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Auto replies from email aliases

O365 Distribution Groups (email aliases) and shared mailboxes allow users to view emails sent to email address that are not owned by a single owner. The process for setting up auto replies or out of office messages for these are different from personal inboxes. Detailed instructions for these steps are listed below. Please note, the O365 instructions are for Outlook desktop only, and the Shared mailbox instructions are for webmail only.

O365 distribution groups (email aliases) do not have a separate inbox, but shared mailboxes do. If you have questions about which one you are part of, please email us at itshelp@law.upenn.edu

O365 Distribution Groups (email aliases)

These steps are for Outlook desktop only

Note: Multiple people in alias can set up rules so that any sender to that alias might get more than one auto reply so please make sure only one person per alias member sets up an auto reply rule

  • Create template: (instructions also on microsoft’s site)
    • On the Home menu, click New E-mail.
    • In the message body, enter the content that you want.
    • In the message window, click File > Save As.
    • In the Save As dialog box, in the Save as type list, click Outlook Template.
    • In the File name box, type a name for your template, and then click Save.
      By default templates are saved in the following location: c:\users\[username]\appdata\roaming\microsoft\templates
    • Note: If you need to edit a saved template, go to:
      Home > New items > More items > Choose Form > User Templates in File System from your Outlook inbox window
  • Create message rule: 
    • Right click on a message in your inbox that was sent to that alias and select Rules > Create a Rule
      create rule right click
    • On the Rule window, check Sent to and make sure the alias name (and not your own name) is selected, and then click on Advanced Options
      create rule set
    • On the Advanced Options Rules Wizard window that pops up, make sure “sent to [alias name]” is selected and click Next
      create rule step1
    • On the next screen select “reply using a specific template” and then click on the link for “a specific template” right below it
      create rule step2
    • In the Select a Reply Template window select “User Templates in File System” from the Look In dropdown and choose the template you previously created and select Open
      create rule choose template
    • Confirm that the template name has now replace “a specific template” in the Rules Wizard window and click Next
      create rule confirm template
    • (Optional) select exceptions and click Next
      create rule step3
    • In the Finish rule setup window, add a name for the Rule and make sure “Turn on this rule” is selected
      Do not select “Run this rule now on messages already in inbox” or all previously sent emails will get the auto reply
      create rule turn on and finish
    • Click Finish
  • Test your new auto reply rule by sending an email to the alias from a non law email address just to make sure it works for external emails
    create rule auto reply

    Note: The subject line will be Re: [sender’s original subject] (unlike out of office replies that say Automatic reply), but the response itself comes from the user who set up the auto reply rule, not the alias it was sent to, so make sure your message clarifies that in the template body.

Shared mailboxes

These steps are for webmail only

  • Log into a shared mailbox by going to http://email.law.upenn.edu/ and log in with your personal lawkey credentials.
  • Click on your profile icon on the top right corner and select Open another mailbox from the dropdown menu
    open shared mailbox
  • Enter the full email address of the shared mailbox (example@law.upenn.edu) and click Open
  • Go to Settings > View all Outlook settings > Automatic Replies and make all your changes.
    automatic replies mailbox
  • To turn off any existing out of office messages/auto replies, follow the same process and click on the notification banner that says auto replies are on.

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