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University of Houston - Victoria

Technology Services

MS Outlook's
Out of Office Auto-Reply

As you will remember, Technology Services recommended not using the MS Outlook Out of Office Assistant feature due to the possibility of unwelcome email. Now that the new Exchange service is in place, Technology Services now recommends using the Out of Office Assistant.

The new software allows you to auto-reply to those inside our organization only.

First let me explain the difference between Inside and Outside my Organization…

  • Inside My Organization – This category is only those people who have accounts on UHV's Exchange server (those that have a uhv.edu address).
  • Outside My Organization – everyone else, of course. This includes your personal contacts that you have created.

How to turn on the Out of Office Assistant

  1. While inside Outlook, select the Tools menu and select Out of Office Assistant.
  2. To turn on auto-reply, select the second radio button: Send Out of Office auto-replies. The rest of the controls are grayed out until you select this button.
    Screen shot of MS Outlook's Out Office Assistant: Inside My Organization tab.
  3. If you leave "Only send during this time range" unchecked, auto-reply will begin as soon as you finish filling out this dialog box, and will continue until you come back to this dialog box and turn it off.
    Checking "Only send during this time range", you can specify the start and end date and time. With this option checked, auto-reply will be turned off automatically at the date and time you specify.
  4. On the Inside My Organization tab is a text box where you enter the body of your auto-reply.
    Screen shot of MS Outlook's Out Office Assistant Outside: My Organization tab.
  5. Select the "Outside My Organization" tab to control who, if anyone, outside your organization gets an auto-reply.
  6. Make sure to leave "Auto-reply to people outside my organization" unchecked, to prevent those "outside" (as defined at the top of this page) from receiving an auto-reply.
    If you checked "Auto-reply to people outside my organization", you then need to select one of the two radio buttons:
    1. "My Contacts only" will generate this auto-reply only if the message came from someone in your personal Contact List (My Contacts).
    2. "Anyone outside my organization" will generate this auto-reply once for every address from which you receive a message. Given the amount of unsolicited (and possibly unwelcome) email we receive, Technology Services recommends that you NOT choose the "Anyone" option.