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Away for the holidays? Before you go, set your auto-replies

If you're on vacation for the holidays and new year, make sure to set your auto-replies for your email and MITvoip phone, which can be done at work or home.

Many in the MIT community will be taking vacation around the holidays and new year. If you’re in that group, you’ll want to set up automatic replies for your email and MITvoip phone. You can do this at work or at home.

Read on for basic information and tips about auto-replies. Step-by-step instructions are available through the links provided.

Setting your automatic reply through MIT’s Microsoft Exchange Service:

As long as your email account is on Exchange, you can use an option in the Outlook Web App (OWA) to set up your away message. The MIT Exchange server sends your auto-reply; your email client doesn’t need to be open for auto-replies to be sent.

When setting up your away message, you can choose a start and end date for when it will be in effect. The first time someone sends you email after you’ve turned on your automatic reply, Exchange will respond with your away message. It will not send the auto-reply to any sender a second time.

While you can set OWA to automatically forward your messages to an associate while you are gone, you can’t forward your message to any email account that is not part of the Exchange system.

Note: In some instances, the Out of Office Assistant may reply to mailing lists (though not to Mailman mailing lists). For a workaround, see How can I prevent Outlook's Out of Office Assistant from replying to mailing lists?

Setting your away message through MIT Mail Auto-Responder (IMAP users only): (Note: If your email is not on an IMAP server, you won’t be able to access this link.)

If you're one of a subset of users on campus whose email is still hosted on an IMAP server, you can use the MIT Mail AutoResponder to set up an auto-reply.

Setting an Extended Absence Greeting on Your MITvoip Phone: (see the Extended Absence Greetings section)

You can record an extended absence greeting on your MITvoip phone without erasing your generic greeting.

When you access your voice mail to check messages, the system will remind you that your extended absence greeting is on. These reminders will continue until you reset the message to your generic greeting.

What should I put in my away message?:

In general, it’s a good idea not to provide specifics about your whereabouts in your auto-reply — for example, don’t say that you’ll be away on vacation or at a conference. Instead, use a generic message such as: “I will be out of the office until [date], and will not be checking email. If you need immediate assistance, please send a message to [email contact], or call [phone number].

Need Help?

If you have questions about setting up or turning off your email or MITvoip auto-replies, contact the IS&T Help Desk at 617.253.1101 or You can also submit a request online.

Once you’re all set to go, have a great break!

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