Have server reply using a specific message rule not working

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I have several groups that want a way to send a reply to external customer requesting service that we are closed on holidays. Right now the way we do it is put a check in the group properties on the exchange server for " send out of office message to originator" before the holiday and remove it after. This works but is a pain having to enable it and disable it before and after every holiday otherwise if any one of the people in the group are out it will send a reply to our customers which we do not want.

I am trying to create a rule that will reply using either " Have server reply using a specific message" (preferred) or " reply using a specific template" but neither option seems to be working for external senders and only the 2nd option works for internal senders. I have enabled the " send out of office message to originator" on the exchange server just as a test to see if that made the replies work but it did not. I have also enabled " allow automatic replies" on the exchange server side under remote domains message format options.

So far the only thing that is (was, its not now for some reason) working is if I create the client side rule reply using a specific template and send the mail from an internal address it replies but from an external address the same rule does not reply. I even tried setting this rule to reply to everyone and ran the rule with no luck. What am I missing? this is NOT an out of office reply and will not be for the reasons stated at the top. Thanks for any assistance!

Oh this is Exchange 2007 with a mix of Office 2007 and 2010 clients.


I would rather make this work we want to enable the users to configure all of this then 1 user for the group would be responsible for enabling the rule just before they leave for a holiday. We are a very small IT department and the more we can empower the users the better.

I am perfectly fine with even having to use the client side rule " reply using a specific template" and telling them to lock their pc with outlook open if it would reply to outside email addresses but as of right now it is not doing so.

AndyD_ [MVP]

Where are you creating this rule? It sounds as if you are attempting to create a rule based on messages sent to a DL rather then to a specific mailbox. I know you want to let the users do this, but a hub transport rule is a much sounder solution.


Hi C-M
Any update for your issue?
Andy gave some good suggestion.

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