Configuring Automatic Replies (Out of office) using Outlook, OWA, and PowerShell |Part 2#7 5/5 (2)

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In the current article, we will review how to configure the option of Automatic replies (Out of office assistant) in Exchange based environment.
Most of the time, the activation of the Automatic replies (Out of office assistant) will be implemented by the user himself via the Outlook or the OWA graphic interface.

In addition, Exchange administrators can manage the Automatic replies (Out of office assistant) settings using PowerShell.

Configuring Automatic Replies (Out of office) using Outlook

Configuring Automatic Replies (Out of office) using Outlook is implemented using the following steps:

  • Select the File menu

Configuring Automatic Replies - Out of office – using Outlook -01

  • Select – Automatic Replies

Configuring Automatic Replies - Out of office – using Outlook -02

We can use a different Automatic Replies “text” for internal organization users versus external recipients (non-organization recipients).

In our example, we will use the same “automatic response text” for internal organization users + external recipients.

Configuring the “automatic response text” for organization recipients

  • Select the tab – Inside My Organization (number 1).
  • Select the option – Send automatic replies (number 2).
  • Select the option of – Only send during this time range if you want to activate the Automatic Replies only for a predefined time range (number 3).
  • In the text box, add the required text that will be automatically sent to organization recipients (number 4).

Configuring Automatic Replies - Out of office – using Outlook -03

Configuring the “automatic response text” for external recipients

  • Select the tab Outside My organization (On) (number 4).
  • Select – Auto-reply to people Outside My organization (number 5).
  • In the text box, add the required text that will be automatically sent to external recipients (number 6).
  • Click OK to save the settings (number 7).

Configuring Automatic Replies - Out of office – using Outlook -04

In the following section, I would like to view the “experience” of recipient organization that wants to send E-mail to another organization recipient who activates the Automatic Replies (Out of office) option.

When the sender adds the E-mail of the organization recipient that activates the Automatic Replies option, a mail tip appears in the top of the E-mail message.

The Exchange mail tip informs the sender that the destination recipient, is not available in a specific time range.

Testing Automatic Replies - Out of office – using Outlook -01

In our example, when the sender sends E-mail to the other organization recipient who activates the Automatic Replies, the automatic respond E-mail is sent back to the sender.

Testing Automatic Replies - Out of office – using Outlook -02

Adding an inbox rule to existing Automatic Replies (Out of office)

An additional interesting feature that we can use in addition to the standard Automatic Replies (Out of office) settings is – the option of creating a new inbox rule, that will be “attached” to the Automatic Replies (Out of office).

The special character of this configuration is that the inbox rule is “bound” to the Automatic Replies (Out of office) condition.

In other words, the inbox rule that we define using the Automatic Replies (Out of office), will be activated only when the Automatic Replies (Out of office) option will be activated.

Using this option, we can define a sophisticated Automatic Replies scenario.
For example – add an additional “action” in case that the sender is a specific sender.

To add an inbox rule to existing Automatic Replies (Out of office) use the following steps:

Access the setting of existing Automatic Replies (Out of office) settings.

  • Click on the Rules .. button

Configuring Automatic Replies - Out of office – using Outlook -05

  • Click on the Add .. button

Configuring Automatic Replies - Out of office – using Outlook -06

In the following screenshot, we can see the interface of a “new inbox rule.”

We can define the required condition for activating the rule such as – in case the sender is a specific recipient, do “something” (a unique reply template, forward a copy of the E-mail and so on).

Configuring Automatic Replies - Out of office – using Outlook -07

Configuring Automatic Replies (Out of office) using OWA

In this section, we will review how to activate the option of Automatic Replies (Out of office) using OWA mail client.

In our specific example, the Automatic Replies (Out of office) were already activated. When the user login to OWA, a notification message appears.

Configuring Automatic Replies - Out of office – using Owa -01

  • Click on the settings icon

Configuring Automatic Replies - Out of office – using Owa -02

  • Select the Automatic Replies menu

Configuring Automatic Replies - Out of office – using Owa -03

In the following screenshot, we can see that we can configure the Automatic Replies (Out of office) setting only for organizing user or in addition, also for external recipients.

The two different sections describe as:

  1. sender inside my organization
  2. sender outside my organization

Configuring Automatic Replies - Out of office – using Owa -04

In our example, we would like to “activate” the Automatic Replies (Out of office) for internal + external recipients.

  • Select the option box – Send Automatic Replies (number 1).
  • In the text Box, add the “Outlook of office” text \ information (number 2).

Configuring Automatic Replies - Out of office – using Owa -05

In case that you need to set the Automatic Replies (Out of office) also for external recipients use the following steps:

  • Select the option- send automatic replies to all external senders (number 1).
  • In the text Box, add the “Outlook of office” text \ information (number 2).

Configuring Automatic Replies - Out of office – using Owa -06

Configuring Automatic Replies (Out of office) using PowerShell

In this section, I would like to briefly review an example of how to manage Automatic Replies (Out of office) using PowerShell in Office 365 (Exchange Online) based environment.

Using PowerShell for managing Automatic Replies has two distinct advantages:

  1. Implementing Automatic Replies in bulk mode

Using the option of PowerShell, enable the Exchange administrator to activate the Automatic replies (Out of office assistant) for multiple organization users (bulk mode).

  1. Configure Automatic Replies settings for a specific recipient, without the need for user credentials.

When using PowerShell, the Exchange Online administrator can configure the Automatic replies settings for a specific user, without the need to access the user mailbox or to have the user credentials.

Note – To be able to run the required PowerShell command, you will need to connect Exchange Online by creating a remote PowerShell session.If you are not familiar with this process, you can read the article – Connect to Exchange Online using PowerShell

Get information about Automatic Replies (Out of office) settings of specific recipient

Disable Out of office message settings for specific recipient

Activate Automatic Replies (Out of office) for external + internal recipients for specific recipients

Activate Automatic Replies (Out of office) for external + internal recipients | Bulk mode

Activate Automatic Replies (Out of office) for external + internal recipients + schedule

The next article in the current article series

Setting up an Automatic Reply in Office 365 using Public Folder | Part 3#7

Manage Automatic Reply in Office 365 and Exchange Online article seriesArticle series index


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Configuring Automatic Replies (Out of office) using Outlook, OWA, and PowerShell |Part 2#7
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Configuring Automatic Replies (Out of office) using Outlook, OWA, and PowerShell |Part 2#7
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In the current article, we will review how to configure the option of Automatic replies (Out of office assistant) in Exchange based environment using Outlook, OWA and PowerShell
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