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Using the "Out of Office Assistant" in Outlook and Exchange Server

Microsoft Outlook Exchange provides an "Out of Office Assistant" which can be set up to respond to any emails you receive while you are not able to check/respond to your email for designated periods of time. "Out of Office Assistant" is an auto-reply feature which allows you to customize your responses to any emails you receive while you are away.

A few items of note about "Out of Office Assistant:"

Turning on the "Out of Office Assistant" using Outlook

Out of Office Menu Select

Figure 1.

1. From the Main window, select an e-mail folder and then pull down the "Tools" menu to select "Out of Office Assistant."

Image of Out of Office Example

Figure 2.

2. Place a dot in the circle for "I am currently Out of the Office."

3. In the box under the text, "AutoReply only once to each sender with the following text," type the message you wish to auto-send.

Using Rules to Specify Special Responses.

You can create Rules, or custom responses to emails you receive, using the "Out of Office Assistant." This is particularly useful if you wish to have important e-mails you receive forwarded to a colleague who can deal with immediate issues.

Edit Rule Image

Figure 3.

1. To create a rule, select the "Add Rule" button shown in Figure 2 above. You should now see options such as those in Figure 3.

2. To filter only the specific e-mails you wish to, you can configure these settings. You can specify from whom, or to whom the e-mails were sent, or specify words expected in those e-mails. The example in Figure 3 will choose e-mails which were sent to either or directly to your account and it will then forward those e-mails to

3. To finish setting up this rule, select the "Okay" Button at the top.

Image of Out of Office Assitant with Rule

Figure 4.

4. Once completed, you should see the rule listed as shown in Figure 4.

5. You can edit, delete or add an additional rule using the buttons along the bottom.

6. To complete setting up the "Out of Office Assistant," click the "OK" button.

Important: Remember to turn off the "Out of Office Assistant" when you return. Outlook will not remind you to turn it off. It will however show you a reminder every time you open Outlook: