Where in the Holy Hell is the Out of Office Assistant?

My boss has Outlook 2000. I turned on his Out of Office Assistant via webmail the other day. Now I want to turn it off using the Outlook on his machine.

It’s not listed on the Tools drop-down menu. I go to Outlook Help (yeah, right) to get so-called “help” on where to find the Out of Office Assistant. Help (yeah, right) says “Go to Tools. Then to Out of Office Assistant”…




I’ve searched thru everything to try to find the gd Out of Office Assistant so I can turn it off and I can’t find it!

Where is the Out of Office Assistant???


Deep, deep red is the color of the blood boiling in my brain.

It should be in the tools menu. Make sure the entire Tools menu has expanded. EIther hover in the menu for a few seconds or click on the double-down-arrows on the bottom of the menu.

Also, everytime I have used the Out of Office Assistant, it has automatically prompted me to turn it off the first time I log back on.

Okay, but notice how I said I. looked. in. Tools??? I know it should flim-flamming be in TOOLS!!!

(Sorry, arronsen, I know you’re just trying to be helpful. But that is the very issue that is making me want to drop kick his damn machine off the roof. I know it’s supposed to be under Tools. Even Help says it’s under Tools. It’s not. At least not in Outlook 2000, apparently.)

But your other point is well taken. I bet that when he brought up Outlook this morning, he got a dialog box, and he’s the kind that will just click shit and not know what it’s for.

(On the other hand, that only partly solves my problem. What do I do next time I need to start the Out of Office Assistant???)

Niblet: did you see this part? Do you know what it means to make sure the menu is expanded? Many people do not. Are you sure the entire menu was showing?

According the Microsoft support site, the Out of Office Assistant is not necessarily available in the client software unless it is specifically configured:

It’s possible that his client software isn’t set up, so you may need to use webmail to turn it on and off. If I go into Outlook (2002), there is no “Out of Office Assistant” option on the Tools menu even though the Help does say that’s where it is. I haven’t bothered to do the configuration for it.

I just had this happen the other week, first time I’d seen the OOO vanish.

Fix was to simply rebuild the user’s mail profile. This is very simple and only takes a minute (literally) to do in most environments - standard disclaimer here that yours could be different. Check with your IT staff and they should be able to walk you through it easily.

I really need to start counting to 50 before hitting Submit as other ideas always spring to mind immediately afterwards…

Simple test - check with some other users, if NOBODY at your company has the OOO assistant under Tools then it’s probably not a profile issue, more likely it’s not available to you all.

There is also a feature in Outlook clients (specifically 2003, but I can’t check any others) that disables any function that causes a problem, and this includes Out-Of-Office assistant.

Start Outlook, Choose Help, About. At the bottom of the About window is a button called Disabled Items…

Click and re-enable Out Of Office assistant. Faster than rebuilding the user profile, but that works too.

This is quite a common problem.


In Outlook 2000, check:

Tools - Options - Other - General - Advanced Options - Add-In Manager - Exchange Extensions commands (needs to be ticked) and Exchange Extensions property pages (needs to be ticked)

If these add-ins aren’t there, you sometimes need to use install to get them - you should end up in the right folder automatically, and then you can select outex.ecf and outex2.ecf.

Does that help?

Yeah, I did. (I know what you mean about how many people do not. I was trying to explain how to do that over the phone with my boss, and it was NOT going well!)

To the others: Thanks. Your responses are exactly what I was looking for. We don’t have an Exchange Server at our new office, and I had no idea that it would cause such a problem.

Ahhh, so you don’t have an Exchange server. The trouble is that there isn’t a standard way to do this thing that Microsoft calls the “Out of Office Assistant” (which has to be done on the server). With an Exchange server, and using the Outlook client, they can work together, but otherwise you have to see whether your mail server has a similar feature (which you already found) and connect to the server directly (usually through a web interface) and change its settings.