Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Automatically replying to messages
If your organization is running Exchange, you can use the Automatic Replies feature (previ-
ously called the Out Of Office Assistant) to inform people who send you email messages of
your availability. When you turn on the Automatic Replies feature, Outlook replies
automatically to messages received from other people (but only to the first message from each
person). You provide whatever textual information you want within the body of the automatic
reply message (commonly referred to as an out-of-office message , or OOF message ).
The out-of-office functionality in Outlook is actually provided by Exchange Server, so the
specific automatic reply features differ depending on what version of Exchange Server your
organization is running. Regardless of which Exchange Server environment you’re working
in, this is a very useful feature. Your automatic reply message might also be displayed to
coworkers in a MailTip at the top of messages they address to you, and displayed as part of
your contact information in Microsoft Lync.
The purpose of the Automatic Replies feature is to provide standard information to
message senders and co-workers. When you’re away from your computer, an automatic reply
can set expectations for when a correspondent can expect a personal response from you.
You don’t have to be physically out of the office to use this feature; some people use it to
let other people know when responses will be delayed for other reasons, such as when they
are working on a project that will prevent them from responding promptly to messages, or
to inform customers who might be in different time zones of their standard working hours.
In addition to having Outlook send automatic replies, you can have it process messages
that arrive while you are out of the office by using rules that are in effect only when the
Automatic Replies feature is on.
SEE ALSO For information about using rules to automatically forward, reply to, delete, alert
you to, or otherwise process incoming messages, see “Creating rules to process messages”
in Chapter 12, “Manage email settings.”
The Automatic Replies feature is off until you explicitly turn it on; it does not coordinate
with your free/busy information in the Calendar module.