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Setting up and cancelling AUTO-REPLIES for email (staff and PhD students only)


The instructions below are for staff and research students only, using the Exchange mail system (whether in a personal account or a role-based account).  If you are an undergraduate or taught postgraduate student, you need to use a different method: please go to FAQ 457.

These instructions can also be used for setting up autoreplies on role-based accounts, by logging in to the account with Outlook Web App (OWA).

You can set your autoreply to switch on and switch off at a future date and time.

You need to set up separate autoreplies for internal and external email (note that email from Sussex students is classed as external email because it comes from a separate email system).  As standard, only the internal autoreply is used (sending autoreplies to other staff and researchers on the Exchange mail system only): you will need to select the external autoreply option if you want autoreplies to be sent to people outside of the Exchange system, such as students and external correspondents.

There are separate instructions for standard Outlook Web App and Outlook Web App Light Most people should use standard OWA.  OWA Light is included here for those unable to use standard OWA because of browser incompatibilities:

See also Other ways to set up an automatic reply message for methods using Outlook 2013 (on Windows 7 PCs) and Outlook 2011 (on Macs).

SETTING UP AN AUTOREPLY using OWA

  1. In your web browser, open Outlook Web App (https://exchange.sussex.ac.uk/owa) and login using the required account's username and password.
  2. Click on Options  (top right of the OWA window).
  3. Click on Set Automatic Replies....
  4. Click to select the  Send automatic replies button:

    OWA: setting up internal autoreplies

  5. If desired, you can specify a time period during which your automatic replies will be sent, by clicking the Send replies only during this time period option and selecting dates and times as required.  This way you won't need to bother cancelling it yourself later:

    OWA - setting up timed autoreplies

  6. In the top message text panel (labelled Send a reply once to each sender inside my organization...) enter the text of your automatic reply message.  Note that this message will only be sent to internal emailers (Exchange users only):

    OWA autoreplies text box

  7. If you also want students and external senders to receive autoreplies, select the option to "Send automatic reply messages to senders outside my organization" and enter appropriate autoreply message text in the message panel below it.  However, we recommend that you do not use the external autoreply, because these can be used by spammers to validate email addresses.  Also, if you do use an external autoreply, take care not to include any personal information in it.

    Note that you can choose to send your external autoreply either to those addresses only in your Contacts list, or to all external senders.  The latter is selected by default:

    OWA: autoreplies for external email

    Note also that this option doesn't automatically use the same text as for the internal autoreply:  if you want to send the same autoreply message to students and external recipients, you need to select and copy it from the top panel and then paste it into the bottom panel. Otherwise enter text in the message window underneath this option.  If you select the option to send an autoreply to external recipients but you leave the message window empty, no external autoreplies will be sent.

  8. Click on the SAVE button at the bottom right.  While the data is being saved, an indicator will briefly appear in the middle of the screen, like this:

    OWA option saving indicator
  9. When the 'Saving' indicator disappears, click on sign out (top right) if you want to close OWA, or click on My Mail to return to your email.

CANCELLING AN AUTOREPLY using OWA

NOTE: If you had set up your autoreply in OWA so as to work only within a set time period (that is, to end on a certain date and time), you need not read any further because the autoreply should already have been cancelled.  Otherwise, follow the instructions below to manually cancel your autoreply:

  1. In your web browser, open Outlook Web App (https://exchange.sussex.ac.uk/owa) and login using the required account's username and password.
  2. Click on Options  (top right of the OWA window).
  3. Click on Set Automatic Replies....
  4. Click the Don't Send Automatic Replies option button.
  5. Click on the SAVE icon at the bottom right.
  6. Click on sign out (top right) if you want to close OWA.

SETTING UP AN AUTOREPLY using OWA Light

Sometimes certain types of web browser, or older versions of such, may be incompatible with standard Outlook Web App and you may find yourself connected automatically to OWA Light instead.   The Light version of OWA has fewer facilities than standard OWA but is more compatible with other browsers or older ones.

  1. In your web browser, open the Outlook Web App login page (https://exchange.sussex.ac.uk/owa) but before doing anything else, click to select the Use Outlook Web App Light option box before entering the required account's username and password.
  2. Click on Options  (top right of the OWA Light window).
  3. Click on Automatic Replies in the panel on the left:

    OWA Light Autoreplies button
  4. Click to select the  Send automatic replies button:

    OWA Light send automatic replies

  5. If desired, you can specify a time period during which your automatic replies will be sent, by clicking the Send replies only during this time period option and selecting dates and times as required.  This way you won't need to bother cancelling it yourself later:

    OWA Light send timed automatic replies

  6. In the message text panel (labelled Replace my current automatic reply message with this one) enter the text of your automatic reply message.  Note that the previously used message, if any, is shown in the yellow panel, as shown below.  Note also that this message text will only be sent to other Sussex staff and researchers:

    OWA Light Autoreplies text box

  7. If you also want students and external senders to receive autoreplies, select the option further below, to "Send automatic reply messages to External Senders" and enter appropriate autoreply message text in the message panel, in the same way as described in step 6.

    Note that you can choose to send your external autoreply either to those addresses only in your Contacts list, or to all external senders.  The latter is selected by default:

    OWA: setting up external autoreplies

    Note also that this option doesn't automatically use the same text as for the internal autoreply:  if you want to send the same autoreply message to students and external recipients, you need to select and copy it from the first panel and then paste it into the bottom panel. If you select the option to send an autoreply to external recipients but you leave the message window empty, no external autoreplies will be sent.

  8. Click on the SAVE button at top left:

    OWA Light Autoreplies Save button

    When saving has completed, an indicator will appear under the Save button:

    OWA Light Autoreplies Save successful

  9. When saving has completed, click on sign out (top right) if you want to close OWA Light, or click on Mail at top left to return to your email.

 

CANCELLING AN AUTOREPLY using OWA Light

NOTE: If you had set up your autoreply in OWA or OWA Light so as to work only within a set time period (that is, to end on a certain date and time), you need not read any further because the autoreply should already have been cancelled.  Otherwise, follow the instructions below to manually cancel your autoreply:

  1. In your web browser, open the Outlook Web App login page (https://exchange.sussex.ac.uk/owa) but before doing anything else, click to select the Use Outlook Web App Light option box before entering the required account's username and password.
  2. Click on Options  (top right of the OWA window).
  3. Click on Automatic Replies in the panel on the left.
  4. Click the Don't Send Automatic Replies option button.
  5. Click on the Save button at top left:

    OWA Light Autoreplies Save button

  6. When saving has completed, click on sign out (top right) to close OWA Light.

Other ways to set up an automatic reply message

Most of this article has described how to use Outlook Web App (or OWA Light) to set up your autoreply message, but you can also set it using Outlook, as follows:

Outlook 2013

  1. Click on the File menu and then the Automatic replies button:

    Outlook 2013 Autoreplies button

  2. This opens a panel with similar facilities as for OWA but in a more compact form:

    Outlook 2013 Autoreplies window

  3. The Rules button provides options for doing other things with incoming messages while you are away, should you want to use this feature.
  4. When finished, click on the OK button.

Outlook 2011 (for Mac)

Click on Tools and then Out of office.

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Created by Caroline House on 15 April 2011 and last updated by Richard Byrom-Colburn on 23 September 2016