This article compares the Out of Office for Outlook email functionality that can be achieved using Outlook 2013 built-in rules and Auto Reply Manager – the Outlook add-in designed to setup & send Out of Office emails in Outlook.
If you are a regular Outlook email user, sooner or later you will likely want to configure & use an Out of Office solution for Outlook, so you can auto reply to certain emails. There are three methods to achieve the Outlook Out of Office functionality:
– using Outlook rules and OFT email templates;
– using a 3rd party Outlook add-in designed for automatic emails, like Auto Reply Manager;
– using a Microsoft Exchange server. We will not discuss the Exchange solution here because it isn’t really an Outlook solution, but a server sided solution which depends on your Exchange server administrator.
Out of Office for Outlook: built-in VS Auto Reply Manager
|Key Features||Outlook Out of Office||Auto Reply Manager|
|Out of Office reply options|
|Can auto reply only to certain senders|
|Can auto reply only to emails received in selected folders|
|Can auto reply only to emails containing certain keywords|
|Can auto reply only between specified hours|
|Can avoid infinite Outlook Out of Office loops|
|Can determine to auto reply only once per sender|
|Can delay Outlook Out of Office replies|
|Can redirect Outlook emails|
|Other Out of Office features|
|Can pause / resume Out of Office reply rules|
|Can personalize Out of Office emails|
|Out of Office log manager|
|Price||Built in Outlook||$39.95life-time license|
Also, we have to say that the internal Outlook Out of Office solution is pretty hard to setup. First of all, you need to create an email template and save it as an OFT Outlook file. Then you have to create a new Outlook rule and configure it to reply to incoming emails with the previously saved OFT email template. Since Outlook rules are designed as a generic tool usable under many scenarios, they lack the Out of Office fine tuning features that are available on Auto Reply Manager.