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How to set a vacation responder in Gmail

Automatically send those out-of-office emails

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

If you’re planning to take some time away from work, it might be a good idea to set up a vacation responder: an automatic reply that goes out to anyone who emails you, letting them know you’re out of the office and therefore not checking email regularly. (It’s also a good idea to let them know in that email when you’ll be back.) On Gmail, it’s an easy thing to set up, and you can choose start and end dates for the automatic reply.

Although it’s called a vacation responder, you can customize it and use it for other things — for example, if you don’t check that email account very often or want people to reach you at a different address.

Here are all of the steps to follow.

How to set up your vacation responder on a computer

  • Click on the cog icon in the top-right corner of the screen
  • Click “See all settings” at the top of the Quick settings sidebar on the right
  • Under the General tab, scroll down to Vacation responder
  • Make sure “Vacation responder on” is selected
Vacation responder settings
Here, you can write your message, format it, and select which days it goes out.
  • Enter the start date for the responder next to “First day.” To set an end date, check the box next to “Last day” and enter the date in the field that appears next to it.
  • You can add a subject line for the responder next to “Subject”
  • Type your vacation responder message in the box under “Message.” You can format it in the same way you would format a regular email.
  • If you don’t want the responder to go out to everyone who emails you (for example, all of the people sending you spam), you can check the box next to “Only send a response to people in my Contacts.”
  • Click “Save Changes” at the bottom of the menu

How to set up a vacation responder on a mobile device

  • Open your Gmail app
  • Tap on the three bars in the top-left corner (in the search bar)
  • Scroll down and select “Settings”
  • Choose which email account you’d like to set the responder for
  • Tap “Vacation responder”
  • Toggle on Vacation Responder. You’ll then be able to set start and end dates, add a subject line, and write your message. You also have an option to toggle on “Send only to my Contacts.”
Settings
After choosing an email account, scroll down to “Vacation responder.”
Vacation responder settings
After you toggle on Vacation Responder, you can enter in your message.
  • Click “Save” in the top-right corner of the screen

Update July 13th, 10:12AM ET: This article has been updated to include instructions for the Gmail app.