Automatic replies when out of office.

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When you are out of office for a longer period (e.g. during your holiday or out to a conference), you can configure automatic reply mails to whomever sends you e-mail.

If you are not yet using procmail, you must first initialize it.
You can configure your out-of-office replies directly with or after your procmail configuration.

Notice that there are 2 kinds of procmail and thus vacation/out-of-office setup: a command line and a web version.
To detect which kind you are using, you have to look at your .procmailrc in your mail directory ... refer to the procmail documentation for more details.

  • Vacation/out-of-office in the web procmail

    The web version must/can be configured via this web interface (only from within departmental networks or via ssh-tunnels however; authenticate with your departmental login).

    Do not forget to send an e-mail to yourself after activating your out-of-office replies to check whether everything is set up as you expect!

  • Vacation/out-of-office in the web procmail but through the command line

    The web procmail command line version is described here
  • Vacation/out-of-office in the command line procmail

    The command line version is described here (but strongly deprecated and unsupported).

No automatic turn off

From time to time, people ask why the out-of-office replies cannot be turned off automatically. This is not as easy as it looks at first sight for at least 2 reasons:

  • you might have to or want to stay longer as expected ... if so, you probably do not want to have your out-of-office replies turned off automatically
  • it is not that easy to implement a safe and robust procedure that guarantees the out-of-office replies will be turned off at the time specified (the machine in question might be turned off, other circumstances might have prevented its correct operation, ...) ... if you cannot trust it will be switched off, you have to check it anyway ... and if you have to check it, you might as well just turn it off yourself.

Already for these reasons alone, it does not pay off to try to implement an automatic turn-off mechanism ... you just have to remember it yourself!

Weekly warning / status mail

To have some sort of indication that your out-of-office replies are activated, we have implemented a weekly overview / status e-mail that:

  • alerts you that your out-of-office replies are activated
  • gives an overview of who has been sent such an automatic reply mail

In this way, you are reminded to de-activate those automatic replies, even in case you forget you had activated them before you left.

So although they are not turned off automatically, you are warned if they are turned on ... almost as good isn't it ;-)

Completely manual procmail/out-of-office setup

If you want to setup your procmail/vacation completely manually, look here for some ideas (dutch only however).