How To Set an Away Message in Skype

The different colored statuses in Skype for Business let your contacts know when you are away from the office, and your level of availability. If you need to know how to do this, we’ll show you in this article.

How To Set an Away Message in Skype

First, we’ll go take you through setting an out-of-office with automatic replies in Windows 10; then how to include more information by setting your availability in Skype. Plus, since the Mac version of Skype for Business currently does not get Outlook calendar information, we’ll show you the steps for a workaround.

Option1: Sync MS Outlook to Skype for Business (Purple Dot W/Auto-Replies)

Set Up an Out-of-Office With Automatic Reply in Windows

Before setting up your out-of-office with automatic replies you need to check which type of Outlook account you have, since this will depend on the steps you need to follow:

  1. In Outlook click on “File” > “Account Settings.”
  2. Select “Account Settings” then check the “Type” column:
    • If you’re using a work email, then your account will be Microsoft Exchange.
    • If it’s a personal email like Gmail, your account will be IMAP or POP3.

To set up an out-of-office automatic reply for a Microsoft Exchange account:

  1. Launch Outlook then select “File” > “Automatic Replies.”
  2. From the “Automatic Replies” box click on “Send automatic replies.”
    • You can set a date range for your automatic replies which will stop at the end time; otherwise, you’ll need to manually turn it off.
    • Use the “Rules and Alerts” option to set up your out-of-office if the “Automatic Replies” option is not there.
  3. Enter the reply you wish to send out whilst you’re away on the “Inside My Organization” tab.
    • The “anyone outside my organization” option will send your automatic reply to every email.
  4. Click on “OK” to save.

To create an out-of-office message for your IMAP or POP3 account:

  1. Launch Outlook then select “File” to display your account information options.
  2. Select “New Message.”
  3. Complete the subject and response for your template.
  4. Click on “File” then “Save As.”
  5. Enter the name of your template in the “Save as type” pull-down menu; then click on “Outlook Template (*.oft).”
  6. Choose the location then “Save.”

To create the out-of-office rule:

  1. Click on “File” > “Manage Rules & Alerts.”
  2. On the “E-mail Rules” tab in the “Rules and Alerts” box select “New Rule.”
  3. Select “Apply rule on message I receive” beneath the “Start from a blank rule” then “Next.”
  4. Leave Steps 1 and 2 options unchanged to reply to all of your messages then “Next.”
  5. Click on “Yes” to confirm the rule for all messages.
  6. Below “Step 1: Select action(s);” then click on “reply using a specific template.”
  7. Below “Step 2: Edit the rule description” select the highlighted text for a “specific template.”
  8. Select “User Templates in File System” from the “Select a Reply Template” option in “Look In.”
  9. Click on your template then “Open” > “Next.”
  10. Add any required exceptions then “Next.”
  11. Now call your rule something e.g., Out of Office.
  12. If you want to start your automatic replies now, leave the “Turn on this rule” option checked then “Finish,” else uncheck the option until you’re ready.

Note: Whilst you’re away you’ll need to leave Outlook running to send the automatic replies.

To activate the rule:

  1. Click on “File” > “Manage Rules & Alerts.”
  2. From “E-mail Rules” in “Rules and Alerts” locate your rule, then to the left of it check the box and “Ok.”

Finally, set your presence to “Active” in Skype:

Whenever one of your Skype contacts looks you up, they’ll see a small purple dot next to your name. This confirms that you are out-of-office but still available and ready to talk.

  1. Sign in to Skype and select your profile picture from “Chats.”
  2. Click on your current status then select “Active.”

Set Up an Out-of-Office and “Active” Skype Status in Mac

Note: Skype for Business in Mac currently does not offer presence details based on an Outlook calendar. As a workaround, you can set your status to “Active” with an out-of-office status message:

  1. Sign in to Skype and click on your photo.
  2. Select “Available” from the pull-down arrow under your name.

Then to add your status message:

  1. Click on your photo then select “Click to add status message.”
  2. Type a message e.g., “I’m currently offline …. – ….. Please IM me.”
    • To remove the message just click on it then hit “Delete.”

When your colleagues look you up in their Skype contacts they’ll see that you’re out-of-office and available.

Option 2: Sync MS Outlook Calendar to Skype (Purple Circled-Arrow)

Set Up an Out-of-Office With/Without Automatic Reply in Windows

Before setting up your out-of-office you need to check which type of Outlook account you have since this will depend on the steps you need to follow:

  1. In Outlook click on “File” > “Account Settings.”
  2. Select “Account Settings” then check the “Type” column:
    • If you’re using a work email, then your account will be Microsoft Exchange.
    • If it’s a personal email like Gmail, your account will be IMAP or POP3.

To set up an out-of-office automatic reply for a Microsoft Exchange account:

  1. Launch Outlook then select “File” > “Automatic Replies.”
  2. From the “Automatic Replies” box click on “Send automatic replies.”
    • You can set a date range for your automatic replies which will stop at the end time; otherwise, you’ll need to manually turn it off.
    • Use the “Rules and Alerts” option to set up your out-of-office if the “Automatic Replies” option is not there.
  3. Enter the reply you wish to be sent out whilst your away on the “Inside My Organization” tab. You can also leave the reply blank.
  4. The “anyone outside my organization” option will send your automatic reply to every email. If you wish to leave the reply blank, Outlook recommends selecting “My contacts only.”
  5. Click on “OK” to save.

To create an out-of-office message for your IMAP or POP3 account:

  1. Launch Outlook then select “File” to display your account information options.
  2. Select “New Message.”
  3. Complete the subject and response for your template.
  4. Click on “File” then “Save As.”
  5. Enter the name of your template in the “Save as type” pull-down menu; then click on “Outlook Template (*.oft).”
  6. Choose the location then “Save.”

To create the out-of-office instruction:

  1. Click on “File” > “Manage Rules & Alerts.”
  2. On the “E-mail Rules” option in the “Rules and Alerts” box select “New Rule.”
  3. Select “Apply rule on message I receive” beneath the “Start from a blank rule” then “Next.”
  4. Leave “Steps 1 and 2 options unchanged to reply to all of your messages then “Next.”
  5. Click on “Yes” to confirm the rule for all messages.
  6. Below “Step 1: Select action(s);” then click on “reply using a specific template.”
  7. Below “Step 2: Edit the rule description” select the highlighted text for a “specific template.”
  8. Select “User Templates in File System” from the “Select a Reply Template” option in “Look In.”
  9. Click on your template then “Open” > “Next.”
  10. Add any required exceptions then “Next.”
  11. Now call your rule something e.g., Out of Office.
  12. If you want your automatic replies to start now leave the “Turn on this rule” option checked then “Finish” or uncheck the option when you’re ready.

Note: Whilst you’re away you’ll need to leave Outlook active to send the automatic replies.

To active the rule:

  1. Click on “File” > “Manage Rules & Alerts.”
  2. From “E-mail Rules” in “Rules and Alerts” locate your rule then check the box to the left of it then “Ok.”

Finally, set your presence to “Off Work” in Skype:

Whenever one of your Skype contacts looks you up they’ll see a small, purple, left-pointing arrow and dot next to your name. This confirms that you are out-of-office and “Off Work;” thus, in-active.

  1. Sign in to Skype and select your profile picture from “Chats.”
  2. Click on your current status then select “Off Work.”

Set Up an Out-of-Office and “Off Work” Skype Status in Mac

Note: Skype for Business in Mac currently does not offer presence details based on an Outlook calendar. As a workaround, you can set your status to “Off Work” with an out-of-office status message:

  1. Sign in to Skype and click on your photo.
  2. Select “Off Work” from the pull-down arrow under your name.

Then to add your status message:

  1. Click on your photo then select “Click to add status message.”
  2. Type a message e.g., “I’m currently offline …. and will return ….”
    • To remove the message just click on it then hit “Delete.”

When your colleagues look you up in their Skype contacts they’ll see that you’re out-of-office and not available.

Skype Out-of-Office FAQs

Why Is My “Out-of-Office” Skype Status Still Showing?

When the “Show my out-of-office info to contacts” option is checked in “Tools,” > “Options,” > “Personal” your out-of-office status will still show even when it’s switched off in Outlook.

If this isn’t the case, please try contacting the Microsoft technical support team for assistance.

Can I Turn Off Out-of-Office Status Using Skype Instead of Outlook?

Skype uses your Outlook calendar information to update your status; therefore, you’ll need to turn off your out-of-office via Outlook.

Showing Your Out-of-Office Status in Skype

The Skype for Business instant messaging tool uses your Outlook calendar information to inform your Skype contacts about your status. This is handy for your contacts to see at a glance whether you are out-of-office and available or out-of-office and not available.

Now that we’ve shown you the steps for this, we’re you successful in setting it up—did it work as expected? Please let us know in the comments section below.

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