limiting outlook "out of office" autoreply
October 5, 2006 6:55 AM   Subscribe

Is there a way to limit who receives an out-of-office autoreply in Outlook 2003? I would like to exclude replying to listservs of which I am a member, but who don't need to know that I'm out of the office.

My suspicion is that this is done through an autoreply rule, rather than through the "out of office assistant", but I'm not sure how to do it. I'm on an Exchange server, if that makes any difference.
posted by wearyaswater to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are there so many listservs that you can't just temporarily unsubscribe to them while you're away and then read the messages on the web when you come back?
posted by altolinguistic at 7:22 AM on October 5, 2006

Also, I believe outlook only sends 1 out-of-office message to a given recipient, so even if you do nothing, it won't be *terribly* annoying.
posted by TonyRobots at 7:25 AM on October 5, 2006

Actually, as someone who runs mailing lists, it is very annoying. One of my lists has about 6000 subscribers and every time I send an issue out (which ain't that often), I get a hundred or so responses that are all out of office replies. It sucks. Yes, *I* could filter them out, I suppose, but many of the subscribers are in different countries and the auto-responses aren't always in english.
posted by dobbs at 7:32 AM on October 5, 2006

Best answer: This page suggests setting up the rule manually and telling it to only apply to messages that are sent directly to you, or CC'd to you.
posted by chrismear at 7:40 AM on October 5, 2006

Usually proper mailing lists will send messages with Precedence or List-ID or another header set that indicates it's not the type of mail an autoresponder should respond to. There's no standard, but most autoresponders should be intelligent enough to have a check for something (as well as not replying to bounce messages and/or MAILER-DAEMON, etc.).
posted by kcm at 7:45 AM on October 5, 2006

Ah, RFC2919 defines this somewhat in fact. It's still not standard or guaranteed to be used by any MUA, plus there's even more headers out there you could use.
posted by kcm at 7:48 AM on October 5, 2006

Best answer: If you have a list of the mailing lists from which you receive messages, you can create a rule with the Out of Office Assistant (click Add Rule) that searches for those sending addresses and reacts according to your wishes: send a custom OOO response, send no response, etc.
posted by pracowity at 8:11 AM on October 5, 2006

Response by poster: kcm - there are several lists that I subscribe to that do allow outofoffice-replies to go to the original poster, at least. And I just signed up on a list yesterday that today sent out an ooo-reply to the entire list.

So, here's what I did, using the basis of what chrismear referenced: (my changes in italics)
  1. Open the "Out-of-office" assistant under the "Tools" Menu
  2. Make sure the "AutoReply only once to each sender with the following text" text box is empty
  3. Select the "Add Rule" option
  4. In the window, put in the addresses of mailing lists and people you don't want to autoreply to in the "From" section. Then click the "Advanced" button and select "Only items that do not match these conditions", click OK to close the advanced window.
  5. In the "Perform these actions" box, select "Reply" and check on the template button. Type in a short message that you wish to use as your out-of-office notification.
  6. Click OK, and make sure the "I am currently out of the office" option is set.

posted by wearyaswater at 8:17 AM on October 5, 2006

put in the addresses of mailing lists and people you don't want to autoreply to in the "From" section

I have a hunch that this might not work, because most mailing lists send out messages that come 'From' whoever sent the message, rather than 'From' the mailing list address itself.
posted by chrismear at 8:33 AM on October 5, 2006

Response by poster: ahh, how right you are (for non-announce lists, at least). Checked the headers for each list and switched the mailing list addresses to the "Sent To" field instead of "From". Thanks for the catch.
posted by wearyaswater at 8:48 AM on October 5, 2006

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