A user asked how to send HTML formatted Out of Office replies, as the Out of Office Assistant only sends plain text OOF.
"I can get the Outlook Client to send HTML Out of Office emails, but then the client needs to be on all the time for this to work (obviously not acceptable). An Out of Office Assistant rule to Reply only works internally, not with external addresses. Why is the standalone version of Outlook capable of sending HTML Out of Office Emails, but the more expensive version of Outlook + Exchange incapable of sending HTML Out of Office Emails? "
Before we get into how to send HTML formatted replies, I'm going to point out that if you are using a rule to reply with a template, it's not an OOF. It's a rule replying to a message. It's not even close to an OOF, even though its often offered as a solution to POP3 users who are looking for an out-of-office reply.
To send HTML replies using OOF assistant, you need to set up an OOF rule with a template. While in the OOF dialog, go to Rules... , Add Rule... then choose the option to reply with template. You can compose this template using HTML.
Whether or not this reply gets sent to external users depends on the configuration of your Exchange server. Many administrators disable the option that allows automatic replies to Internet addresses. If your rule works for internal addresses but not to Internet addresses, you'll need to speak to your administrator.
The setting that controls this is in the Exchange Management Console, Organization Configuration, Hub Transport, Remote domains. The administrator will double click to open the Default domain and check the settings for OOF and Automatic replies.