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I am a new mail.app user. I am going to be out of the office for a few days. I have 3 accounts in mail.app. Can I set one out of office rule for all 3 accounts?

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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Mail doesn't really do out-of-office emails, because the application would have to be running to send a response. From Mail help:

Mail must be running to automatically reply to messages, because rules aren’t processed while your computer is shut down or you’re logged out. To set up automatic replies while you’re on vacation, ask your email service provider how to set up an out-of-office reply.

So, as the above says, you'll have to work with your email service provider to set up an out-of-office response.
If you post and tell us who your email provider is, we can help you set that up.

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This is apparently do-able, as described in this article; Mail's processing rules do permit it (at least in v4.5).

But it may be awkward for the reasons Nathan pointed out, as well as the fact that most vacation responders won't auto-reply to the same sender more often than a user-selectable number of days, typically 3 (to avoid two auto-repsonders getting into a shouting match). I didn't see such an option in Mail. Mail also "Reply"s to the incoming message, quoting the original plus attachments; a proper vacation responder should return only a brief notification.

The article references an Applescript procedure that avoid returning attachments; perhaps it's adaptable to address the other shortcomings of the rule as well. But using your mail provider's facility (assuming they have one) sounds like a much simpler approach.

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Yeah, but you'll need the computer on and Mail running for this to work. That's far from ideal. –  Nathan Greenstein Jul 12 '11 at 19:31
    
...as I pointed out - with attribution to you, in fact - in the second paragraph. –  JRobert Jul 12 '11 at 21:46
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Mail.app (as a mail client) must run to handle emails. When you leave you office and/or

  1. your notebook will turned off, or
  2. you will be logged off (and probably, you will)

your Mail.app simply will not run and therefore can't handle email -> so can't auto-respond.

At the other side, probably, your company has his OWN imap-server or so. In this case, you should ask your local network/system admin, how to setup autoresponder (what will be independent from your Mail.app).

If your company uses third-party mail-server, as Nathan above pasted, you should ask your third party provider, how to setup (an Mail.app independent) auto-responder.

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