Tips 55

Wouldn't it be nice to automatically send different reply messages when you're on vacation? For example, you could send one reply to business associates and another to friends. Well you can, if you use the Rules Wizard and Microsoft OutlookŪ templates. Here's how to create a custom reply for a group of people.

Note  Replies will only be sent when Outlook is running. However, if you're using Microsoft Exchange Server, you can create a variation of this rule (see Have Microsoft Exchange Server Send Custom Reply Messages) and the server will automatically send replies whether you have Outlook running or not.

First, create an automatic reply template

  1. Open a new Outlook message.
  2. In the message body, type whatever information you'd like to appear in your custom reply.
  3. On the File menu, click Save As.
  4. In the File name box, enter a name for your reply template.
  5. In the Save as type box, click Outlook Template, and then click Save.
  6. On the File menu, click Close, and then when prompted to save, click No.

Next, create a rule to send an automatic reply

  1. On the Tools menu, click Rules Wizard, and then click the New button.
  2. In the Which type of rule do you want to create list, click Check messages when they arrive, and then click the Next button.
  3. In the Which condition(s) do you want to check list, select the From people or distribution list check box.
  4. In the Rule description list, click the underlined phrase, people or distribution list, and in the Type name or select from list box, type the name of each person you want to receive the custom reply, and click the From button after you type each name.
  5. Click the OK button, and then click the Next button.
  6. In the What do you want to do with the message list, select the Reply using a specific template check box.
  7. In the Rule description list, click the underlined phrase, a specific template, and then in the Look in list, click User Templates in File System.
  8. Click the template you created above, and then click the Open button.
  9. Click the Finish button, and then click the OK button twice.

That's it. Now, when you receive a message from one of the people you specified in step 4, they'll automatically receive your custom response.

Important  When you set up a rule to automatically reply to someone, the Rules Wizard will send a reply for each message you receive from that person.