Auto respond

The Auto respond action in CodeTwo Exchange Rules PRO is used to send autoreplies to messages processed by the Exchange Server. For example, the autoreply can be triggered when a new email arrives to the company outside its working hours. It will then send the Out-of-office email in reply.

Normally, if you want to send an autoreply to selected messages, you need to configure the autoresponder in your email client and the email client needs to be opened in order to do its job. With CodeTwo Exchange Rules PRO you can define and activate the Auto respond action in a rule so all messages that match the defined criteria in Conditions receive the autoreplies automatically without the end user’s intervention. Additionally, while setting up the Auto respond action, you can also specify the time frames for the autoreplies to be triggered. Learn more 

How to configure this action 

To activate this action, click Add in the Actions tab and select Auto respond (Fig. 1.). 

ExchangeRulesPRO-Autorespond1
Fig. 1. Choosing Auto respond action in the Actions tab.

The Auto respond action will appear in the list of actions while the right pane will show the action properties (Fig. 2.). You can tune the work of the autoreply in the properties pane window. 

ExchangeRulesPRO-Autorespond2
Fig. 2. Properties pane of the Auto respond action.

The first available option is the Loop protection (Fig. 3.). This feature enables protection against looping the autoreplies.

Let us say: some external person has created autoreplies on his server and you have enabled the autoresponder function on your server as well. In such a scenario, the autoreplies would get stuck in endless loop, as every autoreply from you would trigger the autoreply on that person's end. 

In the Loop protection window you may specify how many autoresponders may be send within the defined time frames.

ER Pro 2.x - loop protection window.
Fig. 3. Loop protection window.

Counting the autoreplies is done separately for each autoreply original recipient. If a user sends a message and the autoreply is sent for him, such a user is considered as a original recipient. Therefore, if the limit is set to 10 autoreplies per one hour, 5 different senders may generate up to 50 autoreplies in total. This is due to the fact that each of them has their own limit of 10 messages. 

Every counter is active for a desired period of time that may be provided in minutes, hours or days. Every period of counter activity is started the moment the very first autoreply is sent. The counter is always maintained separately for each rule.

Let us assume a simple scenario to show, how the loop protection may behave in your organization outside the working hours:

  • There are two rules defined:
    • Support Autoreply that should autoreply up to 3 times per one hour.
    • Management Autoreply that should autoreply 1 times per one day.
  • John Doe sends first message to the Support Team at 11:05, so the first autoreply is sent to him. Now the counter starts for him and will be active until 12:05. This counter is assigned only to Support Autoreply rule. At 11:35 John realized he needed to provide more information, so he decided to send two more messages to the Support Team. For these two, autoreplies will be sent. However, as he sent 3 messages in total, the limit has been exceeded, so no more replies will be send until the counter resets. According to the configuration, the counter will stop working after 12:05. Consequently, if John decides to send a new message after that time, he will receive the autoreply again.
  • John recalled that he has some other stuff to do with management, so at 11:40 he sent a message to the Management Team. The counter started for him again, but that counter is completely separate from the first one, as the counters are maintained separately for each rule. As a result John received autoreply from the management. Then, he provided some more information in separate message. However, the limit has been exceeded, so no autoreply has been sent. The counter should be effective until 11:40 next day. To sum up, if John sends a message at 11:45 next day, he will receive the autoreply.

In the Sender field you can choose the sender name that will appear in the From field of the autoreply. To edit the sender, click the Sender button and define it using one of the ways below: 

  • Email Address - a specific email address.
  • AD User - Active Directory user that can be picked through a standard AD query dialog box.
  • AD Group - Active Directory group that can be picked up through a standard AD query dialog box.
  • Original recipient - the original sender of the message that triggers the autoreply. 

The next option is used to define the Recipient of the autorespond message. To edit the Recipient, click the Recipient button and define it using one of the ways below:

  • Email Address - a specific email address.
  • AD User - Active Directory user that can be picked through a standard AD query dialog box.
  • AD Group - Active Directory group that can be picked up through a standard AD query dialog box.
  • Original recipient - the original sender of the message that triggers the autoreply. 

You can also choose the recipients for the autoreply that will appear in the To field (the To button), in the copy field (the CC button), or hidden under the blind copy (the BCC button). Click any of the buttons to open the recipient selection menu: 

  • Email Address - a specific email address.
  • AD User - Active Directory user that can be picked through a standard AD query dialog box.
  • AD Group - Active Directory group that can be picked up through a standard AD query dialog box.
  • Original recipient - the original sender of the message that triggers the autoreply. 

In the Subject field, you may choose to either Leave the original message subject or modify it using variety of available options:

  • Senders properties taken form Active Directory
  • Counters
  • Current Date/Time

Next, you can specify actions taken upon the autoreply. The choice is between (Fig. 4.):

  • Auto respond and remove original email text
  • Auto respond as reply and keep original email
  • Auto respond and add an original email as an attachment
ExchangeRulesPRO-Autorespond2
Fig. 4. Available auto respond actions expanded.

You can also set the program to add automatic attachment(s) to the autoresponders sent by CodeTwo Exchange Rules PRO. Click the Attachment button to open a dialog box for picking files (Fig. 5.). The attachments may be taken from:

  • a chosen folder (all files included in that folder).
  • a chosen location (specific files from any folder).
ER Pro 2.x - autoresponder attachment window.
Fig. 5. Autoresponder attachment window.

You can also compose the body of the autoreply. Use the Body format button to toggle between HTML and Plain text of the message and the Edit body button to edit and compose the body of the message. Note that the selected body format will determine the autoreply message content / format used while responding to incoming messages regardless of their format. Click the Edit body button to open a simple editor: one for HTML (Fig. 6.) and the other for Plain Text messages (Fig. 7.).

Exchange Rules Pro - Autorespond Editor HTML
Fig. 6. HTML autoreply editor.
Exchange Rules Pro - Autorespond Editor Plain Text
Fig. 7. Plain text autoreply editor.

Info

This editor is used similarly to the built in Editor but with the limited number of available options.

Important

Note that although you can compose autoreply message templates in both HTML and Plain Text formats in a single Auto respond action, only one format of the autoreply template will be used by the program at once. It means that, e.g. if you have two templates in both formats created, set the Body format to HTML and save changes in the Administration Panel, then the program will force sending the autoreply in HTML no matter if the incoming message was in Plain Text or HTML.

See next

How to configure the program to send autoreplies to incoming messages outside the working hours

See also

Scheduler - this article describes how to set the rules to be triggered within the specified time frames.

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