), you can quickly create an event to let people in your circle know that you'll not be around for a number of days by creating an out-of-office calendar event.

  1. Open the Outlook app.
  2. Click the Calendar button in the bottom-left corner.
  3. Select the calendar to add the new event from the left pane. For example, your shared work calendar.
  4. Select a day in the calendar.
  5. In the "Home" tab, click the New Appointment button.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. In the "Subject" field, add a descriptive title for the event.
  2. Use the "Start time" picker to select the day you're planning to leave work.
  3. Use the "End time" picker to select the day you're planning to return to work.
  4. Check the All day event option.
  5. In the "Event" tab, use the "Show As" drop-down menu, and select the Out of Office option.

Outlook out of office event message

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Create a custom message for anyone who will see your event (optional).
  2. Click the Save & Close button.

Once you complete the steps, people who also have access to the shared calendar will be able to see that you won't be available for a number of days.

How to create an 'Out of Office' calendar event using Outlook web

It's also possible to create an out-of-office calendar event when you plan to take a vacation using Outlook on the web.

  1. Open Outlook (web) on the browser.
  2. Click the app launcher button in the top-left corner.
  3. Click on Calendar.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Click the New event button from the toolbar.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. (Optional) Click the expand button in the top-right corner of the event to access the full view.
  2. Use the "Show as" drop-down menu at the top and select the Away option (anyone using the app will see the "Out of Office" label).
  3. Select the calendar to add the event with the drop-down menu next to the "Save" button.
  4. Enter a descriptive title for the event.
  5. Use the Start date picker to select the day you plan to leave work.
  6. Use the End date picker to select the day you plan to return to work.
  7. Turn on the "All day" toggle switch.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Create a custom message for anyone who will see your event (optional).
  2. Click the Save button in the top-left corner.

After completing the steps, those who have access to the calendar, whether they use Outlook.com or a supported email client, will see that you're taking a few days of vacation.

How to create an 'Out of Office' calendar event using Windows 10 Mail app

In case you're using the default Mail & Calendar app on Windows 10, you can also create an out-of-office event to let family, friends, or colleagues know that you'll be taking some days off during the holidays.

  1. Open the Mail app.
  2. Click the Calendar button in the bottom-left corner.
  3. Click the New event button in the top-left corner.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Click the "Calendar" drop-down menu and select the calendar to add the new event. For example, your shared Work calendar.
  2. Enter a descriptive name for the event.
  3. Use the "Start time" picker to select the day you plan to leave work.
  4. Use the "End time" picker to select the day you plan to return to work.
  5. Check the All day option.
  6. Create a custom message for anyone who will see your event (optional).
  7. Use the "Show as" drop-down menu and select the Out of Office option from the toolbar.
  8. Click the Save button in the top-left corner of the toolbar.

(Image credit: Future)

Once you complete the steps, your time away schedule will appear to everyone with access to the shared calendar.

More resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10 and Windows 11, visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.