Information Technology Services
Setting a Vacation Message
There are advantages and disadvantages to using vacation or out of office automatic reply messages. Within Outlook, there are a wide variety of options available to overcome some of the disadvantages.
- You belong to Wittenberg mailing lists.
While we can try to alleviate message circles with Wittenberg mailing lists (you receive a message from facnstaff, you're automatically replying to facnstaff, so you receive a copy of the reply, so you automatically reply again creating a circle), we may find it necessary to remove you from particular mailing lists.
- You belong to mailing lists outside Wittenberg.
- You're on a list used by those outside the university.
- You receive junk e-mail seeking information - such as a confirmation of your e-mail address.
Other administrators of lists - both professional and personal - tend to be more strict and will simply remove you from the list after a couple of messages.
The automatic message can't differentiate between one message and another. An example would be a message sent by a parent to the email@example.com address, which is a mailing list (as are all of the addresses used by the outside to contact departments). Not only would the solution group receive the vacation message, so would the parent asking the question. Right after that they would receive another message from another staff member to answer the original question, causing unnecessary confusion.
As a rule we advise against replying to junk mail since it can be used to verify your address.
There are some things you can set in Outlook's Out of Office Assistant that overcome problems that might occur with automatic messages like a vacation reply. You can set up any or all of the following to help keep people apprised of your availability based on relational information.
Send the same reply message to both Wittenberg and "outside" e-mail addresses: NOT recommended
- In Outlook, click File, Automatic Replies (Out of Office) and set your message as desired.
- In Outlook Web App (OWA), click Options, See All Options, click on the Shortcut "Tell people you're on vacation" and set your message as desired.
This document last reviewed June 13, 2013.