Under older versions of Exchange, your "out of office" options were limited. In short, an out-of-office message was an all-or-nothing proposition. If you enabled the feature, anyone who sent you mail while you were away got your "Hi! I'm not here." message. This could wreak havoc with listservs, and meant that you were not able to provide coworkers with different information than you would to people from the outside.
Exchange 2007 boasts significantly improved out-of-office capabilities.
Now, instead of a single all-or-nothing message, you get the following:
- The ability to tailor separate messages to internal and external users. Now, if you have information that you don't want to whole world to know, you can place it in your internal out-of-office message so only your coworkers can see it.
- The ability to schedule the time period covered by the out-of-office message. Have you ever tried to get a jump on things by setting up your out of office message a couple of hours before you leave only to have out-of-office messages sent to people while you were still at your desk? Now you can decide when the messages will start and when they will stop.
- The ability to have an out-of-office response sent only to those that are in your contacts. One common complaint regarding out-of-office messages lies with listserv members. When people go on vacation and a message is sent to the list, list members often get an out-of-office reply for each person on the list that has one set. If you limit responses to just those in your contact list, you can avoid this.