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ARCHIVED: In Microsoft Outlook Web App, how do I use the Out of Office Assistant (vacation mail)?

Note: OWA has the same functionality across major browsers in most cases. For help using OWA, with your Inbox displayed, click ? (the question mark) at the top right.

Note: For more robust control of the Out of Office Assistant, including setting up mail forwarding rules, use Microsoft Outlook.

In Microsoft Outlook Web App (OWA), the Out of Office Assistant (vacation mail) option allows you to collect messages in your Inbox while you are out of the office, and to reply automatically to incoming messages.

The Out of Office Assistant can notify people who send you mail that you are out of the office and cannot reply immediately. The auto-reply feature will notify each sender only once, even if you receive multiple messages from that person, and can be configured to be active only while you're away from your office.

On this page:


Enabling and disabling the Out of Office assistant

To enable the Out of Office Assistant:

  1. In the upper right corner of the OWA window, click Options, and select Set Automatic Replies from the list of options that appear.

  2. In the resulting window:

    • In the Premium Interface, on the left, click Organize E-Mail and then, to the right, click Automatic Replies.
    • In the the Light Interface, on the left, click Automatic Replies.

  3. To disable the Out of Office assistant, on the right, select Don't send automatic replies.

    To enable the Out of Office assistant, on the right, select Send automatic replies. You have several options:

    1. To set a time frame for the Out of Office auto-replies to begin and end, check Send replies only during this time period: . Then:

      1. Next to "Start time:", use the menu to select the month and day, and then the time you want the Out of Office Assistant to start sending the auto-replies.
      2. Repeat this procedure for the "End time:".

    2. To send a different message to users outside your organization, check Send automatic reply messages to External Senders. Then, choose from the two options available:

      • Send replies only to senders in my Contacts list (Use this option to send the reply to senders outside of your organization but in your Contacts list.)
      • Send replies to anyone outside my organization

  4. Compose the auto-reply in the text boxes provided; you can also send a different message to external senders. The Premium interface provides font and paragraph editing tools; the Light interface provides only a text field with no formatting tools.

  5. Click Save.

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Disabling the Out of Office assistant

To disable the Out of Office Assistant, in step 3 above, select Don't send automatic replies, and then click Save.

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Configuring the Out of Office assistant to reply only to messages from IU users or your contacts

To configure the Out of Office Assistant in OWA so that it does not reply to all senders, but only to those who are either from IU or who are outside IU but in your contact list:

  1. Enable the Out of Office Assistant; see Enabling and disabling the Out of Office assistant in this doc.

  2. Check Send automatic reply messages to senders outside my organization.

  3. Select Send replies only to senders in my Contacts list.

  4. Click Save.

Note: You do not need to enter a message in the second text box labeled "Send a reply once to each sender outside my organization with the following message:".

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Last modified on November 07, 2012.

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