Manage Exchange Out-of-Office

Tell people you are not on the office

Out-of-Office (OOF) is a useful feature in Exchange to auto-reply to senders with a custom message. But this feature as a drawback: only one message is sent by sender.

In a normal way, an user configure Out-of-Office via Outlook or webmail.

As an Exchange administrator you can set OOF :

  • with the webmail (no need to have full acess rights on the mailbox) with https://outlook.office.com/ecp/xxx@domain.com
  • PowerShell :
Set-MailboxAutoReplyConfiguration -Identity  xxx@domain.com -ExternalMessage " I'm currently out of the office until mm/dd with limited / no access to email" -InternalMessage " I'm currently out of the office until mm/dd with limited / no access to email" -AutoReplyState Enabled -StartTime ([DateTime]::Now) -EndTime (Get-date -Hour 0 -Minute 00 -Second 00).AddDays(7) -AutoReplyState Scheduled

But, as I said above, the OOF only send message once by sender. They are some workarounds to do this..

Workaround 1: PowerShell

It is not very fancy, but the following PowerShell CMDlet can help you if you run as a scheduled task:

Set-MailboxAutoReplyConfiguration -Identity  xxx@domain.com -AutoReplyState Disable
Set-MailboxAutoReplyConfiguration -Identity  xxx@domain.com -AutoReplyState Enabled

Workaround 2: transport rule

I do not like this workaround, but if you want to:

  • With Exchange admin, go to https://outlook.office.com/ecp
  • Create a transport rule select the recipient to whom you want to apply the OOF message.
  • Add condition Reject the message with the Explanation and type the OOF message you want to send to the senders.
  • Set rule activation and deactivation dates
  • Save the rule

Workaround 3: third party tool

In the past, Code Two provided a free tool to manage Out of Office. Now, this tool is deprecated.

But you can download the 2019 version of this tool below.

DISCLAIMER: use it at your own risk, I am not responsible for any damage. I provide the exe downloaded in january 2019. I don’t even know if this tools works again with Exchange Online/Office 365.

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