Going on vacation? Taking your class? No access to the Internet? Week's worth of papers to grade? No problem! Use Google Apps mail vacation responder to let people know you won't be able to get back to them right away. You don't have to be on vacation - but it's a great way to send an automatic response to anyone who emails you - parent, teacher, student, friend - that you are not actively responding to email.

You can set up a vacation response in your Apps mail settings that will automatically reply to anyone who emails you. While the vacation responder is enabled, Apps mail will send a response to anyone who contacts you. If that person contacts you again after four days and your vacation responder is still on, Apps mail will send another vacation response to remind the person that you're away from your email.

Note: You have the option to only send your vacation response to other people in your domain and not to external recipients.

For example, if Cristin sends Marie an email on Jan 2, and receives Marie's vacation response, she will not see another vacation response until 4 days later – no matter how many times she emails Marie during that time. 

Here's how to let people know you can't respond right away:

  1. Sign in to your school Apps mail account.
  2. Click Settings along the top of any Apps Mail page.

  3. From the General tab, select Vacation responder on in the Vacation responder: section.
  4. Enter the subject and body of your message in the Subject: and Message: fields.

    • If you've enabled a personalized signature (see previous lesson) in your settings, Apps mail will automatically append it to the bottom of your vacation response.

  5. Check the box next to Only send a response to people in my Contacts if you don't want everyone who emails you to know that you're away from your mail. If you check this, someone who is not in your contacts list sends you an email, they will not receive the auto-response. You will learn more about Contacts in the next chapter.
  6. Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.

While the vacation responder is enabled, you'll see a banner across the top of any Apps mail page, displaying the subject of your vacation response.

To stop Apps Mail from automatically sending the response, click end now within the banner. Or, if you'd like to edit the response, click vacation settings.

  • Keep in mind that your vacation response will start over each time you edit it -- if someone receives your initial vacation response, and then emails you again after you've edited the subject or body of the message, he or she will receive the edited response, too.
  • Please note: Messages classified as spam and messages addressed to a mailing list you subscribe to will not receive a vacation response.

[For Labs-enabled domains]

You can choose specific start and end dates for your Vacation Response with the 'Vacation Time!' lab:

  1. Click the green beaker at the top of any Apps mail page to go the Labs page - or click Settings then the Labs tab.

  2. Find and enable the 'Vacation Time!' lab.
  3. Click the Save Changes button at the top or bottom of the page.
  4. Now when you go to Settings to turn on the Vacation Responder, you can select the start date for your message. You can also choose to select an end date, or you can manually end the vacation responder via the banner at the top of your Apps mail page.