customized auto reply (1 Viewer)


Local time
Today, 07:53
Aug 17, 2020
any outlook professionals here?

I'm looking for an auto reply solution for a website. I have it set up right now with Godaddy, however they have issues with theirs. they are:

1) you have no choice but to have the server send a customized message (or a canned one) with the text [auto reply] in the subject line before the actual subject. That looks like SPAM and will anger people.

2) GMAIL flags the sending server for not encrypting the auto reply. GoDaddy is not the most competent company in the world, obviously, but from my experience, every player in the internet hosting game has the same level of intelligence. and I've worked with 6 of them in the USA. It's very evident that it's an industry wide issue. So I'm not surprised at this. But it could be happening for a variety of reasons too. I don't like that because people who get scared at anything and everything will look at that and wonder. I'm not fan of that, obviously.

So, can outlook fix these issues for me? Really what I want more than anything is a message returned automatically to the sender with the subject line exactly like this, so they'll open the thing and read it (and not get scared, annoyed, or put off by automation that's obviously necessary for business people in this day in age):

Re: [Original Subject Line Here]

Now obviously I don't want the brackets [] in there. Without the brackets, the message looks like it was actually sent from someone pressing the reply and send buttons. (I have attached images of what it looks like when it comes back from Godaddy's email server).

by the way, I'm only posting this in the watercooler because some interesting discussion might come out of it. It doesn't matter to me if I get a technical answer or not from anyone.




Immoderate Moderator, Former MVP, Retired SysAdmin
Staff member
Local time
Today, 07:53
Feb 28, 2001
I believe that if you use the "Auto-reply" rule in the Outlook "rules and alerts" you will always get the bracketed "[Auto-reply]" inclusion and you will always get a non-encrypted transmission.

However, if you have something external to Outlook (e.g. Access or Excel) running VBA to look in your "Inbox" and dynamically build your responses through a VBA routine, you CAN specify a subject that will not contain "[Auto-Reply]" and you CAN build a message body that can be encrypted (if you could have encrypted manually). All of the tools are there, and the VBA response driven EXTERNALLY does not trigger as an Auto-Reply case. I.e. When Outlook is "on the inside" and is being controlled by VBA "from the outside" it doesn't see that situation as an Auto-Reply case.

If you do this, you need to consider remembering whether you have replied this way to a particular sender for the first time, as mass mail-outs often bounce you two or three copies of anything. Unlike sending things through the U.S. Postal Service, any bulk-transmission e-mail is of negligible cost so the corporations don't care if they sometimes double-dip.

Using the "read the inbox" approach, you also need to be able to decide whether the message was one to which you SHOULD have replied. So that requires you to be able to look at something about the message. Sometimes it's easy as the sender will send from a "noreply@mumble.come" type of address. So... no reply forthcoming. For THAT, you could write a rule regarding having "noreply@" as part of the "From" and just direct those to the wastebasket. Or there are other rules, each with merits and demerits.

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