A: Yes…but

You will get quite a lot of conflicting information on the internet about how to add an autoresponder to an Office 365 Group.

The problem is that, quite reasonable, you may well want to put some kind of automated response on an Office 365 Group, especially if it receives email from external users. Microsoft tout Groups as the natural replacement for Distribution lists but they do still lack a number of features that you would find in, say, a Shared Mailbox*.

So how do you add an autoresponder to a Group? If you log into the Group you will find no way of enabling one via the GUI as you might have hoped for.

Many people say to add a mailbox to your Group and enable an OOF (Out of Office) message to that mailbox. This is supposedly because if the member mailbox receives an email it should send the OOF you have configured for it.

I’ll save you the bother of trying out the various permutations for this and tell you that I cannot get that to work.

Solution

On various forums it is debated as to whether or not Groups support the following PowerShell command:

Set-MailboxAutoReplyConfiguration

Which is what you can use on ordinary mailboxes. I’m here to tell you that this does work on Office 365 Groups.

So you will need to connect to your tenant using the usual PowerShell commands that I won’t repeat here.

Once connected you can then issue the following command – edited to suit your mailbox name and the desired message;

Set-MailboxAutoReplyConfiguration -Identity <name of your Group here> -AutoReplyState Enabled -ExternalMessage “Thank you for your enquiry. We aim to respond to all queries within 2 working days.”

So this is a simple example that will send the out of office message to external senders only and at all times (so no scheduling has been applied to when the message is sent).

The string you use for the -ExternalMessage (or -InternalMessage) can use formatting and HTML and the string also accepts a variable as input.

If you want to put line breaks and bold in your message your string will look something like this

“Thank you for your enquiry. <br>We aim to respond to all queries within <b>2 working days<b><br>”

And the message will look a bit like this to your recipients:

Thank you for your enquiry
We aim to respond to all queries within 2 working days

If your PowerShell scripting abilities are better than mine you might declare a variable at the start of your script and use more complex HTML to create a prettier OOF message:

$msg =

<p>Thank you for your enquiry. We’re keen to speak to you and will be in touch within&nbsp;5 working days.</p>

<div>

<p>Best wishes,</p>

<p>TCL Team</p>

<p><a href=”http://www.thompsoncl.com”>Thompsoncl.com</a></p>

<table border=”1″ width=”100%” cellpadding=”0″>

<tbody>

<tr>

<td>&nbsp;</td>

<td width=”100%”>
<img src=”http://www.skypeassets.com/content/dam/scom/images/text-and-image/mobile/office-logo_v3.jpg” height=150 width=150>

<p><a href=”http://www.thompsoncl.com/” target=”_blank”>Thompson Consultants – Office 365 gurus</a></p>

<p>Helping businesses transform with Office 365</p>

<p><a href=”http://www.thompsoncl.com”>www.thompsoncl.com</a></p>

</td>

</tr>

</tbody>

</table>

</div>

Set-MailboxAutoReplyConfiguration -Identity <name of your Group here> -AutoReplyState Enabled -ExternalMessage $msg

Have fun and hope this helps those who have been looking to the answer for how to put on an out of office message / autoresponder for an Office 365 Group.

*Shared Mailboxes
Shared mailboxes work brilliantly on PCs but have been unavailable to Mac and IoS users without some ugly kludges using IMAP. As of August 2019 this should be fixed for IoS users but I haven’t had a user try this yet.

Random image from Peskimo.com
Random image from or friends at Peskimo to cheer up your day.

by Mr T on Nov 4, 2019 at 10:14 PM

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