How to auto respond to mail outside working hours

CodeTwo Exchange Rules Pro lets you create rules that will automatically send autoreplies with personalized signatures outside the working hours. This feature will be mostly appreciated by your Sales or Technical Support teams who want to maintain contact with clients.



Please note that the example shown here describes multiple settings of the auto respond feature to cover the transitions between weekdays and weekends. Therefore, to achieve a desirable outcome with different autoreplies applied depending on the particular day of the week, four rules need to be configured. However, to enable the automatic autoreplies it is usually enough to set up one rule with the adequate Scheduler settings configured.

To configure the program to send autoreplies including personalized signatures outside the working hours you need to:

  1. Add four new rules with the Auto respond action. These rules will trigger autoreplies with different content on the weekend, Sunday night from midnight till 7 a.m. on Monday, weekdays from 5 p.m. till 7 a.m. the following day, Friday from 5 p.m. till midnight. 
  2. Within each rule, add and configure the Message direction condition in the following way: Message direction is incoming.
  3. Schedule each rule to be triggered outside the working hours using the Scheduler feature.


Add a first new rule to the list of rules via the Add button. Name your rule and provide its description if necessary (Fig. 1.). This rule will be used to send an autoreply to incoming emails during the weekend.

Fig. 1. Adding the first rule.

On the Conditions tab, select Message direction is incoming (Fig. 2.).

Fig. 2. Setting the condition to Message direction is incoming.

Next, move to the Actions tab, click Add and from the list of available actions choose Auto respond (Fig. 3.).

Fig. 3. Adding the Auto respond condition.

In the action's properties pane, go to the Action field, expand its context menu and select autorespond as reply and keep original email (Fig. 4.). This configuration allows you to easily keep the conversation with your customers. Moreover, thanks to including the original mail content in the autorespond, the message will look as manually sent.

Fig. 4. Setting the Auto respond action to reply to emails while keeping the original email.

Next, compose your autoreply message content in HTML. To do that, click the Edit body button and design the autoreply template (Fig. 5.).

Fig. 5. Composing the autoreply message template.

Once the action is configured, go the Options tab and within the Time range area mark This rule is used only in the following time ranges radio button. This action will enable the Scheduler editor (Fig. 6.) that lets you configure the actual time frames for your rule to be triggered.

Fig. 6. Opening the Scheduler.

In the Scheduler editor, select the Weekly recurrence pattern and mark Saturday and Sunday (Fig. 7.). Leave all other options as default. Thanks to this configuration, this rule will be triggered, and the autoreply will be sent during the whole weekend.

ER Pro 2.x - Configuring Scheduler.
Fig. 7. Setting the time frames for the rule to be triggered.

Add the second rule (Fig. 8.) to the list of rules. This rule will be used to send autoreplies from Sunday night at midnight till the time you start your work on Monday morning. 

Fig. 8. Adding the second rule.

Once you name this rule, add and configure the condition: Message direction is incoming (Fig. 9.).

Fig. 9. Setting the message direction condition to incoming.

After that, on the actions tab select the Auto respond action and configure it (Fig. 10.) in the same way as the first rule.

Fig. 10. Configuring the Auto respond action.

Once the action is ready, define the time frames in which your rule is active. To do that, follow the procedure described above, but in the day picker mark Monday only. Next, uncheck the All day checkbox located within the Rule activity time panel and set Start to 00:00 (Monday morning at midnight) and End to the start time of your work on Monday (Fig. 11.).

ER Pro 2.x - Setting the Scheduler.
Fig. 11. Setting the time frames for the rule to be triggered.

Add the third rule to the list of rules that will be triggered during weekdays outside your working hours. Follow all the steps described for the first and the second rule above (condition set to Message direction is incoming, Auto respond action with autorespond as reply and keep original emailHTML template composed and configured, Scheduler enabled), but in the Scheduler editor mark weekdays from Monday to Thursday one by one. Within the hours/minutes range, set the start value to the hour you finish work and end value to the hour when you start working the next day (Fig. 12.).

ER Pro 2.x - Setting the scheduler for weekdays.
Fig. 12. Setting the time frames for the rule to be triggered.

Last but not least, add a fourth rule that will be triggered on Friday at 5 p.m. till midnight of the same day. Follow the steps similar to the three rules described above: set the Message direction condition to incoming, add the Auto respond action and configure it, enable Scheduler and set it up in the way shown below (Fig. 13.). 

ER Pro 2.x - Setting the scheduler for Fridays.
Fig. 13. Setting the time frames for the rule to be triggered.

Save your settings in the Administration Panel (Fig. 14.) and you are ready to go.

Fig. 14. Saving rules in the Administration Panel.

From now on, the autoreplies will be sent to each incoming email outside your working hours (Fig. 15.).

Exchange Rules Pro - autoresponder example
Fig. 15. The autoreply sent outside the working hours.

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